Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day my dear friends. 
This is my favorite day of the entire year. Yes. I love it more then Christmas. 
Waking up, breathing in and being reminded that today is a day for drinking in beauty, for creating, for learning, for protecting ...should happen everyday. 
Earth day though - was designed for that purpose alone.  It's a simple day - not a lot of fuss, just a slow fulfilling beauty. I hope it was for you too. 
Here is what we have done so far ...

~ My two middle littles created friendship necklaces for each other, no help from me. They sat down with bowls of beads and each of them put the letters for the other's name on the string - and then... the most precious part ... they added a word. 
Trinity gave Tristan one that said "Tristan Kind."
Tristan gave one to Trinity that said "Trinity Love."
My heart melted just a bit. By the time these kids are grown, either my heart will be completely evaporated into the atmosphere or it'll be so big I'll have to tote it behind me in a buggy of sorts.

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” —John Muir

~ We took a little walk and discovered dandelions ... we ate one. We had just been learning about all of the wonderful healing properties of the dandelion so I told the kids maybe tomorrow they could run out and harvest some, and I would wash them and throw a few flowers in their smoothies. Drinking flowers sounds like heaven to me. 
(I would never refer to these golden sunshine beauties as weeds.)

~ We've been eating a LOT of fruit and greens. I bought my first big box of bananas last week and am still waiting on most of them to get spotty. I kind of felt like the "real deal" walking out of Whole Foods with my 41 pounds of bananas. This morning we found some lovely organic pears on sale and also some avacado. There is something about fruit that makes me feel very very fulfilled. I'm not sure if it's the texture, the color, the variety ... or just the loads of natural sweetness I'm putting into my body - but it's a good thing. I know I've said this all before...

~ So I've been painting a bit - just playing around. I really know nothing about painting. I've never taken a class, looked at a color wheel...I use the cheapest products ... but I'm learning. I think more importantly ...I'm relaxing. I spent tons of time one day trying to follow along an online lesson and my work, looked nothing like it was suppose to look. It was stressful. 
Stress is the opposite of creativity.
 Realizing this, I told myself  "self, why not just paint over it and start putting color down?It's your canvas - it will never go on display. It's not suppose to be perfect, it's suppose to be art." 
 Music was playing, the kids were in bed ... and when I finally looked at the clock I had been having fun for over three hours. It's still not finished but I enjoyed painting this little number probably the most out of anything I've done so far. I made it about me. It may be a little cheesy, or trippy...but I'm kind of both those things. 
If the painting fits and all...own it. 

~ I'm really enjoying "dot work"
~ Someday, maybe...I will stop painting trees. But for now, it's what I do.

~ We ate lunch outside today ... with the birds and the bees and the deer. I had these delicious grape tomatoes - aren't they pretty? Little antioxidant rubies ... i could string you on a necklace. 

~ Brady Bunches has been kind of in his own world the last couple of days but he did enjoy eating on the deck with me and he was the one to spot the deer. 

“The good man is the friend of all living things.” ~ Gandhi

~ We spent quite a while on the deck soaking in the rays (and yes, those are my legs, unfiltered. They don't get any darker then that.)
~ The breeze was amazing. 
~ We picked out a new nail polish color at Whole Foods (I care nothing for nail polish but my little kids love it ) so that we could paint our toenails the color of the Earth. 

~ Bug let me paint his this time and kept saying over and over "oh wow, this is really dry now. Wow, this is really blue fo eart day." He blesses my soul. There is nothing sweeter in the world then little feet. Finn's feet are the littlest around here and growing fast - I don't know what I'm going to do when I can't kiss their little toes anymore. 

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature."
~ Anne Frank

"When I see birches bend to left and right...
I like to think some boy's been swinging them."
~ Robert Frost

~ The kids found this little ladybug climbing up their slide and from the commotion they were making, you would have thought they found gold. I wonder if this little miss felt like she had discovered the sun? 

~ Tristan found an ant friend and let him crawl all over his body for much longer then I would have comfortable with. Koala just loves the way they tickle him, as if it's their private game. 
Then, as if we weren't blessed enough .... the littles and I looked up and just in front of us, a dainty orange butterfly went floating by - first spotting of the season.
I tell my kids whenever they see a butterfly to remember that God is sending a message of love to them. I felt a huge heap of gratitude. 

~ We found eyes in the trees. 

The kids have been asking me for quite awhile if they could paint. The carefree mother would say "absolutely, let's all do that right now." I'm not this person. I wish I could be. I'm not. 
But I did give them a day that we would, went to the store and bought supplies....and then today, when I handed each of them a canvas and said "let's paint" ... I handed them the world. 
Anticipation can be a pretty helpful character builder. 

~ We painted outside beneath the trees, our feet deep in grass ... each kid picked what they wanted to paint.  Brady didn't join us but that was okay. I don't believe in pushing creativity - and the truth is, Little Love is very creative in his own way with movie making and right now, drawing jerseys with fabric markers and t shirts. I do miss his participation, but I also know that him being alone and processing is a big part of his life that doesn't need to be interrupted. 

~ Finn wanted to paint flowers and a bumble bee. He did all the blue background,  the orange flowers and stems  and the "bumble bee" (left)  all by himself. This was his first time painting and I'm pretty certain by his facial expression ...not the last.

~ Tristan did a great job on his Earth ... he is my galaxy boy through and through. He loves stars and moons and planets. He loves animals and plants and bugs. He loves apples - lots and lots of apples. He is compassion to the greatest degree. 

~ Trinity made a picture of a heart growing and blooming toward heaven ...
reminds me of her spirit. Just like my painting I could call "self portrait" , this little painting could be Trin's. She is love, always growing, always experimenting, her emotions swaying and changing like the colors on her canvas. In the end, standing tall, reaching for Light, and no matter what - letting love shine through. 

“One of my students told me that every time she learns the name of a plant, she feels as if she is meeting someone new. Giving a name to something is a way of knowing it.” 
― Richard LouvLast Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

“Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually.” 

Alyssa Spring

Saturday, April 16, 2016

On a Much Needed Snow Day

Probably my need for another snow day isn't  a very shared sentiment. 
This is April, the middle of April, and there is a about five inches of snow on the ground, trees being pushed side to side from wind gusts ... my 30 year old windows are howling. 
But I needed this gifted snow day.


It's nice sometimes not to have the option to be busy. 
It's nice sometimes to walk through your home, and really notice what's there...
 ~ The fruit that needs eaten, the unused craft supplies, the cuddly littles that haven't been really really snuggled for awhile. There are always stacks of unread books , or seldom read books, or just favorite books that haven't been appreciated recently. 

I'm spending my day "in love."
I'm loving the cushiness of my couch , the coziness of my great grandmother's quilt, the comfort of staying in sweatpants all day long. I'm loving elastic waistbands.
I'm loving the winter scene outside - the white and the light and icicles.

I'm loving my indoor plants, also my decision to keep all my other plants in pots - the lavender and the yellow rose are joining us indoors today.
I'm loving my happy gnome and my little jar of spring blossoms.  

The kids all seem content - as if they needed a rest too. I thought perhaps they would feel cooped up, but honestly they are all just pensive, playing alone and sometimes coming to me for a bit of conversation. I'm loving that.  I'm loving that they want to connect with me, unforced. 

Those unused craft supplies , previously mentioned , are being used in the very best way - becoming something beautiful to gift to another. 
I'm loving my daughter's long hair today.
I'm loving her maturing face - where has the time actually gone?

Then there are the vegan bran muffins made my little miss - my favorite part about foods baked by kids is the assortment of sizes .... some muffins big and fluffy, some the size of a golf balls. I love the choices ... 

I love fruit. I love the way it makes me feel. I often know when I'm neglecting myself by the amount of fruit that isn't in our home. Interestingly enough, as soon as I restock on all things plants, and start eating high quantities of them ... drink my quarts and quarts of water - I see a huge change almost instantly in my life. Sometimes I feel better physically ... but what I notice the most is my general "zest" becomes much more "zesty." I feel like even my soul is being cared for by the simplicity of good nourishment. 

I'm loving the colors today. I'm glad I have included colors in my house instead of just going with a general "3 color theme." I love fields of wildflowers - I hope my home will reflect that - just a space spattered with calm colors, here and there little "pops."
What do you think about my new cow friend?
I told my kids he is the only cow allowed in this house.
I feel like every morning he's saying "not too much coffee today, and thank you for not using cream."

I'm loving that all four of my children take tea. 
Is there anything more wonderful then a pot of tea and being able to use four different cups at once? I struggle on a daily basis on which cup to use in the mornings. The kids all take tea ...Perfection. 

I'm loving my treasured David Nevue Radio on Pandora, Trinity's finished art project, the Moving Art series on Netflix, Mango Island Mamma on youtube, and I'm about to love my bowl of "nice cream." I hope you are all enjoying a restful Saturday of good things. 

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
- Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Appreciate what you have, because someone else is wishing for it.” 
― Karon Waddell

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Woman from Eagle

Dear Readers, 
I tell you now the story that has been going around and around in my brain for at least 16 hours. I don't think I will be able to feel full peace until I put fingers to keys ...
in the end, I promise to bring it "full circle."

The Woman from Eagle

It was a warm spring day. In the distance, clouds were forming and birds were circling trees, zipping in and out of the pine and evergreens, frantic with search ... calling to each other "gather neighbors! A storm is brewing!" The air was manic, one moment calm and quiet...the next , sharp four-second hair whipping wind that took my breath away. 
My husband and I were snapping sticks and raking brown grass, taking the feeders away for the weekend and doing general "prep" work in the yard. Music was playing, a Corona Light for each of us sat in the sun, a lime wedge in each bottle neck. 
I heard a woman's voice from across the yard - I turned my head to see where the sound was coming from and spotted a blond lady, about 50 yards away, staring in the general direction of our yard. I heard the words "look, there are kids" and saw her point to my little lovelies. The boys were rolling down the hill together, laughing and playing. The tonka truck was busy being loaded up with more "figures" that were about to meet their impending doom ... a long roll down a bumpy slope, about half way down bodies flying and the truck crashing and kids laughing and shouting "woah! That was a good one!!" She was pointing at them ... i noticed a little boy in their yard and thought "maybe she is moving in and scoping out friends for her kiddo." 

I had to take a load of tools up to our garage, the path I  needed to walk would swipe by the edge of the neighbor's yard. I kept my head down and just walked, not thinking that I would be noticed or matter much. Just a fellow neighbor, putting away tools on a spring day. Just a woman, keeping to herself...enjoying the songs and the laughter and the refreshments on a spring day. Just a woman, sandal clad and skin dewy and hair shining...enjoying the breeze mostly, ducking for cover from the sharp wind, garage bound tools in her hands. Just a woman ... keeping to herself. 

I put away my things and then started back down the path to my back yard and noticed the woman still, now about 10 yards away, facing my yard. "How old are your children?" she called out. I stopped and looked up, was greeted with a smile and her walking towards me ... "oh, they are 10, 8 " I pause and have to remember for a moment "and 6 almost 7 and 4 almost 5." I smile and nod, start edging my body sideways to get back to my task at hand. "Oh" she says "is the 4 year old a boy or a girl?" This conversation was going to be a little longer. That was fine - I can be friendly. "He's a boy." I smile again. This information delights the woman. 
"Well, that's just great because Owen is 3 and a half and loves to play with other kids." I assume that Owen is the little boy running around the yard ... their German Shepherd (I learn his name is Thor) comes toward me ... I instantly think about the time a German Shepherd bit my brother's nose. I'm not a fan but I say out loud "oh hello Thor " and I pet his head. 
The lady continues "yah, looks like you have a great yard ... thought I saw a sandbox and it just looks really nice." We don't have a sandbox. She looks at Owen, still a smile ... I can tell she is beckoning for an invite. "Yah," I squint up at her "we really love it. If Owen ever wants to come play when the boys are out he's more then welcome."
This my friends is where I knowingly was friendly, and unknowingly opened a can of worms. 

"Oh that would be great" she puts her hands on her hips and takes even more steps toward me "yah, Owen is just here three nights a week with his dad." I nod "oh, and then he's with you?" She laughs "oh, well basically. Well, he's with his mom but I actually watch him when he's with her too...while she's at school and other times, and yah...basically a lot."
 I say the only thing that seems polite and kind and actually very true "well, you look very young to be a grandmother." This makes her very happy. Her face turns on, a glow exuding from her chin to the tips of her bottle blonde hair. "Yah" she giggles "that was a very big surprise for our family. I'm 46. Anyways, Paul (I'm guessing that's the tall lean boyish man that is avoiding eye contact with me...calling Thor...and pretending to by busy with Owen) called me one day from college and said 'mom, are you sitting down?' and then he told me and our whole world changed. Yah, we just love little Owen but it has been a change of pace. The girl he was with said she couldn't have children...said she had a hole in her uterus or some business like that." She winks at me and cups her mouth with her hands and says "yah, it's called a cervix!" She laughs as if we just shared a secret joke between friends, I chuckle and say "oh wow." 
    She asks more questions about my boys ... I look longingly at the backyard, now the clouds moving in closer, the sun starting to dip behind Pikes Peak. Somehow in this conversation, and I'm still not sure how the information completely unfolded, but I told her that I am homeschooling. It was to answer another one of her many questions about our family. In that conversation when I told her about homeschooling, she then says "oh really?! What curriculum do you use?"
 I have never received that question from any individual exactly 3 seconds after I state that I home school. Most homeschoolers that I have ever met use a variety of resources and my brain was starting to shut down so I said "oh, not one in particular, I choose what we like and let the kids pick a lot of things that interest them." This information seemed to really trouble her. That "glow" around her started dimming just a bit, as if my answer had somehow let her down. This won't do. 
  I quickly explain to her that our boys are on the  spectrum and that's one of the main reasons I began to look into keeping them home, and also why I really try to find different books and activities that connect with them. I hold my breath, give my yard one last look, knowing that it's a lost cause.
That my friends was my second mistake. 
Paul, and Owen, and Thor were growing restless in the background...edging toward their house.
The woman (I neglected to tell you that she also, after surveying our yard told me about the fence I would need for the deer, told me she was from Eagle where the deer are plenty and can jump 6 feet, and when I asked the simple question "oh, do you know of some good deer resistant plants" replied "not off the top of my head but I have a whole list at home that I could print it off for you") , the 46 year old grandmother, didn't budge. 

This is when the conversation , for me, crossed a line. 
Her lips contorted into a secret-hiding smile. "I, actually, work with special needs kids in the school system " she confesses. There was coming. I've experienced this exact same situation on many occasions. The "I work with autistic children and I know something you don't know and it could change your life forever" moment.
 I wasn't buying. I told my brain right then that I wasn't buying. I somehow unknowingly had cast a line into the neighbors yard, I very accidentally caught a professional 46 year old fish, and wasn't quite sure, how to explain to her, that I was vegan.
"My advice to you, would be to test them more. Make sure that you are covering all aspects of education with them." She take her index finger and thrusts it into the air, starts tracing a mountain ... when her finger made it's way to the peak she says "it's showing that kids on the spectrum really know a lot about what they want to learn about, but then " her finger starts to descend on the other side of the mountain "in other subjects they really don't learn as much." Her finger makes it to flat land and now both of her hands come up and form a bell "in education we really want more of a curb." Ah yes, the bell curb. Visions of my history class and the chart of the group grades chalked out ... my grade always falling at the very lowest of low parts of the curb. How I always wanted to sit proudly on the top of that bell!
This is my chance to answer.
"I don't really test at all, except I did just give my daughter her standardized test and she scored a couple grades higher in all her subjects except math. I'm pretty comfortable right now with my approach. I do need to spend more time on math though, I'm not really a  math person so I'm wanting to prioritize that a little more." I smile, thinking that the conversation might now be coming to a close...I prepare myself to say good bye and "nice to meet you" but I'm interrupted 
"Oh, is she autistic?"
I take another breath "no, just the boys. I guess if you have a child with autism your chances rise, especially with boys." 
I don't know why I offered that information.
That was my third mistake.
"Well, we are seeing that the definition of autism has definitely changed over the years. Also, we are  seeing that girls are being misdiagnosed and that boys over emphasized as far as just really diagnosing them more often. I guess it's just all in the genes. DNA is a fascination thing."
I couldn't let that go. I should have let that go, but I couldn't.
"Yah, well...I do agree that some of it has to do with genes but definitely not all, I think there are a lot of other factors that come into play. Also, I do know that that there are definitely more children on the spectrum then there use to be and that's not all just due to labeling. When I was a kid, I traveled to lots of countries, was in and out of churches and just generally met a ton of people, and I met maybe one or two kids that were kind of like my sons. Now days, when I got to a park or a church nursery or am online there are TONS of kids that communicate and relate to my children and are faced with some of the exact issues. Yah, it's definitely on a rise. I do agree though that it is often more challenging to diagnose girls." 
She stops me. "Well, we have DNA proof that it comes from genes...."
I went ahead and started to close the conversation because I was feeling attacked. I told myself this wasn't her intention...but I started to feel unsafe. 
"Well, if Owen ever wants to come play in our yard that would be just fine" and I turn to leave. She says "oh yah, he just loves to play. My son is a recluse though, just very quite and you may need to come over here and just bang on the door and say 'can Owen come play?' " Her son catches wind of the last statement and makes a quick escape into the house. I smile my own little secret ... I will not be pounding on any doors. I would rather die then knock on a door. 
"Nice meeting you" and I walk off to my, now, almost dim backyard. I hear her call behind me "yah, I also home schooled my kids..." 
Readers, I left out MANY parts of the conversation. Not really anything I said ... a lot of what what she told me though. I actually just can't recall every detail - there was a lot.
I take deep breaths. I feel very troubled. I replay the conversation to Zac. It takes me about 15 minutes to fight tears. I tell myself it was just a very talkative woman who wanted to help. I call her a dirty name. I can't calm myself. I feel super angry...genes, testing, peaks, curriculum...."you don't know anything" my brain says. I call her another dirty name and then right away know that isn't true. She's a person, that was maybe a little to forward with a perfect stranger...but perhaps I could learn to not tell people personal facts about me. I don't know. I know I'm suppose to be kind though. So I try to put this past me. It's not really past me at all - so I distract myself. I go to clean my kitchen and start dinner. I tell Zac that I don't think I can see that lady again. That I may want to move. 

I'm now surrounded by children talk and simmering marinara and bubbling pasta. My heart rate is  going back down. It has been about a hour and a half since my stranger danger encounter. I'm straining the noodles and I hear a knocking sound, it was very light. I jerk my head around, instantly fighting panic. Maybe the person didn't see my No Soliciting sign? I don't think I had any packages coming? I call out to Zac "would you get that, I think someone is at the door."
I continue working on dinner, Zac will handle the door situation - no need to stress. 
He answers in a friendly  tone "hello" and I hear "is your wife home?" Next thing I know, I turn to find that woman, that woman from Eagle, walking across my living room towards the kitchen island. I force a smile "oh, hi." My mind checks a list of reasons why she may be here. Perhaps to apologize for being tacky? I see a paper and a book in her hand. The compiled list of deer resistant plants? I can't find a reason why she is here. 
"Oh I just thought I would drop off this book, it has a lot of information on curriculum and good ways to teach and remember, I actually specialize in math...been doing it for two years." I can not make eye contact. I feel anxiety rising up in my body, I start aching...I tell myself "be nice." I look down at the book "oh, thank you very much...I will give it a look." She then lays down a yellow sticky note and I see the word "DNA" written on it, some other words. I still look down, take a peek up just so I don't seem rude, smile again. She says "oh, and this book is really good, to...DNA is just fascinating stuff." 
I swallow. I swallow hard. "When I'm done with the want me, where should i return this?" She shrugs her shoulders "oh, just go knock on the door and return it there. Keep it as long as you like." I thank her again and she leaves. 

Through my teeth 
"Zac, that woman drove get that book and bring it back...basically because I had a different opinion then her. She just came into my prove a point. I would rather fall of the earth then have to go over there and return a knock on a door where I don't know anyone and then to maybe have to talk about it..."

I sorted through these thoughts for the rest of the night. I played piano. I looked at Facebook. I watched a show. I finally went to bed at 11:30 and laid awake until 2 am. At one point my heart was almost pounding out of my chest...I counted my heart beats ... 110 resting heart rate. I tried calming down. I wrote this story in my mind. I came to conclusions in my mind. 

1. I have offered advice to people when it wasn't asked for. I'm going to try my best not to do that unless it's with a close friend that feels safe with me.

2. I do like resources. At the same time, I'm over them. I have three kids with autism. No one is going to answer all of my questions because I don't have a lot of them anymore. I'm in the "move on" stage of this journey. I have been in the questioning, the researching ... now I'm in the "moving on and trying not to worry" stage.  Nothing is going to meet every one of my kids needs and solve all of their problems. No curriculum or program. My boys are smart and thriving. Guess what people?! I - little ol me with no college education - specialize in autism because I love special needs kids every waking part of my day, with every fiber of my body - every little cell of mine is deeply immersed in autism. It's my specialty.

3. How dare someone tell me that I wasn't meeting my kid's educational needs. They don't know what my kids know. And actually, in the state of CO you don't even have to register your child for formal education until they are 7 - which neither of my little boys are. 

4. I thumbed through the special book. It was about teaching patterns and numbers and some games. I have already covered this and prefer using sources off Pintrest, because...well...the tutorials are fun and colorful and creative. It speaks to me more then a book with a fancy "Education" title. Tristan and I walked through Black Forest together yesterday, hand in hand, and we played a adding game. I've never done "math" with him but when I asked him simple equations, he knew the answers.

5. Never ever tell a person that is in the field of education that education is not the most important thing in life - which I said when she told me to test more. I said "well, I try to cover all the bases but I don't think that just focusing on education is the most important thing in life."
That statement wasn't helpful. I forget that to some people, grades are everything.

6. Always be kind to people. I'm glad that I was kind to her. I wish my head could have been completely kind but that's just kind of trying to be completely perfect. 

7. I will not be knocking on any doors. Maybe I will send my husband with the book - maybe it will get donated to Goodwill. She said there was "no hurry."

8. I don't think I can ever converse with the Woman from Eagle ever again.

9. I came to the conclusion that moving away is not rational.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Self Discovery ... a Diagnosis

Hello toes. Hello sunshine. Hello earth. 
Hello pink, and brown, and green. 
Hello breeze. Hello bird song. 
Hello gentle love.

My days have been a little up and down friends. So many beautiful moments that my heart is brimming with love and contentment and life. 
Then there are the other moments.
The ones I don't understand, the ones I don't want. 
But I breathe through them, sometimes I cry them away, sometime I drink and sometimes I eat. Sometimes I run and listen to loud music and try to shut out my thoughts. Sometimes I create.

What's important though ... is that I live them. I feel them. I'm learning to give myself grace and to know that this, this joy and grief and love and hate, is part of the human experience. 
In the end, I know that I am surrounded by Love even when I feel alone. 

Part of the living, is the telling. 
So here it is. 
In this place, my little teeny tiny cyberspace dwelling...
without all of the details because , honestly, my point isn't to convince anyone that this is true or not - 

Last week I was diagnosed with bi polar disorder and also PTSD. 
There...and now to just breathe for one second...
that was rough.

I'm not a person that goes after a diagnosis. I'm not a person that even goes to the doctor. But after the last 16 years or so, of being up and down and super high and super low ... and it not depending one bit on circumstances , my heart said "Alyssa, if this were your child, you would find the root of the problem so that you could understand them better, so that you could relate, so that you could meet them on their level.You would want to understand." 
I did - three times. Three autism spectrum diagnosis - yet never enough grace to search for myself. 
So I've grown, and I went after answers. 
I let myself be ... and be seen ... not in control. 

This is a new journey for me. I pride myself on my health - perhaps that has been wrong. I read books on whole living, I take care of my spirit and my body and my mind ... I have walked the road of forgiveness over and over, I have done a lot of self work ... so this is why I have been so puzzled basically my entire teen years and adult life that I feel so unstable. 
I do have all of the signs of PTSD. I feel dumb actually even typing that - I've never been to war or lost a child. I guess I always feel like maybe everyone everywhere has PTSD. I have all of the symptoms though - the pain in my body all of the time from stress, so many triggers I can't count them, now and then panic attacks. I have horrible social anxiety - after visiting with a person, the next three days, I feel tense and cry and replay our conversations over and over again. There is a week out of every month I can't go to the grocery store, I can't drive. 

I have different options of how I can treat these different "disorders." 
For now, my plan is, to continue to exercise and eat well. I'm going to be much more disciplined about getting sunshine and fresh air. I'm going to start trying to identify my triggers...I already have started. It's not a comfortable thing. It makes me feel ridiculous - just the word "trigger" makes me feel ridiculous. It feels like a label - I dislike labels. 
That is a pillar in my life that I created that I may need to take down.
The doctor asked me to give some examples of times that I have anxiety and I was telling her about a couple weeks ago where I got so nervous that my house was messy that I almost had a panic attack. I started running around the house picking stuff up, and wiping things off and almost crying. I was shaking and scratching my head and basically looking and acting in every sense of the word "loony." As soon as the house was orderly ... I could relax. I realized when talking to the doctor that the only thing that was going to be different that day was that a worker was coming in the evening to repair our drywall. I told her when people ring my doorbell I immediately tense up and almost feel scared. She asked me why I didn't just hang a sign that says "No Soliciting." 
"Well" I said "I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings." She looked puzzled. "You know" I continued "like if someone is trying to sell something then that is their job and how they might feed their family and I would hate for their day to feel like a waste." She stopped me. "Okay" she says, peering out of her very thick glasses "you mean to tell me, that this is a trigger that will interrupt your mood for the rest of the day, almost cause you to have an anxiety attack, yet you won't hang a sign on your door to prevent it because you don't want to hurt a stranger's feelings?"
I just felt confused and then said "can I do that? Hang a sign." She says "of course you can, it's your house. You can do whatever you need to do to feel safe."
It sounded ridiculous. But it wasn't ridiculous and I'm not ridiculous. I just care about people and may have just a touch to much empathy. (please don't count my use of the word 'riciculous' in this post -it's the only word that will suffice the whole everything.)
The next day I made a sign ... I used the word "please" and tried to make it as pleasant looking as possible. I still feel pretty rude but I'm working through that. I guess I'm having to learn that it's okay to take care of Alyssa.

She told me that some people care a lot about other people . Some people care about themselves primarily and have to work to think about others. According to her, the latter is not my problem and I actually need to actively work on not carrying about other people so much. 
 That thought to me sounds painful and at the same time, like one of the best things I could ever imagine yet have never given myself the freedom to do. According to her there is no way I would become a callous human being - I would rather die then be a callous human. 

I don't feel sad about the diagnosis. 
I feel relieved.
I'm so desperately tired of always blaming myself on a hourly basis for my mood swings. Sometimes my head feels almost numb and my sight grey and I think it's because I've done something wrong. Other times, I'm so hyper and euphoric that I don't understand blandness and plain and I'm confused why other people act like I'm crazy. The truth is , I love that part of me. I like the color. I like the energy. But, what I've been learning is that what goes up...when it goes really really up...must come down. It's these "downs" that have left me so confused. It's the thoughts and the nightmares and the visions that I despise. They don't match me. It's hard to feel like you are only yourself about 25% of the time and the other 75% , well, you can't line anything up. Nothing goes. 
I feel relieved that now , when I'm down , I can tell myself "this is because you are experiencing a mood imbalance ... you aren't dumb or unloving or lacking self control." Then, hopefully I can learn some tools that will help calm me or help me ride the low. I already have in the last week ... one day I had to go for a long walk ... I felt so desperately grey and alone and it made no sense. I cried. I knew why this was happening though so I didn't go buy two self help books or blame my husband or my kids or think "well, if just this would happen it would make everything better." The only thing that made it better was to give myself that time....the cup of tea, that pretty song, that exercise, those tears. I moved past it and the rest of the day was "okay."

I'm so grateful for my husband and how gentle he is with me. It is a hard road for him too and has been ever since he has been with me. It's not easy to every day be wondering what space your partner is going to be in when they wake up. I don't take him for granted and I'm always trying to remind myself that he deserves gentleness too. He has three autistic kids and a bi polar wife and is a firefighter. He is a champion - but I want him to not always feel like he has to be one. 

My faith is incredibly helpful. It doesn't solve the problem, but it brings me hope and it fills my heart and that is something to be grateful for.

Thank you for listening. I hope you all have a wonderful evening ...
we took a lovely walk this morning and I collected some pretty stones and then came home to make lunch and organize. It's been a really good day and I hope it has been for you. If it hasn't , please be gentle with yourself and know that Heavenly Father treasures you.

 "If your compassion does not include yourself, then it is incomplete." - Jack Kornfiel

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On a Tuesday

Zac and I browsed through a little antique shop this past weekend. 
Antiquing is a favorite past time of mine. I love going through the little booths and looking at pots and pan, aprons, little nick knacks from a past era ... I imagine their lives. How many muffins had been baked in those tins, and by whom? How many conversations had been had around the olive green ash trays, how many tears dried by the delicate embroidered handkerchief's? Yes, I love all things antique. Rusted tin and old plastic toys and faceless dolls ... I love all of it.

I found these sweet little plates for a good price and snatched them up (oh so carefully.) I love mixing feminine and functional and rustic and farmhouse. Once again, I think it's because of the story that's behind all of those elements. Flowers... how we love them as little children. I've never met a child that doesn't want to pick a bouquet for mama, a woman that doesn't feel loved by the simple offering. Flowers are the essence of art, and of function. They grow exactly where one would need them, through the cracks of a sidewalk to cheer the lonely walker, in bushes outside for the bees to hum about - and their uses! Oh my at the uses of flowers. Sometimes I think of women long ago (and thankfully some now) that would wander through forest and fields and meadows and collect all the different herbs and precious petals to make tinctures and salves and even use them in food. Maybe why I love them the most is because when I pick a daisy, or smell lavender ...I feel connected. Connected to the earth, connected to the women that have gone before me, connected to the beautiful and artistic mind of God. Flowers are for everyone. They are for the rich, and for the poor, for the sad and for the happy, for the bird and for the bee. They are all encompassing. 

I'm not sure how antique this plate is but on the back it says "Columbus Colorado Columbine." I love Columbines. One of the best parts about hiking in Colorado is winding around pine needle covered paths, drinking in the fresh air and the scent of warm wood...and every now and then, finding a delicate, bluish - purple Columbine blooming in the rocky terrain. 

The past couple of days have been off and on rainy, then sunny, then cloudy, rinse and repeat. We are now in the full swing of spring - with blossoms and showers and the urge to go out, sometimes allowed and sometimes not. My favorite part of rainy days is my peanut butter faced kids, warm treats baking, sweet music, and sometimes..if I'm lucky, reading a good book. 

I'm also obsessed with all the freshly rinsed leaves and the little crystal drops that hang from their tips. I love the little pools of water that form along the veins of leaves ... the child part of me still, to this day, imagines fairies flitting around the leaves, taking sips of the fresh water...perhaps washing their hair in it. 

I rescued this teeny rose plant from the grocery store. There it sat in a dark corner, marked down (in price)... seeming just days away from drifting off and becoming part of the landfill. I snapped it up in a hurry and told it not to worry, that the dead buds could be easily snipped and that I still saw it's value. The special part is's a yellow rose, and as many of you know ... stands for friendship. So, there I was , walking through the parking lot, laughing and telling my husband that the rose and I would be good friends. I love having something new to nurture. 

"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul."

 I don't know who that little quote is by - but I found it rather intriguing. It's comforting to me to know that I am in charge of the garden of my soul. I get to tend it, feed it, clip of the dead buds and leaves...the ones that have past...let them go back into the earth. Sometimes the new growth scares me, not because it's ugly or deformed, but simply because it's new. My soul can grow and can spread and share and touch - or it can stay hidden beneath my many layers. It's really just up to me. 
 What a beautiful thought that heavenly Father gives us those options, those desires and that privilege.

Before publishing this post, I wanted to share one unrelated picture. As many of you know, I grew up in Mexico. Although I have lived in many places, nothing makes me feel more at home then a warm tortilla, a cactus in a pot, or the smell of clay. Zac and I found a little "tienda", quite by chance, this past weekend. It was stuffed to the rim and overflowing out the front door with Talavera loveliness. Even though my taste has changed a lot over the years, I still love just a bit of Mexican charm and culture throughout my home. So, we bought a few of these green and blue hand painted tiles to put behind my laundry room sink.
 I can not tell you how much joy it brought to my soul to find this little shop with clay tiles and pots, beautiful sculpted metal flowers, beaded necklaces and sterling silver jewelry  -just like the ones I would always buy from the Artisan shops downtown Chihuahua. I see that little shop as a gift to me...that every now and then...when I want to remember where I came from, I can take a short drive and be in the middle of Mexico in Colorado. 
~ Have a lovely Tuesday my lovelies~