depression

the whole world is in uproar and discussion about Robin Williams, suicide and depression. From the naysayers who say, just get over it, to the people who suffer themselves and are angry at the ones who don’t get it.

I thought I would weigh in with my two-cents.

After two pregnancies in 2 years and having a horrible birth experience with my first, I can see I suffered postnatal depression after Elijah was born and then again when I was pregnant with Naomi. Its a real thing. Its not a slump you can pull yourself out of. I was in denial and didn’t see it as an issue, but it affected my whole life. I didn’t have the overwheming desire to down bottles of aspirin, but I did have the overwhelming feeling that I was drowning. The lack of desire to do things I actually enjoyed, and pushing people away, the desire to stay in bed all day and just forget about the world. Yes, I didn’t have it so bad that I would kill myself, but I definitely wished I could run away from my feelings… ever try escape your own mind… yeah not an option.

I have friends and family who really do suffer from depression, its a real problem, a real disease, and its not their fault. They can take medication and numb it, but they can’t get away from their own minds. I would probable have gotten worse, but I had an awesome support system, if not for my friends who checked on me while I was pregnant with Naomi, and my husband who was there to keep me grounded, I may have lost my mind. I also hear the argument, to just trust God, and give it to Him… which is so true, but its totally easier said that done. The best post on the Christian perspective on depression is by Ann Voskamp. As Christians, and humans, we need to rally around those with mental illness and depression, not shun and judge them. Help them trust God, help them see His love, when they feel like drowning. Funny story is that some of the friends who helped me most were atheists and Buddhists…

You can be different and you can struggle and you can wrestle and you can hurt and we will be here.Because a fallen world keeps falling apart and even though we the Body can’t make things turn out — we can turn up. Just keep turning up, showing uplooking up.”

If we only knew what fire every person is facing — there isn’t one person we wouldn’t help fight their fire with the heat of a greater love. (Ann Voskamp)

If you suffer from depression, seek help, and know that there is no shame in depression or other mental illnesses, just as there is no shame in cancer or heart problems. Christ died for us all, and He is there to carry us through everything, the church needs to step up and be His hands.

letting go of perfect

I am a perfectionist. OCD. Call it what you like.

I was raised by a mom who managed to keep her house in shipshape all the time, even today her house is never messy or cluttered. I inherited this, which is not a bad trait, except that it became an obsession for me. I clean, tidy, declutter, sweep, move my kids and husband out the way to sweep where they stood, shout at them to pick up, and have heart attacks when they unpack something when I just cleaned.

Slowly however, I am learning to let go. I am decluttering and organising the house in a way that makes it slightly simpler to tidy quicker and easier, but I am trying to let go of the obsession and to focus on being present, and pleasant. We live in this house, my kids play, and they play hard… unpacking every single toy… so I am letting go.

Obviously the house needs to be clean, because dirty is just gross, so we have a lovely cleaner who comes in once a week and saves my sanity. I do laundry and dishes but for the rest I just let go. Its quite liberating really, to just step over the toys instead of screaming. I am by no means “cured” but I am getting there. Hopefully soon the clutter will be slightly less, then it will be simpler.

Instead of focusing on the mess I will focus on raising my family to focus on what is important, God’s word and loving each other and others.

So that’s my confession for the week…

papa shaped hole in our house

My husband is currently 15000km away, in Amsterdam for a conference. I always thought I was awesome and could do this parenting gig almost single handedly.

I. was. wrong.

My kids actually miss their Papa, I mean seriously miss him. Naomi (18 months) has meltdowns when looking for him in the house. Elijah (3.5 yrs) is slightly less dramatic, but he is so much harder to manage than normal.

I miss my friend, my love, my sounding board, my partner in this crazy life.

I am not cut out to be alone as a mom. Which makes me appreciate him so much more, and also sympathise so much more with my friends who do this permanently, with no other option.

I am just grateful that we answered God’s call for me to be home with the kids and to homeschool and all the other things we do as a family because of His calling. I am grateful that Chris supports me by working insanely hard, and by being there to listen and partner with me as we raise our little people. I could not do this permanently. Or at least not by choice or without an insane amount of grace, coffee, chocolate and wine.

I think all I am trying to say is, I have a massive appreciation for what Chris does as a dad, husband and provider. Absence makes the heart grow fonder for real. This is a really good post to remind us all of what a real romantic man is. He is a man, like mine, who steps up to his role as husband, father and provider.

elevation or degradation

‎”Every woman, whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence within which, according to her character, she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. Every woman by her virtue or her vice, by her wisdom or her folly, by her dignity or her levity is adding something to our national elevation or degradation.” —John Angell James

 some days I wonder what I am adding to this world, whether it is elevating or degrading. I’d like to say that most of the time, my input to society, or at least my family is positive, but sadly as a very sinful, albeit forgiven, woman that is not always the case. I used to often write about biblical womanhood, and modesty, and what it means to follow Christ as a wife and mom, but I haven’t in a while. Newly inspired, I would like to start today.

my circle of influence, is mostly my immediate family,  so husband, and children. they see me at my best and at my worst. Recently I have been more and more convicted, both from my loving husband and wise women online, that I show more of my worst side, my temper, or just my impulsive worldly ways, my addiction to being online, and the fear that I may just miss someone’s really irrelevant status update. That leads to me losing my temper more because my children act out as they want my attention. so I have been really challenged to put down the phone, tablet, laptop, and engage with my children, so that I don’t only yell our of frustration because they are bugging me while I am doing what is ultimately folly. I realized this even more when my husband gave me his FarmVille game to take over, i played it like an addict, racing against time to fill orders for a computerized character, and to make as much money as I could to buy the next thing I need to fill more orders in my race against time… and what I realized is it’s such a waste, a fun waste, but a waste nontheless. I would reach for the iPad as soon as I could get up in the morning and play FarmVille for half an hour, and then run late with everything. Which would make me edgy with the kids, and my husband, and the dogs, rabbits and chickens (The real ones in my garden). I realised that playing this game, and being online all the time for fear that I miss something is degrading. my legacy to my children should not be a mama who was plugged into a screen all day, and yelled when she was running late due to her own faults, but a mama and wife who is plugged into the family. it’s not about how many friends I have on Facebook, or how many peach yogurts I can make on FarmVille. It’s about begin friends with my husband, and knowing him, about connecting with real life friends when I can, or at least having meaningful conversations online, not just cyber-stalking, and it’s about playing and engaging with the little people I have been blessed with.

i don’t want to write for other people anymore, to do product reviews or write to see how many comments I get. I want to write what will elevate, and encourage my daughters one day if they read this blog, about being a mom and wife. I have likely lost all my readership anyway, but thats fine, I will not promise to post often, but when I do it will be meaningful. I write now more for myself as a reminder or even a journal to see what I have learnt, and maybe someone else learns or maybe not, but it’s ok. For now I will let go, and play with my kids and hang out with my man. Hopefully that will be enough to elevate our nation and our world.

Review: Spring Board Books

The lovely people at Shelton Interactive sent Elijah and Naomi some board books to review. Due to some personal crisises and big changes in our lives, we have taken forever to write this up (Apologies to the ever patient Katie). These three books are specially for Spring, so if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, these are for your seasons… but for those in the South, they are still a great buy. I have reviewed some of Callie Grant’s books before, and as usual she is a winner in our home.

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Jesus Saves Me – A sweet book with full colour photos, all about how we are Jesus’s sheep and he is the good Shepherd. Very good for small children, as the photos seem to attract them more than illustrations do, well for my kids anyway.

Little Seed: A Life – This little gem is all about the life cycle of a seed, but brings it back to God who is the one who makes everything grow in His time. The illustrations are wonderfully bright and it is definitely a book that can even be used in teaching some basic biology.

Close as a Breath – My favourite of the three, the illustrations are beautiful, and the story is precious. I relate to it, as I remember walks with my dad as a little girl, and asking a million different questions. Definitely a book to get hold of a treasure.

As I said, these books are a win, so if you can get them, do! They make lovely babyshower or dedication gifts, as they are lovely and chunky for baby hands.

(I was given these books to review, but have not been remunerated for my opinions, and as such they are my honest opinions)

Best coffee ever

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So as you know we live on smallholding, and are attempting the whole simple life, whole food, homesteading thing. Which is great fun, and interesting to say the least.
Since we now have reasonable good internet, I have started reading other homesteaders and real foodies blogs to get ideas for how to run this place and eat better. In the week I was reading Wellness Mama’s blog and came upon an interesting post about how she drinks her coffee. My first reaction was mild revulsion… But then I thought, heck I am fairly open to new ideas, let’s give it a go. So this is how I now drink my coffee, and I swear, it’s amazing!! I struggled with black coffee, but knowing that our processed dairy is really bad, I don’t drink it in my coffee. And everyone knows a mama needs her coffee.

Ingredients

Fresh black coffee
1 tsp unsalted butter (I use salted coz it’s all I currently have, and I don’t like wasting)
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil (I think mine is just normal, but going to get virgin tomorrow -virgin is more coconutty than the processed one and way healthier)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I made my own a while back with vanilla husks I bought for dirt cheap at Wellness Warehouse and vodka)
1 tsp honey/stevia/xylitol (I use honey because stevia taste bad after and xylitol is not something I have in the house)
1 tsp rice milk powder/creamer of choice

Chuck it all in a blender/stick blender and zoosh until it’s nicely mixed . You’d think it’s oily but it’s creamy, kind of like if you add cream to coffee. The butter and coconut oil emulsify and made it sooo good.

The great thing is, it makes it lank easy to consume some of the 1/4cupf coconut oil that’s recommended. The benefits of coconut oil is something I have post about before, in a series, go check it. I’m doing it because a)it’s better than black coffee, b) it helps weigh loss c) it helps prevent Alzheimer’s (something I’m pretty freaked out by).

Go on! Give it a try… It’s awesome.

 

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Jesus

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
― C.S. LewisMere Christianity

 

Eucharisteo

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I’m late, I know. But I’m naming my year 2014, it’s name is Eucharisteo. This year my challenge is to be thankful, to be grateful, to enjoy the small moments, the little things. These are not resolutions, but rather goals, and challenges that I have set for myself.

I’m doing the One Thousand Gifts challenge, and recording my gifts as I go through the year. I have tried this before and failed, but this year is different, this year I feel God is calling me to step back, to breathe and really focus on Him and on my family. Less stuff outside the house, more focus on growing closer to him and teaching my children about Him.

I am reading Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst at the moment, and I am finding it really helpful for dealing with food cravings and realising the connection between food and my relationship with God. It’s crazy how Satan uses food as a way to draw our focus away from God. So this year, I am going to fight back, and instead of giving in to the cravings for junk food, I am going to pray and crave the Living God, who is so much more sustaining than a momentary taste of chocolate (which inevitably leaves me feeling super guilty). This is in part to lose weight and get healthy, but really it is also a way for me to get closer to God… Praying every time I crave food, means I will be praying A LOT!

What are you doing this year?

I have been totally silent on the blog for the past few months, mostly due to no internet access but also because I have been praying and debating about whether to continue with this blog or whether to stop blogging or to change the direction of the blog.

it has been decided that I will continue blogging here but that the direction will change. I never wanted to be a mommy blogger (no offense) it’s just not my thing, I felt called to write about deeper issues, possibly relating to moms, but not only reviews and mommy stuff. I would like to write about issues close to my heart or issues the Lord lays on my heart, whether that offends or not.

I am realising more and more that I have spent the greater part of my 27 years, being unhappy about something in my life, I have a big covetousness issue. I am never completely satisfied with myself or what I have. It has dawned on me, via some wise people in my life and some great articles, that that’s not freedom. Freedom is being who I was created to be, where I am…. Bloom where you’re planted basically. I don’t really want or need all the latest hipster outfits or gadgets, but because someone else has them or something online tells me I need to have them, I believe them. But ultimately I’m not happier or more fulfilled by these things, on the contrary, my life is cluttered and complicated by things I want or desires to be something I am not.

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I guess what I am trying to say is that I want to be real and write about what I am passionate about, real life, simple living (still in the process of simplifying my life), homesteading, trying to live as naturally as possible, and of course my faith and everything that goes along with that. I don’t feel comfortable posting so much about my kids anymore, so forgive me if you expect photos and many updates. if we’re friends IRL you’re likely to see them on my FB feed, or we can hang. I would like to honor my kids by granting them a private childhood, they may not like their faces all over the net when they are 18.

i make no promises about post frequency, but I will be around. I will review products if I find them to fit in with our lifestyle and beliefs, but not just any product. that said, i have one review outstanding which does not fit in this framework but as I try to keep my word, I have to write it.

i hope you’ll all hang around and join in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

 

Messy Yummy Edible Paint

Today I had this brainwave. After promising to take Elijah to the beach on the way home from our shopping trek, I saw that the mist was crazy over the beach… which meant beach was a no go with two wee ones. So I told him we could paint at home. Thank goodness I had vanilla instant pudding and a bunch of food colouring. And a gigantic roll of newsprint.

This is the story in pictures… no filters or editing… as I’m posting this off my phone, no internet when Chris is at work.

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Mix up the pudding per instructions. Divide into bowls and mix in the colours.

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Give free reign to babies and toddlers…

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They enjoyed the texture… E wouldn’t taste it.

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Managed to get him to look at the camera.

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That’s paint by the way…

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Naomi had such a ball.

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Tipped all the bowls… much to her brother’s frustration.

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Love that face. Elijah wouldn’t look at the camera at all. I tried.

All in all it was a fab exercise… and one that made me grateful that my bathroom is right be the front door.

Let me know in the comments if you have any fun messy or clean activities that toddlers and babies can enjoy.