Finding Answers

I am feeling better more everyday. Fall is still a little bit down the road, but I get small pockets of crisp fall air coming from the northern states. I am still tired, I think this is a permanent condition of being a mom. Laying up at night thinking about my kids, their futures, their well-beings. Did we say I love you and hug enough? Did I give each boy enough one on one time? Mr. D is heading to his last year of middle school. It feels surreal. My first baby is not a baby, but a young man. Last year somewhere in the bumping of heads we found our peaceful median and our mother/son relationship grew up. Even though in my heart he is still my baby and will stay that way for all time.

Now with two of my oldest going to school soon, I have two at home. One that we are hopefully very close to finding answers for. Then I can take on my health problems. I know that my pituitary gland is malfunctioning as well as my thyroid; both of which have contributed to my increased depression. Most of that additional anxiousness is residing now that I know there is a reason and that it is not all in my head. I am looking forward to finding the answer that unlock my road to recovery. I am out of my cave, I am feeling less blues, I am working hard to be whole.

Today is an easy breathing day. Even though we are financially set back we are not really not behind. We will still manage to pay all of our bills, it just means stretching the pantry and being inventive when making  meals. I feel like I am in a better place about things at the moment as I have a direction to follow.


The Garden of Anger

Anger blossomed in the bossom of a garden, neglecting the infant sprout, thorn growing wilder than weeds, in striking form it broke free, spreading anger like a disease, spanning higher than redwood trees, no longer retractable,  shredding deep into tender hearted recipients, in aching remorse, droplets of rain did form, to extinguish the fire that was born, from the neglected thorn, grown in the garden of anger.

Who do I want to be when I grow up?

My mom had this awesome little book for my school years. It had a pocket that had a design on the front to add my current school year picture, my age, my hobbies, and who I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a Ballerina, Astronaut, Archaeologist, Paleontologist, Teacher, Marine Biologist, CEO, College Professor, and back to Teacher again.

I grew up with the freedom to dream of anything I wanted to be as long as I wanted to put in the effort for it. In high school, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, I loved the study of marine life. Unfortunately not an easy field to get into and I was not sure about the sharks. I could never leave my family behind to explore the depths of space. I really hate the heat so any artifact digging was out of the question. Ballet ended for me at the age of 11. That left CEO, College Professor, and Teacher.

Enter in side thought:

Recently I collapsed in my home. I was cleaning and bent down to pick up my dust cloth off the ground and reached over my head to finish dusting my entertainment center. Down I went. Thankfully I taught Mr. T my 6 year old what to do in an emergency. I was taken to the hospital via ambulance and spent a night in the luxury of a hospital bed,  the food was better than the last time I stayed. While I had a whole day to myself stuck in a bed that I was not allowed to get out of on my own; I had time to think.

I thought about my life, about the feelings and things I was running from, the things I didn’t want to deal with and my truth. My life has 4 kids in it which means it is chaotic the majority of the time. I have been depressed, sad, stuck, lost, hibernating, cave dwelling, hiding, and drowning. I was running away from happiness, my true strength, my courage, my children’s challenges, and myself as a whole. I didn’t want to deal with anything so that should cover everything.

Enter in memory:

Easter weekend 2017, I load up our vehicle and the kids and left for my parents. Just the boys and me and a 2 hour drive. I was so unhappy, empty, lonely, I missed my parents who had never been more than 35 minutes away from me. We went out to the beach that weekend and I walked along the sandy waters collecting seashells. My parents attending to my children allowed me a few quiet moments in my own thoughts. I prayed; I prayed to my Heavenly Father to open up my heart, to allow me to heal, to find away to help me get back to church, to help me find a way to feel less helpless about my life.

He of course answered and within the next week the Bishop and his wife showed up at my door. Divine. The messages at church were like my heavenly father hand picked them for me. I needed to hear those talks and messages.

Then illness struck our house and I found easier ways to not go to church, not feeling well, too tired, too sad, while winding up my anxiety again. I went to work in my garden and prayed to my Heavenly Father please help me overcome this anxiety, this needless and relentless pressure I place on myself. Please help me find the help I need for my health. I am always so tired, sad, and can’t lose weight even though the attempts to do so.

Lovingly he sent the Bishop again, who felt I was in need of help. I openly cried my lament to him in my front yard for the world to see. My Heavenly Father sent me compassion to ease my anxiety and help me gain some peace.

I had a conversation with my mom about speaking my truth. Somewhere over the past 7 years I became unable to speak my heart. I know where it happened through reflection, however, I needed the courage to be open with people and tell them my struggles. I prayed to my heavenly father to help me with the courage to speak my truth so that I may start finding the help I was needing.

Strategically he placed many people in my path over the week who spoke the words of my heart for me. They too had dealt with such trials and little by little I was speaking more of my heart. He sent me courage through sisterhood.

I was increasingly tired over that week, I was stressed over Mr. B’s Health and speech challenges and Mr. T’s struggles with letters and words. I felt small, overwhelmed, unhealthy, and growing exhaustion. I prayed for guidance and the path I needed to take to gain back my well being so that I could be healthier, less angry, and a less stressed mom for my kids.

I collapsed and went to the hospital last week and had blood work, and scans done that helped me have tools to go to Dr.’s with. My Heavenly Father allowed me to fall right into the direction I had asked him for.

Back on topic:

I have spent the past week praying about what I should do with my life and my career. My children will eventually be in preschool and higher. I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and I just feel like the path I was on for a business career was not full-filling me for my long-term goals. The first time I realized I loved helping children and kids learn, I was in High school. I would help younger kids with subjects that they were struggling in with school. Watching their confidence bolster as they began to have their own ah-ha moments filled me with such joy. I loved the feeling of serving these children, guiding them, and showing them their true worth.

When I look at anytime I have ever prayed about what I should be doing with my career, anything and anyone related to teaching popped up into my life. Today, I was encouraged by an educator to follow that passion. I said “I don’t have my degree in teaching,” “that is ok” she said. I told her I loved preparing my son’s kindergarten home-school year and working with him. I would prefer to teach children from 3rd grade to 5th grade, but I am certain whatever is planned for me by my Heavenly Father will be exactly what I need this time around.

So, here I am preparing to pay for certifications and to save money to get the 30 hours of teaching education I would need. The spark in my heart ignited, that cave moving further behind me. It was the first time in a long time I felt like that determined woman I used to be.

My business degree was perfect, at the time I needed it. That business degree helped to support my family. I had the ability to provide and did not have to worry about not having the credentials for the job.

What do you want to do when you grow up into each phase of your life?

Analog Living in a Digital World

I just spent the past hour typing up my broken heart, then cutting, pasting it to a word doc, and saving it for another day. I can do that living in a digital world. I was beginning to talk about the positive and negative aspects of living in a digital world, when my broken heart jumped in and reminded me of some very hard things that I can’t share right now. I wrote them out and that is enough for the moment. I am still waiting for that counselor to call me back. I think I will have to work around that and pursue something else.

I grew up in a very analog world. I was in high school when the internet came to our home. It was a great new world of new things we could do. I could write emails to people, do research for my school projects, and now was required to type up my final essays. Even then my ADHD died a little every time we logged onto the internet. I would begin the dial up process, go work on chores, help my mom or brother with something, then be able to do whatever it was on the World Wide Web. I was allowed 30 minutes a day on the internet and an hour total on the computer. At times I felt this was so unjust, but as a whole, I really didn’t care, I still had things to do anyways. I loved and still love to read and that is how I enjoyed most of my evenings after school. I would sit down and watch an hour of TV with my parents, get ready for bed and read for another hour before falling asleep. Life was simple, my parents made it look easy.

I was 20 when I worked at the hospital, I had my own pager and loved my job. I started as a patient transporter and moved onto working with the radiology film department. I also had a Nokia cellphone, but used my landline telephone most. Minutes were expensive and there was not unlimited anything at that time. My cell phone was for emergencies or when I was away from home anyways. When I was pregnant with my first child I could play silly games on the internet and the Sims 2. This was my little world. I kept house, took care of my dog and waited for the arrival of my child. I could see how easy it was to loose oneself in games and the internet. When I was overwhelmed or sad I would get lost in games or the internet. Thankfully, I was able to still get things done around the house and as Mr. D grew; the busier I became as he began to crawl and walk and explore his world. Everyday was a new learning adventure.

Then I became a single mom and while that had its challenges I was able to put myself through long distance learning. I could work on pictures that I took, I could access so many things digitally that I could entertain myself at anytime. When I got my own place I had a great balance of work, school, personal time, and raising my son.

When this analog woman got married to a digital man, my world changed in ways I was exceedingly unhappy about. That is a story for another day. What I will share today is that too much technology is a bad thing. When Technology becomes a central focus in the home many other things are lost. I want things to change, but in reality without the support of the other parent, these things will always feel like a battle.

I am fortunate to know a life before technology, I raised my oldest this way until seven years ago, and now it is an unbelievable force to reckon with in our home. I am still trying to solve that problem and I know what really needs to happen for that change.

In my personal experience, the digital generation I have experienced in my home has lost touch with humanity, perseverance, hard work, self- entertainment, strong ethics, personal time-management, priorities, and focus. It is not just in my home but in the real world too. I just had to buy my kindergartner headphones for school. Again, that is a thought for another day.

How do you battle this struggle in your home?

Murder of Crows 01.30.2017

Hard Days and Short Braids

I have always dealt with the blues. In my youth I could spend a day reading in bed and get up the next day and move on. Now it seems I just can’t reset. One day turns into two and before I know it a month has gone by and my life seems lost. I wish it would go away. I wish I could not feel sad, even more so because most days I have nothing to be sad about. I never know what will trigger it per say. Just one day enough is too much and I am spiraling down, becoming sad, guilty, angry, and lost. Then I start with apologizing for being sad, for being easily agitated, and for cave dwelling. It just cycles through and it has been this severe for about four years now.

Hard days are when I just loose it, I have a horrible temper, I am easily agitated by everything stimulating the world around me. Then the tears come for being such a monster and feeling like I let everyone down. Then the guilt starts when I look around me and see everything that I had great intentions of doing and just don’t. Like going to church. I love going to church, but it overwhelms me. I am afraid of being judged for not being perfect, I am afraid to let people in because I am more afraid of being let down or abandoned. Then I come up with silly excuses to keep myself safe and this is the worst because I need to be out there to stay floating on the surface and it allows me to handle myself differently and focus on my challenges.

It all started this last time with an onslaught of monetary surprises that put us behind. We easily caught up again, but it made me feel bad about myself. How could I still not have a nest egg and why couldn’t I be prepared enough? The truth is I had to create a system that would allow me to still function even through the depression. Create a strong budget that would run itself when I was not prepared to deal with anything. So far it is working.

Then the month passed me by and I have concerned people showing up at my door, per my prayers to my heavenly father. Because in those deep places I still pray to my God and he always listens to me (even if he doesn’t always answer the way I’d like). My insurance has been having technical issues and I have been without a therapist for too long. I have a number to a counselor that can help me and yet I am so afraid to pick up the phone;  I know this person can help me. It is a new person though and I have to start all over and it is really hard for me to show my vulnerabilities the ones I can’t talk about with anyone. It is really hard for me to ask for help. I don’t want to burden anyone, I don’t want people to have to worry about me, I just don’t want the attention. I am most uncomfortable in the middle of a crowd of people who are looking at me. The only place where I am a totally different person is when I am the boss or leading and guiding a team, a much more confident person resides there. So, the question is how do I make that my whole being not just a piece of me?

On Sunday I purchased my new planner for the upcoming year. I have school aged children so my planner runs on the school calendar. I filled up my task list for Monday and prepped school holidays and marking periods for the 2017/2018 school year. Yesterday I finished my task list and I know I am a list person, but looking at my previous planner I could see when I was really bad. Weeks with no lists, cycles if you will and they all coincided with my cycle. Starting about two weeks leading to then like a switch there were lists again.

I feel so alone in my world most days. Like I am the only person in the whole world hurting like this. I know I am not. I know it will change. I just have to pick up that phone and make the call.

I managed to get all of my tasks done yesterday and had time to play with my yarn and while I have 20+ projects going on I wanted something quick. I made face scrubbers for a test run. Which made me face one of two mirrors in the house. The 6 X 6 inch mirror in the bathroom. (They are both in the bathroom). I used the face scrubby and looked at my face. I was impressed with how well my skin looked. I saw the tired eyes and the smile lines. I saw white streaks of hair. I saw the natural aging, but I saw someone I love and care about; myself. I brushed my hair and realized it was long enough to finally put in pigtail braids. It made me smile. Then I saw my eyes brighten and remembered what pretty eyes I have. Then before I could start telling myself ugly things I turned off the light and left loving the face I had just seen in the mirror.

Does anyone else struggle like this? I am tired of this cycle. I am tired of the sadness no one else can see or understand.


Letting GO: Scrapbooking

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There is a great part of me that misses scrap-booking. I was religious about getting those stories and pages done. Telling the story of our lives, our adventures, our legacy. I started casually scrap-booking the Senior year of High school, 1999/2000 school year. The previous summer I had joined my fellow concert choir mates on a trip to Manhattan, New York. I scrimped and saved, worked more hours, and asked for cash or things for my trip for Christmas and my birthday. I was 17 when I went on that trip and I will never forget the sights, sounds, and cultures I found there. I was going on my first trip without my family hundreds of miles away via plane. The best thing about the trip: Ellis Island. I got to see my great great grandfathers signature of arrival. I have always been drawn to our family history and daydreaming about those long lost lives.

I came home and decided to start a scrapbook documenting my visit. I still have those pages all these years later, messy globs of oddly shaped pieces of paper, pictures, stickers, and some pretty scary handwriting. I documented the first year of Mr. D’s life, I no longer have those pages or pictures. They are lost to me forever, however, the memories remain. I took tons of pictures for a long time after that, but after the heartbreak of losing his baby book it took me a while to get back into committing to storytelling.

I eventually came back to storytelling while living back at my parents. I felt like life’s biggest failure at the time. I was going through some very large hurdles one of them was pre-cervical cancer. I was a single mom, living in the backroom of the house I had grown up in, I was putting myself through college and working on my bachelor’s degree at the time. My parents gave me a digital camera for my birthday and I was smitten. I wanted to tell stories again and capture Mr. D so he could look back at himself when he was older. I hardly had money, but I quickly learned how to use free programs for paint shop and downloaded tons of free digital scrapbook supplies. I spent my free weekends working on those pages lovingly and began to wake up inside. I eventually moved us into an apartment of our own and I will NEVER forget that feeling of accomplishment. (It brings tears to my eyes to this day). I kept on with my digital scrap-booking and eventually bought myself a Canon DSLR and taught myself how to do digital photography.

After a couple of years I married my hubster and had a bit more money to try my hand at physical scarp-booking. I was addicted, it was great, I had so much to tell and I was giving a future gift to my children. Life however has a funny way of changing you through events and more children. I longed to continue making pages and sharing them or being featured for my work. After the birth of my third son Mr. B, I had to go to work 2 weeks later for financial reasons and struggles in our home. I also entered into a very severe post par-tum depression that turned into full blown depression. I lived in a fog for years, resurfacing during the fall every year. I was missing out on pages and I was too busy and sad to desire them.

I had shelves and shelves of supplies that I was now guilty for having because I was doing nothing with them. I was going to therapy because I was ready to end it all during my cycle every month. My hubster and I were reconciling and working on getting back together during this time. My therapist told me it is OK to let go. It is OK to close that chapter and not to be guilty for the products I had not used. Give them away and give your self permission to move on. It took two years to officially let go of 75% of what I had. I kept the basics of what I would need in the event I wanted to have paper in my hands for storytelling or other projects. I learned to let go of that guilt for the most part telling myself that It was OK to put away that part of my life. Now having 4 boys, I really don’t have time for all of those projects and I still tell stories digitally when the mood hits me.

I had taken a long hiatus from blogging mainly due to no internet service for years and I  no longer identified with my former blog and told myself it was OK to let go and push that delete button. I wanted to see how some of my favorite storytellers were and was surprised that many were moving on too. It has been a bittersweet transition learning about their new chapters and pride in how they have changed too. It confirmed that it was ok to tell new stories and explore new rooms within my subconscious house. I cut down my hobbies to practical hobbies that create peace for me and I can put down at a moments notice like gardening, knitting, or crocheting. I can make practical gifts, things for the house, and things to wear with my hands.

Letting go can be hard, the guilt can feel immeasurable, and it is OK to let go and release that guilt. Someday’s are challenging and some projects sits for quite sometime between working on them. That is OK too, I get bored, I like the feel of a new yarn or projects to keep me going between the long projects.

Lego Soup

Out of four boys one would have to be like me. “May the odds be ever in your favor” or “Babies are like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re gonna get”; so in reality it was going to happen. Mr. D the teen, brooding, him against the world, male testosterone meets teen boy, however, he is fiercely loyal and watches out for the little guy.  Mr. T starts public school next year. Socially he struggles, he gets overwhelmed by many people, loves science and will have a robot factory someday, he is currently Mr. Bossy Pants. Mr. B willful, intellectual smart, hot tempered, struggles with getting all of his words out, loves to learn, already working on writing letters and words at three. Then there is Mr. A, sweet, loving, joyful, scary smart, visual, logical, creative, draws shapes and knows colors, problem solves, is curious, has a sassy pants temper, gets hangry, oh yeah he is so much my little me in male form.

Mr. A is independent, he is the most self-sufficient of all my boys, can entertain himself, can figure it out, and loves to see cause and effect. He was born two months early and spent the first three weeks of his life in the NICU. He knew how to self-pacify right off the bat. He hates limitations, can be willful, and will figure it out in his own way because he is impatient. Sigh…I am reading about myself too. I digress. He reached two recently and with that came a whole new meaning to curiosity, what if’s, how come, what happen’s when?

This week we will focus on two things that made me walk out of the room, laugh, then try to parent. Earlier this week he was determined to have peanut butter. I told him to wait as I was busy folding laundry. Mr. A Independent decided he would do it himself. So he proceeded to get the tub of peanut butter and the cat food scoop from the cat food container. I came out to Mr. A covered in peanut butter licking his fingers on one hand and holding a peanut butter and cat food scoop in the other. I was certainly very proud of his resourcefulness. I was not impressed with the cat food in the peanut butter tub. He spent some time thinking about patience in the corner.

Today he decided to play CSI with his Lego’s and his drink. What happen’s if I pour my drink in each of the holes in the Lego’s, then dump those into the big bored upside down. I guess he was trying to see how many holes he could fill with each sized Lego. Apparently he has been doing this for some time and I finally found the sour smell in his room under his bed. Flashback to me as a kid growing science experiments under my bed. SO sorry Mom. Needless to say today we made Lego soup in the sink. The water was disgusting = I have more deep cleaning and exploring in his room to do.

Look I cannot stand there staring at my kids all day long waiting for them to do something wrong; that is like watching a pot waiting for it to boil. Instead I have to get on with my day and come back ninja mom style and say “What did you do?” and watch them jump like Rosie McRose Rose. Sigh, just another day down in the books.

Morning Musings

It is another typical morning here at our house. Mr. A and Mr. B are my first risers along with the animal gang. This morning they must have been sleeping well or tired, as they gave me an extra hour of sleep. After getting them situated with drinks and a thirty min preschool show, I worked on getting the hubster up for his morning job. Took Lilly girl out for her morning walk and came home greeted by the rest of the (starving) animal residents. After I get everyone situated that is 15 minutes to think about the day. What is on my to do list? The usual chores, it is Wednesday so coupons come from the paper and I can plan my grocery list and meals for the next week.

Mr. D the Oldest of the boys probably won’t join the gang until later. He is a teen and during the summer I let him enjoy it and tell him to sleep. He won’t have much of that opportunity once life hits. Mr. T usually rises an hour after the first two. Once the youngest three rise the day is officially going with chatter, laughter, fighting, and life. Breakfast will most likely ensue soon, so I should be quick.

Three years ago I was the mom that did crafts everyday with her kids and worked a full-time job. It was not out of choice but necessity at the time. I worked long hours at a very physical job and I did enjoy it. I enjoyed the challenge of running a team of 30 people everyday and making a moderate paycheck. I was driving myself crazy trying to keep up with other moms out there. That on the surface were probably struggling in ways like me or not. I was over my limit of what I could do. My body was falling apart from the inside out and I felt like a monster, tired, agitated, and prior to my cycle suicidal. That is not a typical conversation I wanted to bring to the table. The longer it continued the more I hated who I was, the more I did not want to get out of bed every morning,  and the more I no longer wanted to be apart of life. Then there were good days where life was great, I had everything handled, the kids had their activities, and I was truly happy. Just a continuous cycle two weeks on and two weeks off. It is still like that but I now recognize what it is when it starts up again. Some months I handle myself well, some months I don’t. As I keep working to fix the broken things in my body I dream it will be better.

In a house of 10 creatures in beings you would think it was easy to not feel alone. Think again. It was until I came down with a really bad sinus infection and was in bed more than usual that I really noticed that the feeling was not just being alone, but feeling invisible. I would come out to dishes piled in the sink, the house a wreck, and rowdy boys. It is frustrating to think that no one else would do it because I was trying to feel better. Then I would spend the next week trying to pick up and be back in bed because I overdid it. I have known for years that the teamwork here will never be what I need it to be, yet it is the highest contributor in spiraling me down back in that well of dark depression. When I catch it before the spiral I can prevent a three month bought of loss of myself. The sad thing is while I know the course result, there is a part of me that just tells myself that if I were happier and on better working medication I would feel better about things. The lies I tell myself.

Some ways that I work through everything is to get lost in my crafts, like crochet. I rather enjoy getting into a project and probably have more than 20 going on currently. So many WIP (works in progress). It is my happy place and the colors of the yarn reach deep into those dark places I crawl into and coerce me out to the light again. I am my happiest when I am creating and sharing.

Lilly and the Gang are beginning to go into full speed so I must head off for now.

My crochet block #14 from the Moogly CAL 2017

A Fond Hello

Hey There! It is has been a while since I last wrote a page. Three years to be exact. I am Bran, the author of this little space. I used to have a blog “The Many Adventures of Bran,” it no longer exists; because I let it go. It was a great blog that resembled the woman I used to be two children ago. Now I am just the crazy lady that runs a household full of creatures and beings. How many? There are currently four creatures and six beings that reside around here. The ratio? Three girls and seven boys; yes I know totally outnumbered here. I manage to keep most of my sanity at the end of the day and other days not so much.

What can you expect here? Anything really, whatever comes to mind, but it will be really real. I won’t be afraid to share the good, the bad, and the ugly here. The last time I had a blog I was struggling, I was going through a personal crisis, I was trying to be someone I was no longer enjoying, and I worked too much at painting an image of what I wanted the world to see on the outside, when I was torn apart on the inside. I just ceased wanting to be that person and not really knowing who I really wanted to be I could no longer relate or fake my way through being that person anymore. That blog was predominately a place I shared scrapping (which I hardly have time for.) I loved the work I put into that blog, the people I met, and the world I created, until I changed.

I suffer from depression and have done so for most of my life and I also suffer from PMDD. I have some pretty good ideas of what led me there including imbalances in my brain that I can’t personally control. My third baby broke me though, not really. My body just began breaking while pregnant with him. While I have yet to fix all of the things that contribute to my depression, I am on the path and I am learning and I will share that here. Maybe I can be just a real person that relates and encourages or supports others. I am not medically certified so it will be opinion based and supported by findings and research.

I am a proud mamma of Mr. A, Mr. B, Mr. D, and Mr. T my boys, Ziggerton “Ziggy” and Bruce my male cats, Rosie McRose Rose my female cat, and Lilly my female dog; I am a wife to the Hubster. All I can say is that God knew me well when he gave me boys without any mixture of girls. I am just not wired for girls. (I am not sure that I am all the wired correctly anymore anyways). Not to say that my boys aren’t a handful because in reality they are like five handfuls each. They drive me to insanity (think glowing red eyes and fiery hair) and then tell me I am beautiful, and then all is right in the world again.

This is just the start, and I hope to treat this blog better than my journal, as I certainly don’t keep up with that. Until then…Cheers!

United States Botanical Gardens, Washington D.C., Vacation 2011