What It’s Like to Be Alone

So, I’m not really alone alone but I’m enjoying some “alone time” and it’s glorious. I’m sitting in a coffee shop, in the corner, in possibly the most worn out red chair I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The seat cushion might actually be so sunken that it’s creating a vacuum to my rear end, but I could care less. I might as well be at The Ritz. Time alone is a new kind of treasure to me.

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My life is absolutely full in the most wonderful way, but as a mom to five, one of which who lives with severe autism, I think I am on sensory overload most of the time. Even here, the sounds seem a little bit loud, somewhat exaggerated, but it’s a different kind of noise and for that I am grateful. Just for a short while, it’s good to be alone.

I know all the mamas out there can relate, as well as the dads who are constantly “on”, dealing with workplace demands, demands from the home and spouse, the whole big stress of life thing. It’s a whirlwind of noise and going and planning and being and pleasing others and sacrifice and that’s all good. But don’t you know, it’s exhausting, too?

I sit here in a moment of reprieve and I’m so grateful for this kind of alone I’m experiencing. There was a time when I felt alone all the time, not just alone but empty from loneliness. This kind of alone is different. I’ve got God in my heart and the gift of alone time has been given to me by my spouse. It’s a gift like no other when you begin to think the only way to experience quiet is to get up in the middle of the night and creep into a closet or something.

Here, look, look at my perfect pomegranate green iced tea… see how perfect it is? It’s super refreshing, too.

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Seriously, life is in the little things. Life is in the moment when my youngest daughter is throwing my make-up across the room for the 10th time because she truly has no impulse control, life is in the downtrodden Eyeore-ness of my 9 year old son, it’s in the bickering of teenagers and the awkward way they do so many things. And, life is in our alone time, in the quiet. Time to meditate, write, contemplate, pray, worship. This time, alone, is full of life-giving fuel.

My prayer is that you have a moment of alone time, too, today, and you don’t feel lonely, but feel the sense of being in some kind of internal sanctuary as I do now, even if for only a little while.

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Why We’re All Dying To Catch What Kara Has {& giveaway winners}

Abeeliever:

If you haven’t heard about Kara Tippetts and the amazing grace with which she is living life with cancer you will want to read this post, find her blog and book AND find the peace and comfort that’s waiting for you in God’s love shown so wonderfully by her example!

Originally posted on CampClem:

Wow, so many of you poured out love and grace on my post in your comments to Kara Tippetts. Thank you for that. Such grace. Thousands are praying for this dear one and her family.

shine like the starsOh but dear ones, a comment that stood out to me: “Do not doubt for a minute that God is using your story to touch lives.” So.True. And from another comment: Isaiah 55:12, “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.” Is it foolish for me to pray like David did (2 Samuel 12:16-23)??

david praying 2 samuelI know David’s suffering was under completely different circumstances, but I will continue to pray and plead for healing for Kara. I rend my clothes and cry out and beg for her life. And if she stays, I will get up and praise God.

And if she goes… I will still get up and…

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Trying Something New: Stitch Fix

Disclaimer: I have not been asked, paid, bribed or in any way encouraged to write this post by Stitch Fix. This was written purely from my own personal desire to share this experience with my readers!

Shopping is my cardio

So I’m trying a couple new things out here! One, I’m writing a post about fashion and clothing and a fun new service that I tried out. I realize this is entirely new for this blog and for you. You may want to just leave now (but please don’t) or you may really enjoy the post, so in that case, sticking around is a good thing. Two, Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix is entirely new to me and I just signed up for the service a week or so ago. I’m thinking I found out about it on Facebook because I spend entirely too much time there and Facebook seems to have figured out my love of clothes, shopping and all things girly. As soon as I received my first shipment I knew I wanted to share the experience with someone. Since you are my only real audience, here it goes.

Stitch Fix is an online shopping service that selects items for you based on your personal profile and preferences. They call themselves your “personal partner in style.” Who doesn’t want one of those? And by filling out your profile, providing some information on your physical characteristics and fashion preferences, they select pieces of clothing and accessories they think you will like. One of the main reasons I decided to give this service a try is because I am really bad about trying on things that are outside of my “fashion comfort zone.” I tend to gravitate to the same types of clothing over and over. Also, I don’t have the time to shop around like I used to since becoming a mom of five children and due to the fact that I work from home. The time I do have alone is usually spent right here at my computer, working. Time is precious, valuable, and a rare commodity. Additionally, I enjoy finding clothes that may be a bit different from what everyone else is wearing, even if it’s only subtly different. Uniqueness goes a long way in my book.

It’s a $20 fee to sign up. That fee is applied to any purchase you make from your “fix” shipment. That sold me. It’s not wasted money. If I decide to keep something they send me, I have already spent $20 towards it, which in my shopaholic mind makes me feel like I am spending less than I really am. They knew what they were doing there at that Stitch Fix place, didn’t they? You get to select the day your receive your shipment and you are not bound to any recurring shipments unless you want to be. You get to decide how often you want your fix or how often you don’t. In my case, I left off the option for it to be recurring in any fashion. I like to be in charge of these things.

So…I received my first shipment yesterday and it was really fun. I took pictures. I was excited.

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My first fix has arrived!

Let me show you what was inside, okay?

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I have to admit, you can’t really get the best feel for all that was in there. I’ll have to improve on my photo chronicling skills if I continue to do posts like this. Inside the box were three sweaters, a blouse and a pair of jeans. Results were varied and I did not take pictures of everything I tried on. That would not be pretty. The jeans were WAY too small. The sweaters just didn’t hit me in the right places or weren’t to my liking. I really loved the pattern/design of the sweater you see in the bottom left corner in the last photo, but it was itchy as all get out. The good news? I LOVED the black blouse pictured above. It was very flattering and has some flair. It can be worn dressed up or casual with jeans. Here it is on me, so you can get a bit of an idea why I liked it so much!

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Pretty , huh?

I also found this in the box after I thought I had emptied everything!

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Life is never dull around here.

Another great thing that Stitch Fix sends along with their shipment are some styling ideas for each item. I think that is fun and helpful. Check it out.

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The sweater on top is the one I loved but it wasn’t as long as I would prefer and it was an awful woolly scratchy material that my skin could not stand. The top I really liked overall is on the bottom.

What about the prices, you ask? That’s my biggest beef with the program. It’s a bit of a higher price point so far than I would like to spend. I’m a fool for bargains. That said, now and then I will splurge on something, perhaps this is one of those avenues in which I would do that. I can’t say for sure. I have to be “in love” to make big financial commitments. But, I did decide to go ahead and purchase the black top. It was just too flattering to pass up and since I had already put $20 towards the purchase, it wasn’t such a sting.

After your shipment arrives you have the opportunity to provide feedback so that your stylist can improve their selections in the future. I enjoyed having this opportunity. It is a fairly detailed process, but quick. I am hoping they really get the information and use it.

Since it was their first shot and it was fun, I decided to give Stitch Fix a second chance and have scheduled another delivery a month from now. Again, the price points are a bit high for me, but the fun factor and the prospect of finding items that I wouldn’t find on my own is enough to persuade me to go back for more another time.

I also have to say, the packaging is great. The materials inside were great. The return process is super simple. The purchase process is easy breezy. Stitch Fix has a lot going for them. I am happy that I’ve stumbled across this service and I look forward to getting my next fix. Even though they struck out on 4 out of 5 items, I kind of like it that way. I wasn’t tempted to buy too many pieces!

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A Beautiful Life is Full of Changes

Life is ever-changing isn’t it? Sometimes changes are transitions like the rolling hills on a country road and other times the changes are more like the first deep plunge of a roller coaster ride. Many times, it’s a combination of both! Life has been full of so many changes for me and my family. Lucky for me, they are beautiful, life-giving changes and gifts from God. As it is, changes still require adaptation and periods of transition.

My life has been renewed this last year and a half. I have been given the love of my life and I became his wife. I have a much larger family now (from 2 kids to 5!). My struggle with Fibromyalgia isn’t near the painful existence that it used to be, in fact, it’s minuscule in comparison (not entirely gone, but WAY better!). I think I may always contend with the beast of depression (and always want to talk about it) as it has been with me for most of my life, but my focus in life is, more often than not, to not focus on depression as my life sentence. I am also now focusing on parenting one young child with severe autism and another who was diagnosed as being on the spectrum but high functioning. I am also focused on parenting the three teenagers we have who aren’t on the spectrum but present a whole different set of challenges! And, I continue to be passionate about social media and work from home as a social media project manager. But my main and most important focus in life is to be the best and most loving faith-filled wife and mother I can be, who still makes a mess of things sometimes, has a lot of messes to clean up and works hard to remember that life is always beautiful. Perhaps this new chapter is deserving of a fresh and clean blog slate.

What do you think?

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Moving Through the Moments

I have had the most tear-filled weekend this weekend that I can recall experiencing for months. It’s not a secret to some who are close to me that I can be sensitive and emotional, but tears don’t surface for me all that easily, usually. In the midst of one of the most blessed times I have ever experienced in my life I am also facing some of the hardest challenges internally and circumstantially that I have faced in a long time. It’s odd to be in the face of a miracle and abundant gifts and at the same time to experience issues that literally bring you to your knees.

So with that background, I am here to tell you about what I am learning about moments of great pain and unrest. These moments of intense internal or emotional pain may seem to appear as if they come out of nowhere at times and sometimes it truly is like receiving a hard slap in the back that just plain knocks the wind out of you. It can be deep and sudden and when it comes and hits hard, it truly feels like it may just be the end of you. In that moment, when you are stricken with intense grief or sadness or a feeling of hopelessness, it feels as if there is nothing else besides that pain. It feels infinite and it feels too deep a wound to close up. The feelings are so intense that you may begin to wonder, can I possibly move past this pain? If it’s been a while since you have felt a pang of pain like this then you might not relate, but if you have, you know exactly what I am talking about. I know I am not alone.

Today, I just happened to experience it. I was overwhelmed very suddenly and I had to go into my bedroom and close my door and literally drop to my knees. I dropped and began to sob.  In those moments I felt that the pain I was experiencing was unbearable, that it would not get better, that there was no light.

Despite those horrible moments, here is what I learned today and other times that emotional pain has felt unbearable… it truly does pass. It does. It passes. The pain won’t necessarily be completely gone because there is likely a very real issue or challenge to deal with, but the intensity and severity will lighten and ease up. It will pass. There will be relief.

There are a couple of things that I have found can help to speed the process up of moving past the moment and I think these are even doable in the midst of all the pain.

1) Cry for a bit. You have to get it out, it’s good for you. What isn’t good is stuffing it back in because then it comes out in a lot more unattractive ways than even your “ugly” cry. (And yes, we all have what we might refer to as our ugly cry face when the crying gets real “good.”)

2) Tell someone. (Preferably not your children because they will jut get upset, too.) But seriously, tell someone. Even if you text them, let someone know that you are hurting. And if you are lucky, you will connect with them via phone or in person and then you really will feel an immediate relief. When we connect our burdens are lightened. It’s kind of a beautiful thing. And, if things are super rough, call a hotline. Which I know is hard to do, but if you can’t reach anyone and you might be at the brink just call someone like the folks at Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

3) Pray. Lift it up and look up, especially if you are down on your knees anyway or maybe like me, you start on your  knees and end up laying in the middle of the floor with your mascara all over the place. Looking up to God is easier from that vantage point. And, it helps to cry out to Him. It helps to tell Him how you are feeling. You may not get an immediate answer, but I have no doubt our prayers are heard.

I know this now, after having gone through many seemingly unbearable moments, that the most intense part does pass. Once that part passes we can move on to how we handle the problems or challenges that we need to face or we can just take some deep breaths and calmly enjoy the rest of our evening as best as we possibly can. Either way, please know this… the moment will pass.

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Filed under anxiety, depression, Inspirational, mental health, ramblings