4 Lies Depression Told Me

Depression is powerful. And it's a liar. I'm sure the lies we hear depend on the individual. I don't see how there can be recovery if you still believe in the lies. Here are four lies that my depression used to play on the repeat setting, for years.

1. What do you have to be so depressed about?

This was a big one for me. To the world, my life was charmed. I had a successful husband, two healthy kids, a big house, I was a stay at home mom, we had no real debt, etc. For a very long time (probably years) I wouldn't even entertain the word depression to describe my feelings. The problem with this denial is that if you don't recognize there is a problem, it cannot be fixed. I felt my feelings of inadequacy and sadness were a result of my brokenness (see Lie #3) and I just needed to get myself together. The harder I tried to "get over it" the deeper I sunk into the depression. I just didn't know it.

2. I am not worthy.

One reason I believe it is so hard to heal from Depression is because you believe so deeply that you are not worthy. Not worthy of happiness. Not worthy of healing. Not worthy of love. It's almost impossible to fight for something (including your life) if you don't feel you are worthy to experience such things. I think this has something to do with why YOU have to want to live for yourself, not the people in your life, if you hope to find healing.

3. I am broken and I cannot be fixed.

There is no hope for someone who believes they "cannot be fixed". This is where you want to give up because you truly believe you will always be drowning in the darkness. Insert Lies #1 and #2 here to support Lie #3.

4. Suicide is the solution.

For me, I reached the place where I just wanted to stop the never ending pain, the crushing darkness and hopelessness. You start to believe that ending your life is the only way to accomplish this. I know people say suicide is the most selfish act and I'm not going to lie, I really struggle with that statement. When you are wrestling with suicidal thoughts, you are sick not selfish. You are hurting. And you honestly believe that every one else is better off without you. You really believe that.

Depression is all-consuming and very deceitful. You're mentally exhausted from trying to fight the constant destructive thoughts. You feel nothing you say or do will matter. You are so overwhelmed by the tiniest tasks in life.

The struggle is awful. But it can get better. I imagine the path to healing is different for each person. Wanting to live for everyone else only got me so far. It kept me from succeeding but it did not keep the thoughts of suicide away.

Honestly, I don't know what changed for me. At some point, I decided I wanted to live for me. Then things started to fall into place. I believed I deserved to get better. I had been in extensive therapy for a long time and ideas from those sessions started to click. I started working and was doing well, which helped my confidence greatly. My mantra became, "Just Breathe". I would literally say those two words out loud whenever I was overwhelmed. I realized there were people in my life who loved me and I was not alone. I also began talking to others about my struggles.

There is no shame in Depression. No one thinks being depressed sounds like a good plan for the day. It is an uphill battle where you are grasping for any glimpse of hope for healing.

Now that depression is behind me, I am changed. The pain and numbness is something I hope I never forget. It is because of these struggles that I know who I am, what I'm capable of and what matters most to me. I am so grateful for my "Not Perfect" life. I'm thankful to live in a time where medications were available to help me through the hardest times of my life. And I'm thrilled it has been almost 3 years since I've needed to take those meds. I really believe it is the "little things" that matter. As my children grow, I am constantly reminded that I almost missed out on all of these experiences and again I am filled with thankfulness.

I wish Depression did not exist, but it does. I hope in some way my story will encourage another person to "Just Breathe" and keep fighting. Sadly, not everyone overcomes Depression and this breaks my heart. The fight is worth the effort. Life on the other side of Depression is a beautiful thing.

Depression lies to us. I shared a few that played over and over for me. What other lies is Depression capable of spreading?

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Being Brave

We all have fear. Some fears stem from experience. Some fears are irrational. Some we get over. Some we grow out of. But fear is real and we don't have a lot of control over what scares us.

I have a fear of free falling. This limits the number of rides I can enjoy at an amusement park. It also means I've never learned to dive into a pool. I can jump in, but I cannot dive. My knees buckle every time. And then there was the time in college, the Resident Advisors went on a team building camping trip which ended with me in tears because I could not fall backwards from the top of a picnic table and trust that my peers would catch me.

There are other fears I've had. Some fears I've gotten over. Our fears will change as we age I suppose. For example, I was afraid of thunderstorms. Always hated them. Couldn't sleep, wondering if there would be a tornado. Then I got a dog. I loved my retired greyhound so much. Peanut lived with a lot of fear and anxiety every day. And it was because of Peanut that I learned to calm the fear I had about thunderstorms. Peanut was already afraid of the storm. She could feel my fear and then she would get worse. So I taught myself to stay calm during the storm. One day I realized I was no longer afraid of the storm. If only Peanut needed to dive into a pool!

We also tend to overcome our fears for our children. We want the best for our kids and we don't want them to be limited by our fears. I think for me a big fear I've had to work through, repeatedly over the last few years is trying something new. This is a broad fear and I imagine most people have some degree of fear about trying something new. New things are uncomfortable. There are so many unknowns. We have the choice to stay in the current situation or to step out and try something new. Starting a new job is scary. Making new friends is nerve-wracking. But I want my kiddos to know that facing their fear can bring about some amazing things.

Some fears are so deep rooted we may not be able to overcome them on our own. That is a part of life. For the other fears, I find it interesting that it is sometimes easier to overcome our fears for the sake of someone else, especially those we love.

Have you had an experience where you overcame fear for the sake of someone else?

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Change Is In The Air

Change is in the air. I think like most people, my first reaction is not to embrace change. There is comfort in routine. In knowing what is expected of you and how to do those things that are expected.

Why is change often a struggle? The unknown can be a scary landscape. The feelings that come with it can be overwhelming to some. It definitely can be for me at times. If you're ever close by and hear me say "it's going to be ok" or "just breathe", I'm in one of those overwhelming moments and I'm trying to talk myself down. I will be ok, I have learned that I will get through whatever the situation is.

Some change we choose while other change is out of our control. I believe this is another reason change is hard. Most people do not like feeling out of control. When the change is our choice, it feels more like an adventure. When it is not our choice, it can be scary.

Change can be good, great in fact. Leads to new experiences and accomplishments. Without change, not only would life be boring, but people would never strive to be more. When I look back on my little journey, the list of what I have accomplished because I had to is pretty long. And I know for sure I would not be where I am today without those changes being a part of my journey. Today, I have so much more confidence (not arrogance) which I have lacked for most of my life.

What if there was never change? Could you imagine? I guess in a world with no change, we would all be running around like cavemen...pretty sure that I'm glad that change is a part of life.

Change is often uncomfortable but it is necessary. Let's look at it as an opportunity for growth and try to see it as an adventure. Good or bad change, it is a part of our individual journey. How does change make you feel? What helps you through the process?

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What I've Learned About Forgiveness

Forgiveness...this is a powerful word. I once heard it described as "no longer wishing harm on the person who hurt you". I have often thought back to this definition as a measure of if I have already forgiven or still need to find it within me to forgive.

Sometimes it's easy to forgive. Other times, forgiveness feels impossible. The hurt is so deep and trust is ripped away...these betrayals have been the hard ones to forgive for me personally.

Who is forgiveness for? On the surface, we think the injured party needs to forgive the person who hurt them, for the sake of the one who hurt them. This can lead to a big problem if the person who did the hurting has never apologized. Sometimes, that person does in fact need to feel forgiven. Most of the time though, I believe that forgiveness is really for the sake of the one who is hurt.

When we choose to withhold forgiveness, we are clinging to hard feelings and a sense of injustice. We carry the anger and betrayal around within us. We dwell on the incident and it stirs the pain all over again. Those feelings most likely will never affect the one who did the hurting. Our lack of forgiveness isn't hurting them, it's hurting us.

When we forgive, we aren't saying the situation didn't happen. We aren't making an excuse for whatever actions caused the pain. But like the definition I shared above states, it allows us to get to the place where we no longer wish the other person harm. We can let go of the ugly feelings. It doesn't mean the relationship will be restored. In some cases, the relationship can heal, grow and move on. Other times, the relationship may never be re-established but either way, you will no longer suffer at the thought of that person or the incident. Forgiveness allows us to truly heal so we can move on in whatever way we need to.

Forgiveness is a choice and sometimes that choice has to be made over and over and over again. It can be a process. It's hard to find peace within yourself if you are harboring bitterness. It may be hard to forgive at times but I believe it is necessary for our own peace of mind and health.

I try to remember that we are all human. We are all doing the best we can with what we've got. This reminder doesn't make it all go away or restore the broken bridges alone, it just helps me to remember that no one is perfect. We all hurt the people in our lives at some point. And when I cross that line, I would want to be forgiven. With that said, some days are easier than others. That's how life is though, it's a process. A growing, stretching, sometimes painful process. This part, forgiveness is one of the steps in the journey that I feel is necessary, for our own sake.

Forgiving yourself is also important. For healing, growth as well as for your mental health. I want to explore forgiving yourself at another time. Stay tuned for this topic.

I'm sure not every one will agree with my ideas on forgiveness and that's ok. What are your thoughts on forgiveness? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the process of forgiveness.

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20 Things That Make Me Happy

These are some of the things that make me smile and remember that life is good.

1. Healthy children - who I watch with amazement as they grow into the people they are meant to be.
2. My Fiancé - who loves me and thinks the person I am is pretty great.
3. My parents and sister, my first family -who have been so supportive of me through the years.
4. My job - which challenges me most days and allows me to pay my bills.
5. The sunshine - which feels so good on my skin and can lift my mood.
5. Birds singing - can be very peaceful and relaxing.
6. A roof over my head - when there are so many who have no home.
7. Food - we are blessed to have more than enough food to eat.
8. Listening to the rain while laying in bed - this is another comforting experience that is relaxing to me.
9. Time with friends - feels good to connect with other adults and have fun.
10. Laughing - both when I laugh as well as listening to others laugh makes me feel thankful that we have reasons to laugh.
11. My pets - snuggling with my cats while they purr in happiness is a wonderful feeling.
12. Thoughts of our last vacation - we made such great memories at the beach last year. They've gotten us through nearly a year. We cannot wait to go back in two months and make more memories!
13. Music - is so powerful. The words in a song can express so much.
14. Crafting - I enjoy creating something out of nothing.
15. Cooking a good meal - I find great pleasure in cooking a meal that everyone has enjoyed.
16. Watching my children succeed - at school, at a horse show or on the ice playing hockey.
17. Naps - I don't have the opportunity to nap like I used to but I really appreciate the times that I can sneak one in.
18. Listening to Mike (my fiancé) play his guitar - this is very relaxing to me as well.
19. Family time - my favorite days are the days when our family is all together.
20. Writing Java Talk - sharing my thoughts and experiences is an incredible adventure.

There is so much in each day that make us happy. Some we recognize and others we take for granted. Please take a moment and share what things make you happy.

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What's Important to You?

As parents, we decide what to teach our kids. Obviously, the older they get, the more outside influences there are. But in the beginning, we teach them what's important to us. Some things we teach "To Do" and some are "What Not To Do".

One of the things that was important to me was teaching my kiddos to speak to adults. This may sound silly but in my eyes it is an important skill for children to learn.

I'm not sure if it stems from the earlier generations of "children are to be seen and not heard" but it makes me crazy when a child won't meet my eyes and mumbles a response. I understand shyness. I remember my little ones hiding behind my legs when a grown up would speak to them. Some of this is developmental and will come in time but some of this is enabled by having mom or dad always speaking for them.

I started small. When we would eat at a restaurant, I had my kiddos order for themselves. If they wanted a refill or ketchup, they asked for it. When they were very young, I would get the server's attention, but my kiddo made the request. Now when we go out to eat, they know exactly what to do and how to do it. They say please and thank you to the person they are speaking to. Another strategy I've used is to send them through a checkout at a store and have them pay for an item just to encourage this interaction between adults.

I'm surprised how many times my kid's friends get quiet and shy when I speak to them. I promise, I'm not a monster. So I make a point of speaking to them. I ask them a question. I want them to get comfortable talking to me.

I want my children to know how to handle themselves with adults. In conversation, in public, should they need to ask for help. This is one of the skills I've really tried to encourage with my two. I notice when they are using these skills in the real world and it makes my heart happy.

I'm sure we all have different ideas of important skills to teach the next generation. I'd love to hear what skills/behaviors you feel are important to teach your kids?

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I've Always Wanted To...

When I was in high school, I took a pottery class. We made many projects throughout the class and the entire time I knew I had to throw at least on piece on the wheel. This intimidated me so much that I put it off until the very last project I made.

What I found out was that I loved working with clay on the wheel. The way the wet clay felt. The forgiveness of the clay if I pressed too hard. How it changed shape right before my eyes with the slighted change in touch. Honestly, I have no idea what that project looked like once it was completed but I still remember how much I enjoyed the process. I also remember how much I regretted putting it off until the end. I could have been working on the wheel for months, but because I let my insecurities rule, I missed out. I did that to myself.

I have always wanted to take a pottery class again and still have not found the right time to do it. Over the years, I've thought of that pottery wheel often when I've faced something new or intimidating. I hope that some day it will work out where I have the chance to do it again. But if not, I'm thankful for such a visual illustration that evokes real memories that remind me I do not want to miss out.

What have you been too insecure to try only to find later that you wish you had tried it sooner?

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Depression. Divorce. New Dawn.

Recently, I've mentioned many times that I've had to "start over", "begin again". I've mentioned I'm divorced in passing and currently living a content and happy life. I have not mentioned some of the things that brought me to this place. I've glossed over the sad, difficult parts and skipped to the new, strong, independent, happy me. There's nothing wrong with that. I just want to take a few moments and share some of the painful steps along the way. Mine is not a complete story without them.

Java Talk started in 2011. I enjoyed writing each day. Sharing stories about the Mini's, recipes and other fun topics that I encountered in my daily life. I loved when someone would tell me they read my latest post. Who would have thought I had anything to share that would matter to anyone else?

2012 was the beginning of a very difficult time for me. I struggled greatly with depression and even made an attempt at suicide just to make the constant pain go away. For many months, I fought an all-consuming and exhausting battle, for everyone but me.

During this fight for my will to live, I determined I needed a divorce. I was never going to get healthy if I stayed in my marriage. Once you know something, you can't un-know it. The problem was I believed divorce was wrong. I can't leave, it would be morally wrong. Then there was the logistics. How could I leave? Where would I go with no money and no job? What about my kids?

The truth is, no part of divorce was easy for me. I hate that my children live in two homes. I feel guilty they are children of divorce. But I truly believe if I had stayed, I most likely would not be here today. Divorce should not be an easy option. Relationships are hard and require work. I was married 13 years and I had reached a point where I could not put any more of myself into the situation.

Once I made the decision to go, I had to figure out how. As I mentioned above, I had no income and almost no work experience. I felt so trapped.

Fast forward a few months and I did what I had to do. I found a job and a place to live. When I had the kids I was ok. When the kids were with their dad, it was awful. The quiet. The emptiness. The depression telling me I don't deserve to live, to be a mom, to make a new life.

It was ugly. The hardest thing I've ever done. And one day, I simply (I say simply but there was nothing simple about it) decided I wanted to live...for me. Not for my kids. Not for my parents. I was finally fighting to live for me.

Every day I am so glad that I was able to make that choice. Today, in 2016, I know I am a good mom (I did not say perfect). A healthy mom. I'm in a happy and healthy relationship with a man who loves me just as I am. I learned to love myself in a way I never could before.

Today, I am thankful for each new morning. I feel guilt because my kids almost had to grow up without their momma. They would have survived and adjusted, but I never would have been replaced.

Divorce is an ugly thing. For me, I believe it was necessary. I am happier than I've ever been in my life but there is a cost. Being divorced comes with challenges. Some I may share over time, some maybe not. I share my kiddos 50/50 with their dad so I will have contact with him for many years to come. One thing I want to be clear about, he has always been a good dad who is very involved with the kids. This post isn't about him. It's about my struggles to finally know and love who I am.

My new status on official paperwork is "Divorced". It's not an easy road, but it's part of my journey. It is a portion of my story that has led to such a beautiful place in my life where I am learning more and more how to find the Joy in the Journey.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

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It Happened to Me

When I was younger, my mind was sharp. I was always thinking 3 steps ahead. I was thinking about one thing which led to another, all while talking (to the kids, a friend, on the phone or to the dog or cats) and physically doing something else. I'm sure I was distracted but I was functional in all these areas at once. Should I have focused on one thing at a time and been present in each moment, yes, but that's not what this post is about.

I find more and more that I can no longer juggle so much mental space at once. I find I'm asking people to repeat themselves if I my mind jumped to something other than what we are discussing. I feel like it takes longer for me to absorb what people are saying. Not always, but enough that I notice a difference.

Last week, I had to take my Girlie to the Dr. to have her cast removed from her arm. I had made arrangements with my boss. All was good. We went to the appointment, got our Dr. note to get back to school, I signed her in at school and headed to work. At the office we have a major parking issue. If you aren't there by 7:50 am, you run the risk of no where to park. It was about 9:40 when I got to the parking lot around my building. As expected, there were no empty spots. I thought I saw a spot in a nearby lot, so I started backing up and turning the wheel so I could get pointed in the right direction. That's when it happened...

I turned right into the curb. Actually, I was on the curb. I couldn't believe it. My mind was so consumed with finding a parking spot, I never even looked before I began to turn the wheel! What?! Who does that? I even have a backup camera, which I never glanced at.

I pulled forward and off the curb to find a piece of my rear bumper on the ground. (Insert waves of disbelief and disappointment here) I am a very responsible driver. I love my little car. I've only needed car body work once and that was because I was rear ended, it had nothing to do with me.

I got out of my car and picked up the piece and pushed my bumper back into place. I think it's just a cosmetic boo-boo but I still can't believe I broke my car. I know I'm not the only one to do something dumb like this. Thankfully, it is only a minor mishap. But what a reminder to keep my head in the game.

I had been rushing to take care of my daughter, get her back to school, feeling rushed to get to work (even though I had been told to take care of my kiddo) and worried about finding a place to park my car. And guess what? That spot I thought I saw, wasn't even free.

We all do things like this. We all have times when we are juggling too many things in our mind and we let one of those balls drop. I had a wake up call that morning. When have you realized you needed to take a moment and regroup? What did it take for you to be reminded to be in the present moment?

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The New Look

Hi all! I'm so excited to share the new, updated look of Java Talk. I have wanted to update the look of this blog but have been unsuccessful on my own.  Starting over wasn't really an option unless I wanted a new name and address.  I really like www.bringyourownmug.blogspot.com.  I think it's pretty creative so I didn't want to give it up.  After many Google and Pinterest searches, I learned I could hop over to my 3rd favorite site, Etsy and purchase a template for my blog!  So I did!  I bought a template  from a company called GetPolishedCreative, based out of South Carolina.

Not only do I love the look, but I have been very impressed with the customer service.  I've been working with Chelsea Hibbard.  She took all my information and made the changes for me (for a small additional fee which I was happy to pay).   She has been great to work with.  Chelsea has answered all my questions in a quick manner and asked my personal preferences for the layout. I am thrilled with the final product.

I started Java Talk five years ago and the look of blogs have changed a lot.  I was looking for something simple, classic and pretty.  I am so happy with the new look of Java Talk.  Take a quick look and let me know what you think of our new look.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear what you think.

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I'm Addicted to Pinterest

Hello, my name is Dawn and I'm addicted to Pinterest. Chances are good, you are too. If I want to know straight up information, I do a Google search. If I want ideas or How To information, I go to Pinterest.

I haven't looked at a cookbook in years. Quick dinner idea? Pinterest. Family gathering? Pinterest. Holiday meal? You guessed it, Pinterest.

Pinterest is also where I go for gift ideas as well as ideas for crafts to make. Have I mentioned I LOVE Pinterest?!?! Below are pictures of a few creative things I've made that were inspired by Pinterest.

I am no artist but I do enjoy making pretty things. I love the idea of dandelion wishes blowing in the wind. Joy in the Journey is a beautiful motto which I remind myself of often. I put the two together and made this little painting on canvas.

I made this 4 canvas display for my daughter. It's purple and gold. The picture doesn't do the color or sparkle justice. Again, I was inspired by something seen on Pinterest. I decided I wanted to add a quote on the blank canvas. So I searched inspirational quotes on Pinterest and found the perfect words to give my Girlie.

I made this as a gift for someone. So simple but I was very happy with the final project.

My Girlie and I made homemade lotion from a recipe I found on Pinterest. We had a great time working together on this. And then we each got a container of our lotion.

And finally, Apple Pie(s).

We went as a family and picked apples. Then we had to something with all those apples, right? So Pinterest came through once again. The five of us worked together to make these yummy pies.

This is just a small selection of my Pinterest inspired creations. And I didn't mention my Pinterest Fails. Yes, they exist. That sounds like another Java Talk post for the future!

Are you a Pinterest addict too? What do you find you most often search for? Share your Pinterest wins with us.

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My Dream List

I've been a homeowner since April 2013. When it comes to home maintenance I've had to learn a lot of things, quick. And there are still many projects left for me to get to. Some projects I will complete. Others will more likely stay in the "Someday" column. Below is a short list (in no specific order)of what I hope to as see through to its completion.

1. Refinish the pew for the entryway. This is the first project I am going to tackle and I expect it to be within the next few weeks. I am very excited about this project and cannot wait to show before and after pictures.

2. Repaint the kitchen cabinets. When I bought the house, the kitchen had been completely remodeled, but I've never liked the cabinets. A little paint and a lot of elbow grease should make a significant difference. I'll be honest, this task seems very overwhelming for one person, so I'm not sure when I will get to this.

3. Paint the walls. Color on the walls makes such a difference in a home. I'm not a huge fan of painting and I don't have the money to hire someone. The worst part is, the people who renovated my house, thought it would be a great idea to paint ALL the trim, doors (bedroom, closets and bathroom doors)and ceiling beams a bluish-gray. This means if I paint the walls, I have no choice but to paint every surface of the house....so this task is extremely overwhelming.

4. Fix my bedroom closet. I have two folding closet doors and neither one works. They are both hanging open all the time. It has something to do with the floor being uneven and the tracks not being installed correctly. My house was built in 1946 which means a lot of things are not even. And the people I bought the house from did most of the reno work themselves. I love my home, but I learned quickly that they did not know what they were doing. I've had to take care of many big and small projects in the three years I've lived here.

5. Landscaping. I know nothing about plants or flowers. I'm not home much now but in the future I will be. At some point I want to invest in pretty landscaping as the final touch to my home.

All of these things take time, money and the Know How. I don't really have much of these things which means my timeline may be long. I am going to start with my pew and see what to tackle next.

What projects have you conquered? How did you get motivated to begin?

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Ok, What Did I Forget?

I imagine we've all had these moments. You wake up and jump into the morning routine. For me it looks something like this...exercise, drink coffee while talking to my man, wake the kiddos up (when it's my week), read the Bible, shower, hair and makeup, pack my lunch then head to work.

My mornings start pretty early. It's the only way to get it all done. I'm always taking a quick peek at the clock to make sure I'm moving at a good pace. The kids pretty much get themselves ready for their day. I just pop my head out of my room and say "how are we doing? Did you brush your teeth? Is your bed made?" The kids and I are a team and we get the job done.

Every morning looks the same. So when I have a morning when I'm ready 10-15 mins early, I begin to feel uneasy. This happened this morning. I keep thinking, what did I forget to do? I have run through my mental list. And I can't think of anything I missed. I have no idea how some days we are running out the door at the last minute and other mornings, I look around and wonder how I got all these extra minutes.

The good news is that so far, I haven't forgotten anything major. I have no explanation for my morning routine at warp speed. When I find myself with these extra moments, I try to grab the kiddos and do something fun. Often it's a quick game of Jenga.

Do you ever have these mornings when nothing is different except the time it takes to get the job done? What do you find yourself doing with your little gift of time?

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I'm Not There

Being a Stay At Home Mom is no joke. Being a Working Mom is also no joke. Having spent many years at home, followed by the last few years working, I have experienced life as a Mom in both positions. There are definite pros and cons to each.

Today I'm thinking about how I'm missing out on what's happening during the school day. My kids are approaching their Middle School years. In the beginning, I knew the teachers, I knew the classmates, I was on a schedule to help in the classroom. I even picked my kiddos up after school each day.

The last few years, I know who the teachers are and I feel I can talk to them about anything, which is important. But I find myself never knowing which Cycle Day it is, which means I don't know if it's Gym, Library, Art or Music day. I know the names my kiddo's closest friends but I as their circles change I find myself having no clue who they are talking about.

I do try to head over and have lunch with the Mini's every once in a while. It's so fascinating to watch my kids in "their" world. Seeing the routines as well as the interactions with their peers.

When I am asked to provide a snack or supply for a party, I'm happy to help but it's not the same. I grab what is needed and send it off to school with the correct child and its forgotten. It's a task that I need to do and it gets done. I'm not complaining, it's just weird. And sometimes it's sad. I DON'T know all the kids anymore. I have so much on my mind that it's easier to ask "Do you have gym today?" than to know the cycle day and the corresponding special for that day.

Soon my kids won't want me anywhere near school, which is normal I suppose. Today I'm a little bummed I no longer have that direct connection with school life anymore. I'm sure there is something more I could do to close the gap in some ways. But the reality is, I work full time and my kids are getting older. Both of these are good things, great in fact. Again, I'm not complaining. I'm just thinking about how sometimes it's hard to juggle it all and the sacrifices we might have to make in order to keep those balls in the air.

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like I'm missing out on something because I'm at work and no longer at home. Our kiddos will be fine but that doesn't mean we don't feel the weight of not being able to do it all....if you are a working Mom, what do you feel you miss out on the most?

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Kids and Cell Phones

I know it's coming. My kiddos want a cell phone. I remember when I was a pre-teen, how desperately I wanted a phone in my bedroom. To be able to talk to my friends whenever I wanted. So I understand the want. I just don't know if I'm ready for this.

Things are a little different now. Most people don't have a landline anymore. Everyone has a cell phone. And with cell phones come extra monthly expense (which I'm not ready for) as well as the potential for many problems brought on by technology today (which I'm also not ready for).

My kiddos are 9 and 11 and for the most part, I feel they are just fine for now. I know the day is coming where they will each have a phone, but is that time going to be sooner or can it be later? They each have their own iTouch. Which can do anything an iPhone can do, except make a call. I am one of the few people with a landline, so there goes the excuse of needing a cell phone to call for help in the case of an emergency.

To make sure they aren't using apps with inappropriate content, I feel I've come up with a brilliant plan. When I set up the iTouch for each of them, I created the necessary account for each child but I have never told them their passwords. If they want to buy an app, I have to put in the password which means Mom decides what they can and can't see. This system has worked for the last year and a half.

My son is asking for a phone because all his friends have phones. The "all the other kids" plea is nothing new. But now it's my son asking to keep up with the Jones'. They are in fifth grade, why do they need phones? People rarely talk on phones now anyway. Maybe it doesn't matter why kids have phones, the reality is that they do.

I worry about kids with cell phones because it can lead to many dangers. You see on the news way to often about kids being hurt or worse by someone they met on the Internet. You hear about kids who take pictures and put things in writing that you can never take back. These little handheld computers certainly come in handy but does every child need one right now? Do my kiddos need one already?

I'm looking for any insight from experienced moms on this topic. What age is appropriate to have a cell phone? How do you keep an eye on what your kid is doing with his/her phone?

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Happy National Pet Day!

Loving animals is not a requirement to exist in this world. It doesn't make you a bad person if you aren't an animal person. I definitely fall into the animal lover category. For me, I want to hug 'em and squeeze 'em all over. I believe I could get attached to a dust bunny if it was there long enough. I think you are able to see where I'm coming from.

Currently, I have two cats although I did have a greyhound who I adored that has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Today I want to take a quick minute and share my girls with you in honor of this fun day. They are very different. And my relationship with them is different. But I love these them both very much.

This is Maisy. She is my "heart kitty". When my depression was at its worst, I brought this girl home and we were inseparable. When I could hardly function and was so overwhelmed by every little thing, she curled up on my lap and purred away. It was so uncomplicated and comforting. To this day, if she thinks I'm upset, she runs over and starts rubbing against me and "talking" to me. The funny thing is, she thinks I'm upset anytime I take short, quick breaths...and these days, it's almost always because I'm laughing, not crying! Maisy is my joy. In fact, my favorite night time ritual starts once I've settled into bed, she chirps just seconds before she jumps into bed. Then she curls into a ball pressed into my armpit and falls asleep while purring.

This is Chloe. Chloe was an abandoned kitten. Not by choice. The story is her mom and litter mates were hit by a car and she was the only one that survived. Chloe wants to be near me but she doesn't really want to be touched. This was a challenge for me but I learned quickly that she is most comfortable being close by. It's ok for her to lean on me but she doesn't really want to be held. Ok, so she definitely doesn't want to be held, haha. Chloe makes the kids and I laugh because she collects my daughter's toys and drags them through the house. You never know what you'll find on the floor in my house. I find it entertaining as well as endearing.
See the my little pony in the top right of the picture? That was Chloe, I learned a long time ago to put my toys away when I am done.

Saying goodbye when our pets are ready is heart breaking and so difficult. But I cannot imagine daily life without the little signs of Maisy and Chloe in my house. Right now, my lifestyle is not appropriate to bring home a dog. When things settle down, then we will get a dog to add to our madness.

How about you? Can you relate to the healing friendship of a fur baby? Have you always had pets around? What does your pet do that makes you smile?

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The Power of Words

These words are powerful.

Learning how to mow the grass, pay the bills, start a career and live on a budget...Facing suicidal thoughts and battling depression one day at a time...Making choices that have led to regret....

I have never been as happy as I am today. That doesn't mean I don't get upset or overwhelmed at times. It means I am alive and well. I'm thankful for life and for the people in my life. I still worry. But in my life I've seen the twisty roads unravel to reveal a much better today. I've often thought this thankfulness comes from remembering the pain and sadness. And although I won't say I'm glad I went through some of my experiences, I will say I am thankful to have made it to the other side a much healthier person.

Just in case you missed it. Please read these words again.

These words. I'm not sure who said these words first. But these words express a powerful part of my story.

Have you ever read a quote that you identified with so strongly? I'd love to hear what quotes have touched your life.

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My Go-To, What's Yours?

I love to shop. Big things. Small things. Things for me. Things for you. Doesn't matter. But I live on a budget and my excessive shopping days are a behind me (which I'm actually happy about). Real life lesson I've learned...money (and things) don't buy happiness. For me, led to emptiness. That's not my point today.

I still love to shop. Most of the time, I'm very good with my money. I'm a very responsible Budget Follower. But some days, I just have this itch, almost a need to buy something. I have noticed a trend with me.

It would seem that when I have the overwhelming urge to spend money, my Go-To is lipstick. It's little, it's inexpensive. And it makes me feel pretty when I put it on. Win/Win...Win right?

This has led to a ridiculous number of lipsticks in my makeup bag, purse and vanity drawer. It is a little silly but I'm convinced there are worse things to spend my money on. It's cheaper than shoes and less calories than a donut! Again, I feel like I win!

I'm sure there are as many Go-To items as there are people. What is your Go-To?

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Mom Guilt, It's No Joke

Mommy Guilt...it is REAL. I was home with the Mini's for 9 years. It starts when they are brand new. They are crying and you can't figure out why. They've been fed, diaper has been changed, they've slept, they won't sleep...why won't they stop crying? What am I doing wrong? Guess what Mom??? Babies cry. As long as you aren't neglecting your Bitty Baby, it's okay for your baby to cry. Your baby will be ok. It's not always easy to listen to, but your baby will be ok.

As a Stay At Home Mom, you are with those kiddos all the time. This is a blessing for sure (I realize this now more than ever) but it comes at a price. Patience runs short, you struggle with battles you feel you will never win (insert nap time, laundry, meal prep, etc. here). You lose your temper and Mom Guilt hits full force. Mom, love on your kids, say you're sorry and do something fun with them. The above tasks will get done eventually. Every mom loses their cool, remember, Mrs. Brady was a TV character ( I totally dated myself! But I watched the reruns!) she was not a real mom.

Now that I've joined the force of moms who work and my kiddos are in before and after school care (which my Littles hate), that nasty Mom Guilt presses in again. As we rush out the door and I drop them off, I feel like such a traitor because I know they don't like the program. The reality is they are safe and this meets the need for our family. The bright side is they are 9 and 11 and soon they will be old enough to be home for the two hours until I get home from work.

What I'm beginning to see is that Mom Guilt is for real and I guess as long as we are moms, we will know it well. The trick moms, is to know when to realize it is prompting a change that needs to be made or if it's a burden we can let go of. We all survived our childhoods and our kiddos will too.

Be patient with yourself Mom. You are in good company. We can only try our best each day. Some days we do better than others. When does Mom Guilt make its presence known in your life?

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In Our Home

I spent too many years trying to be perfect. The perfect wife and mother who lived in the perfect house. I did a great job fooling everyone around me, including myself. It was exhausting and deep down, I didn't know true happiness. Striving for this idea of perfection was a big piece of what led to such dark depression for me. I was trying to be someone I could not be and I began to believe the lie that "I am not enough".

Today, I see things differently. I work hard. I run from point A to point B and often make a stop at point C and/or D. I cook great meals some nights and eat grilled cheese other nights. My house is not always spotless but it's usually straightened. Sometimes I feel guilty because I choose to avoid the vacuum. But most of the time I don't really care. And I'm fine with that.

I like being with my family. I like being in the present moment and not following the kids through the house cleaning up whatever they leave behind. I even admit to sitting in bed to watch HGTV and I love every minute of it.

I've come a long way. And it's come at a cost. I've gained a lot of weight. This is definitely a struggle for me but the self inflicted prison I was in to maintain my "perfect" smaller self is NOT worth it. I no longer workout 2 hrs a day, 6 days a week. Instead of resenting the food I couldn't eat, followed by the guilt for eating said food that only went away when I punished myself with more exercise....I try to eat healthier in general. Some days are better than others. I exercise 4 to 5 times a week. Right now, that's all I'm willing to do. I will not go back to that unhealthy cycle, just to wear a smaller size.

I may wear bigger jeans today but without a doubt I'm a better mom, girlfriend, daughter, friend, employee, (you get the picture). I'm so much happier with the face I see in the mirror. I've learned what I'm capable of. I've learned that I was missing out on so much when I was so preoccupied with trying to get it ALL right. Today, I love finding reasons to laugh. And I see mistakes as lessons to be learned.

I am who I am. I want my kids to be who they are. I want them to do their best and have fun along the way. I want the people in their lives to accept all of them. Who won't try to change them.

For Christmas, my 9 yr old daughter gave me the sign that is pictured above. I love that she was able to read the message and know it would be something I would want to hang in my house.

We are all a work in progress. We can always try to be better but let's not fall into the trap of chasing perfection. You won't believe how good it feels to finally let go of all the unrealistic expectations.

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How to Leave a Comment

I am so happy to be writing again. I really enjoy rambling on about whatever comes to mind. Although, it's not as easy as I just made it sound, haha. I love that each post is different. Some are short and meant to be funny while other posts are longer and my goal is to work through an issue that is weighing on my mind.

I get a rush when I can look at the "stats" of Java Talk and I can see how many people have tuned in to read what little old me has shared for the day. I'll be honest, I couldn't figure out how to design this blog to allow comments from my readers. And I would LOVE comments from my readers.

So I decided to play around with this some more this afternoon. If you, my most favorite reader (yes, you) would like to respond to a post, I believe this will work. Please, please, please give it a try so I can find out if it works.

1. Read Java Talk. Every word. Chuckle, Nod your head in understanding or grab the occasional tissue.

2. Below the post, is the phrase "No Comments:" This is an in your face reminder that I have no comments. No room for misinterpretation. Zero comments.

3. Click on those nasty two words, "No Comments:" and an amazing thing happens! A huge box appears and you (my awesome readers) can insert your comment (which I cannot wait to read!).

4. Before you close the box....be sure to hit the Publish button :)

5. Once you've left a fantastic comment, you can do one more thing that will make my Blogger Heart happy. Please share the link to Java Talk. Via email, Facebook, Google +, smoke signal...whatever works for you. I'm not saying every post, only the posts you think someone else would enjoy. Posts with higher traffic let me know what you would like to read more about.

Seriously, thank you so very much for reading Java Talk. I enjoy posting regardless of having one reader (thanks Mom!) or 120 readers (which has definitely happened :). The more feedback I get from my reader community, the more fun I think Java Talk will be for all of us!

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