Monday, April 30, 2012

A New Life - Medication

One thing I haven’t written about in regards to my anxiety disorder is medication.  Initially when I met with my physician, she gave me several great alternative tools to deal with the anxiety.  For me, a huge part of this is changing my life style and thinking in many ways.  Having more balance in my life, learning to relax consistently, and “dialing it down a bit” in all areas.  It wasn’t until my severe break down at Christmas that I was prescribed drugs to calm me down.  I was so terrified and desperate for help.  It was Christmas night and we couldn’t get a hold of our doctors to save my life!  We even tried my OBGYN!  We just needed someone to prescribe me something to stop this nightmare.  It wasn’t until the next day at 2pm that we finally talked to a doctor that prescribed me Xanex.  I was so scared of what that might do to me.  I kept telling my husband, “tell him I’m small.  Tell him I want the lowest dosage.”  I was afraid that one pill would put me to sleep for a few days (which I probably needed!) and that thought scared me.  When I finally got the pills, I was very hesitant to take one, but per my husband’s insisting, I did.  I didn’t fall asleep.  I didn’t turn into jello.  I didn’t feel wonderful either! 
But I did mellow out enough to go sit with the family for the rest of the day.
 When we returned home after the holidays and met with my physician again, she told me that right now I must keep the Xanax on me at all times.  I am not to go out without the medication.  For now it is a tool for me and I am to take it when I need it.  These words were like a death sentence to me.  Not leave my house without drugs?  What?  I didn’t want to tell anyone because I kept thinking, “what parent is going to let their child come play at our house with an unstable mother who must have pills in her pocket at all times?”  It was horrible.  It almost became one more thing to panic about!  “Wait, I have to go back and get my pills.”  Thankfully I didn’t need to take them again, even though there were times when I could have and perhaps should have, I just didn’t feel comfortable taking them.  My body is pretty sensitive to medicine and regardless of other’s experience with Xanax, I wasn’t confident of how my body would uniquely react.   (Sadly, this was just a huge lack of understanding of this medication and the effects it would have on my body.)
 As I wrote about last week, things have been going well and as I’ve seen progress being made, I’ve also been leery of slipping back into my old ways and falling back into an unhealthy lifestyle.  If you’ve been reading here for a few months, you know that I’ve been working on my daughters’ birthday party – something that I dream about for months and love to create!  I’ve learned to start my projects early and not leave things to the last minute so stress is kept to a minimum.  I thought I had done a good job of this for the Rainbow Tea Party.  I really have been crafting up a storm for the past few weeks.  But come Saturday, I was racing around to put it all together (with the fabulous help of my parents and the little birthday girls!) and as I watched the clock move too quickly, I started to feel myself getting worked up.  The party was at 1:30pm, and at 1pm I went to get ready.  As I sat down at my vanity I felt a wave of anxiety come over me.  “No, not now, I don’t want to miss this.  I can’t miss this.”  My mind started racing with all the details of the party and as I prayed and begged God to set me free I got up and found my pills.  This party was so important to me and my girls that I just couldn’t miss it.  I got my husband, explained what was happening, and took a pill.  He prayed for me, I asked my mom to pray for me and just pushed through, trusting that everything was going to work out.  As guests started to arrive, I was not 100 %, but when my girlfriend dropped off her daughter, I pulled her aside and asked her to pray for me.  She laid her hands on me and prayed over me.  I went back inside and we had the most wonderful, colorful, fancy, precious birthday party.  I’m grateful for that little pill that helped stop my chaos.  But most of all, I’m grateful for the power of the Holy Spirit at work within me and for the body of Christ that held me up in prayer.  My friend Hillary prayed for me throughout the party and it was so awesome to see her after the party with a huge smile on my face and peace in my heart – both physically and spiritually.  I know it blessed her too to see that God answered her prayers and allowed me to enjoy my girls’ special day.
 It’s hard for me to write this.  Even now as I know I’m going to do a Birthday Party post later this week, I’m afraid of what you might think of me as you look at the pictures of the party, “oh yea, she had to take medication before that party.”  I’m nervous for the moms who had daughters at the party to read this!  I feel a little bit like a failure.  I know I shouldn’t, but I’m embarrassed and feel weak at admitting such a huge struggle I have.  Adding the medication fact to the story only seems to make me look worse.  It’s really hard for me to admit that I don’t have it all together.  Not that I think it is important to “have it all together,” but honestly, as a follower of Jesus I truly believe that His promises to us are our inheritance and we can claim those promises and the power that is freely ours through Jesus.  So why then am I struggling with anxiety when I’ve given Him full control of my life?  Why am I stressed about things and consumed by them when I know the Prince of Peace gives peace, not as the world gives, but the peace of God to guard my heart and mind?
 On the other hand, I know it is important for me to share this story honestly.  I know that while I laid on that bed on Christmas, losing my mind, God spoke to me and said, “you will share this story and others will be healed because of it.”  I know God can completely heal me from this anxiety.  Just like I know that Jesus could have come down off the cross and saved himself – he totally had the power to do that!  But God had another plan.  A plan that included extreme suffering of his son and a plan that included extreme freedom for his daughter – me.  I would never say that God is causing my anxiety for a reason.  But I would say that God is using my anxiety for a reason and he is redeeming what is being taken from me.  For this season of my life, and I pray that it is just a season, I will keep the medication in my purse at all times and see it as a mere tool if I need it.  And I pray that I don’t.

*This will be my last post in the "A New Life" series. 
I'll give updates from time to time.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement through this series.  I hope that in some way God has spoken to you through it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Grateful Heart Friday

I’m bringin’ back an oldie but a goodie today – Grateful Heart Friday!  It’s been awhile, but I truly believe that a content heart is a grateful heart, so…
I’m grateful for my rock star neighbor that watched my son 2 mornings in a row (last minute!) so I could help out at the school.  I’m grateful for Chelsea Cameron and her challenging wisdom that she shared with me for the past 22 weeks in her class.  I am a better wife and mother because of her.  I’m thankful for sweet friends who made my daughter’s birthday so special with cards, phone calls and homemade gifts.  I’m thankful for uninterrupted nights of sleep!  Praisealujia!  I’m grateful for crazy rain and Midwest-like stormy weather.  I’m grateful that there is no rain in the forecast for my girls’ birthday party tomorrow!  I’m grateful for the 2 moms that skipped out of our Bible study lecture with me yesterday to just sit and share life together.  I’m grateful for all the prayer support for my husband and his interview on Wednesday – still praying he gets the new position at work to restore some kind of normalcy to our family!  I’m grateful for a God who loves me deeply, specifically and intimately.  I’m thankful that He crafted a detailed, specific plan to rescue me from my sin.  I’m grateful that I am not a slave to fear or the lies of this world.  Most of all I’m grateful for unconditional love and forgiveness.

Happy Weekend!
Monday I’ll post my final post for the New Life series

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Embrace The Birthdays

I really do love the Embrace The Camera challenge! 
(For more details, go here)
As my girls 6th birthday party is approaching this Saturday, I decided to look back at their past 5 birthdays and see if there were any photos of me with the birthday girls.
The girls' Polka Dot 1st Birthday
Sadly, I see that in the early years, there really aren't.  I'm always the one taking the pictures!
The girls' Noah's Ark 2nd Birthday (one little lady was sick)
The girls' Ladybug Luncheon 3rd Birthday
The girls' Pink Pig Red Butterfly 4th Birthday
I only seem to be in the cake photos! 
Last year, thanks to Emily challenging me to get in photos with my kids, I got a good picture of me with my birthday girls!
The girls' Fairy Garden 5th Birthday Party
You can bet I'll be in some photos this Saturday!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Little Things

Do you ever feel like God gives you the little things just to show you how much He loves you and cares about the details of your life? 

I remember once when I was in college; I had just flown back to Southern California from a trip and a friend picked me up from the airport and took me straight to school so I could make my morning class.  It was a long day of classes for me and the afternoon held my lifeguard training course.  As I ran from class to class I realized that my friend had all my luggage in his car and I needed my contacts to put in before getting into the pool.  On such an early morning flight, I opted to wear my glasses on the plane and would change later.  As I was walking down to the pool I figured that I’d have to tell the coach I couldn’t swim because I didn’t have my contacts (mind you, this was before cell phones, so I couldn’t just call my friend and ask him to bring me my contacts). 

As I walked down the hill my friend drove up next to me, rolled down his window and said that God must love me a lot to care about the little details of my life because as he sat at home, he felt that God told him to bring me my contacts!  I don’t know what shocked me more – that he actually found me on our college campus at the perfect time, or that God spoke to him about my contacts! 

I’ll never forget that.  It was a huge reminder that God knows me intimately.  He knows all my needs from the big ones to the little, seemingly insignificant ones.  I am known and I am loved.
This story came flooding back to me yesterday on my girls’ 6th birthday.  Although the party is coming this Saturday, I wanted to get photos of them on their birthday wearing something special and I really wanted rainbow balloons in the pictures.  Why?  I don’t know!  I get these crazy ideas and they eat me up!  The afternoon was wearing on and I knew I wasn’t going to get to do the photos of the girls and it just wouldn’t be the same if I took them the day after because it wouldn’t be their birthday anymore (I fixate on these little details which is another reason why I struggle with anxiety – great!).  At about 4:45pm, my girls started opening a package shipped to us from some dear friends in Tennessee.  As they tore into the gifts, our doorbell rang.  The neighbors brought the girls a bouquet of rainbow balloons!  I think I was more excited than they were!  And the gifts they were opening… none other than these amazing shirts that their sweet Auntie Gretchie made them. 
Could this be more perfect? 

I just chuckled and gave God a little wink, “You know me so well and love me more that I can even understand.  Thank you.”

Monday, April 23, 2012


On our way to church yesterday my daughter asked me,
“Do Jewish people go to church?” 
“No,” I said. 
My other daughter said to her, “They don’t believe in God.”
 “Yes they do,” I said.  “In fact, they believe in the same God that we do.” 
“Then why don’t they go to church?” she asked. 
“Because they don’t believe in Jesus as the messiah,” I fumbled. 
“Oh, I’m going to ask our Jewish friends why they don’t think Jesus is the messiah.”
Part of me wanted to say, “no, don’t do that.”  I get kind of nervous about their innocent questions and what they might say to other children at school.  We go to a public school with a lot of Jewish families and I keep waiting for a parent to talk to me about my evangelistic daughters!  They are so excited about their little faiths right now and love going to Sunday school.  They love the worship songs, Bible lessons and they love memorizing verses.  They just don’t understand why everyone doesn’t go to church and love Jesus like they do.  I love that they haven’t a clue how hostile the world is toward Jesus and those who follow Him.  I love that they are unashamed, for why wouldn’t they be?, about loving Jesus and wanting everyone to love Him too.
Last night as I was putting them to bed, my daughter asked, “Why don’t Jewish people believe that Jesus is the Messiah?  I mean if Jesus made them, why don’t they believe in Him?”  I told her that God gives us the freedom to believe in Him or not, He doesn’t force us, and some people choose not to believe.  Once again she said, “I’m going to ask our friends why they don’t believe in Jesus.”
Those little Jesus Lovers turn 6 today! 
Lord I pray that the faith of these little girls would continue to grow and deepen throughout their lives.  I pray that they always burn with a passion to tell others about your freedom, forgiveness and the abundant life that you offer everyone.  I pray that they continue to ask questions and turn to you and your word for the answers.  I pray that they always love going to worship you with a community of believers who know you are the true Messiah.  Holy God, protect them for the lies of the world that laugh at you and quiet our voice to speak your truth.  Make them bold to proclaim your truth fearlessly.  Bless them in this new year of life and may they know what it means to be completely loved by the God that made them with unique gifts and purpose.

Happy Birthday Emmie & Georgie! 
You continue to be the best gift I’ve ever been given!
*photos by the fabulous Joy Young

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Snarky Girls

This year I’ve had the blessing of meeting with a group of Pepperdine Freshmen to walk along side them and perhaps mentor them here and there.  I’ve learned so much from these women as they’ve shared their journey of their first year of college with me.
One bravely left school in the middle of the semester to escape an abusive situation.  I marveled at her strength and courage to walk out and go home.  One has freely shared how her relationship with Jesus has become so real this past year, so much more than it ever was in high school.  She has a passion for Jesus that she doesn’t want to die!  Praise God!  Another boldly made the decision not to return to Pepperdine next year, but to transfer to another university.  In this past year she has examined herself and realized that Pepperdine is not the best choice for her and although she leaves behind some wonderful friends, she’s obeying God’s leading elsewhere.  And my last little love has blessed me with her honest struggles of separating the secular from the sacred, of being consumed by what others think of her, and her intense appetite for striving to be the best and achieve success.  She said that she’s realized that these things don’t really matter to God!  I was blessed by how God has worked in their lives to transform them more into His image over this past year.  I can only imagine what the next 3 years hold for them!
Blessings to you, my Snarky Freshmen girls – I’ve loved our time together and send you off to the next adventure with a blessing.
And thank you for teaching me a wonderful new word: SNARKY  Meaning sassy and slightly catty.
And now girls, our year is complete - you've officially "made the blog"!! xoxox

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Embrace 6

I can't believe she and her sissy will be 6 on Monday.
I'm embracing every moment.
They grow too quickly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Birthday Parties - God's Gift To Me

April is a very special month in our family - it is the major BIRTHDAY month!  Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, Daddy, Sissys... it seems that most babies in our family were born in April!  We've been in full party planning mode for the little ladies' 6th birthday and we just can't wait.  I have to say, birthday planning is one of my favorite things because it is a season when I have a project to work on and I get to do all the things I love - create, craft, cook, decorate and play.  As much work as it is, it really is one of the stand out times as a mom when I really get to be "me." 

We've all felt it and said it - sometimes we totally loose ourselves when we become a mom.  We are last on the list.  Our every moment is so much about our children and very little time is spent on us (at least not on a daily basis).  We quickly forget who we are and what makes me me.  Emily over at The Anderson Crew mentioned this yesterday.  I myself have written about it several times on this little blog - like here.  It's easy to feel like we've lost our identities when we become moms.  Sometimes we want to scream, "WHAT ABOUT ME?"

I feel like my children's birthdays are a huge gift to me!  Of course it's all about them and we celebrate them and give them gifts... but I feel like it's God's faithful, 2 times a year, gift to me when I get to be reminded of the many things I love to do and the things that make me meBirthday party planning is my excuse to do all the things I love that I truly don't have time for during the rest of the year (or the energy - let's be honest!).

There is a lot of crazy talk surrounding children's birthday parties these days - the over the top, super expensive fetes where everyone is flow in by helicopter, given a new wardrobe to wear and goes home with a party favor pony after selecting their diamond tiara.  I've heard moms say that it's all a big competition between women.  I've heard moms dig and dish about money spent.  But for me, it is so much more about living into who God created me to be and giving me the green light to dream and create.  I'm so grateful that God loves me enough that He would use something crazy like a birthday party for my children to remind me that I am not forgotten - He knows me, He knows what I love and although my life is mostly spent on others, I get to really do the things that I love to do when I get to throw a birthday party!

Crazy.  I know. 
So get ready for the Rainbow Tea Party reveal in a few weeks.  It will be very girlie (our first birthday party only for girls) and very colorful!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A New Life - Don't Forget In The Light What You Heard In The Dark

Have you heard this phrase, “Don’t forget in the dark what you heard in the light?”  It’s a beautiful reminder to hold fast to what God has spoken to us when our doubts creep in and things get tough.  Lately I’ve adopted the opposite phrase, “Don’t forget in the light what God spoke in the dark.”  During the most sever points of my struggle with anxiety I feel like God spoke the loudest.  In the midst of physical pain and mental agony, I felt very close to God and knew His Spirit was at work within me.  I’m grateful to say that the past few months have been much better.  Although I’ve held off the anxiety at arms length, I can see some serious growth.  But already my intense pursuit of God and His purpose has started to slightly fade.  I don’t want the depth of relationship with my God to lessen now that I’m feeling better.  Now that I’m in the light, I don’t want to forget the powerful things he spoke to me in the darkness.
 It’s easy to turn to God in the midst of a crisis.  And it is easy to distance ourselves when life is going along rather well.  What must that make God feel like?
 I’m know that a panic attack can hit me at any given moment without warning.  In the same way, I know that the Enemy is alive and crafty and seeks my demise and can strike at any given moment and blindside me.  I must be alert and awake.  I must keep my eyes focused on Jesus when life is tough and when it is not.  My relationship with God is much more than desperation when I am in great need.  It is a deep love and passion to bring glory to Him with my life.
 I am grateful that God is teaching me to live life in a new way.  I am grateful that He has helped me let go of a lot of control.  I am grateful that I have been feeling much better.  I am grateful that He is my hope.  I don’t want to forget in the light what He spoke to me in the darkness.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Break

My children are on Spring Break, so I'm taking a blogging break all week!
 Resurrection Rolls...
It's an Empty Tomb!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter! 
See you back on April 16th

Friday, April 6, 2012


A few weeks ago I was looking through my favorite magazine  -Everyday Food – and they had some yummy recipes for Passover.  I’ve always loved the story of Passover in the Bible and, to be honest, because I loved the recipes so much, I decided that this year I was going to do a Passover dinner the night before Easter.  The Old Testament story is such a powerful lead in to Jesus dying on the cross and His resurrection and I thought Easter would become much more meaningful to our family if we truly understood the significance of the sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.  So a new tradition will start this year with a Passover dinner on Saturday night.
From Exodus 12
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household.
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.
Here is a little peek at what I’m cooking up!  Click on the picture to go to the recipes.
Matzo Toffee
Coconut Macaroon
He Is Risen!
He Is Risen Indeed!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Embrace Easter

We've been having a lot of fun getting ready for Easter around here! 

Although the egg hunts, Easter Bunny, parties and candy have all been lots of fun,
we know the best is yet to come...
a risen Savior!
Happy Easter


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