Monday, August 24, 2009

August....In Review

....also known as a really, really long post!



After a month away, I'm finally back. This month of August was a great time for me to just step back and totally escape being plugged in with the exception of checking email and occasional facebook glances. Honestly, I didn't even take any photos for at least 2 weeks. I was feeling really overwhelmed with everything. Home school preparations, my photography and the direction that I wanted to go with it, my blog- what did I want its focus to be?...what did I expect from it?...and did I want it at all anymore?, my health, my spiritual focus, and generally trying to put things into perspective and into order again.


fresh pears


I realized that I just wasn't feeling happy anymore. Everything seemed to be out of sorts and stressing me out to the maximum extent and when I get stressed, I shut down. Period. I was becoming really depressed. I hate to even say that and I try hard to avoid using that word, but there isn't any other way to describe it and I have fought with that demon most of my life. It seems to come in cycles and to be truthful, I've felt this episode slowly building since the beginning of the year.

So, here it was, staring me in the face. Again. I hate that it grabs hold of me the way it does and turns my world upside down. It makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland. Everything is distorted in the worst kind of way. Everything is jumbled and hard and difficult and painful and sickening. I don't want to be anywhere. I don't want to see anybody. I don't want to talk to anybody. I don't want to do anything.{Yes...confessions, confessions...}

Again, there it was...with its rude, life altering power. And, with it comes that strange sense of watching myself head into Nowhereland. It was then that I knew I had to let go of some things. I cut myself back to the basics. That meant no internet, no phone chats, no typing, no telling my kids to "wait until...," no staying up to the wee hours of the morning for no good reason, no putting things off around the house, and no more ignoring myself. I cut it all back to just my children, my husband, my home, my emotions and my spiritual thoughts.

Here are some of the things I did do:

slept in later

read some actual books and not something off the computer screen

watched some of my favorite movies...one of my most favorite things to do

did some thinking and mental prioritizing


wedding shower


went to my niece's wedding shower

played ponyville with my girls

played baby dolls with my girls

put together puzzles, colored pictures, and painted pictures


hotel.


took a mini vacation to Gulf Shores


08 18 09 034


walked on the beach


08 18 09 062


watched the kiddos play in the amusement park


oh yeah!


watched the kids play in the hotel swimming pool


08 20 09 027


played lots of Scrabble with my boys


08 21 09 008


played Pokeno and Monopoly, too!

sat on my porch with my coffee in the mornings

enjoyed the time my hubby was home on vacation


family time




fed the animals around our house and thought about why we love them the way we do



pretty girls



SOOC - after the rain



watched it rain, rain, rain...

watched the sunrise from the back yard swing on a cool morning


fresh...


planned my fall garden

sent my boys on a 4 day vacation to Busch Gardens with my mom and dad

missed them terribly


08 26 09 046


while my parents were away on vacation, I kept their sweet schnauzers, so there was lots of dog-walking to be done ;)

picked my camera up again after about 2 1/2 weeks


afternoon light on the garden.


picked more okra from our okra plants


bouquet picking


cut more zinnia bouquets to put inside the house



little cabbage plants


tilled and planted my fall garden with my girls




SOOC.....simple things.


picked yummy pears

wrote journal entries by hand...on paper....how nice to "blog" the old fashioned way for a change!

went grocery shopping with my girls




home



watched our chickens peck around in the yard, we really love watching those girls

I have taken afternoon naps when I felt tired instead of reaching for the coffee pot. {gasp!} I know...I know....I don't care!


08 26 09 050


wished my youngest brother a happy birthday and laughed at the cake I made him....as you can see it "fell" after Claire opened the oven door and slammed it shut during cooking....it was supposed to be a cream cheese pound cake with chocolate glaze, but it ended up looking like a volcano cake, lol! My brother still liked it and said it tasted great no matter what it looked like ;)











enjoyed watching my boys handle the crabs they caught during a night floundering with their dad.

watched my boys help daddy, pawpaw, and my two brothers clean over 200 fish they caught last week.

we had lots of fresh seafood for dinner!

ordered more Cornish Broiler chicks, they'll be here this week




healthy balance.


began to eat more healthfully


lunch.


seriously enjoying this recipe for wheat-berry salad

felt so grateful for the very early breeze of fall last week. Those cooler temps can always make me feel better!

afternoon



enjoying the subtle changes in the afternoon light lately...fall really is on its way...Yay! :)




So, there you have it. A month in review. A look back at the good times we had in August. As I have spent the past few days in quiet reflection about my silence here, I have decided that I couldn't possibly keep up this silence. I love this space too much for that. I have quietly blogged in my head all month while contemplating letting go of all "plugged in" activities. I admit that sometimes I wonder if things would be better if I just gave it up, just stopped blogging and stopped taking photos for any other reason than to document birthdays and Christmas. But, ultimately, I have decided that I couldn't possibly do that. It's in my blood. Writing, photographing, creating, visualizing - it's what I do, whether I'm "plugged in" or not. I couldn't even keep a pen away from paper for the first week into my break. I couldn't keep my eyes from feasting on the photography books at the library, I couldn't keep my hands from measuring out a pattern for a camera strap cover, I couldn't stop myself from rummaging around in my yarn box with a determination to crochet an afghan this fall. I can't change who I am regardless of what means I choose to express myself. Blogging or journaling on paper.....physically clicking the shutter on my camera or mentally examining every thing I see as if I were viewing it through a lens....being physically pained to shop for something that I "just know" I can make MYSELF. These things are as natural to me as breathing air....they always have been.

As for photography, I would never trade the moments captured by my camera. I use photography as a moment by moment, continual reflection on the blessings in my life from the daily, mundane things to the big celebrations. I love and cherish every moment and feel so blessed to have all these captured personal memories as well as being trusted to capture some memories with my camera for others.

I use blogging in very much the same way. I suppose that is why it fits together so effortlessly with photography. Blogging is also a way to reflect on the goodness in my life and documenting all the goodness is sometimes what keeps everything in the right balance for me. It's so true that most of what gets blogged are the good times, the pretty things, the happy stuff. Rarely are the bad times talked about, the depressing thoughts shared, the ugliness that can sometimes be found is hidden quietly out of view of the blog. For me, that is the way I like it. When I look back, I want to remember the good things, the pretty things....I want the feeling of happiness to wash over me without all the negativity inching its way into my memories and stealing any more of my happiness than is absolutely necessary. That is what I want from this blog. I want it to be about life....the beautiful side of life....of my life.

As far as my emotional, physical, and spiritual situations, I still have a way to go here. All these things will take time for me and I've found myself challenged in new ways with each of them this year. I'm taking it one day at a time and realizing that with all three it takes a personal relationship.

A personal relationship with your own spirit....be your best friend
A personal relationship with your body.....be kind, gentle, and nourishing
A personal relationship with God......When my relationship with Him is personal and intimate I've found spirituality to be much more sustaining.....so much better than fitting my spirituality in a man made box.


It's all about balance for me.


balance.


I think the key to it all is balance. And, for quite some time I've been unbalanced. I was spending too much time and energy on some things that shouldn't have been at the top of my priority list. There is a time for everything....

balance and control....
harmony and peace....
wholeness.

To be able to "do it all" there has to be balance - no matter what your "do it all" consists of. Firstly, I decided that I won't make my hobbies into chores - big mistake. I made it too easy to put crazy expectations on myself and for others to expect too much from me when I didn't have the energy to make it happen. I will, however, do my hobbies when I want to do them, I don't want to feel pressured to choose one thing over another, I will take time off when I want, stop pressuring myself, take time to do nothing, take time to play, take time to sit alone in quiet meditation, make sure that I'm keeping my family first, make sure that my family is happy, make sure that I am happy. Balance....balance.

So, as I welcome in the new, hopefully cooler month of September, I hope I can reflect on the lessons that August had to teach me as well as reflect on the words in this post. I think I'll need to read them over again from time to time. Balance and mindfulness are the words that I'm taking with me in my heart as I step into September. My heart is open, my mind is clearer, my focus is intense. I'm beginning to feel like this is going to be a really good fall.

10 comments:

luksky said...

Beautifully written! I have had those same depressing feelings as of late. Like you, I had to "get down to the basics" for a little while. I think us homeschooling mom's get burnt out sometimes and don't realize it because we are so busy. Great post!

Char said...

it sounds as if you got the best gift you could have from the month off. a beautiful read - a step back from connection to feel more connected. sometimes I wonder if I need to do this (as I eye my unfinished pillow project)

fromthedepthsofacreativeheart said...

Such a lovely post, Sandra!

What a wonderfully wise treatment for depression. How often do we, as women, continue to run through our depression instead of slowing down and working through it.

After Liv was born, I waited months before facing my PPD. It caused such stress in our household.

You are such a wise woman.

jess said...

Despite having never met you, I *love* the real you. My depression hit a head like that last year- I wanted to die. I did the unthinkable for me- got on Zoloft- and, although I hate relying on meds, it has helped me so much.
I pray for perspective; piece of mind, all the time. I invest myself in others when I find myself becoming self absorbed to the point of boiling over. It's so hard to find balance.
I am so glad you've found balance. And I hope you share your healthier eating with us!!!

Charity said...

I can *feel* the peace from this post, and I'm so glad that you've found that place of balance.

Julie said...

I can relate to so much of what you wrote...only you've taken the time to quiet down and get your thoughts straight! I'm still on the other end...

...they call me mommy... said...

"Firstly, I decided that I won't make my hobbies into chores - big mistake. I made it too easy to put crazy expectations on myself and for others to expect too much from me when I didn't have the energy to make it happen. I will, however, do my hobbies when I want to do them, I don't want to feel pressured to choose one thing over another, I will take time off when I want, stop pressuring myself, take time to do nothing, take time to play, take time to sit alone in quiet meditation, make sure that I'm keeping my family first, make sure that my family is happy, make sure that I am happy. Balance....balance."

These are some of the exact SAME lessons God has been showing me also, Sandra! Thank you, thank you!!! And I'm so glad to have you back...your blog is so refreshing...and your photos so inspiring!

Blessings and love!
Amy

Cora said...

Wow....what a personal post with so many open feelings. Pouring out those feeling will help you to face them and I believe you are on the right track for healing and balance in your life. You have so much to offer. Thanks for sharing with us, it gives me a chance to reflect on my own life and rethink my priorities. I'm glad you did not give this all up.
Blessings and prayers for you.....

Anonymous said...

Sandra, you are wise beyond your years and a beautiful woman, person, wife, mother, daughter, aunt and my niece...both inside and out. Your heart is great and in the right place. I love you and admire you...don't ever change! Love you!!

Jennifer D. said...

Must be something in the water...it's hard to do the things you love when you're just not 'feeling it'. I had much of the same problem over the summer. Blogging for me is such a release, but was so difficult to sit down and do because the situation around here seems to overshadow everything I love.

I am still working on forgiveness and anger, but it's better than it was.