Things that keep my faith

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ever have one of those days that feels like a week compressed into 24 hours? Yeah, me too. So here's a list of 50 awesome things that will keep the joy of life alive.

1. Dreaming dogs that chase unseen prey.
2. A group of friends who pray for you when your husband has to leave for two months because he's in the Navy and that's the life of a Navy wife.
3. The smell of bacon and the lovely fact that it's in almost everything.
4. Getting mail that's not from an insurance company, car dealership, or a bill. Handwritten.
5. Birthdays. Birthdays are awesome. You have successfully completed another year. No matter what the age, rejoice that you've lived so far!
6. The satisfying clack of a typewriter.
7. Having a really really cold beverage on a really really hot day.
8. Turning the tv on to the beginning of your favorite movie.
9. Falling in love.
10. Running barefoot through the grass and not freaking out about ants or sharp objects.
11. The happy dance you do when you finally accomplish something really awesome.
12. Taking a trip and all of the lights are green.
13. Framing pictures of the people you love in your house, so that no matter where they are in the world, they're always with you.
14. Getting a hug right when you really need it.
15. The achy feeling when you've worked out really hard and inside you're like "I'm a beast! Feel the burn!"
16. Long, hot showers.
17. Saving money.
18. The smell of library books. I'm a sucker for musty print.
19. The deeply gratifying love of new school or office supplies.
20. Knowing that you are loved by someone or your family or your friends.
21. For women: walking barefoot after spending too much time in heels.
22. The wonderful feeling of having just made your bed. Followed by...
23. Getting into a freshly made bed.
24. Arriving at the airport after three weeks in Scotland, smelling like plane and travel and almost missing my flight due to an agricultural delay in New York with a heavy backpack, only to find that my boyfriend has dressed in his dress whites, bought me flowers and sweet tea, then picks me up, backpack and all, and twirls me around. Oh yeah. Thomas did that last year.
25. Hanging art.
26. Rescuing a puppy from the pound.
27. Starting a new journal.
28. When you're a ginger and your red hair soaks up sunlight and makes it radiant! Call me a ginger, but you're just jealous.
29. Being professionally photographed.
30. Going to bed and falling asleep within five minutes- no tossing and turning.
32. Getting a parcel and you weren't expecting it.
33. Winning Monopoly.
34. Reading a whole book in a day because it was just that good.
35. Traveling by yourself.
36. Opening something that's new. To go along with that, pealing off those protective layers of plastic they put over electronics, picture frames and mirrors.
37. Helping someone out without even knowing it.
38. Finishing all of something- all of the food in the fridge, a pile of magazines, cleaning the house, the last of the cereal, a project, a job, etc.
39. Having useless bits of trivia floating around in my head and then being able to use it in real life!!
40. Earning money.
41. Sleeping all the way through the night and waking up well rested.
42. Re-reading your favorite children's book. Like "The BFG" by Roald Dahl.
43. Learning a really cool story about your family's history.
44. Getting comments on this blog.
45. Watching someone enjoy something you made (like making a 3 year-old's day when you present her with a seersucker shark that's bigger than she is so she runs around the whole day yelling "SHARK, SHARK, NOM NOM I bite you!")
46. The cool side of the pillow.
47. Peanut M&Ms. They just can't be beat.
48. When the captain announces the plane's descent into your hometown, and you fly above, looking at your tiny world and then touching down... AT HOME.
49. Having a private dance party (music in your head, or out loud).
50. Laughing so hard your side aches.

Manic State

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I am trying, rather unsuccessfully, to calm myself down. About 20 minutes ago I realized that I was racing again. My heart was pounding, I was surrounded by a huge mess of papers and magazines, all the lights were on, tv on- following many plot lines, getting cold, wildly writing down a huge list of things that had to be done- all, of course, for me to accomplish tomorrow. My pulse was thudding in my ears as I raced around my coffee table and to my garage, unpacking boxes to find what I was looking for. Moby (who normally passes out on the couch next to me at 9 pm) was running around after me.

Until I stopped. Right there. I froze. And I realized it had happened again. I was having a manic episode. Right here, right now.

Let's back up a step or two. In April, as I told my doctor that I need a medicine adjustment, I started an antidepressant as part of my regimen. Dr. C told me that even though I was going on the lowest dose, it was possible that the antidepressant could swing me in the opposite direction. I was calmly thinking- "okay, cool, what's the worst that could happen? I don't have manic episodes ever, I'm just anxious. That won't happen." So weeks go by, and I write here about my medicine change and life goes on. Until about two or three weeks ago. I start swinging- really fast. The first moment I really noticed was when my mom stopped me mid-sentance and went- "you're really chipper today." Well that was odd, because last night I was horribly depressed. Yet chipper today?

WOAH. Hold up. Stop traffic. Manic? Me? YES. Mind blown.

And picture me now. I have turned all of the lights off except the lamp next to the couch. I paused the tv. Moby curled back up on the couch. I put away all of the papers and craziness. I took my meds, hoping that the sedating effects of one would slow me down, and the anti-anxiety of another would make my brain rest as well. I am sitting down and I put my feet up. The only thing I am concentrating on is this post. Now don't get me wrong. I want to be up. I think I could probably go for a 5K run (and I hate running). I think I could clean out the entire kitchen (at 12:38 am). I could alphabetize the library upstairs (already did it to the DVDs). I could create world peace (and I live on a military base). My brain is SCREAMING "GO, GO, GO". That's what I hear in a manic state- a scream, a battle cry to get things done. To conquer it all.

Even writing this, I've gotten this far in about 15 minutes. I purposefully am controlling my breathing. I even turned the air off so that the warmth would relax me. (Though living with a guy from Ohio means that we keep the house at igloo temperature year-round.) Oh and poor Thomas. We're trying to spend our last week together (he's shipped off to Virginia for the next two months on Sunday) and I'm having these crazy ups and downs. All I can say is this- I married a truly wonderful man.

This is really only a hint of what a manic state can look like. I've heard they can last for months and have far worse implications: over-spending, daredevil stunts, and really scary stuff. But now I know that totally out of control feeling, where I'm just totally consumed with a hundred activities at once and I finish them all. It sounds great, until my rapid cycling (I swing quickly from highs to lows) sinks me further into a depression. I am at the mercy of my brain.

For now, it's okay. I know how to calm myself down. I just wrote a lot, but my heart rate is slow, I'm getting sleepy, and I've convinced my brain to take it easy for the time being. I think Moby and I will cuddle on the couch for a while. We gave him a bath today (stinky, stinky dog), and now he smells like puppy and oatmeal and his silky soft coat is irresistible to touch. I'll eat some fudge and finish my show.  I'll remind myself that life goes on, and I don't have to return that table to Wal-mart by tomorrow. If the bathroom isn't clean tomorrow, we will live. If it gets done, that's okay too. Sanity is more important than a perfectly organized life. And that's a lesson for everyone.

Be silly, be honest, be kind. – R. W. Emerson

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's been a little while since I've shared some of my favorite quotes. I'm drafting a cool piece on coveting right now, but it may be another day before I get it up. So until then, here are some quotes from my favorite smart people:
Be of good cheer. –Homer

Friends are the sunshine of life. –John Hay

We aren’t a drop in the ocean, but are the ocean in drops.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. –Irish Proverb

Love is always bestowed as a gift- freely, willingly, and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved. We love to love. -Leo Buscaglia

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for that part of me that you bring out. -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of champagne in the fridge. –Hester Browne

Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. –Annette Funicello

Found written on the wall in Mother Theresa’s home for children in Calcutta:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may decieve you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Hell is empty and all the devils are here. –William Shakespeare

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. –Jimi Hendrix

In an ideal world, no one would talk before 10am. People would just hug. Because waking up is really hard. –Zooey Deschanel

it takes courage to grow up & become who you really are. –e. e. cummings

Where I am in life

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's been too long since I've written! I'm sorry. I've been so crazy focused on the house and dinners and everything people busy themselves with. For the moment, and just to get me back into the swing of things, a list.

1. We are in our new house. YIPPEE! We have gotten almost all of the rooms completed- or at least in a livable state. The base neighborhood is completely amazing and I know I am going to love living here. We have twice the amount of space as our old apartment and we are reveling in it. 
2. I hate moving. Boy it stinks. (And they didn't hire me to say the following:) The company Two Men and a Truck was completely awesome. We had wonderful movers who made the day-of go so much smoother than it would have with just us. They were so nice and totally understood that we were on a budget- so they busted it out and moved us in and out as fast as they could. 
3. Fun and silly- I finally got to open and use some wedding presents! We left a lot of kitchen stuff in boxes for the move and now I've gotten to open it and use it! It's been wonderful. Unfortunately overflow stuff has overtaken the laundry room. I must re-think some things there...

1. Harmonious furniture assembling. Early on (while we were dating) Thomas and I discovered that we cannot assemble furniture together. It is bad for our relationship. We are best suited to doing independent projects in separate rooms. We know this about us and it makes assembling stuff from IKEA (because we agree with low prices on a budget) much better. We also like each other more at the end of the day (crazy me- I LIKE to read the instructions included).
2. Like good wine, we are only getting better with time. So yeah, some said we were crazy to get married so soon, but every day together is awesome. We get happier because we know how lucky we are to be together and have found each other. Crazy to think that four months have passed, but they have!
3. It's fun to live with your best friend. Sometimes exasperating but mostly, Really fun.

RELATIONSHIP ADVICE (one for each month of marriage):
1. Know that it's okay not to spend every minute together doing the same thing. Know also that all the time you do have together is precious. So even when one person is playing a game online and another person is doing an art project in the same room, just being near each other is a lovely luxury.
2. Know when to concede that the other person is better at something than you are. For example, Thomas is much better at making quick decisions. Where I will agonize for 2 weeks about where to hang things, Thomas will assist me in helping me decide and hanging everything exactly where it should be in less than 30 minutes.
3. Make time for pillow talk. A few nights a week, try going to bed at the same time (even when one person has to wake up at 5:30) so you aren't distracted by "things to do." Then just spend time talking- about whatever. Possible topic: the perfect plan for saving and spending if you win the lottery.
4. Say "I love you" and mean it as often as possible. Saying it more never makes it less meaningful and you never get tired of hearing it. Ever. 

1. I actually started a journal of my own. I know I've said before that this is my online journal, but in addition to the fact that my journal is really cool and I miss writing things by hand, it's a chance for me to be very personal and more conscientious of my prayer life than I was previously. Yes, it probably has contributed to me writing here less, but I am going to try to use what I've learned there in my writing here. And I will write more often!
2. The medicine change is leveling off. Praise be to God for this much more awesome feeling! I am still experiencing some mood swings (mostly this past week), but I can mostly keep them under control, or at least re-direct my energy (or lack thereof) to more productive things. Also probably not helped by my menstrual cycle. May be personal but a. look at the heading and b. just being honest. 
3. Getting ready to try the job search again. It's looking like Thomas will be in Virginia for the summer because of his job and I'm also craving some contribution. Lots of volunteer ups and downs, but I think a few places on base are hiring and I just have to keep trying. Just gotta trust God is keeping me in the right places.

1. Thomas got me an iPhone and for the first time in 8 years of cell phone use, I can send text message pictures. It's amazing. I'm pretty sure that's my favorite thing.
2. I got a dutch oven. It's a fairly large, round, cast iron pot that is often used to cook stews and sauces. The nice ones can run upwards of $200. I found mine for $39 on the clearance aisle of TJ Maxx (discount/overstock store for non-Americans). I'm really excited. It's a bright yellow enamel, reminiscent of Big Bird on Sesame Street.
3. I finally have my library! We converted one of the spare bedrooms into a guest room/library. It has big bookcases, pictures, art work, a full bed filled with pillows for transforming it into the perfect day-bed and reading nook.
4. I've tapered my postcard wall in the new house. Edited, is more like it. It's all of the black and white postcards I have. And I'm running low- I wish I could make it a bit bigger. If you find a cool one, please send it on!

All in all, life is pretty awesome.