All posts by SoulTalkGirl

Soul Searching

I believe I was born with an open space in my soul and I think you were too.

At the beginning of this year my eyes were opened to what I call my “New Years’ REVELATION”! If you read the last entry I wrote in February – Dirty Laundry – you’ll see that I went on a soul searching journey.  (Thus the gap in writing Soul Talk Girl.) It all began with a dream which prompted me to call an old friend, who shared her soul, which prompted me to search mine.

I was faced with the same feelings that my friend had faced nine years earlier. I was burned out on striving, discontent, and self-condemnation. I was frustrated with my lack of memory, lack of energy, lack of success. I came “to the end of myself”.

That end created a new beginning and has evolved into a quiet peace deep within me. Nothing else has ever filled that empty space which was meant to be occupied by one thing – the presence of God.

My search began with a plethora of questions. One question lead to the next and some answers lead to other questions; then those questions caused me to search deeper.

My search yielded the answer – the only thing that fills the empty space in my soul is to seek the presence of God.  I had to take the initiative to get to know him better. The measure of peace that I’ve gained from searching for God’s meaning in my life is more than any earthly thing could ever fulfill. I want to share some of the things I’ve been learning – in case you have a need to fill a space also.

One of my reading resources is a little devotional book called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Each page takes a couple of minutes to read and the words speak as if Jesus is talking directly to me. Some days it’s just enough to give me the strength and hope to get through a day. Here’s a little snippet –

 . . . Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to My heart. I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you. . .   All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction. . .

It’s a choice that’s presented to everyone . . . God’s hand is always outstretched to us and waiting for us to grasp it.

See you next time!

 

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Dirty Laundry

The week before Christmas 2017 I had a dream about an old friend that I hadn’t spoken to in about 30 years. My dream was surprisingly vivid as I seldom remember them and this dream was crisp and my friends’ features were clear. It was as though I could have felt the warmth of her skin had I reached out and touched her.

She was a close friend in the early 1980s when I lived in Minneapolis. She had a soft spoken voice, she taught me how to play the mandolin and we laughed a lot together. We were actively involved in church and spent a lot of time together within our Christian singles group. We loved bluegrass music and occasionally visited a little dive near downtown Minneapolis where they played live bluegrass.

Our true friendship began late one afternoon on a drive from a Christian singles gathering in the suburbs of Minneapolis. As we drove back towards the city we passed a field of cows. I randomly said out loud, “I love cows”, and she jumped back with a gleeful “So do I!” We laughed at the silliness of our mutual love of cows and that was the beginning of a great friendship.

As the years passed we lost touch after I moved to Florida, got married and lived the busy life of work and raising a family. Now, over 30 years later, with a plethora of life events behind us I had this dream about her.  It was a short dream where we were discussing laundry – of all things! I told her that I didn’t always keep up with my laundry when she replied, “You should do your laundry every day. You shouldn’t leave it sitting around. I do mine every day.” Then it was over and I woke up.

I laughed at the silliness of it, remembering she hadn’t been one to keep up with her laundry at all. Then I wondered what she may be going through and if she needed prayer. Throughout my life I’ve had vivid dreams about specific people, which led me to pray for them. So I began to pray for her and felt a strong prompting to call her.

It was the week before Christmas and the scurrying of preparing caused me to postpone the call. When I made the call a few days later her answering machine picked up and I heard her familiar voice. I left a message letting her know that I wanted to reconnect.

On New Year’s Day I called her again and after the excitement of reconnecting I told her about my dream. We laughed over the silliness of it as she confessed her laundry often piled up. We moved on to discussing our lives and that we had both lost our dads in the past year. We reminisced about the church we attended together and the people we hung around with back then.

Then she asked if she could share something with me and told me that when we were friends back in the 80s that she wasn’t really a Christian and she hadn’t really known Jesus as her Savior. She had walked the walk, but wasn’t living out a Christian life. She lived that way until nine years ago when she was burned out and took a leave of absence from her job. She thought a month of rest would help her get back on her feet so she could resume a better, happier life.

Her time off was restful and she felt better than she had in a long time. Then the day before she was to return to work she realized she would go back to work and that nothing had really changed at all. She still had all of the same issues that brought her to a place of unhappiness with her life.

It was then that she realized that if something was going to change it had to be within her. That’s when she prayed, “I can’t do this alone anymore, Jesus. I need you to come into my life and change me.” She said she began by confessing her sins and asking for forgiveness. It wasn’t a big event; it was the simple act of asking Jesus to help her change and committing her life to follow him. I felt honored that she would share such a deep part of her life with me.

I shared with her how I was at a place in my life where I was tired of striving. I was tired of constantly struggling for a better way of life, thinking about how I could earn more money, and how to be truly happy and content with my life. I desired to lean more on God and less on my own capabilities.

She said it was like Galatians 2:20 and she read to me:  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. I agreed that I needed to lean more into Him to achieve more peace and allow more of the Jesus within me to lead rather than taking it all on myself.

We continued sharing about our lives and were both happy to have connected again. After we said our good-byes I giggled to myself about the dream of dirty laundry and thanked God that I had made the call.

A couple days later as I sat at my desk writing this story, I glanced at a message on my bulletin board: I Surrender All. I questioned myself if I had really surrendered – my anxiety, my constant striving, my mental health challenges, my children, or my marriage. The familiar words of the song came to my mind:

All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live

I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

Was I really surrendering it all to God? Did I really trust God in all of these things or was I trying to orchestrate it all myself? Was I really trying to live in his presence daily?

Then my thoughts went back to the conversation with my friend and her desire to change and ask forgiveness for her sins. We’re all sinners, its part of our human nature. Jesus’ message to us when he came to earth was to confess our sins, to repent, to have the desire to change. But how long had it been since I had exercised that part of my Christian walk? What part did it play in my faith, my relationship with God, my happiness or my success?

My mind was telling me that I didn’t have a lot to confess. I’m not in any type of sexual sin or doing anything physically immoral. Then I realized that my sin wasn’t physical, it was in my thoughts – anger, accusations, judging, and self-condemnation. Those were the things that I needed to confess. Those were the things that were keeping me from truly living a free life. They weren’t acts of sin visible to others, but certainly visible to God. And that type of sin was deteriorating my life.

That’s when it hit me. The dream wasn’t about my friend at all – it was about me coming to a place in my life where I’m doing my spiritual laundry every day – confessing my sin daily – coming clean with God continually.

I had forgotten that the reason God sent Jesus to earth and allowed him to be sacrificed for my sins was so that I could lay all of my burdens of sin at his feet and be freed from the guilt and condemnation of my own human actions. I had forgotten that my relationship with God wasn’t for His benefit, it was for mine.

I’m in a searching mode – but not in a striving mode. Just asking for God’s wisdom to lead me through every step of my life and surrendering like I haven’t done in 30 years. It’s a very freeing experience.

I’m grateful for the dream. It gave me the prompting I needed to call an old friend, to hear her story and to awaken me to a new chapter in my life.

I’m now studying about God’s plan of forgiveness. As I learn – I will share.

 

 

 

 

It Ain’t Easy Being Skinny!

Don’t hate on me, but I’ve always been slightly built, averaging about 112 pounds on a good day and standing at about 5’1″ – although my drivers license might tell you I’m just a bit taller.

I’ve considered writing about this for years and when I started forming the  thoughts in my mind a few years ago this topic wasn’t as big of an issue as it is right now. My weight has been in decline for the past several months and, as I write, I weigh 100 pounds.

Since there is no logical reason, to date, for my weight loss the doctor gave me a prescription to help increase my appetite and that seems to be helping.

I want to bring this issue to light, not because of me personally, but because I think it’s a very misunderstood issue viewed by society in general. I’ve read blogs and stories of people being “skinny-shamed” for being thin.  Yes, that’s what they call it! It sounds a little harsh, but I know what most people think, because they’ve spoken it out loud to me for most of my life.

If I had a quarter from every person who has said to me, “I wish I had your problem”, I’d have a piggy bank full of change. And if I could take the first 10 pounds of weight loss from someone trying to shed it I’d grab it in a second.

Most people have no no idea what a struggle it is for people who can’t put on weight. I imagine it’s as hard as it is for people to lose weight. But the overweight struggle appears to be more in the forefront of society’s radar than the opposite. For example, you don’t see commercials on television for weight gain programs and products the way you do for weight loss.

“Just eat more!” That’s what I hear from friends and family. It’s the same as telling someone who’s overweight “Just eat less!” It sounds good in theory. Or “I wish I had your problem.” If people only knew what they were wishing for – they would keep what they have.

My first major weight loss encounter began in February 1988. I weighed around 105, shortly after having my first baby. It began with some abdominal pains and ended up with a ruptured appendix. After my emergency surgery I was told that my appendix had been ruptured for 7-10 days and that the abscess was the size of a golf ball. My two week hospital stay took me through more tubes going into and out of my body than one could imagine. At one point I was afraid to go to sleep for two days because I thought I wouldn’t wake up.

When I got out of the hospital I weighed a scant 92 pounds. I felt weak and frankly – skinny – but that’s what I had left after a medical event that took me to the edge of life. I didn’t feel good about my weight or the fact that I was very weak, but I was happy to be alive.

A couple of months later I was in the grocery store. I had my baby boy in his carrier in my cart and I was walking up to the checkout counter when a total stranger walked up to me and said “You’re so skinny!” It wasn’t like it wasn’t a fact, but I didn’t know this person, nor had I ever even seen her before. As quick as she said it, she walked away.

I didn’t have a reply or even have a chance to explain that I had just walked away from death’s door and all of the trauma that went along with it. I didn’t get to explain that if I had a choice I would be at least another 10 pounds heavier. I didn’t get to tell her that her words crushed my already fragile spirit.

I struggled to get through the checkout without breaking down in tears, but felt my lip quiver as I made my transaction. As I walked out of the store and to the car the tears fell freely down my face. I loaded the groceries into the car, secured my precious baby boy into his car seat, then sat in the driver’s seat and cried my eyes out.

The emotional struggle was more difficult than the physical struggle and it took five years to go from 92 pounds to 98 pounds. It went beyond feeling too thin and the perceptions that other people had of me. It became a bigger issue as to how I felt about myself. I had to learn to appreciate the body I’d been given without questioning or wishing for something better.

When I realize that wishing for the way someone else is could put me into a whole different hell than what I was already facing, it changed my perception.   We all have our own little hell to go through with our bodies or minds. We all have things to learn to accept within ourselves. Comparing myself to others made acceptance of myself impossible.

I have no idea where I heard this years ago – “You Git What You Git”! I love that saying and I say it often to anyone who has issues with anything in their body. We’ve been given what God thought was best for us. We aren’t a mistake, or incomplete, or too skinny or too fat. We’re beautiful in God’s eyes and we can be beautiful in each other’s eyes also – just the way we are – if we’ll embrace the fact that we’re equal in spite of our differences.

I don’t know why I’m so thin right now. I feel at peace knowing that my life is in God’s hands but still cringe a little when I look in the mirror or when my clothes hang on my thin frame. Through this challenge God is reminding me that I’m beautiful in His eyes. It doesn’t matter how anyone else views me, as long as I can accept myself – just the way I am.

The next time you see a thin person – or in your eyes “skinny” – please be gentle with them, in your thoughts and your words. Then be gentle with yourself, with whatever you’re dealing with internally or externally. Embrace your body. Embrace the mind God gave to you. Be grateful for what you’ve got, because “You Git What You Git” and by embracing the gift that you are – you are hugging the very core of your being.

Remodeling Our Vintage RV Motorhome

Over the summer and fall of 2017 I remodeled our 1998 Fleetwood Bounder motorhome. We bought it in May 2017 and decided that while we were waiting to travel in it ourselves, that we would remodel it and rent it out on AirBnB so it wasn’t a useless investment.

It was a big job and it was summer. I would work from 7:00-9:00 a.m. before the Florida heat made it too hot to work in. I painted the cabinets and cabinet doors and drawers and repainted all of the hardware, tore out the old flooring and laid new laminate flooring, repainted all of the walls and laid new carpet in the cab.

It was definitely worth the effort and now we have a beautiful, comfortable, vintage RV that we can call our own and hopefully do a lot of travel in sometime in the future. For now – I’ve listed it on AirBnB for travelers coming to Tampa.

If you’re interested in seeing the remodel and how I did it, I’m adding info to my website – Vintage RV Remodel – where I’m showing the beginning to end renovation.  It’s a work in progress. Here’s the link:

https://vintagervremodel.wordpress.com. 

 

Here’s a few pics of before and after of the renovation.

Kitchen before
Kitchen after
Living / Cab area before
Living / Cab area after
Bathroom before
Bathroom after

I just finished and published the listing for AirBnB so its now ready for renters. If you want to take a look at the listing – it’s here:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/20399417

 

Living Dreams Instead of Setting Goals

How do you feel when you read this sentence: A Goal Is A Dream With Marching Orders!

Does it motivate you, or does it freeze you in your steps with feelings of fear? Does it cause you to want to work toward your dreams or does it melt you into a puddle of anxiety?

This is what I had to determine for my own life. Do I want to chase my dreams to the demand of marching orders? Or am I content to live out my dreams within the obscurity of my own quiet lifestyle? Demands and orders don’t motivate me – they only make me weary, anxious and non-productive. Whereas, my true energy and life come from merely living out my dreams.

Two years ago I joined a multi-level marketing company. I began that journey with the intention of freeing myself from the burden of financial stress and ‘living the dream’. I envisioned a life of fun, excitement and more money to enjoy life – if only I could become successful with this MLM. What I didn’t know then was that it would create a cycle of stress that would make my life miserable.

To be fair in sharing my experience I have to disclose that I fall into the category of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).  I’m deeply affected by things that most people take into stride on a daily basis. HSPs can be described as having “hypersensitivity to external stimuli, a greater depth of cognitive processing, and high emotional reactivity.

Joining this MLM was supposed to be a dream come true, an end to financial struggle. I envisioned myself expanding who I was as a person. Getting out of my comfort zone. Challenging myself to become more outgoing.

I was directed by my upline to tell everyone I knew about this wonderful gift I had found and that they too could share in it.  I was urged to post on Facebook every day about the products and the business. I was constantly being told that to become successful I needed to get out of my comfort zone.

The women I joined under were really wonderful people. They were already extremely motivated people with successful careers, generous and kind, and really did have my best interest at heart. They taught me everything they knew about how they made this business work. Unfortunately, their style wasn’t a good fit for me and what followed was month after month of constant stress!

In all truthfulness, the products were a life changer for me in the way I look and feel about myself. The changes that occurred gave me a new sense of confidence in who I am. That was definitely the upside of the business.

Along with learning all I could about the MLM, I started listening to motivational speakers and attended a couple of conferences that encouraged me to look into my soul and find that person who could achieve success. The motivational speakers and those conferences changed my life. They changed my thinking and helped me to learn more about the real me. But they did not change the fact that working an MLM was making my life miserable.

Instead of living in the precious present moment, I was always thinking about what my next step would be.  Who should I call? What should I post on Facebook? Who should I email or message? How could I set up another one of those super uncomfortable three-way calls? What kind of an event could I hold to attract people? I hadn’t anticipated the constant state of striving that I would be in.

The barrage of being told to “get after those fence sitters . . . they want this product . . . and they need this business to have the good life” slapped me in the face every day. I saw other women and men becoming successful doing those things, but I felt sick to my stomach every time I did them.

Being recognized for achievements was at the forefront of group messages and posts. For a person who is content sitting in the background applauding other peoples’ achievements, this was extremely uncomfortable for me. Seeking recognition is the polar opposite of living in obscurity.  I am very comfortable in a state of being unknown and inconspicuous.

It wasn’t at all the lifestyle I wanted to live. I am not and never have been a goal oriented person. I’m motivated by the tugs at my heart and words of encouragement, not by setting goals and trying to fit into a mold that someone else has created for me. Living out my dreams of success has never had anything to do with attaining “things”.  Things mean little to me. Things do not define me.

In Wayne Dyer’s translation of the 46th verse of the Tao Te Ching in his book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life  he says: You’ll find that the experience of inner peace becomes our true gauge of accomplishment. 

I’m no longer setting goals or striving to reach an end. I’m not in a constant state of needing to do one more thing before I feel successful. Are there things I would like to achieve in my life? Absolutely, but I don’t want to “strive” for any of it. I’m on a journey. Not running toward a goal.

The majority of a journey is the steps it takes to reach your destination. If that journey is leading you to your dreams, shouldn’t that be the part you enjoy the most?

Post Christmas Joy

I’ll admit that many past Christmases have been filled with my own anxiety and angst when I have unnecessarily over-anticipated, over-thought, over-spent, and over-planned. Truthfully, this Christmas started out with a plan. My son and his girlfriend were going to come home from California. My youngest daughter, who lives at home, would be going between our house and her boyfriends’ parents’ house for festivities. My daughter and her husband, who live in Tennessee, were possibly going to come home. All would be well.

Then Christmas plans changed. First, my youngest daughter wanted to spend more time with her boyfriends’ family and would be spending limited time at home. Second, my son told me he wouldn’t be home until the day after Christmas. Lastly, my daughter in Tennessee wouldn’t be coming home at all because of their work schedules.

With my heart a little sunken and my spirits and little damp, my husband and I were facing a very quiet Christmas together. I think we both felt somewhat like the breath had been snatched out of our lungs. I felt a little dazed as I realized that the position I held for so many years as a parent was in a transition phase and Christmas would be very “different” this year.

It made me reflect on life’s milestones. My years as a child with no worries, first loves, moving away from home and getting a first real job. Traveling and experiencing different parts of the country. Then love and marriage and a child. Unfortunately, a divorce and heartbreak. Then a new love, marriage and a couple more children.

Now my grown children were busily going through their own life cycles. Experiencing everything I had hoped and prayed for them. College, living in other parts of the country, marriage, love, and traveling the world. They’re living life larger than I ever experienced and that’s a dream come true as a parent. That’s what brought me joy thinking about Christmas without my kids.

I had settled my heart about our Christmas. I was at peace about spending Christmas Day at the beach, just me and my husband – the seagulls, the waves, the sun. I was okay that life brought us to this place.

Then I got a text from my son. He said he and his girlfriend would be here after all – for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! I felt elated. I started trying to set times for dinners and gift opening. Made trips to stores for gifts and food. My daughter was trying to work out times for spending with her boyfriends’ family and at home with us. It became stressful trying to work it all out.

That’s when I finally said – – – “You know what? Let’s just play it all by ear this year. Let’s not set our hearts on any one plan. Let’s just see how it goes.” The only thing I timed was when the turkey would be done on Christmas Day. Everything else could just play out as it fit into our days. It was then that my heart settled, my mind settled and I felt peace in my soul. No longer trying to control the outcome of visiting and eating and opening gifts created a much more peaceful and fun atmosphere for everyone.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were full of joy and peace! There was no anxiety. There was no angst. There were no expectations of anyone. It all just flowed beautifully into a joyous family experience. I think that may have been the lesson God wanted me to learn from the beginning – to let Christmas happen gracefully, without my own agenda trying to create an experience.  That is what made it the best Christmas I’ve had in many, many years and I will continue to feel that joy for many days and weeks to come.

 

 

HSPs and the Holidays

The holidays are stressful for many people, but for Highly Sensitive People (HSP) it can be much more overwhelming.  I’ve always known that I don’t handle life like most people and about five years ago I discovered why I felt different.

Although relatively few people are aware of it, as many as 15-20% of the population are HSPs (Highly Sensitive People). Elaine Aron, in her book The Highly Sensitive Person, states: “People differ considerably in how much their nervous system is aroused in the same situation, under the same stimulation.  . . . (HSPs) notice levels of stimulation that go unobserved by others. This is true whether we are talking about subtle sounds, sights, or physical sensations like pain. The difference seems to lie somewhere on the way to the brain or in the brain . . . We reflect more on everything. And we sort things into finer distinctions.”

Christmas can be especially overwhelming with thoughts of “what needs to be done” in order for it to be the perfect holiday. For me it brings on emotional overload. Anticipation leading up to that glorious day is overwhelming to me.

I stay away from malls this time of year. Several years ago I went to a large mall to go Christmas shopping.  As I walked around the long halls with never ending storefronts I became full of anxiety.  People everywhere were walking in and out of stores with name brand bags hanging from their arms.  My emotions kicked into high gear as I started to think of people purchasing gifts they knew they couldn’t afford, so they could create a “perfect” Christmas, only to wonder how they would pay off their credit card bills after the holidays. It felt like a frenzy and I couldn’t handle the anxiety of it. I had to leave the mall.  That was the last time I entered a mall during Christmas.
Elaine Aron says, “What is highly arousing for most people causes an HSP to become very frazzled indeed, until they reach a shutdown point called “trans-marginal inhibition.” I definitely had reached that point and I could not leave that mall quickly enough.
Being able to handle major life events has always posed a challenge for me. The result has often been bronchitis or fatigue because of the stress to my mind and body.  As I get older I handle events with even more anxiety.  I’ve been misunderstood many times because of avoiding stressful situations, including family events. It’s often perceived as a lack of love or respect for others, however, this could not be further from the truth. My true nature is love and peace toward everyone.

If you find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed these tips might help you to enjoy the season a little bit more:

  1. Commit to only a couple of events or parties – don’t try to attend them all.
  2. Take advantage of online shopping and avoid the crowds at the mall.
  3. Learn to say “no”. Simply say “I’m sorry I can’t make it” – and leave it at that.
  4. Be aware of what you eat. Candy and cookies can cause brain fog and fatigue.
  5. Listen to Christmas music that relaxes you.
  6. Sip a cup of hot tea while taking in the beauty of your Christmas tree lights. If you don’t have a tree, light a scented candle. There’s something soothing about watching the flicker of a flame.

Remember this: Don’t compare yourself and your preparation for Christmas with anyone else. Holiday joy is unique to each person. Allow your holiday happiness to flow from your soul without feeling like you have to be like anyone but who you uniquely, beautifully are.

Christmas blessings to you!

 

 

Serenity – Quiet Your Soul

Work, errands, bills, family, health, cooking, cleaning, and the list goes on. We live in an age where multi-tasking is the new norm. You know the scene well. Stomach in knots, easily irritated, always thinking two steps ahead, To-Do list a page long, and the list goes on and on.

Stop! Serenity is just a moment away from your present reality. You get to choose! So right in this moment . . . chose peace – chose serenity. No matter what is going on – conflict in your mind, exterior chaos in your living situation, tension in relationships, stress of finances, fear of the future – you have the power to quiet your soul.

Serenity is one of those things that, if you try too hard to grasp it, it eludes you. It enters when you merely allow it’s presence. When you feel that richness, fullness and peace – you know it has seeped into your soul.

butterfly sunny day.jpg

Simple steps to feel serenity:

  1. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Imagine allowing the warmth of a sunny day to flow deep into your lungs. A butterfly lands softly on a beautiful flower and a gentle breeze wisps across your face. Feel peace flowing into your lungs and seep into your soul.
  2. Breathe out worries, tensions and anxiety by picturing a box filled with heavy hammers and wrenches being dumped out along with all of your burdens.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 over and over
  4. Feel your mind, your muscles, your lungs, your heart relaxing and feeling light, relaxed and fluid.

Become intentional about allowing yourself to have moments of serenity in your day. Visit this place as often as you’d like. Remember – – – you can create this kind of peace in your life. It’s a choice.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Feeling the Holiday Jitters?

It’s that beautiful time of year again! The neighbors have their homes and yards decorated, the stores are filled with displays of red and green lights and bling, and Christmas tunes fill the airwaves when you turn on the radio.christmas tree fireplace

 

Flip through any magazine while waiting in line at the grocery store and you’ll see pages filled with glamorous table settings and perfectly browned and glazed turkeys nested on a platter with beautiful roasted vegetables surrounding it. A woman is standing with perfectly styled hair and make-up with a holiday-themed apron wrapped around her beautifully adorned holiday dress.

WAIT A MINUTE! I’m not even close to that portrayal. Should I be in a panic?

I haven’t decorated my yard, let alone the inside of my house and it’s December 9th. My decorations are patiently waiting in the shed (placed close to the door as of a few days ago). That’s actually my project for today after I’m done writing this.  Smile.

I haven’t baked any goodies and put them in the freezer to pull out for holiday parties. I don’t even know If I’m going to attend a holiday party at all. I have thoughts in my head of gifts to give, however, I didn’t go out Black Friday shopping nor did I shop on Cyber Monday.  I don’t have a holiday outfit picked out to wear.

I won’t lie. I get the holiday jitters every year. It’s not a natural, exciting, calm feeling for me going into the Christmas season. I wish it were. The anticipation of everything that a holiday “should be” (the fear of not giving the perfect gift or having the right kind of food, or spreading the right kind of holiday cheer) is terrifying to me.

I don’t believe that gifts have to be large and expensive in order to be special, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling anxious that I’m not living up to the expectations of others. Some of my anxiety comes from feelings of not measuring up to everyone else’s abilities to create a magical Christmas for their families. Some anxiety is shear sadness that Christmas has become so much about buying gifts that people go into debt – with good intentions of making other people happy.  My heart gets sad to think of how many gifts are exchanged without one single thought of Jesus’ birth – the reason we celebrate this beautiful season in the first place.

I do love Christmas lights, the music, the food and knowing in my heart that Jesus really is the Reason for the Season. In order to enjoy holiday preparations this year I will keep things simple, take in deep breaths of holiday joy, and try to not get caught up in anyone else’s anticipations, expectations, or abilities.

We’ll have our holiday eggnog as a special evening treat and make plans to drive around neighborhoods to see all of the beautiful lights. I’ll sit on my sofa with a cup of hot tea in the evenings and stare at our lighted Christmas tree in our cozy little living room. And in those moments I’ll get that beautiful feeling of joy that my life is perfect just the way it is and Christmas will be perfect because Jesus made it so.

jesus made it so

 

 

HSP, Anxiety and Irma

I didn’t chose to be a Highly Sensitive Person and I’m not sure I’d chose to be anything other, but the struggles are real and deep and painful. I also didn’t choose to have anxiety and depression. Truthfully, it’s difficult to say the words “mental illness” and look in the mirror and realize I’m speaking about myself. That I actually fall into that category.
Major celebrities have come out and spoken about their own mental illness. Why is it so difficult to come out and speak about mine? I’m nobody special or popular or sought after.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had an “episode” of depression and anxiety, but the struggle has been real lately. It started again with “Irma” when my hyper-sensitivities to everything around me intensified.
I was going about my business this summer staying busy renovating a vintage RV (a story in itself), learning how to grow vegetables in Florida (also another story) so that I could try my hand at it this winter, and working at my business. Then Irma started to make its way across the Atlantic Ocean.
We’re pretty used to Hurricane Season in Florida and the threat of it is a constant, every summer through November. But this one was a game changer for me.
Never have I felt the waves of fear, anxiety, threat, or danger that I felt while we were preparing for this hurricane. I wanted to board up and leave town, but as we prepared and time passed it got to the point where it was more detrimental to leave – with the droves of traffic going out of the state – than to stay.
I would have waves of fear and complete terror, and then would get calmed down by neighbors that we lived in a safe area as far as flooding and past hurricanes. I would feel okay with our plan of hunkering down in the interior hallway for what was predicted to be 9 hours; then within hours I would completely melt down and feel the panic again.
That repeated pattern occurred for days prior to Irma hitting the west coast of Florida and at the last moment, during a time when no one was encouraged to be out on the roads, my panic won over and we drove to the east coast of Florida.
The hurricane is gone, our yard is mostly cleaned up (still working on taking down the shed that was demolished by fallen trees), but my mental state has not returned to normal. I’m just waiting out this episode and praying it passes quickly.