Monday, August 31, 2015

Wilting but not dead

This is not a really pretty picture.

It is not meant to be.

It is a picture of the reality of my poor little tomato plants.

Yesterday I had about decided to give up on them producing ANYTHING this year.  I had yet to see a single bloom, and they were fading...after all, it's the end of August, and they should have already produced.

Today was a HARD day for me.

I had a nightmare last night that woke me from a sound sleep.

I have not had nightmares of this magnitude in YEARS, but something triggered a return last night. After awakening from what seemed like a life-threatening situation, there was NO WAY I was going to be able to go back to sleep...and it was at least another hour before I was able to settle down enough to get any more sleep.

And my youngest two children started school today, so I had to be up and moving early this sleeping in.

After I got the girls out the door, and got the two high schoolers up (school starts for them tomorrow!), and did a few more chores around the house, the tiredness started to catch up to me.  As is often the case, when I am over-tired, the depression comes back to pull the rug out from under me again.

I had fired my most recent counselor, and have been in the process of finding another, but have not seen anyone for a few weeks.  I knew I needed to talk to someone, so I let a trusted group of friends know the level of suckage that I was dealing with so they could pray for me.

Despite kind words, the prayers of friends, and KNOWING what I *should* be doing (exercise, sunshine, eating well, getting enough sleep, ad nauseum...), I was struggling and finding myself falling deeper and deeper into the mud pit that is depression.

The fact is that when I am depressed, EVERYTHING looms larger-than-life, and there seems to be no way out, everyone seems against me, and I am hopeless.

Today was no exception.  I almost gave up on me, on healing, on hope, on a future.

But, God.

My friends kept praying for me.
My children arrived home from school.
The new counselor called back, and let me know that YES, she is taking clients.
The insurance company immediately approved the referral.

And I got up off the floor, and went outside to water my flowers and plants.
I wasn't planning to water those sad, wilted tomatoes...I was just going to let them die.
But then, I looked closer...and, miracle of life....there was a BLOOM on the top of one!!
Just when I was going to give up on that little plant, there was signs of life!

And just when my depression was saying I should give up on everything, God gave me this little bloom, to show me that He had not given up hope.

I know He loves me.  He showed me with a little bitty yellow bloom.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

Monday, August 17, 2015


How can this be
That little miniature of me
So dependent and needy
No longer needs me

How did this happen
My wobbly-legged shadow
So unsure of everything
Is suddenly sure of all

When did this happen
My beginning scholar
In awe of all new learning
Reaching another milestone

Why does this change
Once I carried below my heart
Now carries a piece of it 
As she makes her way

How do I reach in my heart
And break off another piece
As I also release the next
My handsome one

How can I bear this pain
My little wild child
Settles in to become serious
And takes yet another bit

How do I anticipate the grief
My other little weeds
Growing like crazy
Threatening my peace

How does my heart recover
As all of the little pieces
Are broken off 
And wandering around alone

Sunday, August 16, 2015

What's MY Super-Power?

For a lot of years (LONG prior to the production of the Incredibles!), I have WISHED I could have the super power of invisibility.

I wanted to disappear into the wallpaper.
I wanted no one to see how awkward I was (and, paradoxically, I wanted SOMEONE to notice and love me despite...).
I wanted to be able to disappear when I was being teased, or abused, or made fun of, or....

Now, however, my wish is a bit different.  It seems, on some days, as if my wish HAS come true, and I AM invisible.  NO ONE notices the tears, or the dark cloud, or the silence around me.  NO ONE notices my aloneness.  I walk through the halls at church, and I know no one besides my family (granted, it's a BIG church).  I go to the Commissary, and I don't see any familiar faces.  I walk around my neighborhood, and rarely see anyone I am even familiar with, never mind KNOWING anyone.

We are now 8 months out from having moved away from the place we lived for SEVEN YEARS.  I have friends there.  I knew almost every single bagger and cashier and manager at my local Kroger, at the gas station, at the bank, at every single one of the six separate schools my kids went to.  I had the time and opportunity to KNOW my neighborhood there.  If we were to have taken a walk through my neighborhood, I'd have been able to point out to you where my kids' friends lived, where the neighbor who drove too fast (and likely still didn't have his drivers' license!) lived, where the single mom moved to, after she left her husband, where my geriatric friend lived before she passed away....I KNEW my neighborhood, because we lived in it for four years.

I think this is one of the hardest periods as a military spouse.  Yes, deployments are HARD.  The actual move is HARD.  But I really think this settling-in period after the move is in some way harder.

After six months, my friends from our previous duty station are moving on, spending time with others, finding other ways to fill their time, other people to go to lunch with, other coffee-buddies.  Skype dates still DO happen, but it's not the same as having a hug, and a cup of coffee together, or looking forward to lunch out at Applebee's.

And meanwhile, I AM meeting people, but six, or seven, or eight months is not a lot of time in which to make new connections, and build relationships.  So, some days I feel really invisible, as if I somehow DID finally get my super-power wish.

Thankfully, I know Someone who is always here, who loves me through the hard days, and has ALWAYS known my name, and sees me, even when no one else seems to.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

On HIS Shoulders

Most days I do a really poor job of recognizing where my help and hope come from.  This song is a comfort and a reminder to me today.

For King and Country: Shoulders

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dear Teacher:

I know I'm a little old to be writing you a letter, but I just finished reading a post about a teacher who was concerned about fostering connections in her classroom so that no child was left behind, bullied, or left out.

That post hit a nerve with me.  There are several things I wish you could have known about me when I was in school.

I wish you had recognized that I was being bullied at school.  That time I got detention for hitting an older student?  He was bullying my brother.  He did it all the time.  The girls did the same thing to me.

As bad as the bullying was, I wish you had known that being at school was preferable to going home. I wish you had recognized that I had bruises on top of bruises.

I wish you had seen past my social awkwardness and recognized that no one was teaching me the little niceties that would have made my life in society go more smoothly.

I wish you had taken the time to tell me that you did see past the dirty clothes, the B.O., and defensiveness, and that I was worth getting to know, because it must have been obvious that I really didn't have friends.

I learned a lot in your classrooms, along with my school lessons.
I learned that the popular students were worthy of your attention.
I learned that I would not be heard.
I learned to keep my mouth shut.
I learned (again) not to cry, or show anger, or frustration, or any emotion that was not positive.

You were successful.  Almost 30 years later, I am still trying to unlearn some of those lessons.  I don't think you were intentionally teaching those things, but the collateral lessons seem to stick around a lot longer than those we are actually trying to teach, wouldn't you agree?

P.S. I know that none of my grade school teachers are teaching any longer.  This is not directed at any one teacher, but at the atmosphere created in the schools in which I received my education.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I feel like a foreigner.

I get frustrated because I feel like there are huge chunks of understood culture that I am missing, which others automatically understand, and I don't. 

I am starting to realize that I don't look foreign enough for others to recognize my foreignness. 

Some contributing factors:
--a controlling, abusive, sheltering home
--a controlling, abusive, sheltering church

Even though I have been out of the home and church environments for more than 20 years, the effects linger. 

I fear I have assimilated so much that no one recognizes that I am a foreigner. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Parenting at the intersection of faith and military life: Friendships

At 5:30 this morning, I found myself sitting in my truck, waiting outside of the Inn here on base, playing on my phone (free wifi!!), facilitating yet another goodbye for my children.  This time, it was a friend of my 13-year-old, leaving to move to another Air Force base, in a state several hundred miles away.  Last time, it was us moving.  Next time, it may be us, and it may be another friend...I don't know, but I DO know that it WILL happen again.  Such is military life.  

As I waited, I thought of the strength of my children and their friends.
How quickly they make friends in new places.
How deep those friendships grow.
How strong they are in their "goodbyes" and "see ya laters".
Their hope, and their strength, and their deep love for their friends.

My children are strong, and amaze me every day with their resilience and adaptability.

For this, I am grateful.