Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Funny

Time for a laugh...

MALE OR FEMALE

You might not know this, but a lot of non-living objects are actually either male or female.  Here are some examples:

FREEZER BAGS: They are male, because they hold everything in but you can see right through them.

PHOTOCOPIERS: These are female, because once turned off it takes a while to warm them up again.  They are an effective reproductive device if the right buttons are pushed...but can also wreak havoc if you push the wrong buttons.

TYRES: Tyres are male, because they go bald easily and are often over-inflated.

HOT AIR BALLOONS: Also a male object, because to get them to go anywhere you have to light a fire under their butt.

SPONGES: They are female, because they are soft, squeezable and retain water.

WEBPAGES: Female, because they're constantly being looked at and frequently getting hit on.

TRAINS: Definitely male, because they always use the same old lines for picking up people.

EGG TIMERS: Egg timers are female, because...over time....all the weight shifts to the bottom.

HAMMERS: Male, because in the last 5000 years they've hardly changed at all, and are occasionally handy to have around.

THE REMOTE CONTROL: Female.  Ha!  You probably thought it would be male...but consider this: It easily gives a man pleasure, he'd be lost without it...and while he doesn't always know which buttons to push, he just keeps trying.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's in the Valleys I Grow

A friend of mine has this on the wall in her laundry.  It has really encouraged me each time I've been to her house, especially this year of which the majority has been spent in the valley:


Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow and woe.
It's then I have to remember,
That it's in the valleys I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top,
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God's love,
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn,
And my growth is very slow.
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it's in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand,
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing,
When I picture Christ on the cross;
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan's loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining,
When I'm feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder,
That it's in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord,
And use my life each day,
To share Your love with others,
And help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord,
For this one thing I know,
The mountain tops are glorious,
But it's in the valleys I grow!

By Jane Eggleston.  Online here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Second Nine Months

It might have seemed like an odd choice of reading material when I was first admitted to Bunbury Hospital, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It's always a sign of a good book when you're disappointed that the end is nigh.  A nurse remarked that perhaps it wasn't helpful for me to be reading a book that is essentially one woman's rather negative memoir about becoming a mother, but I explained it was what I needed to hear.  I'd already read far too many Facebook statuses and heard countless women say how rewarding motherhood was, how it fulfilled and completed them, how they'd never want their old life back.  They might mention a few cons here and there, but would hastily add, "Oh, but it's so worth it!" on the end.  That was essentially why I was in hospital; I DIDN'T think it was worth it!  I wanted my old life back desperately.  I was relieved that one woman finally had the guts to tell the truth.  Before I became a mum, I loathed hearing mums moan and complain about their kids all the time.  Now I understood.

The Second Nine Months is Vicki Glembocki's memoir of the first nine months of her eldest daughter Blair's life.  Who is Vicki Glembocki you ask?  She's a writer for Philadelphia Magazine and a columnist for the Reader's Digest and it shows in her writing.  It's punchy, witty and had me in stitches despite being in hospital for postnatal depression.

I loved this book because she dared to voice what I'm guessing many mothers yearn to but keep silent for fear of criticism from other mums.  She writes about her experiences in a mother's group where the talk focused on which brands of baby gear are the best but the women never got below the surface in REALLY getting to know each other.  It was only when one of the mothers dared to confess that she'd shaken her daughter a little too hard in frustration that she wasn't sleeping that the first risk of deepening relationships was taken.  And Vicki wrote that she reassured this mother that she wasn't alone in having these thoughts.   I'm glad she admitted she felt resentful of her daughter from keeping her from checking her email because I often feel the same - a simple thing that I used to be able to do so often and uninterrupted is now a treat.  I could relate to her desire to go back to work (well, I don't really want to go back to my old job, I just want some time to myself or to have adult conversation), her jealousy of other mothers who appear to be doing just fine, her anger at the absolute tripe spouted by many parenting books, and the isolation that motherhood brings.

At times I felt she overstepped the mark of truthfulness and was too negative.  I wondered how her daughter would feel if she read this book years later - at times it sounded like her mother really hated her.  I felt like I didn't want to relate to this book TOO much because I still want to give thanks to God in every situation without grumbling and complaining.  Somehow there needs to be a balance between not making out that motherhood is all roses, yet still acknowledging there are enormous blessings in becoming a mother.

I loved this book because it made me feel like I wasn't alone in having the thoughts I was having.  It's a good book to give to a new mum like myself who feels like she is floundering in unchartered waters.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Bubba: 5-6 Months

The latest photos of my gorgeous little man who has mastered rolling, can sit for a little bit unassisted, and is trying to crawl.  Yes, he's very 'busy'.

Alas, sleeping is still not one of his attributes.  Good thing he's cute or I would be even less thrilled to see him in the middle of the night.


 
With his friend Marcus who is four days younger
 
 
On our way to Perth

"Good morning!"

"Aha Daddy, I got you!"

"Mummy, you're a freak."


Chilling with Uncle Tim

You can tell he's my son

Mr Monkey Jacket trying out his high chair



First day of solids.  He wasn't too sure about the taste.

Day 2 of solids.  It was lots of fun.

After watching me eat my breakfast many times, he knew exactly how to
use a spoon and wanted to feed himself from the beginning.


Bubby!  So ravenous!

Mmm pumpkin

We went to Dunsborough in July to see Grandma

And Granddad

On guard!
Someone likes rusks

 

On his 6 month birthday


On Daddy's birthday.  "What's that, Daddy?  I can't hear you."

"Let me grab your tongue, Daddy."

Happy Birthday Daddy!

With his new friend Lincoln.  Rory is the big bubba now.


In bed with Pop on a recent visit to Albany


I love this photo soooo much!  10pm cuddles.
Our goddaughter Aria and her lovely mum Sam came to visit.

Such a happy fellow....most of the time.

 


 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.
- Steven Furtick

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where Else Have We To Go? by Nicky Chiswell

I'm clinging to God and His promises.  There is no life or hope apart from Him.

We have come to see,
To know and understand,
Things the very angels long to see.
God, who owed us nothing,
Has spoken to us all.
Christ the Word of God Himself has been.

Where else have we to go,
When You alone have words of eternal life?
Where else have we to go,
When You alone have words of eternal life?

Words of truth passed down,
To those entrusted few,
Who witnessed and proclaimed Him,
'Christ the Lord'.
We are their descendants,
On us the light has dawned,
Standing in the gospel we first heard.

Come all you who labour,
You who are weighed down,
You who thirst and hunger for the right.
There is truth and meaning,
Mercy, rest and hope.
True salvation comes through Jesus Christ.

Lyrics sourced from here.

This is one of my favourite Christian CDs


Monday, August 19, 2013

'Living' My Blog Posts

During my seven years of blogging, I've often had the experience of writing a post then being forced to 'live' it later.  I've been quick to voice my opinion or thoughts on something, then have gone through almost exactly what I'd recently written about.

One example was this post.

After a difficult past few weeks, I've had to live my posts again.  I said I was content to trust God and not need to know the reason for my suffering.  Well, I've asked Him why.  I don't understand why He allowed me to taste wellness only to take it from me again.  I read some of Job recently and in the state of mind I'm in at the moment it seems like God allowed Satan to take everything from Job just to prove a point, that Job was like an unsuspecting pawn.  I've been finding it really hard to not get angry at God at the moment.  I'm sure there will be plenty of Christians who'll tell me off shrilly and bat me over the head with their Bibles for admitting that, but I know that God knows my mind anyway so I might as well admit it.  I told Him honestly that I want to love Him, to trust Him, to not ask why, to acknowledge He is the Creator of the universe and such things are His business, but I'm really struggling.  I don't want to turn away from Him, but I feel such anger towards everything.  Yet, where else am I to go when He alone has words of eternal life?  So now I'm just asking Him to hold me while the storm rages.

I've found it hard not to rush my recovery.  I've felt guilty because I'm so crippled with depression some days I can't get out of bed.  That happened on Friday.  Duncan had to take yet another day off work because I lost the plot at 6am.  I want to serve others, but I can't.  I want to do stuff, but I can't.  I want to socialise and brighten someone else's day, but often I can't.  I want to do stuff at church, but I can't.  I just want to be a normal mum who stays home and takes care of my child without needing a whole army of helpers.  I want to be able to cook meals for my husband.  It's not about being Martha Stewart, it's about wanting to do the basics.  Some days I can.  Other days it's just all too much.

Unless you've had depression, it can be hard to understand.  I didn't understand before this year.  I was na├»ve and ignorant.  Some people describe it as a black dog which follows them around.  To me, it's like a slimy pit or cave.  I desperately want to climb out of it, but I keep sliding downwards, scrabbling frantically, but unable to get to the top.   I feel like I'm trapped in my own head some days, unable to really care or comprehend what's going on in other people's lives.  It's like being tortured; even though the pain is not physical, I still scream.  The fatigue some days is crippling.  I've been going to a support group for women with postnatal depression in Albany each week and it's been a wonderful blessing.  These women get me.  I get them.  Their presence is tangible proof that I'm not alone.  We can relate in ways that I can't even with normal mums.  Other friends who are mums are sympathetic, but don't really get it.  They think I'm just talking about the ordinary everyday trials and tribulations that come with motherhood.  It's more than that.  Often I feel like I don't want to live, that I just want to die and be with Jesus, and I start fantasising about ways to make that happen.  This is terribly difficult for Duncan to hear me talking that way.  Other people have told me, "It's not you, it's the depression talking," but I have a hard time distinguishing between the two.  I get angry at myself for not having the courage to take my own life, but Duncan keeps telling me it takes more courage to live when feeling this way than it does to end it.

I'm on a different sort of anti-depressant now and it hasn't kicked in yet.  Due to this we've had to postpone our upcoming holiday to Sydney.  I was terribly disappointed, but in my heart of hearts, I know it's for the best.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Grieving and Coveting

I'm currently reading a book called MIA Missing in Action: How Mothers Lose, Grieve and Retrieve Their Sense Of Self.  It has shed a lot of light on why I've found it so hard to adjust to motherhood.


I'm grieving.
 
I'm not only grieving the loss of my pre-baby lifestyle, I'm grieving the loss of who I was before as well. 

As I scanned Facebook recently, reading happy birth announcements and seeing pictures of ecstatic new parents with their bubbas, I realised I am also grieving for the loss of those precious first few days and weeks after Rory's arrival.  These new parents 'can't get enough' of their babies and 'feel complete'.  I never felt any of that (well, I don't want Rory to 'complete' me.  Even if I didn't have PND, I wouldn't want that; that is idolatry).  While reading some of the birth statuses and seeing the newborn photos, I began to cry.  When Duncan asked me what was wrong, I told him I wished I could have that time with Rory again.  I wish I hadn't been so depressed.  I wish I hadn't felt so indifferent towards him, felt he was ruining my life, and just wanted to be free of him.  I wish I could have those newborn cuddles again and soak up every moment.  I wish I could have just told myself it wouldn't last forever and ridden the bumps.

I see pictures on Facebook of new parents going out and about with their bubbas less than a week after they were born.  I was so depressed and paralysed by anxiety that I struggled to have a shower and get dressed let alone go out to a restaurant.  We have friends who have a month old baby and already they are back at church regularly and life doesn't seem to have changed that much for them.  I don't think their baby is 'easy', but they seem to just go with the flow.  In my heart of hearts, I'm envious.  I wish that could be me going out and about without becoming stressed or tired.  I wish God could have given me more coping abilities.  I can tell myself that Facebook doesn't tell the whole story, I even re-read Karen's post, Myths of Parenthood #1: Everyone Else is Coping.  But some parents genuinely seem to be doing quite well and not just putting on a mask.  When I was in the depths of despair, I didn't even have the strength to pretend everything was ok, it was just so blatantly obvious I wasn't coping.

Yes, I think it's time to re-read The Envy of Eve again, especially the bits about coveting gifts, abilities and circumstances.



Duncan and I 'lost' the first part of our relationship too because a third party was intent on breaking us up.  I grieved that for a long time.  Although ultimately Duncan and I married and have had six and a half wonderful years together since we first started dating, it took me a long time to heal.  I am thankful that I still have that chance to make good memories with Rory now, but I still think it's ok to grieve.  This photo was taken on the day he was born.  The reason I love it so much is that it reminds me of those wonderful first cuddles before depression struck two days later:



This quote I posted last year sums it up:

It does not mean that there will not be times when I am so overcome with sadness at memories in my life that I must go outside and find a place to be alone and just cry for an hour....but that God is good.
- The Secrets of Heathersleigh Hall by Michael Phillips

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bible Verse of the Day

The LORD is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

Friday, August 09, 2013

The Pendulum: Come Lord Jesus....But Not Yet

Is it just me or does anyone feel torn between wanting Jesus to return right now, and wanting Him to hold off just a bit longer?

There's nothing quite like suffering (mine and others') to give me some perspective.  It makes me cry out, "Come Lord Jesus!"  Come and end the pain, the heartache, the tears, the sin, the cursed creation.

But other times I'm just far too complacent.  Life is peachy.  There are things I want to do before I die or Jesus returns (whichever comes first). 

I also want to Jesus to delay His return so that my non-Christian friends and family have time to repent and turn to Him.

At the moment I'm leaning towards the "Come Lord Jesus" side.  But then as I sit and type this in my parents' lounge room in Albany I'm reminded that they do not yet kneel before Jesus as Lord, and I pray that He changes their hearts....soon.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Come Lord by Garage Hymnal

This is one of my favourite Christian songs.  The good thing about suffering is that it makes me long for the Lord Jesus more, for His physical presence, for His kingdom.

When the last worldly prop is abandoned,
There is one solid rock that remains:
Jesus Christ, crucified and now risen,
So we look to the day when with the angels we cry,
Holy.

Come Lord Jesus and save us.
Lift up our burdens.
We call on Your name.
Saviour, lead us to glory,
Show us Your kingdom,
World without end.

What the prophets caught but in shadows,
What the faithful took at His word.
We have seen in the flesh of the Son,
So we look to our Saviour,
Raised up high before us.
(Holy).

Lyrics sourced from here.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

75%

Another unplanned absence from the blogosphere...

Last week my recovery took a sharp nosedive.  In hindsight, the nosedive was at the end of a gradual decline over the past three weeks or so.  I was barely coping.  Duncan had to come home to care for me and Rory.  My parents drove up from Albany.  A friend from the farm came to the house to pray over me.  I went to Albany and saw a GP, asking that my anti-depressants be reviewed.  In previous months I actually FELT the medication working.  I was quite robust and calm in situations that would have been unbearably stressful when Rory was little, but now every little thing that went wrong incited a major meltdown.  Previously I went weeks without crying.  Now, the 'bad days' and the tears were becoming alarmingly more frequent.

I've decided that this federal election I will vote for whoever pours more money into mental health.  The system really is a joke!  I was told I would have to wait two weeks to see someone at the hospital in Albany, even though the doctor put in an urgent referral.  I told them I was close to the end of my rope.  I always know I've slid backwards when I start talking and thinking about death.  Eventually, after a visit to the ED and much pushing, they brought my appointment forward to this Thursday.  Until then I've been instructed to come off the anti-depressants slowly and remain in my parents' care in Albany in case the side effects are unpleasant.  So far I haven't really felt any worse....just very, very tired.

I've tried to pinpoint external factors which may be contributing to my slide:
  • Rory started solids a month ago.  While he took to eating really well, he has since suffered from extreme wind pain and has been really unsettled at night.  Most nights we have to get up about six times on average.  I am annoyed at people who told me babies sleep better on solids...what a load of crud!  He has been more unsettled than he's ever been!  The introduction of solids has also meant more work for me in preparing his meals.  This has been coupled with one outspoken person in particular insisting that I HAD to steam and blend vegetables and NOT give him packets from the supermarket.  This has just added to my stress.  I was already struggling to get up, moving and motivated in the mornings and solids is another 'thing' to do.  I hate the way depression makes me feel so slow and sluggish in getting out of the house.
  • Rory has had eczema and is apparently teething (although there is no tooth yet) and has been a downright grizzle-bum.
  • Winter is getting me down.  I was a 'winter person' pre-kids but now I just wish the rain would go away and never come again another day.  I know I'm not supposed to say that on a farm, but who cares.  It sucks being out with Rory when it's raining.  It sucks that he keeps getting cold after cold and so do I (right now he's got a horrible cough again).  It sucks being confined to the house because it's wet.  I think part of the reason I was doing so well before was that I was going for long walks with Rory and the dogs most days.  When I don't exercise I feel sluggish.  Rory is a very 'busy' baby who seems to get bored.  I miss out on Vitamin D.  I feel depressed so I seek comfort in food.  I put on weight.  It's a vicious cycle.
  • I was struggling with life balance.  When I was in hospital I was told I need to fight depression by getting out and about, but sometimes I think I do too much.  It's hard to get the balance right.  If I go out too much I get tired and that makes it harder for me to be patient.
  • I was annoyed with the inequality for country women.  In Perth and large regional centres there are a host of services for women with postnatal depression and many of them are FREE.  Organisations like the Red Cross will come and babysit or help out with cleaning.  You can claim the Special Childcare Benefit for free childcare.  There's nothing like that out here.  Very little help or support.  There is only one childcare centre in town and they aren't registered with Centrelink so I can't claim anything back.  It sucks!  City people get everything.  Country people get jack. 
  • I've been organising a trip to Sydney and my 30th birthday party - both good things but the organisational skills required have been a test for my muddled brain.
This past week has been a fight to hold on to what God says is true in His Word.  I've asked him, "Why?"  I told a friend a month or so ago that I was feeling great, that I'd felt like I'd died and come alive again during and after my stay in hospital.  What is God doing?  I thought He'd healed me.  It's a fight to trust and rest in His love.  To trust what is true despite my feelings.

I had a scary thought the other day: What if I never fully recover?  What if 75% well is as good as it gets?

I don't think I've ever cried out, "Come, Lord Jesus!" more than I have this year.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Bible Verse of the Day

How long, O LORD?  Will You forget me forever?  How long will You hide Your face from me?  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?
Psalm 13:1-2