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Counting Gifts/ Emotional Health/ FAMILY

What I Learned {Winter Edition}

What-I-Learned-This Winter

My friend Michelle DeRusha wrote a What I’ve Learned post yesterday that was linked up to Emily Freeman’s What I’ve Learned link-up, a place where bloggers gather and share all the things, big or small, that they learned that season.

I was inspired and decided to visit some old Instagram posts to jog my memory into what I’ve learned this winter. I was overwhelmed by all that I have learned. Evidence of God’s gifts.

Here is What I’ve Learned.

1. I. Must. Journal. It is free therapy!

Using a journal to count the gifts.

Journals capture the gifts and slow my heart down. Thoughts exhaled.

 

2. White dishes make me giddy.

Timeless white square dishes

A sweet Christmas gift from my Mom-in-Law. You can never go wrong with timeless white dishes! I love to add color with napkins or flowers at the table.

 

3. I prefer real fruit snacks to artificial food snacks.

snacks in white dishes

Snacks! Some naughty, some nice!

 

4. Red and Green are NOT my favorite Christmas colors.

Golds and sparkly silvers as Christmas colors

Golds and sparkly silvers are my favorite Christmas colors!

 

5. Sitting across from my teens with my man eating food I didn’t have to cook is my new fav.

Family Sushi Date

Lunch and a Movie Family Date. Loving this slow week between Christmas and New Years!

 

6. Making homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot is a breeze. 

Instant Pot Homemade Yogurt

Tower of homemade yogurt from the Instantpot.  This batch has maple syrup and vanilla in it. I left the consistency thinner and it is even better than my favorite store brand.  Natural probiotics!

 

7. Natural probiotics and seeds are amazing for digestion, and I’m obsessed with yogurt.

Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt

These little jars of homemade yogurt have been my breakfast, keeping me full well past lunch time! A little trick I’ve learned is this: use just a spoonful of Trader Joe’s Flax & Berry Dried Oatmeal Pack to act as a granola and add a bit of sweet. I also add the Trader Joe’s Ancient Seed blend. So delicious, filling and good for you!

 

8. I’m officially a superfood junkie — Gogi berries, Chia, Flax, Hemp.

I can't get over the deliciousness of #yogurt made in the #instantpot I love it topped with organic maple syrup, #gogiberries and chia/hemp seed mix. This keeps me full for hours and my gut happy with all those probiotics!

I can’t get over the deliciousness of homemade yogurt!  I love it topped with organic maple syrup, gogi berries, and chia/hemp seed mix. My gut is full and happy!

 

9. Even in the winter, just 5 minutes in nature gives me life. I must get outdoors.

 Icicle ice storm

The sun is out and our 2 -day ice storm is melting all beautiful and shimmery! I took my DSLR out for a walk today to try and capture the wonder of melting ice. I wish I could have captured the sound of ice cracking and icicles landing in pieces on the ground. Magical!

 

10. Donut cakes will never get old. So easy. So yummy! Unpack and stack!

Donut Birthday Cake

Colsie’s Sweet 16 donut cake.

 

11. Crafty projects are so much better with the help of a friend. I need to ask for help more often!

Hexagon tiles and washi tape

It was a wine and washi tape kind of night! Thank you to my sweet Renee friend for helping me with #ifgathering2017 decoration prep.

 

12. Peeled grapefruit is worth it. Every. Single. Agonizing. Second. It builds patience. It tastes amazing.

peeled grapefruit

Peeled a grapefruit for the first time ever. Have you heard it’s a thing?  It was delicious!

 

13. When sitting inside, look up and out every once in a while. I might just see this!

Beautiful clouds

The clouds above my house right now.  “GOD’s strong name is our help, the same GOD who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:8

 

14. That if I push into the hard, I will get glimpses of eternity. 

All The Way Home by Jill Briscoe

“…But my cross, Lord, I will carry, Home, Lord, home, Lord, ALL THE WAY!” I have a hero who carried his cross all the way home to Jesus. His bride told me “he made it all the way home to Jesus this morning, all the way home.” There was much cross-carrying done in this beautiful family the past year and a half. Watching them has changed me. {hand lettering by my Avery}

15. In the hardest moments, God reveals himself, for he is always present. Nothing can separate us from his love.

Church and steeple

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8

 

16. I need light. Sunlight, twinkle lights, fairy lights. I may even buy this happy light!

Twinkle lights sunlight

I have a thing with light. Give me all the string lights, sunlight, & twinkle lights! “For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. This God- his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. 2 Samuel 22:29, 31

 

17. Moments are fleeting. 

She is a flurry of activity...opening letters from colleges, looking for car keys and a lost glove, shoving feet into snow boots all while talking on the phone to her boyfriend. I snap this photo of my Teagan, capturing the moment before she's gone. Here today gone tomorrow. #iblinked #17yearsold #myjoy

She is a flurry of activity…opening letters from colleges, looking for car keys and a lost glove, shoving feet into snow boots all while talking on the phone to her boyfriend. I snap this photo of my Teagan, capturing the moment before she’s gone. Here today gone tomorrow. #iblinked

 

18. Difficulties, when handed in trust to God, bring peace. 

Lessons of trust come wrapped in difficulties. Be steadfast, the payoff is peace. "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

Lessons of trust come wrapped in difficulties. Be steadfast, the payoff is peace. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.”
Isaiah 26:3


Thanks for reading what I’ve learned. What have you learned this season

Did you enjoy this post? If so, you might enjoy following me on Instagram, as these photos and captions are all from my Instagram account.

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Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

Help in Suffering

Help in Suffering

“God, I look to you, Your where my help comes from.”

God I Look to You, Bethel Music

 

I listen to this song and it takes me back as often songs do.

A slight ache starts in my inmost being and I remember that time of desperation.

I listened to this song and my soul cried desperately to you.

 

 

You came.

You were there.

You saw.

You hid me under the shadow of your gentle wings. I was covered, hand-held. Never alone.

 

You held and helped me in my suffering.

 

God you reign and so does your timing.

I cried out for you to take it away.

Your timing was not what I desired, but I held on because I was held.

 

I trusted you and you showed me that you are safe,

you’re worthy of my belief,

your plans better and bigger than mine.

 

God I looked to you.

You were and are where my help comes from.

You gave me wisdom and showed me what to do

 

You led me right to  Psalms and to

the right book

the right therapist,

the right medical doctor

and the right medication.

 

lift-eyes-to-hills

 

You made my path straight

You brought healing in your time.

You lifted me out of the muck and mire and set my feet firm.

 

Lord, I still need you.

When I cannot stand, help me fall on you.

When I stumble catch me, turn my eyes and face to you.

Help me to keep looking up at you.

 

I will love you all my days.

You have become so very real to me, especially in the trials this life brings.

 

You have not left me alone.

Forever all my days, I will praise you!

 


The time of suffering I mentioned above was when I was in the thick of anxiety. If you are in a season of suffering, hold on! Look to God. He promises to never leave or forsake His children. He is with you and will get your through.

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ Music Renews/ Spiritual

When Grief Hits

SEVERE-ANXIETY- Grief

Grief.

It is a word my counselor used at the end of our first session,  “I see someone who is grieving.”

2015 was a year of grieving. It was a year I lost my voice and this blog took a bit of a standstill, which had not happened since I started it back 2007.

CS Lewis says of grief in A Grief Observed:

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.  I’m not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid.  The same fluttering of the stomach, the same restlessness, the yearning.  I keep on swallowing.

Other times it feels like being mildly drunk or confused.  There is sort of  an invisible blanket between the world and me.  

I find it hard to take in what anyone says.  Or perhaps hard to want to take it in.  It is so uninteresting yet I want others to be about me.  I dread the moments when the house is empty.  If only they would talk to one another & not me.” 

This puts words to what I was feeling.  Grief brought on anxiety and the enemy ran with it. I lost who I was as I became a person with no words to type.

I felt like another person as my introverted self who was used to craving moments of a quiet, empty home now felt lost, I didn’t know what to do in the silence.

I was coming out of grief after years of fighting cancer and multiple surgeries and medications and all the loss that it brings. I was embracing what it was to live new.

But then my hardest of hard grief hit, grief over our sweet daughter whose story took an unexpected and abrupt turn and hit extra hard due to her young age.

Her story is her story and will not be told in full here, but illness of her own took over our girl and she was not recognizable to us, or herself. A severity of illness, taking us all by surprise, and into a battle that felt much harder than my previous cancer battle.

Mess with me, I can deal, at least so far.  Mess with my precious baby, and I battled hard to stay strong through her battle, but in the end, anxiety sank me.

I wrote about the sinking here, and along with my prolonged anxiety, I found also found myself in a pool of sadness, swimming in grief. Anxiety and depression can often go hand in hand.

I am acquainted with anxiety, but never of that severity & had not experienced it accompanied with depression. Deep sadness was a new experience for me.

Together anxiety and depression are a brutal duet that brought my life music & happiness to a halt. It was survival time. I was a survivor learning what survival really meant.

Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything. A time to weep. A time for grief.

Those months of grieving in 2015 were long and hard. I look back and remember the tears that would just appear sudden and silent, falling down my cheeks anytime I would hear the words “how are you?” My mouth would open but tears would replace words and I would try to answer but mostly kept silent & went inward.

I could not hold the flow back. It was not a sobbing type of tear, but a quiet, constant flow that would just come whenever I would try to speak of my inward pain–which was almost never–unless someone asked those 3 words “how are you?”

The words would be asked and there were the brave that would continue to come toward and were able to get me to talk even while tears flowed. I remember the saltiness of tears tasted when I would open my mouth and speak.

I remember the relief I felt after months passed, medications were found, and I could speak without the saline taste of tears.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

I think of the song, the one below:

Turn Turn Turn

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

This summer, 2016, for me, has been one of dancing & laughing, but I will not soon forget what it is to mourn & grieve. I know God bottles our tears & will not waste a single one.

I know there is meaning and purpose in pain when one knows the kindness of their Maker & chooses to turn their tear-stained face to Him.

God and His promises were the only lasting hope I could find while grieving, and it was one that held. I was held.

Are you grieving? Know that Your Maker loves you so very much, and holds you and your tears, too.

Remember: there is a time for everything, and as the world turns so does everything and relief will come as all turns, turns, turns.  Remember while in the spinning He’s got the whole world and YOU in His hands.

{Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds}

Update: Since writing this post, I have learned that a sweet friend’s cancer has returned & I find myself reading these words I wrote about grief and thinking hers.

Yes, this is a summer of dancing for me, but I still and enter into the spinning grief of others, for we are made to mourn with those who mourn and I do. My heart is so sad for her.

Will you pray for my sweet friend? She has 2 young kids and wants to see them grow up. I won’t share her name here but God knows it and when you speak of her and lift her up to Him. I would be so appreciative if you do.

…………..

More From New Nostalgia:

 Severe Anxiety Symptoms – Words From My Journal

14 Ways To Find Relief From Severe Anxiety

Top 5 Ways To Relieve Stress

Going There–Mental Illness

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ Spiritual

14 Ways I Found Relief From Severe Anxiety

SEVERE-ANXIETY-FACE

About a week ago, I wrote a post titled Severe Anxiety Symptoms – Words From My Journal. The response I received from this post has been big and I’ve spent the week reading so many of your precious, personal stories.

Thank you for sharing with me and letting me know that the post mattered, that telling my story allows you to feel less alone in yours. You share with me and I in turn, also feel less alone. There are many of us in this together. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

There are so many who can relate to the pain that anxiety can bring, and often anxiety can lead to depression or visa versa, for these two often go hand in hand. One can trigger the other.

I read and heard your stories of both depression and anxiety.

A dear one wrote, “I am on the bed right now, nauseated , heart pounding, trembling, etc.”  She shares her heart and mine breaks for her. I’ve been in that place.

When you want to just curl up in a ball and stay in bed all day please know that there is hope. When your hearts feels like it is pounding out of your chest and you really don’t know why, know that there is hope. When you feel alone, know that you are not.

I will share a few ways that I found relief from my severe anxiety. I pray that some of these suggestions can help bring hope and help to someone else.

SEVERE-ANXIETY- Collage

14 Ways I Found Relief From Anxiety

 

Know God’s Got You

~Know that there is a place where you can lift your eyes & where I continue lift mine. You are never alone, God will help you & He can turn ashes into beauty.

“I lift my eyes up….my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven & earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“To provide for them that mourn…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

 

Ask For Wisdom

~I prayed constantly for wisdom in searching for answers for my severe anxiety.  God led me to answers, slowly but surely.  It was in His time, not mine.

 

Tell Someone

~tell a trusted friend, a medical doctor, a therapist, a psychologist or psychiatrist.

I did all of the above. I was desperate for help and answers, and the more support in finding those answers, the better. It took all of those people I listed above to get to the answers I needed. You never know who and what God is going to use to bring relief to your suffering.

{Example: It was a medical doctor, an OB to be exact, that had an answer to my morning nausea & weight loss. As we were trying to figure out what was causing my severe morning nausea, she gave me a medication specifically for women with morning sickness, one that is taken the night before. This was a key step to stabilizing me & helping me wake up steadily instead of waking up to heaves of nausea due to my severe anxiety. It allowed me to eat early in the day, which was huge as nutrition was another key to getting better. I took this medication for about 3 months, long enough for me to stabilize and for us to figure out my physical symptoms were not due to cancer returning but to severe anxiety.}

One of the most precious gifts to me during this time having a dear, MOST trusted friend. One that had walked a similar road. We used Voxer app and talked daily. It was so healthy to talk to someone who would love and accept me no matter what, someone who could handle my tears as they flowed freely while I talked. Find that someone and be willing to open up to them. I you don’t have someone like that, pray that God would provide someone for you.

 

Pursue Help

As stated above, one of the key things I did to get healthy again was to pursue help. I brought in as many professionals as I could. I went to many, many appointments, as I knew that there was an answer but it was not just going to come to me. Because of my cancer history, we had to rule out recurrence, so the number of my appointments and tests were overwhelming, but I continued on. I pressed on and pursued help for the sake of my family & because I had faith that God would lead me to what I needed. It was miserable to go when I was feeling so unwell,and I hated spending my summer in doctors offices, but it paid off in the end. There is help out there! Pursue it, and if you can’t, ask a loved one to help you pursue it.

 

Be Open To Medication

If your symptoms are severe, you will probably need medication, even if for a short time. I am not a professional, obviously, but please see a professional if you cannot seem to get to a healthy place on your own.  I cannot tell you what a blessing medication has been to me. I do not know where I would be without it. It is a gift and one that I do not take for granted.

 

Just Do The Next Thing

There were so many days where I just felt so miserable and couldn’t think straight. I had nothing to give. I was too miserable to lay in bed but too miserable to do anything either, at least that is how it seemed. My new mantra during that time was “Just Do The Next Thing.” Most of the time, the next thing was as simple as getting up.

I remember just getting up and standing by my bed, and then thinking and talking myself through what came next.

 

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Make my bed.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Get dressed.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Take the girls to school.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Dishes in dishwasher and throw a load of laundry in.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Drive the girls to the pool.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Get self to a doctor appointment.”

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Eat even though you lack appetite.

 

By just doing the next thing, I got through my days and eventually got through the summer and eventually got the answers I needed.

 

Do What is Necessary

Do what is necessary, and if you can, do a little more, but keep it minimal and simple.

I was in survival mode, but I still had to live for those I love. I am a survivor & fighter, and this was by far the hardest season for me, even including fighting cancer. Anxiety kicked me hard, but I still had to be a Mom & Wife, even when I was sick everyday. My minimal looked like the “Just Do The Next Thing” above. Getting dressed, dishes, laundry, meals for my family (super simple meals), blog when I could, & then rest. Baby steps and one foot in front of the other. I felt I was trudging through quicksand most days, but if I stopped, I would sink. Motion is a must when it comes to anxiety and depression, even if super slow motion.

 

Keep Trying Different Options

If what you are doing is not working, try something else. I had to try several medications before finding the right one. I had to go off all of my cancer meds to see if that was what was causing my physical symptoms and weight loss. It took time and persistence. I tried at least 4 different mood meds. Eventually, it was an anti-nausea medication and an anti-anxiety medication that worked. In the past, I took an anti-depressant, and for some reason that did not work and what my body needed was purely an anti-anxiety medication. If I did not keep trying different options, I would have never found an answer.

 

Know That Talk Therapy is as Important as Medication

I was very thankful to be able to see a therapist and talk through what I was experiencing that the time. This was super helpful, even when at the beginning I could barely articulate what I was feeling and just ended up with tears streaming. Those early sessions I did a lot of listening and nodding. I eventually got to the point where I could talk and it was super helpful. My therapist watched me become a different person as I found the right medication, and then she walked me through the healing process, as she knew that now I was stable and could hear what she was saying and talk through the trauma of it all.

Can’t afford therapy? I understand. Mine was gifted to me. There are other options. A great one is one I have recently found and followed. His name is John Cordray and he calls himself the Calm Expert. He is a licensed therapist and has great wisdom. There is an option to hire him, but he also gives great free advice on his YouTube & Periscope channel.

 

Eat When You Can

Nutrition is so important. I lost 20 pounds in less than 7 weeks. It was not pretty. It scared me. I didn’t have an appetite and had nausea all day until early evening. I was not able to take supplements, and I believe this was a huge part of my downward spiral. I was not nourished and there are so many vitamins and minerals that are vital for brain health.

B vitamins, Omega’s, Vitamin D, Probiotics, Multi-Vitamin, Magnesium & Zinc are all examples of what I take now and are huge for mental health, but I could not tolerate them when I was in the midst of severe anxiety. Again, it took medication for me to become stable, regain my appetite, lose the nausea and be able to tolerate supplements.

 

Surround Yourself with Comfort

A cozy blanket, a cup of tea, soft music, candlelight. These things seem small, but even the smallest bit of comfort helps when anxiety is taking over.

 

Exercise

I know, I know. It seems impossible. At times it was. I can’t speak too much on this subject as I still continue to struggle with it, but I KNOW walking makes a huge difference in my day. Simple, even slow walking gets you out and moving, and is beneficial, especially in the sunshine.

 

Push Truth to Your Brain

This one was huge for me. I knew I had to replace fear, worries & lies with truth. I knew I had to keep my faith as strong as possible. I did this by reading, by listening to podcasts, and by watching YouTube videos.

 

The Bible was key for me, as my personal belief is that it has the power to transform. I use the YouVersion Bible app on my phone and followed plans specifically for anxiety and hope.

Jesus Callinganother app on my phone that I read everyday. A small snippet of truth that would get me through the day.

Switch On Your Brain-a book (affiliate link) that I read that was so good that it is on my list to read again.

Journaling the PsalmsI wrote a post about this when I was at the tail-end of my severe anxiety. It details what it is and how I did it, & how it helped change me.

Affirmations–a dear friend sent me daily affirmations on cards that she has. I will be creating similar cards soon to share on the blog.

Podcasts--even while laying there, miserable, one can listen to a podcast. I highly recommend Daily Hope With Rick Warren & listen to it often while on a walk or doing housework. I also love listening to my own pastor, Pastor Bryan Clark of Lincoln Berean Church

 

Know That There Will Be An End

Never lose hope. Know that there are answers. Know that with God all things are possible. Ask Him for help, for He is the Ultimate help in trouble and calls Himself our Comforter.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

…………..

I hope this list helps. I will continue to share bits of my journal here at New Nostalgia & continue talking about anxiety. I think it is so important to talk about as so many are suffering.

What about you? Have you ever had anxiety? Depression?

If you are comfortable sharing, I would love to know your story & what has helped you.

………

Severe Anxiety Symptoms – An Excerpt From My Journal

Top 5 Ways To Relieve Stress

……….

Disclaimer:

NEVER DISREGARD MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL CARE BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

 

Emotional Health/ FAMILY

Severe Anxiety Symptoms – Words From My Journal

SEVERE-ANXIETY-SYMPTOMS

I’ve written a bit here at New Nostalgia about mental illness and my story of anxiety.  It was about this time last year when severe anxiety symptoms were taking over my world and I had no idea what it really was.  I had dealt with anxiety in the past, but I didn’t know what severe anxiety felt like, as it can feel different for every person. It manifested itself for me in physical symptoms, and with my Stage 3 breast cancer history, these symptoms brought on a fear that my cancer was back. It was all very confusing. I was sick and I didn’t know why.

After spending most of the last summer getting test after test, poked, prodded and scanned; and after coming off hormone-blocking cancer meds, detoxing from mood meds, & trying several different anti-depressants, we finally found an answer. My doctor decided to try a specific anti-anxiety medication, and I felt better almost immediately.  I am so thankful that I am still in remission and am finding my way back to optimal health.

My therapist had me write about what it felt like it in my journal, which was quite therapeutic, but I have never shared those writings until now. It was all just too raw and I needed time to heal before telling this part of my story.

My hope is that in the telling, it will create awareness & help someone else who is experiencing the same type of confusing symptoms that I was. There is hope & answers in the midst of severe anxiety!

My Severe Anxiety Symptoms

Journal Entry 2015

Heart palpitations, a feeling of adrenaline pumping out of control.  The feeling one gets when they are about to take the stage in front of large crowd.  Stomach nervous, breathing erratic, heart pounding, nervousness. Butterflies in my stomach, a not-so-nice fluttering. 

Lying on the couch, in the middle of a television show, minding my own business.  Out of nowhere, I feel an uncomfortable flutter & stomach tightening. I was all of a sudden a ball of nerves with no reason to be nervous. Baffling.  My Todd watching TV next to me and has no idea my inward struggle. It would come on so quickly.  I take deep breaths in order to find equilibrium & calm.

It never worked.

I jolt awake in the morning and before I have the chance to think a thought I have nausea and a feeling of dread.  It just comes, or actually, is just there to greet me, waiting until my eyes open and my brain is aware of, well, nothing really, except that I feel so ill.

Nausea before I am vertical. I deep breathe and wonder what it is that I am so on edge about, besides feeling sick before the day even begins.

It is like I am hyper-alert. I dread anyone needing anything from me. The phone buzzes telling me of a text and I jump. Every. Time. My body responds like this to odd things, automatically, in ways I can’t control. My mind thinks “oh no” &  I look at my phone like “WHAT?” I don’t want anyone to want anything from me. There is no overflow. Dealing with myself has overwhelmed the overflow.  

I want to sleep in but the nausea is so intense that I just lay in misery.  I am aware of my swallowing my own saliva & dread the next swallow as even that brings on nausea.  Brushing my teeth in the morning is a chore, I hate it, the awful taste of toothpaste.  Making lunches for my girls is torturous. The smell of peanut butter sends me into the bathroom.  I heave.  Always dry, of which I am thankful, but I heave and tears stream mixed with leftover mascara from the night before. I look into the mirror and see bloodshot eyes & hollow dark circles staring back at me.

Appetite has disappeared, it is amazing how much I miss it.  I am a foodie, a lover of food.  What will I blog about?  How will I feed my family? Meal planning is impossible when everything sounds nauseating.  

I find relief from nausea by late afternoon most days.  I try to make up for calories lost, and in the evening eat as much as I can.  

My frame is wasting away.  I drop 20 pounds in 2 months.  My thighs are skin and bone.  I don’t like how they look.  Chicken legs.

Even through 4 months of chemo I did not lose this much weight or feel this constant sickness.

What is wrong with me?

Amy-Colsie

{Last summer, with my sweet Colsie girls, a brave smile…and my chicken legs.}

………………..

I’m so thankful I found answers, that it is a new year and I’ve gained that 20 pounds back.

I will share more of my journal entries & my anxiety story in upcoming posts.

Update: See “14 Ways I Found Relief From Severe Anxiety

………………..

Can you relate? Have you ever had anxiety manifest itself in physical symptoms? Did you know right away that what you were feeling was anxiety?  Have you found answers?

Emotional Health/ FAMILY

My Top 5 Ways To Relieve Stress

Relieve-Stress

My girls are on spring break, and as much as I love time with them I found myself feeling unusually stressed and anxious about being off of our regular schedule.  I already was a bit thrown as I had been out-of-town for two days at a wonderful retreat, and came home to laundry, an empty refrigerator, and 3 girls who missed their Mom and who were ready enjoy spring break by being busy, busy, busy!

Instead of giving in to the frantic feeling that stress can bring, I plan on taking care of myself so I can better take care of my family.

Here are some awesome ‘tried and true’ ways I have found of doing just that!

IMG_0183

1. Ginger Lemon Tea

Oh how I love my Ginger Lemon Tea.  It is so good for the body and so soothing for a stressed and anxious stomach.  Just sitting with a warm cup in your hand can be a great way to make one stop, slow, sip, savor.

 DETOX-BATH-FAUCET

2. Detox Baths

I’ve written about my love for detox baths before.  I use epsom salt in hot water along with essential oils and soak for at least 20 minutes.  The epsom salts give you a nice dose of magnesium which is super soothing to the joints for any aches and pains, and also has a very relaxing and calming effect.  I take these baths right before bed because after a good soak I’m ready to just chill and sleep!

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3. RESCUE Pastilles

I’ve fallen hard for this little tin of RESCUE pastilles that goes ‘pop’ when you push in the middle.  It is the perfect size to throw into my purse and pull out when I’m feeling overwhelmed. They help you stress less, stay calm & in control. The pastilles are light, fruity, chewy and quite lovely.  They are homeopathic and non -habit forming.  If you want to try them out yourself you can get a special coupon by following this link.

 

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4. Find Perspective — meditate, journal, read, pray, music.

I will make sure I get to bed at a decent time, so that I can wake up early before my 3 lovelies and find some quiet.  I have been cultivating a habit of waking early and using the time to sit with a cup of tea or coffee, a warm blanket, my journal, a pen & my phone.  My phone has a few amazing apps that I use daily.  For meditation there is an app called CALM that I love to use as a timer while I meditate. For prayer I use an app called PRAYERMATE, which keeps wonderful customized categories of all the things I want to pray about.   I journal my thankfulness by listing the gifts, which brings such great perspective, and for music I keep a playlist on Spotify specifically for uplifting morning music.

 

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5. Breathe & Stretch or Do Yoga

One of the very best things you can do when stressed or anxious is some deep breathing.  Breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, then breathe out for the count of 4.  I learned that one on Dr. Oz! Stretching or yoga is a great way to calm inside and out.  I love the app called YOGA STUDIO which has everything from Morning Stretches & Beginner Relaxation to more Advanced Yoga.

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How about you? What are ways you find calm when stressed or anxious?

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Sponsored

Family Night With Hallmark Hall Of Fame + Peanut Butter Chocolate Slice Recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hallmark Hall of Fame for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Our family loves movies.

Even before our 3 girls were born, (who are now 15, 13 & 11 years old) you could find Todd and I in our basement in front of the TV with a whole bunch of snacks and a movie.  When our girls came along, they joined us every week for family movie night.  I have vivid memories of them sitting in front of the television in their little portable chairs with a tray, with their faces full of chocolate and smiles.

Now that they are teens, we do our best to continue the tradition each week.  It is not as easy to find a movie we all agree on!

That won’t be an issue this week.  This week I’m planning on making a couple of our family’s favorite snacks, and gathering us all around the television to watch Hallmark Hall of Fame’s“AWAY & BACK” movie.

Hallmark Hall of Fame“AWAY & BACK” Movie

The movie stars Jason Lee and Minka Kelly and the premier is on Sunday, January 25th at 8/7 Central on the Hallmark Channel. It sounds like a movie that we all will enjoy.  It is a heartwarming, family -friendly film that has adventure, humor & romance.

With 3 girls, family-friendly romance is always a fun thing!  My two older girls love it, but my 11 year old just rolls her eyes and moans.  I know she will be fine during “AWAY & BACK” as there is a girl who is just a bit younger than she is in the movie.

What I Know About The Movie

“There is a 10 year old daughter named Frankie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) in the movie who experiences love at first sight when a family of swans makes their home on the Peterson farm. But along comes no-nonsense ornithologist Ginny Newsom (Minka Kelly), who rushes in to “save” the majestic birds.  For Frankie’s dad Jack (Jason Lee), it’s dislike at first sight when he encounters pushy, know-it-all Ginny.  Frankie and her brothers are anything but neutral observers as they watch the initial hostility between their widowed father and the song-willed Ginny transform into something else.”

How great does that look/sound?  I’m really looking forward to it, and I know my girls will love it.  Todd will appreciate the humor and that the movie is family-friendly.  He also loves any excuse to get the family gathered into the basement for some family-time.

It never fails, when we are all down there together, (in what I call Todd’s domain), I can glance over at him and he just sits there and grins with his eyes. Ever since the day I met him, he has smiled with his eyes and I melt. Aww…can you feel the romance?  Can you just see my little one rolling her eyes?

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Hallmark Hall Of Fame

More than 60 years, the Hallmark Hall of Fame has presented original films that entertain, enlighten and inspire.  AWAY & BACK is the latest in the series and is no exception to the Hallmark Hall of Fame legacy!  It is directed by Jeff Blackener, director of Hallmark Hall of Fame fan favorites like Remember Sunday (2013) and Loving Leah (2009).

Enter the AWAY & BACK Trailer – Share to Win Sweepstakes .  Watch the trailer, sign up and share the trailer for a chance to win a family vacation!

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Family Movie Night Recipes

2 things we always ‘need’ during our family movie nights is popcorn & chocolate! This Sunday for our Hallmark Hall Of Fame AWAY & BACK movie, I am going to make delicious Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate Slice & pop some popcorn! Chocolate, sweet & salty.  Can’t wait!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Slice

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Slice

6-8 Fresh medjool dates
¼ cup of raisins
1 cup of nuts (they can be mixed nuts or not. I like to use macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts or walnuts)

pinch of good quality salt

1/2 cup cocoa

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup of honey
2 Tsp of water
 
Icing
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp coconut oil (melted) (no substitutes)
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

~Place Your nuts into your food processor or high speed blender and process until crumbly.

~Add your dates and raisins and process again. 

~Now add your salt, cocoa, honey and peanut butter.

~ Process till it starts to come together. If the mix is too dry add a little water a bit at a time till the mix sticks together when pressed into a ball. 

~Press this mix into a small lined container. 
 
Directions For Icing 
Mix cocoa, melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla & a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor. Add water if too thick, if too thin, don’t worry, it will firm up in the freezer.

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What About You? 

Do You Have A Regular Family Movie Night?

Are You A Hallmark Hall Of Fame Movie Fan?

What Are Your Favorite Foods To Snack On During A Movie?

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