Friday, June 22, 2012

Weight Loss Ticker Success!

This is not nearly so richly descriptive a post as my previous one, but very fun to write, none the less!  I've finished my first weight loss ticker.  I started it with my 28-day challenge way back when. 
I had high hopes of getting those first 11 lbs off quickly, hopefully even during the 28 days of my challenge. 

Obviously things did not happen that way.  It's been a few more than 28 days.  Just over double that, in fact.  But those pounds did come off fairly quickly and fairly easily.  It's exciting.  Especially these last few weeks when I really suspected I may have put a few back on, since I was not watching very carefully at all what I was eating.  But each those weeks, as I stepped on the scale with fear and trepidation, the numbers were smaller again.

I will start a new ticker sometime in the next few weeks, but for now I'm just going to enjoy this one.  I like to see that little flower all the way past the sunshine at the end, and to read those words below it, "11 lbs lost. 0 lbs to go."

Morning Light Dripping on Me

Really.  It's true.
Ok, so it's not the light that's dripping.  It's the very heavy dew that has gathered on the bottom of the eave troughs.  I'm sitting in my favorite morning spot.  I've taken a few pictures.  I've filled my coffee cup.

I was just settling in to write about the view and the day and the glow, when PLOP!  Suddenly I had a wet keyboard and some unauthorized text in my post.  It started with, "1`".  


I shifted a bit to get out of the line of fire.  SPLAT!  This time the drop hit the opposite corner, the upper right.  Missed the keys by about an inch; so I don't have any new unauthorized text this time.

I had to turn my chair almost full east so that I could avoid the dripping.

Such a sacrifice!  Full east?

You can just barely make out the fenceline on the neighbor's pasture.

I find myself facing the soft green of the fields.  The sun is not yet above the house, so I sit in shadow.  Her glow is lighting all the lands to the east of me.

Nearest at hand the waving grasses of the CRP are a softly flowing green.  Ok, I'm lying.  It sounds more interesting that way.  Really, the morning is almost perfectly still, which is strange and wonderful.  The grass is not waving even slightly.  But it does sparkle with the morning dew.  It is a soft green.  The heads of the grasses are full with their seeds.  They are dotted with light.

Further out, dark with shadow, is the mound of brush the neighbor dozed out of the wild area last year, in preparation of working the CRP.  The mound of brush makes a dark brown hillock toward the back edge of the CRP.  This land is scheduled to come out of reserve in the fall, and so next spring we will have crops right up to the edge of the yard. 

View from my porch to the east.  Notice the rustic bench beneath the lilacs in the foreground.

Beyond the CRP sits the worked field of crops.  I believe Arden has it in wheat this year, although I've not walked out there to get a close-up view.  The ripening tops glow in the sunlight with a shimmering whiteness.  It looks almost like the shining surface of a lake.

At the furthest horizon are the neighboring woods.  They, too, are dark.  I see their western face, the shadowy side where the sun's rays will not lend them light and color until later in the day.

This is what I see when looking full east, after succumbing to the drops of morning wetness.  It was lovely and pleasurable and a sacrifice I did not at all mind making.

That's not, however, what I started out to say.

I started to write about the light on the poplars earlier this morning.  The ground was covered with a thick fog.  The sun was still low in the northeast.  The fog higher up had burned off, or perhaps it never was.  The sky was aglow from the moisture in the morning air.  A haze bent the sun's light into a greenish glow.  Oh, how I wished for a camera and the skills to use it well.  I've included the photos I took, but they do not do justice to the light and colors to which I was treated. 

Poplars in the early morning sunshine, fog on the fields in the background

The fog was settled thickly white along the ground.  The lower branches of the trees, where the sun was not yet brightening them, were a darker green.  And gradually, as I looked upward into the tree tops, the light and color changed from a deep green and almost brown, to a soft glow in the tops of the branches.  The haze and the green of the leaves combined with the sunlight to make a soft green and yellow glow.  Beautiful!

Click to original size to see cool colors, I hope

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Front Porch Reveries

After breakfast today I went out to my front porch with a cup of coffee.  This is my peaceful thing to do.  

While the kids attempt to do dishes.  Which often involves a certain amount of bickering. To which I prefer to avoid listening when possible. 

I sneak outside to my quiet spot.

This morning, I deadheaded some petunias.  I peered over my railing at the several brightly blooming wonders below.  I sipped my coffee and listened to the birds sing. 

I watched Joe pace around the property, wondering what he was up to.

(Ought the previous sentence to read, "...wondering to what he was up"?  or "...wondering up to what he was"?  Sometimes grammatical correctness is elusive.) 

When Joe got near enough to the front porch, I saw he had his flannel shirt full of something.  As in, he was holding up the shirt tails around a load of something.  Ahhh, then I understood. 

We often have a large crop of mushrooms when conditions are right, which they are right now.  We've researched these mushrooms. We think they are the common meadow mushroom, which is very similar to the plain white mushrooms one can easily get in the supermarket.  Tasty and benign.  But each year, when the crop comes in, we are a little bit too scared to try them.  I think Joe is getting ready to sample them this year.   We shall see.

After enjoying the sights and sounds of the outdoors for awhile, I went inside to get my computer with the idea that I'd find a way to write something interesting for my blog readers.  But first, of course, I had to check my facebook.  Not much happening there.  No new e-mail clambering for attention, either.  I guess nobody loves me. (That is tongue in cheek by the way.  But I must admit that it is in my sinful human nature to feel that way betimes.  I often joke about it thusly, in order to remind my self how foolish a notion it really is.)

Time to write.  But alas!  Ugh, it suddenly, in the few minutes I was doing my social networking checks, suddenly the air changed from the pleasant morning air after a rain, to the heavy stickiness of a Minnesota summer.  We don't very often have that kind of stickiness here, for which I am very thankful.  The summer weather here is much nicer than that in southern Minnesota, as far as the humidity goes.  But there are always a handful of days when the conditions are just right that the air seems to really weigh on a person.  It's not even that hot today.  The thermometer shows only 68 degrees.  But the sunlight is filtering through the haze and the air is such that I was sweating, just sitting there.

So I came inside.  I suppose I should change my post title to Front Room Reveries, but that's not nearly so romantic sounding.  I suppose some people may have a nice clean and pleasant front room from which to revere, but that is not the case in my home. 


My front room is cluttered with the detritus of a large family and burned-out mom.  Towels, books, papers, coloring books, newspaper, clean and dirty laundry, toys, stuffed animals, wrappers, flip-flops, kleenex, and yes, even two empty egg cartons (?).

This is not the stuff of romance and imagination. 

No!  this is reality. 

But reality also has little arms that wrap around my neck, and medium bodies that snuggle up next to me, and big almost grown-up hearts that occasional overflow to Mama with all their hopes and dreams and traumas.  Romance aside, clean or cluttered, reality does have a certain draw that imagination has only in, well, imagination.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wonderful morning here in the northland

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there. 

It's a great day here today.  I'm relishing the peaceful morning on my front porch hide-away.  I brought a book out, but haven't even opened it.  I left my computer inside for the first cup of coffee and just enjoyed my day.  It was so wonderful to look and listen and breath in all the spring-time life around me.  Then when I went in to fill my coffee cup, I couldn't resist.  I had to bring my computer out and share with the world all the wonder around me.

My favorite view this morning is to the east of me. 

As I look that direction, right up near me, on the porch itself, is my white wicker loveseat.  Joe splurged last summer.  That and two chairs were my Mother's Day/Birthday presents.  I love, love, love them. 

I also see the beautiful planter that my friend, Lana, gave me for my birthday this year.  It's filled with Laura Bush Petunias which are a bright and happy, almost glowing shade of pink.  There is also a contrasting purplish plant for contrast, of which I've forgotten the name. 

Peaking through the rungs of the porch railing is the topmost branches of my climbing rose which started blooming this week.  It blooms deep red, but not deep in a puplish way, just a pure deep red. can see three big blooms peaking over the floor of the porch.  By the end of summer, it will be twined in amongst all that edge of the railing and tantalizing us with it's blooms and fragrance all around that white wicker loveseat.  It hasn't yet poked at anyone with it's thorns, but if it gets bigger yet than it did last year, it might be a problem.  I'm waiting to see if I have to move it eventually.

Further out from the porch, across the lawn at the south-east edge of our house, I see the wooden bench Joe made a few years ago.  It's sitting cozily between and beneath two lilacs. 

Just past that is a mound of rhubarb which I love so well this time of year.  Then I see two more lilacs.  There is actually a third, but it met a sad fate last year with the lawn mower and so is still recovering.  The little teeny, tiny bit of it that is just showing above the lawn is not one of the glorious things about the east facing view.

But continuing with the good and wonderful view, we have a poplar at that edge of the property that must have had it's top knocked off before we moved here, when it was just a baby.  It has always grown full and round and very un-poplarish.  There are about six or eight branches that branch out at about three feet.  From there on up it is very round and pretty. 

So on to the best part of the view.  Imagine with me, if you will.  I look out and in the periphery of my left side, I see the eaves of the house.  And just below that, is the green and rounded top of my nearest lilac.  These remain in the near periphery only.  They are not the highlight of my view, but create the left edge frame.  Just further out, but still in the yard, at the right edge of the view, creating a frame all along that side, is that round and glittering green poplar, with the morning sky showing through behind it.

Now continue with me, out past those two near edges, in the middle of the view, out across the waving grass of the CRP field perhaps 100 yards, is a fenceline that marks the neighbor's pasture.  And beyond that, grazing peacefully, stand about fifteen mother cows and their calves.  Some are milling about.  Some are standing still, with heads down, eating their fill of the spring pasture greens.  Some are lying down quietly ruminating on the morning loveliness. 

As I gaze out at this, there is playing in the background, the gentle sound of the morning breeze, filtering through the leaves of the poplars.  The sunlight is glinting off these leaves as they sway in the wind.

The birds are twittering. 

In the foreground, across my lawn and flower beds are scattered my little flock of chickens.  Periodically, one of the roosters will crow.  There is a gentle clucking here and there.

Ah.  Idyllic.

OK, truthfully, as I was writing that last part about the chickens, one of the smaller roosters must have approached one of the hens too closely or been standing in the wrong spot or something becasue there broke out a huge rooster squabble, fluttering of wings and screeching and a brief attack, until the interloper remembered his place in the pecking order.

It wasn't at all peaceful.

It was such a funny backdrop to the quiet morning scene I had just finished describing that I had to tell you about it.

Haha!  I heard another ruckus just now.  I looked out to see our two smallish roosters chasing one of the hens.  They were running around all over the front yard squawking.  The chase was on.  Then, with the heroic music in the background, imagine please the drum roll, dunt-du-du-DAAAAA!  The big white leghorn rooster we call Foghorn, the hero of this tale, noticed the altercation.  He came running to the aid of the damsel. His wings were spread out all a-flutter.  His one thought, the protection of his girl from the unwanted attention. 

Ok, well, maybe that's too romanticized, too.   Probably he was just thinking, "Get away from her, you upstart.  She is mine.  I'm the only one who can chase her in that way."

Happy morning, everyone!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rain, Glorious Rain!

We need rain so badly that several of the area cattle ranchers are finding their water holes going dry. Our water table is normally so high here, that if one has a large amount of livestock, he digs a big, deep pit called a cattle pit or cow pit or cow pond.  The pit fills in nicely and the cattle gather around the edges to drink and wander into it here and there.   Sometimes children swim in the cattle pits.  But I suspect that was mostly in the old days before we had so many experts to tell us that these pits might have germs.  Really?  Germs?  In standing water where cows pee and poop?  Good thing we have the experts.

But, alas! I digress.  These cattle pits are drying up this year.  One neighbor dug a new pit in a different location after his usual one dried up (think bulldozer and backhoe, 8-15 ft deep) and couldn't find water at all. Usually the water is only a couple of feet down.

But blessedly, praise the Lord, I woke up to the sound of a good heavy rain spattering on the house and flowing, gurglingly, through the downspouts.  

I instantly had a version of the song, "Food, Glorious Food," from the musical, Oliver, stuck in my head.  Instead of "Food," I was singing, "Rain, Glorious Rain!"

Who knows where such things come from?  I've never even seen Oliver.  Nor do I know any of the words to the song except "Food, Glorious Food."  Nor did I even know it was from that particular musical.  It was just a refrain stuck in my head.  

After I got up, I put on my bathrobe and went out on my front porch to stand in the falling rain.  I let it drizzle on my head, and bluster past and around me.  It was indeed glorious.  

Then the lightening struck a few times in the distance, so I figured I ought to come inside.  The thunder was not following it too closely, so I was probably safe.  But I remembered the exhortations of those experts, and how we are warned about the great many miles lightning can travel.  So I pulled myself away from the experience and came inside.

I might just as well have had "Singing in the Rain" stuck in my head.  But no, that's not how brains work. We take what we get in that regard.

I didn't exactly go out and dance around in the puddles like Gene Kelly, but I did find great pleasure in wiggling my toes in the little bit of standing water on my front porch.

We didn't get as much rain or as deep of puddles as the character, Don Lockwood, did in the movie, but we got some.  It's a start.  The forecast calls for more the rest of the day and into tomorrow.  I pray God sees fit to bless us as forecasted.  We do need it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Springtime is for Healing and Hope and New Growth and New Life

I worked in my yard yesterday.  It made me happy.  What a good be able to feel the emotions of happiness, peace, and contentment.  To feel them pulsing through me like blood!

As I've mentioned before, last fall much of my front flower beds was torn up.  That frustrated me, although I understand why it had to be done.  It frustrated me because when we moved here, the yard was so very bare and the house was so very white and shiny new.  It was...hmmm... how shall I say this? how to find words?  I am from Washington state where we have hills and trees and curves.  Oh, and people.  I grew up in a semi-urban area.  I was surrounded by town, although many of the places we lived were somewhat removed from the hubbub of the suburbia. 

We moved here and it was winter.  It was white and gray.  And open.  Very open.  We can see for miles from our house.  I don't exaggerate.  It's flat.  It's open.  And everyone knows everyone.  The house was new, so only had a few rows of baby trees around it, and very few landscaping plants.  I felt naked and exposed.  And the sameness of the surrounding area was an emotional assault to my senses.  There was so little variation in texture or color.  That sounds extreme and even a bit unkind.  But so it was. 

So when those bushes that were finally full and big, and which I had lovingly nurtured for nine summers, had to come out, to be ripped violently from their safe little places, I have to admit, it was a hard day.  I was not happy.  I kept telling myself that I oughtn't to love the things of this world.  But we do, don't we?  All of us do.  We can't help it.  God has given us so much wealth and beauty in our material possessions.  There is a fine line between appreciating and enjoying such blessings, and becoming too strongly attached to them.

Our financial situation this spring is such that I don't feel as though I can invest in any perennials to fill up the bare bed area that was quickly filling in with weeds.  It was yet another job looming and staring me in the face.  But what to put there?  What to do with that space?  Do I plant grass and call it good?  Do we cover it with black plastic for the summer to keep the weeds down?  Do I stare at the dirt and weeds all summer?  I was at a mental block with the situation.

My kids and I like to fill pots with annual flowers for around our porch and driveway corners.  It's one of the great joys of my summer.  Usually I take at least some of the kids, sometimes all of them, and we head to one of the big nurseries or greenhouses in the region.   I pick out some of the plants, but I also let the kids choose others.  Then we bring them all home and spend a couple of days arranging pots for all the kids.  They get to help me pick the plants to put in.  They help arrange them in the pots.  And then we arrange all of the pots around our front yard living areas, so that they continue to please us all summer long.  Some of the kids usually choose to put these planters in the county fair.  The whole process is something we really enjoy doing together.

But again, financially, I can't justify spending the money on such an indulgent thing this year.  As I'm sure everyone else has noticed, the price of groceries has absolutely skyrocketed.  Between that and the cost of  fuel, we just can't do it this year.  It was always a splurge.  Always indulgent.  But it was something that brought us so much pleasure that it was worth it to cut corners other places to be able to do it.  But this year, I've told the kids, we don't have money for luxuries.  There is little left to cut.

But then, suddenly, on Thursday, I was blessed with the living gift of plants.  From two directions. 

One of my walking buddies, Lana, brought over a bunch of her extra plants.  She brought some garden seedlings, squash and tomatoes.  She brought some perennials that she had dug out of her beds.  She also had a little six pack of snap dragons left over.  I felt rich!

That same day, I heard from another friend, Allie, who runs a little shop and greenhouse in Thief River Falls.  She and her parents decided to go together and provide us with whatever plants from her greenhouse I wanted to choose.  They would cover the cost!  Another blessing! 

Allie is having a big sale this weekend, so she recommended I come before the weekend to get some good ones.  I chose several six packs of tomatoes, a couple varieties of hot peppers, some cabbage and broccoli, and three different squash/pumpkin type things.  I was going to splurge a little and pick out one of Allie's beautiful hanging baskets of petunias, which I felt I ought to pay for myself.  But of course she would not let me.  She also encouraged me to pick out a couple other "just for fun" things, so I chose some perennials, daisies and lupines for the naked flowerbed; and an old-fashioned white enamel pot with red trim, filled with cosmos for my front porch. 

I'm going to stick a parenthetic paragraph in here to promote Allie's shop, The Shed, on MN Hwy 1, three miles east of Thief River Falls.  Allie describes her inventory as shabby-chic.  She has a selection of antiques, some remade items, many locally hand-crafted things, some quirky-fun items.  A little of this and a little of that.  This spring Allie had a wonderful greenhouse, and sponsored a perennial swap for area gardeners.  She has handmade wooden yard furniture and garden art for sale, such as picnic tables, patio sets, trellises, and arches.  She's done a great job with the store.  Go check it out sometime. 

As one further aside, Allie is having brain surgery next week to have a cyst removed that has been growing and pressing on some important brain cells.  I pray for her full recovery.  And for God to grant her and her family an extra measure of His peace and comfort as they go through this very frightening time.

Veering back now to talk more about my yard work, which seems so trite compared to brain surgery, ... Because of the kindness and generosity of these friends, I was able to fill in about a third of the naked flower bed.  We are well supplied with bedding plants for the garden.  And I am even now sitting on my front porch gazing upon my beautiful hanging basket of petunias.  They are a deep purple and a salmony pink, glowing in the morning sunshine, and swaying gently in the breeze.  Such a pretty sight.  I have snap dragons in two of my pots in two corners of my front porch.  It will be fun to see in a few weeks what colors they will bloom.  And I have this cute little enamel pot topped with tall cosmos whose blossoms are just beginning to swell in preparation for opening. 

I may see if one of the local greenhouses has some basics left, and on sale.  Nothing fancy or expensive, but maybe a couple of six packs of marigolds and moss roses.  Some petunias and verbena.  Perhaps some salvia.  We can get by with that; and the kids can create some pretty arrangements for their pots.  We will have to wait and see what I can find.

But even if we only are able to have what we have now, what a blessing!  What a joy!  Living and growing things to enjoy, both all this summer and in years to come!

Thank you, my friends!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Lay Down and Slept

I have so many friends and family who are going through hard things right now.  While I was thinking of these things, and reading about some of them through my social networking this morning, I was reminded of this Psalm of David.

When you read it, think of David and his whole story.  He was a shepherd boy from Bethlehem.  He was anointed to be the next king when he was still a young man.  He fought Goliath.  He played harp to soothe Saul.  Saul tried repetitively to kill David.  David eventually gathered a following, but refused to kill Saul, or to take over the kingship before God's timing.  Because of this, there were many times during which he lived in constant fear of Saul and Saul's armies. 

Then later, after David was king, his son, Absalom, gathered a following.  Absalom rose up against David, his father.  It was during this time, we are told, that David wrote the following Psalm.

Psalm 3

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

This Psalm so well depicts David's stressful situation.  "Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!  Many are they who rise up against me."

Things are so bad for David that others say, "There is no help for him  in God."  Perhaps David was even tempted to think this.

But David affirms that his salvation is from God, "But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head."

David called upon God.  He set before His heavenly Father, in prayer, all his worries and concerns and fears.  "I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill."
God heard him.

Now read on.  A few lines further on, David tells us that he "...lay down and slept."  And awoke safely because, "...the Lord sustained me."

We don't have actual armies lined up against us.  At least most of us do not.  But in this sin-filled and broken world, we do have plenty of troubles.

Just as the Psalmist took comfort in God's presence, even amidst fear and danger...even amidst fear and danger to the extent that others supposed God had forsaken him...Even then, David called upon God.  He called upon God and then lay down and slept.  Just imagine that.  With troubles surrounding him, he slept peacefully.

We have that same comfort.  We have the same promises from God that David had.  The promises of God's providence and care.  The promise of God's love and wisdom, which are so much greater than are ours.  Infinitely greater.

And most importantly, just as David had, we have the promise of eternal salvation through Jesus.  "Salvation belongs to the Lord.  Your blessing is upon Your people."

With that perspective in mind, may we all call upon the Lord.  May we hand over to God all our cares and troubles and worries.  And lie down and sleep.  Sleep without worry.  Sleep without fear.  In Jesus.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Snippets of Life

The exciting news first.  My lady friends and I changed our weigh-in day to Wednesdays.  Since we in northern Minnesota have so many church dinners, we didn't think it was a good idea to have a scheduled weigh-in day on Mondays.  Plus with summer get-togethers and weekend outings, we might be tempted to eat more junkily on weekends.

Today, being the first Wednesday of weighing in, and having had an extra couple of days....drum roll...I lost over three pounds.  Hurray!  I am nearly done with my ticker.  Since the ticker represents only the topmost portion of the extra weight I carry, it doesn't mean I'm done losing.  It was the weight I had gained over the winter, when I was sitting around in my funk, doing nothing but sitting.

That's the good news.  Or at least the most exciting of the good news.

The bad news is that I had a really, really crummy day yesterday.  Really.  Crummy.  Day.   I ended the day feeling terrible about myself.  Terrible.  Worthless.  Failure.  All of the above.

But today is a new day and I feel ready to face the day.  So that's good news, too.  It's a beautiful day and I went to bed early and got up ready to roll.

It's my oldest son's nineteenth birthday today.  Jeremy's recently moved back home and that's OK with me.  We like having him here.   I think he kind of likes being here, too.  But he'd never admit it.  I am quite sure he will not want any fuss made for his birthday, but I will at least make him a cake.

I have a toilet sitting in my yard.  I'm not sure if that's good news or bad news or value-neutral news.

Joe was working on the toilet last night.  I'm not sure whether he ran out of time, whether it's broken beyond repair, or whether he just decided that four toilets is too much to maintain when we have so many little toilet pluggers around here lately!

I think he just ran out of time.  That's my guess.  Either way it made me laugh when I saw it sitting there this morning.  I had gone out to have my coffee on my front porch.  I rarely look toward the driveway when I'm out there, since it's usually all cluttered with the miscellany of family life.  Bikes, broken toys, garden tools that didn't get taken in...  My flower beds are the other direction.  That's what I like to look at.  That, and the fields and trees.  The driveway direction is the road and the pile of ugly stumps in the field beyond it.

So there I was, standing outside.  Breathing deeply of the fresh air.  Making myself notice all the nice things about the day.  Consciously noticing the things that make me happy.  I took a notion to pick some rhubarb while I was out there, so I turned to go down the stairs.  There, right at the bottom of the stairs, was a toilet.  It didn't exactly fit with my idea of the peace and serenity I associate with my front porch mornings.

But it did make me laugh.  And that's another good thing!

Update:  I just checked with Joe and it was a cattail.  The stick part of cattail, about 8" long.   And he is putting the toilet back in today.  He got busy watching and photographing the Transit of Venus with the kids last night.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Happy Days of Summer Vacation

Stella and John are having issues this morning.

"Stella, please stop fanning me."
"I'm not fanning you.  I just want to fan in this spot."

A few minutes later...

"Mom, will you tell Stella to stop humming."
"I can hum if I want."
"John, why don't you go to a different room if you don't want to hear humming."

John goes to the other room.
Stella follows.

"Stella, leave John alone.  Stop pestering him."
"I'm not pestering.  I just want to walk into this room."

From the other room...
"Hmmmmm hmmmmmm hmmmm."

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'm supposed to be writing

I thought of several poetic titles for this blog post, such as Foggy Morning after the Storm, or The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow or In the Quiet of the Morning.  And any one of those would do.  But I see it's been over two weeks since I last posted on this blog.  I feel as though I have nothing much to write about, and those things about which I might write don't seem like they would be very interesting to others.

I'm having my coffee on my front porch this morning. There is a beautiful blue sky overhead.  When I gaze out across the hayfield in front of my house, there is a misty layer of white fog above it.  Just a low layer, and it is dissipating as I write.  The field is taking on it's morning green.  The CRP field to the east is still thick with fog.  But to the west it is green and lovely with only a slight haze lingering.  Everything is green that direction except for the pile of stumps and tree parts from the woods they dozed out last month.  And yes, even now, even in the time it took me to write the last few sentences, the field to the south is greener still than it was a moment ago.

I have something to share with my readers about which I don't know if I'll write much, because it's of a very personal nature.  But in the hopes it might help another, I have decided to plunge ahead and write about it.  I have come to realize and admit that I've been wallowing in a bit of a depression for about six months.  Perhaps longer, but at least six months.  I know I did not start out the school year last fall in the correct frame of mind.  Life was too much for me and I was unprepared for the rush and rumble of the busy mornings and frantic pace of the school year.  Was that the beginning of it?  Perhaps.  Or was it even last summer, when balancing the different schedules for so many of us so overwhelmed and frustrated me?  In the early fall, I was confronted with at least one emotionally difficult thing.  The later fall and winter continued to be rife with challenges.  Difficulties.  Sadnesses.  We've had an unusually emotionally fatiguing year.

And so I waited.  Waited for that moment when I felt I had a better handle on things.  Waited for the burden to lighten.  For my chaotic brain to clear.  But that moment never came.  My meager grasp on household management continued to loosen throughout the winter.   Gradually, I lost all sense of myself.  Not desperately, mind you.  Just kind of a slipping away.  Slipping into the netherworld.

I am now on prozac.  Can you believe that?  Me?   I surprise myself.

I am happy to report, however, I am starting to see glimmers of life outside of netherworld.  Life in the real world.  Myself.  I am finding myself, but in a much different sense than during those young adult years when one comes into one's own life.  I sometimes, for very brief moments, feel alive and real, for the first time in a long time.  My doctor has advised me to force myself to do those things I used to enjoy, and I find this often triggers these little "alive" moments.

It's kind of dreamlike, really, to be in this spot.  To know, academically, that there are things that I used to find pleasurable.  But to have almost no feeling for them at all.  Nothingness.  This depression has not been a terribly dark place for me.  I was never desperate, and rarely despairing.  And yes there is a difference.  But my particular variety of depression was more empty than dark.  Simply a nothingness through which I was traversing.  Devoid of any proper emotions or motivations.

My children were suffering.  My husband was patiently waiting.  Neither of us is a big proponent of using psycho-pharmaceutical drugs.   Joe took some drug psych classes during college and didn't like the foundation from which the whole area of research was addressed.  I have had a few friends in whom I've seen undesirable personality changes when they are treated medicinally for depression.  And besides that, being from a German cultural background, I am somewhat of the Nietzschian view that what doesn't kill me will only serve to make me stronger.  "If I just get through this," right?

But as I said before, my family was bearing the brunt of this low spot in my life, so it was time to take a different tack.  I am now a drugged person.  And it's likely I will be for the next year.  That alone seems strange to me.  That I will be taking a mind altering drug for 12 months.  Yikes!  My doctor said for episodes such as mine, he generally prescribes for six months at a time.  However, he never recommends anyone going off anti-depressant drugs in the fall or winter.  Hence the one year plan.

Dr. Winjum also recommended, as I mentioned a few paragraphs back, forcing myself to go through the motions of participating in those things which formerly brought me pleasure.  Hence my front porch coffee time.  And truly, it is peaceful and serene here.  And I can imagine that it is pleasurable.  But the feeling is not a very personal feeling.  It is more of a third person, second hand kind of enjoyment.  But I go through the motions.  I sit here and gaze upon the springtime awakening.  I breath the cool morning air.  I listen to the sounds of the birds, and the neighbor's cattle, and the quiet.  I sip my warm coffee, and I try to feel a part of it.

It will come.  I know it will.  This is just the spot at which I find myself right now.  I trust God and cling to His promises.  I know my eternal salvation is sure, through Jesus Christ His Son.  I wait upon Him for temporal healing.  I wait for this cloud and fog under which I am currently dwelling to lift.  All according to His infinite timing and wisdom.

As I gaze out at the landscape around me, I see that the fog across the fields has continued to dissipate.  The view from the front of the house has only a very slight lacy covering clinging to the fields here and there.  To the west the view is entirely a clear, bright green (except those unsightly stumps!).  And to the east, there remains a slight haze over all.  Just slight.  I can see the neighbor's farm buildings on the other end of the section.

I know that just as this fog has cleared, the fog over my mind will lift, too.  It will.  It is beginning.  It just takes a little more time for this emotional fog to dissipate, than for the fog that only a short time ago lay thick upon the fields.