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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Judging Success

Things are still very quiet--going to sleep in wee hours of the morning and getting up around noon.  I felt badly on Thursday, fluish symptoms that I get with FM.  I'm still taking it easy.  Thankfully, I'm not really depressed since changing my viewpoint about it all, mostly to just take full advantage of this quiet period.

I've been thinking a lot about abundance and success recently.  At one time, it personally meant "having it all together."  To many, and me at times, it means being very busy, doing, doing, doing, achieving, achieving, achieving.

Two families I know come to mind.  One was a seemingly ideal Christian family, the parents of two adopted children, very loved, admired and looked up to by their church.  One day the family was gone, the parents murdered in their beds and both children in jail waiting to be tried for murder.

Another family, very attractive and fit parents, active in ministry, competing in fitness competitions, four beautiful children, one adopted.  She embodied the type of woman I used to idolize, beautiful, fit, musical, beautiful and immaculate house, handsome husband and attractive children.  The family is suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, broken by adultery.

Then I think of the apostle Paul when he wrote his final letter to Timothy.  He was imprisoned, waiting to be executed, with only one person remaining with him.  Most had deserted him.  Did he think of himself as unsuccessful?  He probably didn't care, but he was maybe the most "successful" man of his time. 

Little by little, God is changing what I see as abundance, even being normal, much less being successful.  I think we have much to learn about true success.

* * * * * * * * *

I would love to be totally well and healed.  Sometimes, I forget that my fibro is an issue, like the sleep disorder and ADD are.  I've gone for quite a while feeling stronger than I've been in years, like since the 90's.  I still remember running over two miles last year! 

I definitely seem to be going through a FM flare-up.  Hopefully, it's minimal.  But I need to continue to rest a lot, watch my stress levels, and generally take care of myself.  In a few months or weeks, I may be full of plans and energy to strike out to do some big things. 

I do feel stronger about spending much more time in intercession and possibly some writing.  If I am out of the public more, I can't forget the world outside.  I want to be connected and loving others regardless.  It would not be good to spend all my time on Netflix and eating!

The last couple of days, I've been knitting, reading, praying, doing The Quest (Beth Moore Bible study) watching the Olympics, visiting with some friends, being with Jake.  Speaking of Jake, he seems to have caught some of these germs going around.  We'll probably stay in tomorrow.  In a few days, I hopefully will try pushing myself a bit more and see how I do.

 I am loving this USA afghan I'm knitting.  I did frog quite a few rows, back down to the cream border, but the corrections made it look much neater and skilled.  It was a good decision.  Each state is a different color, so I'm learning to do color blocks and wrap the yarn so the color changes connect without gaps and holes.

And the reading and praying--God is giving me so much inspiration.  Even if I am never as healthy as I would like, I can still live with much abundance and success in what is important. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Are We Trying to Push Ourselves into the Wrong Shaped Hole?

I haven't meant to take two weeks before posting again.  It has certainly been an interesting year so far.

I'm coming to realize how much I desire to slow down, take life slowly, but deeply.  I hate, hate, hate busyness just for the sake of busyness.  I used to sort of idolize that.  Busy people seemed so significant and successful. 

But as I listen to my heart prayerfully, I am wanting more and more to have fewer activities and scheduled events, even not be around a lot of people constantly.  I crave quietness, listening, meditating, writing, reading.

And I love quality time with others.  Strangely, I love to be in the most packed out service, worshipping God with a crowded houseful.  I love hugging and talking to as many people as I can get to on Sundays--at least on most Sundays. 

I love being part of small intimate groups.  And I love being with others who share like passions, including yarn work. 

I have found a lot of satisfaction in the small amount of bookkeeping I've done this year. 

When the mood strikes, I love nesting (organizing, cleaning, decorating).  Not so much the process itself, but the results and enjoying the finished product. 

I dearly hate having to rush to get somewhere, especially if it's in the morning.  It's so nice to go into my day slowly and take the time as it comes to see what transpires.  At times, I will suddenly want or see a need to leave and do something, or a friend calls and invites me out for tea. 

I have found myself uncomfortable this first part of the year.  I have felt fatigued, maybe depressed, though I still am interested in a lot.  I think it has bothered me that I have wanted to have as much solitude as I've been craving--that I'm being selfish, or maybe going into another deep hole.

But during the last few days, I'm suspecting that maybe I've been trying to force myself into a slightly misshapen hole--pushing myself to try to be other than what I am created to be.  I'm seeing some self-loathing that shouldn't be there.  Other "shoulds" are trying to creep back into my thoughts and life.

Life is absolutely about relationships.  But I see many facets of that.  For me to stay connected to my Creator is the most crucial.  I also see a need to connect with myself more in a nurturing way.  It occurred to me recently that sometimes I eat to avoid intimacy with myself--except it's an intimacy with a false self, one that I think I should be.  Expectations have begun to squeeze in and steal my peace and my joy.

And I must truly love myself to love others.  That is absolutely biblical.  To love and marvel the creation that God made me to be and is growing me into.  To see the uniqueness and special variety that He has made.  To become the gift that God wants me to give to others.

Focusing on my marriage calls for me to slow down, too.  We are both introverts and homebodies.  I'm thankful for that.  We don't have to succumb to any pressure to make special outings that we really don't want to do.  We can find our own kinds of fun, usually right in our own home.

And then comes my family and church family.  And a world needing a Savior.  But I'm learning that I can relate and connect in many ways.  Having others in my thoughts and prayers is key--staying connected even when I am in solitude.  And making each encounter a divine one by faith. 

With technology, we have the opportunity to connect in ways we could not before.  Internet connecting is not the same as flesh and blood.  But it brings new methods of reaching others who we cannot connect with face to face.  Wisdom dictates that we take advantage of this, to leave our mark on the Kingdom of God.  Many reach others that never could have been reached except by the Internet. 

So I am going to continue my quieter lifestyle right now.  But without the gnawing "shoulds" and pressure from society to do more and more.  I plan to still be productive, but it is likely to be a different type.  I want to move to more intercession, more writing, more listening.  I will attend my few groups and activities, but attempt to keep my life very simple, or shall I say, even more simple than it has been. 

Some activities may go by the wayside.  And I am so blessed to be able to live like this.  It has taken a long time to learn to fill up my empty-nester years with the most important things.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I have still been coming out of and going back into a funk the last few weeks.  I've been frustrated with lack of energy, a crazy sleep schedule, the erratic eating.  But if I am hearing God correctly, I don't have to be so perturbed by all of this.  Trying out this new paradigm in my life should be very revealing.  If I am actually doing the things I am designed to do rather than running from what I should be doing, I will find great peace and fulfillment in the same activities but with much greater purpose and direction.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I did finish up 2017 for Jeanie's books.  There may be more work in that regard if she needs other reports and figures, but I have all the facts and figures ready and at hand.  I have January's figures to do, which I could probably do in just a few hours.  I hope to give her a monthly report now so that she can see her profit and loss.  I am also open to take on another couple of accounts if they are not high pressure ones.  I haven't talked to Rick since the end of January.  I'm not sure what he has in mind for me to do right now.  I do have mixed emotions about continuing it, but am willing.

I taught Monday night on "boundaries" at our mentor group.  I do really enjoy the group, though I have to sike (or psych) myself up for those evenings.  Teaching is no longer scary; I'm pretty comfortable with it and think I do a good job.  I do come from a long line of teachers.

Still no Weight Watchers.  We were talking Monday night about the need to step out in faith in certain areas.  Maybe I need to step out again, in faith, and take one day at a time.

Jake and I are doing great.  I am still consciously learning to allow myself to need and desire him, not have the mentality of being a loner.  After all, we are one flesh.  I am so loving his support and encouragement--as well as the help he gives, which is a lot!

I think sometimes I pull back because I am so uncomfortable inside of my own skin.  I am learning to be comfortable, but it is a process, and there are parts of me that I find truly ugly, though I know they are common to Man (or Woman:/).  I need to learn to have compassion for those parts, refuse the condemnation, and nurture those parts to life with God's Spirit. 

So what else has happened? 

One thing, I stayed home this time when Jake went to see our kids.  The lack of sleep had gotten to me, so I made the decision to stay home and make myself enjoy the break, which I did, in spite of a few slips.  I am much more rested right now.

I haven't been to much else besides mentor group in almost two weeks.  I have been with others at times, and that has been good.  I am so thankful for friends who will check on me and are just be there, rain or shine.  <3 

I did quite a bit of cleaning today--it was badly needed. 

I started on an afghan, which is a map of the United States. I know, I know, it's complicated, but I'm enjoying it.  I am also working on another Sophie's Universe, one that will match my living room.  I have ripped parts of it out so many times, but that's okay.  I'm in no hurry.  I've been having a hankering to try a sweater again.

Which reminds me, I learned to knit backwards!  I think I have found my solution to a smooth Stockinette Stitch.  I knit one row right-handed, then knit the next row left-handed.  It prevents having to turn the project and purl every other row. 

I am thinking about branching out and starting a second blog.  I'm reading one I really like that I might pattern it by.  She deals with daily spiritual type matters, but also includes practical things in it.  It will not be as full of the daily type of personal stuff that this one has. 

No more progress on the new bathroom or any other decorating right now.  We will soon catch a wave, though, I'm sure of it.

I'm reading through my list of books and adding others.  (I'll never get to the end.)  I am loving Grace for the Good Girl.  She is really inspiring me and also is the one whose blog I am looking to use as a model. 

It's very late, and I am going to bed.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Abundance and Mental Health

This is Monday afternoon, which is my morning, and I'm looking ahead to the new week.

It's been apparent that I have cycled through a period of depression during the last two or three months.  Obviously, some of it has been from circumstances, but I think most has just been my body.  Bonnie has been very watchful of me recently, and she notices that I can cycle in and out of periods, one where I am very enthusiastic and elated, and another where I become weary, with much lower moods and a desire to retreat.

We've talked about a type of milder bi-polar disorder where sufferers have these cycles--it's called Cyclothymic Disorder.  It doesn't have the extremes like Bi-Polar, much milder.  Regardless, depression itself comes and goes in cycles. 

That's very helpful for me to know.  I don't have to panic and think I have to totally change up my medication.  I can wisely go through these lower spells and let myself gently return to a sunnier time.

I've done a lot of reading the last few days on depression.   It's been the burden of many awesome Christians:  Charles Spurgeon, Sheila Walsh, Ann Voscamp.  I'm sure I'll find more. 

In my reading, I am reminded that, even though we live an abundant life in Jesus, we do not live without suffering.  I can have abundance even in the midst of depression.  It's a time where I lean on Jesus the heaviest; I can actually be in my most intimate times with Him because of my need.  The tragedy would be to withdraw and feel unwanted by God during these times.  These are times when we are most drawn into Him and His comfort.

One of my biggest desires is to learn from these periods, plus go through them without overly burdening others during this time.  However, it is a time to lean on those closest to me--being transparent, asking for prayer, receiving love and encouragement from those that love me.

It's also a time to learn humility and compassion for others who suffer.  It means so much to others to know that they are not the only ones going through mental crises.  We can say, "Me, too." 

So during this time, I feel God telling me not to try to pretend it's not happening.  Much of Christian maturity is authenticity.  We don't dump a bunch of negativity on others, but we are real during this time.  I can also give thanks and worship, but maybe in a quieter, thoughtful way, seeing how God is carrying me through. 

 It's also a time not to pile on extra duties and engagements.  I take care of myself, getting the extra rest I need.  I also make sure I am with others, but I don't overdo it.  I suspend tasks that are not important if I don't feel up to it.  I look for ways to give to others that releases joy to the giver and the receiver.  I also receive love and help from others gratefully when it is offered. 

* * * * * * * * *

I leisurely finished up the 1099s over the weekend.  I just have one small envelope to drop at the post office and that's done.  I made sure to get plenty of rest this weekend.  I just have a bit more to finish up 2017 for Jeanie, and then I can send off her figures and reports. 

I'm moving along on my new Sophie's Universe afghan, doing colors that match my house.  Bonnie started one, too, so that will be fun. 

Jake finished the tub and tub surround this weekend.  It looks beautiful, especially against the other '80s half of the bathroom along with its yellow formica.:/  And now we have a big tub we can soak in.:)

I'm still not on Weight Watchers.  I think I'm waiting for a wave of enthusiasm to hit that will furnish a spark for the quest.  Eating has mostly been under control, except for a couple of days.

My tidy resolution is going so-so.  The front part of the house is staying pretty tidy, dishes getting washed much more consistently.  My bedroom is piled up, though.

I have no mentor group this week.  I'll be teaching on boundaries on the February 22, but that will be easy since I've taught on it so much already.  Aubrei and I are supposed to have dinner tomorrow night.  Thinks look pretty calm for the rest of the week, for which I am very grateful.  We will see what God surprises me with!

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Slow Week

I ended up staying up all night on Saturday, and I sort of regretted it.  I was so tired all day; it usually doesn't affect me that much.  I was feeling this caution to really take care of myself later. 

It was good to be at church, though.  We had about an hour of connecting time before and after the service.  It's wonderful to see Jake so involved here lately.  His deeper sense of commitment has been a very recent thing.  I went to bed about 6:00 after watching the first playoff game and got up about 8:30.  I slept about an hour at a time for the first four hours or so, then really went to sleep about 12:30 after getting up a few minutes.  My body is just used to sleeping very late.

I didn't do much on Monday.  I was still very tired and just watched the second playoff game after I got up.  It was super windy the day before, which gives me a splitting headache sometimes the day after.  I still felt so wiped out and with the headache, I didn't go to the mentor group.  I slept in the next morning, until about 11:30.  As soon as I got up, Rick was urgently needing me to call.  I ended up working on some bookkeeping issues the rest the afternoon and then met Aubrei for supper that evening. 

Then last night, I couldn't go to sleep.:/  I finally got up about 2:00, stayed up awhile and finally went to sleep around 3:30.  I got up about 11:30.  More bookkeeping. 

I also started again on  another Sophie's Universe pattern.  This one is for me unless Kari likes the colors I picked out.  I also made a really good dinner tonight:  meatloaf and mashed potatoes, one of our favorite meals.

Next day:

Another late sleep, then almost three hours were spent at Rick's office working office.  I do not have experience printing on forms, so I guess it's another skill to learn.  We finally gave up, and I am just going to write them out by hand.  I'm thinking it may be just as fast.  Maybe next year, we will get a code and file them electronically. 

Jake and I spent a quiet evening at home, picked up Rosa's for dinner.  We are just both tired these days.  I think it's part of getting older.  I'm finding myself feeling like I don't get enough sleep, never very alert during the day, doing everything in slow motion.  When I'm with others, I try to be present and concentrate on others, including other customers and clerks.  I didn't feel like much talk this evening, but we did catch up a bit and cuddled on the couch for quite a while.  I went to bed with him until he went to sleep.

I am in a bit of a weird state. I don't have the excitement of last year's continual improvement.  I think I am continually growing, but it's just different this year since I haven't been on a lot of schedules and marking off big lists. 

Mostly, I feel God taking me to a deeper and more intimate place with Him and others.  In so many places that I read and listen, much is talked about lack of connection and true union with others as being the cause for our emotional, spiritual, mental ills, and extending even into the physical. 

I'm trusting God to step by step help me really find union with Jake.  I am able to be honest, I think, in how I am doing.  Sometimes, I feel too tired to talk or see others, but I still need to be close and one with them. 

I have had a few weeks where I think I am being too selfish.  Probably just worrying about that is not the right thing to do.  I can sense me thinking about it too much, which puts the focus on self and not others.  How can we as humans ever love and serve enough with selfless motives?  I don't think it is possible in any of us alone.  I just need to remember that God loves through me; He blesses through me.  Thinking about how "good" or "loving" I am being is probably very narcissistic.  Finding closeness and intimacy is a good way to live.  And love looks so many different ways.  But I fear seeing constantly "all about me" in my life.  I've certainly had plenty of that.

I am also feeling a weariness of living in this aging body of mine and my crazy brain.  But I can let my spirit constantly grow. 

I go to a luncheon tomorrow.  Time for bed.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Non-24 Hour Sleep Disorder

Today has been a thoughtful day.  I never left the house all day.:)  Jake was tiling the tub surround all day.  I did some bookkeeping work, but didn't get into it much.

I went to bed last night and got up this morning thinking and praying about my sleep schedule.  On a whim this morning, I did some research on sleep disorders.  My doctor definitely believes I have a severe sleep disorder, as do I.  I first found a site that describes the different disorders, and it was easy to identify the one that applies to me.  It is called non-24 sleep disorder.  I have been saying for years that I would function perfectly on a 26-hour day, and sure enough, this exactly describes my issues.  It's neurologically based (of course, everything else I have is, too). 

People who suffer from Non-24 are usually stuck between living on a 24-hour day with great difficulty and harm to their physical well-being; or they choose to live naturally by their body clock, which often causes problems vocationally, socially and relationally.  Some people improve with melatonin and/or light treatments; but usually, people with this type of disorder don't respond to sunlight like normal people, which usually helps to reset your body clock. 

I've been fighting this for years.  I use medication to help or "force" myself to sleep.  Waking and getting up is extremely difficult.  I tend to sleep very well once I am asleep, but it's always a guess as to how late that is going to be.  It usually gets later and later into the wee hours of the morning with getting-up time late morning to around noon.  Then I might stay up all night one night so that I can go to bed earlier and move my clock up temporarily. 

Jake and I talked about this quite a while today.  He admits he worries about me and how late I sleep.  He is always reluctant to disturb me in case I don't go to sleep until 4:00 a.m.  But I think he is relieved to understand why now.  He mostly wants me to take care of myself and get enough sleep.  The main issue is getting to church on Sundays (and my Friday morning Bible study).  With almost everything else, I schedule for the afternoons and evenings. 

My business is perfectly suited for this.  I can work when my mind is awake and alert. 

So I have prayerfully decided to relax and live by my natural body clock as much as possible.  I'll make adjustments as I need to be able to attend the morning things that are important.  I'm sure I'll be able to have Ambien to help on those few occasions when we go out of town. 

It helps me tremendously to relieve the pressure of trying to live on a 24-hour clock since it's not necessary with my lifestyle. 

I also started reading yet another book today (or rereading):  Marriage on the Rock.  I really love this book, and Tom highly recommends it.  I am seeking God for heart-change in me now that I know it's time to quit running from intimacy in my marriage.  I am grateful that I am seeing a softening coming in me and a greater ability to lean on Jake when I need to.  I asked him for help on Sunday mornings, to check on me at a certain time to see if I want to go to church if I'm not up yet.  I haven't decided yet if I am going to just stay up tonight, or go to bed and count on Jake to help get me up.

Other than an hour-long talk with Bonnie on the phone, that's pretty much been my day.  But it feels like I've made some giant steps today.

In my baby steps to being normal, I learn at times that normal does not have to be conventional.  Normal should be functional, I think, and fruitful and full of life.  And I can live life on a different schedule than most.:)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hitting the Books

That is, the financial books and the stack of books in my reading pile.

I don't have much else to write about.  The last two days have been meetings and bookkeeping and reading in between. 

I am almost done with Jeanie's 2017 books!  I have now finished all of the frustrating treasure hunts figuring out where certain funds came from.  It's been interesting to say the least.  But it's fun in its own way, getting everything in its proper place.

I'm down to polishing up all the accounts.  Then I can print out reports and show profit/losses and balance sheets for each month of the year.  It didn't seem like this point would ever get here, but the finish line is in sight.  It's my first completion of a set of books for someone else. 

I had to go hunt for 1099-MISC forms for the property management company.  They have to be purchased, and they are expensive.  Thank goodness, I am getting reimbursed for them.  I spent almost $100 on those forms and envelopes today.  Getting all of those out won't be too bad, I think.  I have been emailing and calling several property owners and vendors for their ID numbers.  My work for Rick is very different than for Jeanie.  For Jeanie, I keep track of everything.  I may eventually do that for Rick; but he usually has to enter a lot of things as he does them.  He uses me as he needs me and I just charge him for his time.  Plus, it is a totally different software program.  Now that I'm about caught up with Jeanie, the monthly work in 2018 shouldn't take two long.  I'll keep doing the same for Rick, probably, maybe taking on more responsibility as he wants to give it to me.  We'll see if I take on any more clients.
 That has been pretty much it for the last couple of days.  I did skip the cooking night Tuesday.  I actually thought I was coming down with the flu that night; but after a few hours, my strength came back and the aching and chills stopped.  Jake had prayed for me before I went to bed for a couple of hours.  Either I was healed, or it was just one of those fibromyalgia walls I hit now and then.  When that happens, I usually just have to rest until I feel better, and then life goes on.  I'm very thankful that I feel better today.

I talked to Diane earlier, but I've been putting off much conversation with anyone else. 

I do take some reading breaks, trying to get through my stack of books.  The winter decorating is mostly done.  I just need to place some accessories in different places. 

Jake has the new tub installed in the bathroom, one of those standard large tubs with the jets at Lowe's.  We have had three of them, I think.  He's working on some small jobs and just working on the bathroom in between.  The house is super dusty, especially after a jackhammer session; but I never mind when things are progressing. 

I was praying this morning about my sleep schedule.  It's been taking me until after 3:00 a.m. to fall asleep.  That gives me no morning at all, maybe an hour if I am lucky.  I was telling Jake that maybe I should embrace it as my own schedule and not sweat it.  I didn't have any definite insight about it.

The book work consumed about all of my mental energy.  Jake was sort of in the same state, so today was mostly about work. 

There will be probably more of the same tomorrow. Until then.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

That Special Relationship--Marriage

The day has been cold and mostly about bookkeeping.  It never seems smooth these days, but I keep pushing on.

I had a few minutes to think and feel and pray during part of the day.  About marriage--about my marriage.  I'm told that marriage is the most intimate of all relationships.  In its purest form, it should be safe, open, vulnerable, completely honest, full of love and fun, coming together to live life with God in charge.

As I thought about this, my heart began to pound a bit.  I never let myself go this far in my thoughts and emotions.  It's a new thing. 

I remember how long it has taken God to woo me to Him.  I always wanted to know Him, but at my own time and pace.  Now, the defenses are coming down.  I feel loved by Him, even on the worst days.  I feel safe.  I don't have fears and qualms about drawing close, though I do about making it a certain format.  And I find a constant excitement to see what He is going to do next in my life.   The hardest part is just being still and quiet and stopping all of the distractions. 

What used to be so strange, few and far between, has now become a daily delight.  Don't get me wrong.  I still get distracted and have a long way to go.  But where I am now--unbelievable to me. 

And I can trust God will do the same in marriage.  I believe He will give me the desire to live marriage to the fullest--and to encourage Jake to do the same.

One day, it will just be a joy and the fears will cease.  Not that hard times won't come.

Watching This is Us made me want to explore my eating more and more.  Is it about hiding?  About control?  About fear?  About being simply undisciplined and not sticking with it?  Probably about all of the above and more.  It may be as much of a cave as other hideaways have been.

Not much more to report.  Except for meeting Rick at the office, I talked to no one but Jake.  A quiet day.  It was nice.  Tomorrow afternoon, I am meeting my other client, Jeanie, at Brew Street. 

Good night for now.