Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Spiritual Discipline Essay

A little over two months ago Power of Moms published another one of my short essays called,"When Prepartum Depression Meets Spiritual Discipline."
I wrote it nearly three years ago when I was pregnant with Malachi and submitted it to be published. I was thrilled when it was accepted and then nothing happened. I waited and waited then finally I decided to inquire about the article just this past February. They responded by saying, "Whoops! So sorry! We lost it somehow when we were making changes with the new editor, however we'd still like to publish it!" Yay! I got thrilled all over again!
So, here it is, better late than never: 
Spiritual Sundays: When Prepartum Depression meets Spiritual Discipline.

Reading this again was a walk down memory lane for me, remembering back to when I was pregnant with Malachi and trying to find answers to my depression episodes. It was  important then and still important now that I take time to nurture myself spiritually. I find that my spiritual cup needs to be filled daily, or I start to deteriorate into negative thought patterns. 
I've also discovered over the years that although my depression gets worse when I'm pregnant, it isn't going to go away. Depression is something I have, just like someone would have diabetes, Hashimotos, arthritis, or any other long-term, chronic condition.

In the past I've tried to convince myself that it (depression) would go away as long as I was: eating all the right foods, getting regular exercise, taking the right vitamins, seeing a therapist consistently, filling my daily spiritual cup, staying away from toxic people, and staying away from negativity that could trigger me, etc, etc...
All of those things are helpful and necessary but the truth is, the only thing that truly helps ME feel emotionally balanced, stable, and normally functioning  everyday is depression medication. Once I was able to recognize this and accept this truth I stopped trying to get off of it all the time, stopped convincing myself I was weak, stopped trying to find other failed ways to heal myself, and let the medication do it's thing. And it's been nothing short of miraculous! 
Depression medication is helping me be the best version of myself, and I'm a believer.
That is all.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Camping Season 2017 is in full effect!

School's out for summer! 
School got out for my husband and Jonah on May 24th and we went on our first camping excursion of the summer on May 25th thru 27th! We couldn't wait to get out there and camp. Some friends invited us to camp with them at Kolob reservoir, which is somewhere we had never camped before.  It was basically a  large reservoir surrounded by grassy, muddy banks. Here and there people had created camp sights up on small hillsides or directly on the edge of the water where they were fishing and enjoying the views of the lake. The entire lake is surrounded by private property fences so you can't wander too far into the surrounding forested areas. There's also a bouncy dirt road surrounding the circumference of the lake that people can ride their ATV's on or go for little walks around.
It was absolutely gorgeous but not somewhere we would've picked out for ourselves. We usually pick spots that have more of a variety of recreational opportunities like hiking trails or mountains to climb.
But, sometimes it's really good to do something different, especially if it involves great friends that you get to spend time with.
The water was freezing cold--too cold to swim in, but our friends brought some SUP boards to paddle on the surface of the lake with. We also brought a small raft, which turned out to have way to many holes in it because it was left outside all winter. However, Zadok had a blast pumping it up with air, paddling it around the lake, then coming back in when it was nearly deflated to pump it back up again.

Here's a few high lites from our weekend: 
*Roasting s’mores over the campfire
*Saying White Rabbit over and over when smoke got in our eyes
*Malachi pretend-shooting people with a stick while saying “Medium Puuume!” over and over and over. (as opposed to high puuume, which would have hurt too badly)
*Watching Abraham and Odin take 15 minutes to unsuccessfully light a fire
*Odin hiking up into the hill to gather firewood and making the fire second night
*Zadok standing on Micah’s shoulders to rope the hammock rope around a tall tree.
*The stars at 2am! Oh my there were so many gorgeous stars!
*Playing Mad libs with everybody and watching 6 year old Jonah laugh so hard at every single story.
*Malachi always asking,”Where’s Jose?”
*Zadok and Odin doing the SUP by themselves for the first time. Zadok fell into the cold, cold, cold water but was super tough about it.
*Zadok rowing our little raft all over the lake except the raft has little holes in it so he would have to come in and inflate it before he headed out again.
*Me rowing Malachi and Jonah to the other side of the lake and back.
*Micah and I doing the SUP together. Watching Micah have amazing balance and form while he paddles.
*Jose taking the boys out on the SUP, and later Micah taking the boys out.
* Helping Jonah collect bottle caps from around abandoned fire pits.
*Watching Odin and Abraham catch weeds with their fishing poles, using cherries for bait.
*Zadok being a total complete nut ball the whole time.
*Cuddling up next to Malachi to keep us warmer in the tent at night.
*Wondering how Abraham could possibly take a nap in the middle of the day.
*Watching people get stuck in huge potholes their trucks because the puddles are too muddy, and then getting towed out by even larger trucks.
*Malachi calling our tent his “little house” and inviting everyone to come play with him in his “little house”.
*Malachi being obsessed with the lanterns and wanting to carry them around everywhere with him. I had to explain that the sun was our biggest lantern so we didn’t need the little lanterns on during the day.
*Jonah being happy and smiley all day long out in nature!
*Doing nothing most of the day but still having fun because it was so pretty and quiet.
*Watching the tiny ducks dive down for fish. Malachi calling them ducklings.
*Reading scriptures with the Gonzales family.
*Getting out of there Saturday morning before all the crowds took over! 

My favorite thing about camping is unplugging from the rest of the world and taking a vacation from the stress of world news. Right before we left there was a terrorist bombing in Manchester, England. I feel like I can't even read about these things anymore because my heart becomes too broken. I don't understand how people can continue to be so cruel. It's happening more and more frequently and it's sadly, devastatingly, not going to go away anytime soon. 
However, camping for several days really relaxes me and helps me press my personal reset button on the world. When I'm out in nature with the sun shining overhead and the beauty of God's creations surrounding me, I know I can come back with renewed faith and hope in humanity.......or at least feel better that someday all the suffering will be over and we'll be wrapped in the arms of God's love. Sometimes that's the only hope I can hang onto.

All in all, I'm looking forward to an amazing summer of camping. Our plans this year involve 2 1/2 weeks in the Northwest at various campgrounds like Mt. Olympus and the Oregon coast, plus some one-on-one camping trips with our kids. Micah and Z just got back from several days in Great Basin. Next week I am taking J to Zion for one night, then in August Micah is taking O on a 4 day campout/bike riding road trip near Bryce Canyon. Besides that I'm sure there will be some great backyard trampoline camping (Malachi keeps begging me to sleep on the trampoline with him but I keep telling him to wait til it's warmer!)  in between all the road trips. 

Happy Camping!