Church, self care, self love

Self Care Sunday, February 12th

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I’m writing this after a very long day and weekend.

I’m sipping my decaf Ruta Maya coffee with raw sugar and half and half.  The kids are asleep and Robert is chilling on the couch.

I forgot what it’s like to be super busy two days in a row.  Lately I have been going to town only on Wednesdays and Sundays.  While Wednesdays can be exhausting, I don’t have to get moving super early so that’s nice.

Yesterday we had a fantastic day, but it was busy from the get-go (Levi’s birthday party day and we had family here).

Today we had to get up and moving quickly.  We left out of here at 8:30 (this is early for me to leave these days) to get to church by 10:00.

I actually felt very pretty today, so I took a selfie and had Robert take a picture of my new LulaRoe leggings :-).

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Christ Church Kerrville was fantastic as it always is.  I always learn so much from the pastor there.  The church is small, which we like after being at a huge church for several years.  The preaching is deep.  I love that he speaks truth every Sunday.  I love worshipping through hymns, and I love that the kids are learning some of the hymns that I learned as a child.  The boys always go to children’s church after worship while Karis stays with us and takes notes (they have a specific place for kids to take notes in the bulletin) :-).

We had an amazing lunch with new friends (the pastor and his family).  The fact that we could have lunch with a pastor of a church is different from what we’ve been used to recently (with our old church being Chuck Swindle’s church).  The food was excellent and we enjoyed great conversation.  We just felt right at home with them.  I’m looking forward to talking with them more as I start to learn about the Presbyterian church.  He’s a former Southern Baptist like me, so he can appreciate specific questions that I have.

We ran a few errands, got some more groceries, and finished out our Sunday trip in town with my favorite Sonic Coke Zero with lime (self care!).

In true Courtney style, I couldn’t end the day with a messy house so I spent a little bit of time sweeping, vacuuming, doing dishes, picking up, etc.  It didn’t take long.  I had planned to do my prep for the week this afternoon since I didn’t get any done Friday or yesterday, but I was just too tired.  I’m home tomorrow and can do my prep then.  I don’t have much prep to do since I’m home most days now.

So my self care today was church, lunch with new friends, cleaning up the house a bit (yes, that’s self care for me), and now sipping my favorite coffee and blogging.  Oh, and I got a few new candles today that smell like spring (which go great with the weather we’ve had lately)!  Great way to end the week.

Body Positivity, Jesus, Mental Health, self care, self love, Vulnerability

Learning to Love Me

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Yesterday I wrote this post:

I am Your Anchor in the Wind and the Waves

Then last night I read this:

“I’m working on my abandonment issues, and I am also working on not saying ‘sorry to bother you.’ I’m not a bother, a nuisance or a burden; I’m a human being who deserves to be understood, loved and valued. I won’t let anxiety tell me anything otherwise, no matter how hard it tries.”

What It’s Like When Anxiety Tells You Everyone is Going to Leave You

It’s so spot on.  In every way.  I’m thankful that there are other people who understand what this is like!  It makes me feel less alone.

I have decided that it’s time to tackle this “self love” thing.  I am learning that I may not be everyone’s “cup of tea,” but I want to be happy with being me.

“What people think of me is none of my business.”  This was repeated in rehab often, and I need to repeat this daily.

All that matters is that my Savior loves me unconditionally, and He has grace for me every day.  I mean, He made me!  He made me on purpose, for a purpose.  That purpose is to share my struggles and how I overcome every day so that people have hope!

I decided to write a list of things that I like about myself (learning to love).

  • My eyes are pretty.
  • My freckles make me look unique.
  • My body is pretty great.  It shows that I’ve had 3 kids and that I’m no longer yo-yo dieting.  My husband loves it just as it is.  I’m taking good care of it by eating nutritious foods much of the time, but also nourishing it by eating foods I enjoy.  I’m allowing it to settle where it will.
  • I’m strong.  I have overcome a lot through the power of Jesus.  He makes me strong.
  • I’m a Christ follower.
  • I share my faith most days.
  • I’m vulnerable about my mental health and addiction.  Maybe this makes me brave and courageous?
  • I’m quirky.
  • I’m passionate about important stuff.
  • I am fighting hard to have a close relationship with my family (after lots of distance because of my illnesses and drinking).
  • I help other people going through mental illness and/or addiction.
  • I love people when others may not.  I love deeply.

What do you like about yourself (learning to love)?  You should make a list as well!

Jesus, Mental Illness, self care, self love, Social Anxiety, Vulnerability

I Am Your Anchor in the Wind and the Waves

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So yesterday went pretty well (the day at least).  I went to San Antonio to my new doctor.  This is the second time I’ve seen her.  The first time she told me to stop taking birth control (that I was only taking for moods) because it affects my Lamictal.  It makes the effectiveness cut in half.  She said that could also be causing my evening anxiety.  So I stopped it.  With-in a few days I noticed a huge difference!  My anxiety about disappeared (only here and there instead of every single day).

Yesterday she told me that she wants to keep all meds the same (praise God!).  She also said I don’t have to see her till April!  This is huge!!  I’m so excited.  At $150 a pop (for 15 minutes!), this is so nice to have a month of reprieve.

I thought I was good to go… then last night happened.  I think it’s something I just need to work through… I am on good meds for anxiety, so I don’t think that will help at this time.

A few things happened last night to bring me anxiety.  Through that, Robert and I had a long talk about it.

The reasons I was anxious were totally me thinking that people (multiple) were mad or annoyed with me.

My anxiety totally paralyzed me.  I just sat on the couch unable to function.

I asked Robert if he thought this was a symptom of my social anxiety, and he told me that it definitely was.  It’s also a symptom of knowing how people felt about me growing up.  I walk around feeling like people are mad or annoyed with me all the time.  Sometimes it really affects me like it did last night.

Robert talked me through it.

I keep hearing from people that I’m strong, courageous, brave, and bold. All I see in myself is someone who annoys people and makes people mad. I’m often anxious about that. That’s my social anxiety. Robert reminded me of what I know people think about me (what I’ve been told), and what I don’t know what people think about me (what I assume). I want to start seeing myself as brave, but I only share things because it helps me. I feel like the things I do for my health (seeing a psychiatrist, counselor, going to AA, having a sponsor, etc) are just necessary. I hope that soon I start to see what people have told me they see in me.

Robert also asked how God sees me.  My immediate answer is that he is also annoyed and frustrated with me.  He told me that the only one that is annoyed and frustrated with me is myself.  God’s grace is sufficient.  He loves me with an unconditional love. My sins are washed away.  He sees His Son in me.

“I am the Lord your God.  I go before you now.  I stand beside you, I’m all around you.  Though you’re feeling far away, I’m closer than your breath.  I am with you wherever you go.”

“I am the Lord your peace.  No evil will conquer you.  Steady now your heart in mine, come into my rest.”

“Come to Me, I’m everything.”

“When the storm rages, I won’t be afraid.  Cause I have locked eyes on You face to face.  Your voice I will follow.  Your eyes I will see.  Come a little closer.  Come close to me.  Oh cause you are my anchor in the wind and the waves.  Oh and you are mine and I won’t be afraid.  Cause even in the darkest nights, oh I know You are there.  So I press into Jesus.”

Grati-Tuesday, self care, self love

Grati-Tuesday, February 7th

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I’m so grateful for my wonderful hubby.  I couldn’t do this life without him.  I love this picture of us!

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My Levi can read a chapter book in an hour now.  He’s in 1st grade!

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Ethan is starting to love reading!  He picked these books out and paid for them himself.

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He is now able to read and understand Wayside School books.  He read it aloud to me Sunday night and was laughing about it and telling me why it is funny.  This is a 3-5th grade book.  He started at Rocksprings Elementary on an end of first grade level.  Saxon phonics and just lots of reading has helped him so much.  I’m so grateful for his teacher.  She is fantastic.

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Sunday night we told the kids that they had to read or write, and Ethan and Levi chose to do Mad Libs.  It was great because they are starting to understand and apply parts of speech (nouns, plural nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc).  I’m so thankful for how far they have come since they started school!

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Karis and I have started to write each other back and forth on a Google Document.  I’m so grateful for this opportunity to see into her heart more.  She surprises me with the maturity that is deep inside that she doesn’t often show in person.  I’m excited to see how this helps our relationship (she has been through a lot because of me).

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Afternoon reading time is fantastic!  I’m grateful that they can read on their own now!

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I’m grateful that my boys love playing games (Karis does sometimes as well).

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I’m grateful that the kids’ school celebrates things and has fun.

These are the boys’ classes.

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I’m grateful for movie nights (and our view… do you see that?!).

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I’m grateful for my favorite coffee and the ability to buy it!  It’s so yummy!

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I’m grateful for kids that love doing science activities!

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I’m grateful to have found some pictures and emails that my brother and I exchanged.  Here he is holding Karis.  I wish he had smiled more.

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This is a Simpsons picture that he made.  It’s Robert and me, my parents, and Karis.

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I love this Anne Lamott quote.  It reminds me of the important things.

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What are you grateful for on this Grati-Tuesday?

Alcohol Use Disorder, Jesus, Mental Illness, self care, self love, Sovereignty, Vulnerability

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord

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“19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”  Ruth 9:19-21

“8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”  Philippians 3:8-11

From She Reads Truth, Ruth, Day 3

“If prayer is a picture of believers lifting one another before the Lord, there are times I have been full-on carried. I don’t mean they’ve just walked alongside me or encouraged me to go on. No, they have picked me up from the pit and held me high before the Lord, my spiritual self limp and lifeless, desperately in need of the life-breath of my Savior. It sounds melodramatic until you’re in the thick of it, too spent to sigh another “please” or “amen.”

Naomi’s circumstances were indeed awful. She’d buried her husband, lost two sons, and said goodbye to a daughter-in-law. She had no hope of a grandchild, no path of provision. “I went away full,” she told them, “and the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). Yet, there was no fist-shaking at heaven. No renouncing her faith. Naomi believed God was sovereign, even in her tragedy.”

“Circumstances change, but they do not change our God. And they do not change the saving power of Jesus Christ. We need not waste time shaking our fists at heaven when we can run full-force into His arms, trusting He can redeem even us, even this, even now.”

Life is so hard, but God is sovereign.  He has a plan even for the darkest tragedy.  I have seen him used my struggles to bring about healing for others.  Just sharing what I go through everyday with mental illness, alcohol use disorder, and trauma helps others to not feel alone.  It helps others to share and be vulnerable.  It helps others to get it out.  It’s not me, it’s Jesus Christ with-in me that allows me to be so vulnerable. I care too much what people think to do it on my own.

Asking friends what they are doing for self care helps them to remember to take good care of themselves.  It helps them to dig deep and realize that they are worth taking care of.

Again, this is not me, but it is the power of Jesus with-in me.  He is using me for His glory.  It’s not about me, but about Him.

I don’t always share that.  I am selfish much of the time and want the glory.  But I’m learning that without Him, I am nothing.  He gives me purpose.  He gives me strength and courage.  He gives me boldness.

My daily prayer is that God will use me to bring about glory to Him.

Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety, Counseling, EMDR, Mental Health, self love, Trauma

Trauma. This Word Can Mean a Lot of Things.

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Until recently, I would not have said that I’ve been through trauma.

When I think of trauma, I think of war.

I think of domestic abuse.

I think of growing up with parents doing drugs.

I think of being raped.

I haven’t been through any that.

I recently started going to a new counselor, and after talking with her for 45 minutes, she listed 4 traumas that I have been through.  Then I talked with a psychologist for social security disability, and she felt the same way.

So, now I’m trying to figure out what that means for me.

What trauma have I been through, you ask?

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Well, it started at the age of 3 1/2.  I was sexually abused by a 9/10 year old.  I won’t go into the details here, but let’s say it was pretty bad :-(.  What’s sad is that you know that 9/10 year old had to have been abused as well.  I actually don’t remember this, but I’ve learned that it still affects me.

From the age of 6 through junior high, I was bullied.  Not just made fun of.  I was ostracized by most of my grade.  I was punched in the face multiple times.  Knocked off a swing and stepped on.  Punched on the arm multiple times.  Probably more that I can’t even remember.  I would see a counselor at school often because of this.  I practically hated myself.  I felt like I was flawed in some way and that there must be a reason nobody liked me.  I still struggle with this to this day.  I overcompensate often and have a lot of social anxiety.

Then, when I was 19, we were at a dance hall celebrating someone’s anniversary.  My Pawpaw and Meemaw (who I visited at least once a week) had just finished dancing, and he went to sit down next to me.  As he was sitting down, he had a heart attack and died immediately.  On his way down, he fell against me.  Then, I watched them do CPR on him, knowing that he was already gone.  I was in the room at the hospital with my Meemaw when they came in to tell her that he had died.  I lived with her for a month or so after he died, and it was really hard on both of us.  Honestly, this probably has the least affect on me of all four traumas that I have experienced.

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Probably the hardest for me is my brother’s death.  It was a very gruesome death.  He was at my parents’ house, and he used my dad’s rifle to commit suicide.  The top of his head was blown off by the rifle.  My mom was home and saw him :-(, so I would say she has it worse than me.  I was the first person she called, and she screamed, “Your brother blew his brains out!”  When we pulled up, they were carrying him out in a body bag.  My parents didn’t want to leave, so while we were planning his funeral, they had to put a sheet up to keep us from looking in the room.  Serv Pro came out and they had to throw away everything in the room.  It was so bad that they had to completely strip the room… ceiling, walls, carpet.  I remember walking by the window outside and seeing a piece of his brain on the window.  I don’t understand why they didn’t clean that off for so long!

I was 7 months pregnant with Levi.  Being the only other child, I had to take care of everyone else.  I didn’t have time to grieve.  I’ve still only cried a few times over it.  I’m sad that I don’t have emotion over it.

I went through terrible postpartum depression with Levi (probably because of Joey’s death).  I couldn’t function.  Robert has said that I was in a complete fog and barely took care of our kids.  He had to do the laundry, make meals, clean the house, etc.  He would come home from work and I would hand him Levi and leave.

I started drinking to feel “better” when Levi was about 8 months old.  I can remember the first time I realized alcohol would help my depression and severe anxiety (well, technically it didn’t… it was short term).

I have learned recently that a lot of my severe anxiety is because of trauma!  Who knew?

This is what EMDR will help.  I will truly be able to process so I can move forward.

Interested in learning more?  Click the contact page above and contact me!

Body Positivity, self love

Teaching the Kids to Work through the Hard Stuff… and A Project that I’m Starting!

Since my counselor has told me that the EMDR treatment will help with my anxiety, I started thinking that maybe I really can homeschool Karis next year!  Woohoo!  Yay!

Then I emailed Karis’ teacher to ask her opinion of the junior high in Rocksprings.  When she found out I was thinking about homeschooling her again, she sent this (and just know that I realize many homeschooling mamas won’t agree… it’s okay… I do agree with this!):

“I really do not believe that homeschooling is the best option for Karis. She is very quiet and I believe being in a school environment challenges her social skills. It is easy and comfortable for someone to be in the same environment day in and day out, but in my opinion it is not the healthiest situation for Karis. Her exposure to other students is necessary and healthy. She has come a long way since she first came, and the longer she is around these kids the more comfortable she will become. If her school keeps changing, she’s going to have a really hard time making and maintaining friendships.

Junior high will be a very different time and she’s going to experience a lot of change….but change is good and even if it is hard for her, the answer isn’t always to remove a child from a difficult situation. Karis will learn at every new phase she goes through. I believe that public schools help kids emotionally and mentally  prepare for “real world” situations. I would love to talk to you more about this any time. Feel free to call me and I will gladly give you my opinion. I really am honored that you are asking my opinion on this, and I think the more you allow her to sort of ‘fight her own battles’- per say- she will be stronger in the long run. We can’t always protect kids from the world, so we have to prepare them and teach them how to be strong.”

As soon as I read this, I knew what we needed to do.

I want our kids to learn how to be strong, to fight through the difficult moments, to have courage, to be bold, to learn to stand up for themselves, and to learn to be leaders.  They can’t do that if they don’t go through difficulty.  Homeschooling is safe for the kids and for me.  But safe isn’t necessarily best.

Robert and I have decided to leave the kids in public school.  Maybe for good, maybe not.  But for now it’s best.

When Karis gets into junior high, she will have kids older than her around.  She’s the oldest girl here, and I have noticed her regress with playing with younger girls.  She’s almost 11 and often acts like an 8 year old.  It’s not at all the other girls’ fault… they are acting their age!  Totally normal.  She has matured a lot just being around kids her age.  I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when she gets into junior high!  I’m excited now to see how she grows.

I bought some new books for her to help her to learn to love and accept herself.

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself- Even on the Bad Days.

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Real Beauty: 101 Ways to Feel Great About YOU

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Overall, I’m just learning to trust God.  He loves the kids more than I do.  He has a plan for their lives.  He knows what is going to happen in the future.  He will guide them through difficult decisions, He will teach them how to be a light to their classmates and friends, and He will use Robert and I to teach them each day.  Our job is to share Christ with them, pray with them, worship with them, take them to church, and just be the example of Christ.  We are not perfect, and I’m thankful that they will see that. I want them to know that it’s okay to not be perfect.

So now what.  What will I do with all my time?  I’m only driving to town on Wednesdays now for AA (and Sundays for church) so I have so much free time.

I started to think through this.

What do I like to do?

Crafting?  That’s a BIG NO.

Reading?  Some, but it’s not my favorite thing.

Cleaning?  Yes, but there’s only so much cleaning that can be done.

Cooking?  Yes, but that can only be done in the evenings, really.

Baking?  Yes, but there’s only so much baking that I can do.

Writing?  YES.  I love to write!  I can’t say that I’m an amazing writer, but it’s something I enjoy.  So.  I’ve decided that it’s finally time to start writing the book that I’ve wanted to write for years.

The book that I’m going to work on will be an autobiography.

To get started, I’m going to do two things.

1) Read a great autobiography of someone that I have a lot in common with.  It’s called Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy.

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A brief description from Amazon:

“At age nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer. When she returned to school with a third of her jaw removed, she faced the cruel taunts of classmates. In this strikingly candid memoir, Grealy tells her story of great suffering and remarkable strength without sentimentality and with considerable wit. Vividly portraying the pain of peer rejection and the guilty pleasure of wanting to be special, Grealy captures with unique insight what it is like as a child and young adult to be torn between two warring impulses: to feel that more than anything else we want to be loved for who we are, while wishing desperately and secretly to be perfect.”

Cruelty from classmates, suffering and gaining strength through that, peer rejection and wanting to feel special, wanting to be loved for who I am, and struggling to want to be perfect.  These are a description of me… along with mental illness and other trauma.

I’ve also read that she struggled with addiction (heroin).  She eventually died from a  heroin overdose.  While I don’t struggle with illegal drugs, I have an addiction to alcohol.  It’s all the same, really.  If I were to ever have a drug, I would be addicted right away.  Addiction is addiction.

2) I will just sit down and start writing.  Pieces of my writing will be on this blog as I go.  I have no idea where to even start.  I asked a friend of mine who is a counselor and an author.  She said, “Anne Lamott says you put your butt in the chair. You sit down and write, consistently.
You write lots of shitty drafts, she says.”

Used to, I would have apologized for the language, but I don’t care so much anymore.  Having been in rehab, I heard cussing all day every day!  Ha!

I’ve decided to move my discussion of mental illness, addiction, body image, etc over to this blog (and excerpts from the writing that I’m doing).  It makes more sense to have the one titled Home of the Croslands to focus more on my family and household things and Courtney Crosland’s Writing focused on everything else.

See you around!