Best Holiday In a Long Time!

This Christmas and New Year’s has been the best we have had in the past two years. Two years ago, on Dec 19, I was flown into the hospital to have my daughter, at only 30 weeks. She was born on December 23rd and we stayed in the NICU until February 11th. I have a few previous posts about it all. It was a really turbulent time in our lives, but we made it through. Our daughter, just turned 2 and she is perfect, intelligent and incredible! But for the last few years, Christmas time has filled me with anxiety about the memories of what we went through.

Then, on top of all the anxiety I had last year, my entire family came down with the stomach flu on Christmas day! We spent the day, and several sub-sequential days, taking turns puking! It was awful! UGH!

So this year, we tried not to plan much, and play it by ear. Not jinx anything. But it turns out we had nothing to worry about! This year, the worst thing that happened was that my husband got a head cold! We had such a wonderful time being healthy together! We were able to go on some adventures like the Zoo and a few ghost towns.

It was wonderful!

Writing is Harder than I Thought

I am still chugging away at my novel! I am just over 24,500 words now and it has felt like a lifetime of effort! I flew through the first 20,000 and the last two weeks all I have been able to do is 4,000 words.

Being a mom, teacher and wife takes up all of my time. Add on housework, Christmas shopping, working out, grading essays, and countless other responsibilities that are required for caring for a two year old: there just is no time left to write. And when I do find the time, I feel exhausted and don’t want to write. Then I feel guilty. It has been a cycle! Ugh!

It has been a huge undertaking to commit to writing every single day. I have only missed three days since Nov 1. I am really proud to say that. Some days all I can get out are like 30 words, but it counts. It all adds up.

I have been learning that I don’t have be ashamed of small progress. I have to stop putting myself down when I don’t live up to the incredibly high standards I set for myself. Slow and steady. One step at a time. One word at a time.

I will write my novel. It will happen. It is happening. It’s growing everyday. And for that, I am proud!

Dealing with the Everyday

My first week of back to work (aka school!) is under my belt, and I already feel like I have been teaching these kids all year. They are just great! I have a fantastic group of 8th graders this year, and they seem to really click with my style. It is the honeymoon stage, but I’m really looking forward to seeing where this year takes us.

This week, I have struggled with my anxiety again. I am not sure what triggered it, but it was high for a majority of the week. I knew I couldn’t let it take over because I wanted to be present for my students, as well as my daughter. I have limited time with her now that I am back in school, and I want to use every moment to the fullest.

To combat my anxiety, I just pushed through. I tried my best to keep a positive attitude, and when I felt like I was falling apart, I opened up and shared with a friend. I think if is important to have someone you can talk to when you have high anxiety.

I just feel it is imperative that when we feel our anxiety at its worst, we don’t give up. Living with this disease for so long has shown me that the dark days pass. They really do. As long as you fight back. Don’t give up. Don’t let it win. You can experience peace, even if you think you can’t. I never thought I would EVER feel anxiety-free, but I do! Sure I still struggle, but I know it will pass.

It will for you too.

Doing It, Even If I Don’t Feel Like It.

Today, my anxiety was through the roof, I was exhausted, and my body ached all over. I didn’t want to doing anything, and least of all, spend the day running around the house after my daughter.

I woke up thinking I would put on the tv and lay on the couch binging on Netflix and Hulu, while she played around the living room with her toys. I could recuperate, and she could learn to entertain herself. Everybody wins.

However, that is not how the day turned out! Luckily for me, my daughter is an angel, and the mere sight of her fills me with such joy that I can hardly contain it! So, of course I couldn’t resist her when she wanted to play!

We ended up spending nearly two hours in our little pool, reading books, eating yummy snacks, and lots and lots of cuddling! It was such an amazing day! I feel like we took our relationship to a new level, and it felt wonderful.

Since becoming a parent, I have been learning that when I push myself beyond my comfort zone, I experiencing incredible rewards. Had I decided to stay on the couch and watch tv instead, my daughter would have been fine, however, we would have missed out on our one on one time.

I am going to put this principal into action in my everyday life and look for opportunities this week to go beyond my comfort zone! I challenge you to do the same!

Loosing A Part of Myself?

Recently, I have been chasing away a feeling of dread that been creeping, like a shadow, in the back of my mind. My summer is rapidly coming to an end, and for me that means returning to work. Now, before you make any rash judgements about teachers and summer breaks, first understand that my reluctance to go back to work has never been this profound. I love my job, and I normally (deep down) look forward to going back. I love building relationships with my new students, creating new and engaging lessons, and setting up my room to be as inviting as possible. However, this year, I am not feeling the same level of excitement.

As I have been self reflecting, and working to find what has been causing the shift in attitude, I have discovered two things:

First, I have loved spending every waking moment with my beautiful 18 month old daughter. She is the most incredible human being I have ever known! She has become so animated and her personality has really developed over the past few months. Last summer she was still really tiny, and wasn’t as active. Now, we play and go on adventures, and laugh together all day, and it breaks my heart that I will have to leave her to go back to work. A part of me wishes I was a stay at home mom and I could continue our adventures together. That is not possible for our situation, but it is still something I wish I could do. At least until she goes to school.

The second reason seems to be a little more complex and subconscious. It has been floating around in my mind, but every time I think I have a grasp on it, it disappears. So, I have been struggling to identify it. However, tonight I was laying under the star-filled sky, listening to the sounds of the night, when I found myself relishing in nostalgia. Growing up, I spent so many nights outside. Those summer nights as a young woman allowed for endless opportunities of unexperienced adventure. Those times in my life were reckless and wild. The summer meant I could do anything or go anywhere. I felt free and audacious.

Now, this is going to sound awful, but it seems to be my subconscious truth. I feel that I am experiencing a sort of grieving for the way my summers use to be. Now that I am a mother, I cannot be reckless or wild. The whims that I use to follow before are now something I have to suppress, because my daughter is my number one priority. Obviously, I cannot take her skydiving, or anything else crazy. I’m not sure what to make of this feeling, but I feel like I want to be honest with myself and admit I have been feeling this way. I do miss being able to be spontaneous.

I also believe that I have been experiencing dread about going back to work because now that summer is almost over, the possibility (no matter how small) of being able to do something spontaneous, and a little reckless, is getting smaller. I know once I get back into the same old routine, there won’t be time, or energy, to have these possible adventures. The daily grind and immense stress of my job will slowly once again begin to crush me down. My wanderlust and appetite for spontaneity will be gone! That thought alone gives me so much anxiety. I love the way summer allows me to reconnect with family as well as myself. I feel like a human again.

I don’t know if any of this even makes any sense…

I feel like I am loosing that spur of the moment, leap before I think, part of my life. I know, and fully understand and accept, that it comes along with being a parent. I signed up for it. I wanted, and continue to want, to be a mother. I wouldn’t change anything. And I regret nothing. I just deeply miss being spontaneous. My heart just longs to feel, just for a moment, the thrill of the unexpected rush of passion! The excitement of letting go of responsibly and loosing myself in the moment. I want dance in the middle of the desert under the stars. skinny dip in the river. Cruise in the car, windows down with the radio blaring, and no place special to go. Just for a moment. Feel that inexplicable feeling of being completely and utterly uninhibited.

These feelings have been swelling up inside of my mind, and it feels good being able to get them out. I never knew that becoming a mom would come with so many different emotions, and force to me analyze my patterns of thought and grow into a better woman. I know these thoughts must be natural, but they have surprised me.

Thank you for letting me vent. I truly appreciate you guys for allowing to me to express myself so openly. It means a lot!

When Anxiety is in the Room

It steals away moments of happiness

And replaces it with gloom.

The sunshine seems so much darker

When anxiety is in the room.

We cannot let it control

And fill our hearts with doom.

We must preserve

Until joy starts to bloom.

Attention Writers and Dreams! I have a question

One of the biggest dreams in life is to write a novel. I always have so many ideas, but they seem to be equally partnered with just as many excuses. I start writing, and then I get writer’s block, and eventually give up on the idea out of pure frustration.

I feel frustrated with myself because if I had kept going through the struggle, I could have a decent manuscript by now. That thought alone is infuriating and it keeps me up at night.

Now that I have a child, it seems even more difficult to work on my writing. I hardly have time to myself, let alone time to dedicate to writing.

Have any of you had a similar problem? And if you have, how have you been able to handle it?

Surrender to the moment

Currently, I am lounging outside on my hammock admiring my beautiful back yard as my adoring husband tinkers around, and my daughter enjoys her toys. My heart swells with such love in this moment. This ordinary, precious moment.

Sometimes, my anxiety is too high to allow me to see these moments, but today it is pushed aside. I am surrendering to joy. To happiness.

It’s much easier said than done, but I vow to continue working at it until it is easy. Anxiety won’t steal anything else away from me. God has given me such a beautiful life, and I plan to enjoy it!

Hit Hard

Last night something triggered my anxiety (not sure what) but it was raging out of control. I felt like I was no longer in control of my thoughts, and they were leading down a dark path. I have always found it difficult to combat anxiety at night, because nighttime means quiet. There is nothing to distract me when I feel the strong grip of anxiety start to take hold, and that’s exactly what happened last night. I lost control.

My husband woke up in the middle of the night and I told him about my struggle, and he was able to comfort me, but not free me from it. I was finally able to fall asleep, but anxiety followed me into the morning.

I spent a lot of the morning in prayer as I went about my daily routine. I felt weak mentally, so I knew the only way I could win was through funneling my thoughts towards God. Things finally began to turn around when I heard a song on the radio talking about in our dark times, we need God. In that moment, I was reminded that I am not the only one in this battle. I am not the only person who has dark moments. I felt myself begin to take back control, and slowly, peace replaced anxiety.

I felt I learned that when I am hit hardest with anxiety, I tend to isolate myself. I feel like I’m the only person who has dark moments. But I am not! If you ever feel this way, know that I am there with you! We are all in this together! I believe that Satan wants us to feel isolated, because alone we are weak. But together we are strong!

Anxiety is a difficult beast to understand, but bringing it into the light, helps lessen its grip! Bring yours into the light. You can win, just as I did today!