Sharing Helps us to Fully Bloom

I am an over-sharer. I share at the risk of being judged, and sometimes wonder if I’ve shared too much. But, I continue to do so with the hope that in sharing my truth in this life, I am helping others to embrace every aspect of themselves. Connections are not developed at the deepest level without sharing, and I feel a deep connection to and empathy for all of humanity.

It occurred to me this morning that depression and anxiety (and all mental illnesses) are allowed to grow when we don’t talk about them. Not only that, but there is an inverse relationship; the less we talk about it, the more they prevail. I want you to know that I’ve dealt with these issues in various times of my life, and if you are struggling right now, I see you, I get you, I feel you. If you ever need an ear to listen, please don’t hesitate to message me here.

Our strength lies in sharing, and when we open up about the realities of our struggles, only then can we begin to truly bloom.

🌸Doing it Afraid, and Closing a Chapter➡️

If I said I’m not afraid, I’d be lying.

The fears that were quiet are multiplying.

I’ve felt so good lately it’s hard

To consider letting down my guard.

A barrier of protection I’ve formed,

Against outside noises that swarmed.

I can see life ahead filled with peace,

But before then, I must release.

This hold cancer’s had on my life,

All the fears, the struggles & strife.

I release the dark places of then,

Hoping to never go there again.

My body and mind and my soul,

Have finally been made whole.

So for this next round, I’m prepared.

To go through it, although I may be scared.

This step will help me to turn

All of this time into lessons learned.

My hope is to share all that’s true,

With warriors fighting anew.

I’ve shed tears, broken down, and healed.

And through it all, God’s love’s been revealed.

So if I needed to go where I’ve gone

To help you, it was worth it all along.

In the Pursuit of Peace, God’s Plan is Greater

I am a planner. I like to buy planners and pens, and use sticky notes. I have spent many hours of my life writing down my plans in a color-coordinated fashion, and marveling at the beauty of a month’s page filled with all of life’s daily details.

But, a breast cancer diagnosis and the related variety of surgeries and treatments (along with the never-ending list of unpredictable side effects) forced me to let go of my perceived control. Many days, I did not know what the next hour would hold, much less the next day, and certainly not the month ahead.

It has been five years since my world was turned upside down, and I’ve slowly returned to the beauty of planning. There are no words to describe the gratitude I feel for the ability to somewhat predict what lies ahead.

However, my mindset has changed in so many ways. Because I was forced to live with uncertainty, I grew more comfortable with the fact that some things are out of my control. Some days, my only plan involves maintaining my peace, in spite of my surroundings. For this reason, I started crocheting two years ago, following in the footsteps of my Grandmother’s talent.

She was the most peaceful person I’ve ever known, crocheting and praying every single day. She’s been gone for 15 years now. While I never learned to crochet from her, I quickly learned that I had an innate talent for using a hook and thread. I started with the basics, improving with each effort, with the ultimate goal of creating fine doilies like hers. I learned to read patterns, but found myself enjoying the experience more when I would “wing it”, allowing my soul to dictate the next stitch. I started the piece in this image with no pattern, and it became the one of which I’m most proud.

I couldn’t help but relate that to God’s plan for us, which we can not always see until we look back on how beautifully things worked together for our good.

As I embark on the final phase of my breast-cancer treatment (upcoming reconstruction), I am able to find peace, without needing to plan out every step of the journey. I know that whatever lies ahead will build strength, bring clarity, and form peace in my soul more so than any foreseeable circumstance that I could’ve planned…even with the prettiest planner and pen collection.

Here’s to fully trusting Him for a life that’s peaceful ahead.

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Balancing Life with Depression: the Ups and Downs

Well, it’s been a couple of months since my last depressive episode, and I’ve been feeling absolutely amazing!

Last week was Spring Break, and if I were depressed, the week would’ve consisted of days flying by, consumed with napping, eating, sleeping, and repeating.

However, for the first time in many years, I actually had the energy to GO DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY without the need to take a nap! I even visited with two different friends in one day…meeting one for lunch, the other for dinner. WHO is THIS girl???

Fast forward to today, and I’m back in my room with my kids. It was one of those glorious days I remember having with my students BBC (before breast cancer, 5 years ago this month). Today, I was able to hold their attention, get them to share without fear, and interact harmoniously as we navigated the basics of budgeting.

These are the precious moments of teaching that I’ve been missing…that anxiety, depression, chemo brain and PTSD stole from me for the past several years. I’ve been paralyzed, and doing my best to just show up for so long that I’d forgotten the beauty of a classroom that runs like a well-oiled machine, one that I have facilitated into a safe and encouraging environment where learning takes place organically.

Because I’m feeling so well today, and have been for a while, it’s quite difficult to remember the darkness of so many previous days. For so long after going through surgery and treatment, it took every last bit of energy for me to make it to work, much less, make it through the day, without stopping to rest before then make the drive home, only to finally collapse from pure exhaustion.

I feel so optimistic and hopeful right now, that a huge part of me wants to believe that I will never experience those feelings of incompetence, sadness and emptiness again. But, based upon the pattern of the past few years (discovered by a couple of years of counseling), another episode that typically lasts several weeks is looming around the corner, possibly coinciding with my upcoming reconstruction surgery.

So, the eternal optimist in me wants to go with my current state of mind, decide that I’ll soldier through it, and maintain my current state of peace. But, the realist knows that I should soak in the good days just as I am every bit of the returning Spring sunshine, and brace for what’s ahead.

How does one who looks for the the positives in every situation force the mind to expect the worst?

I can only pray for continued clarity, strength, and direction through this mind-boggling maze. Here’s hoping that at the very least, it’s somewhat peaceful ahead.