Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm Coming Out

Today is the day.

I realize that for many, myself included, blogging has fallen a bit to the wayside. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. make instant connectivity possible and we spend less time putting thought and precious moments into our written feelings. I also realized, as I was trying to express to my oldest daughter the virtues of journal-keeping the other day, I had become a hypocrite. When was the last time I had sincerely recorded my history, factual, emotional or otherwise?

So, here I am again.

And here I admit, to what few readers I may have left, but moreso for myself, I am depressed.

I admit it. In black and white. I suffer from clinical depression and advanced anxiety. I have for over a decade and a half now.

This winter has been, at the risk of sounding extreme, brutal for me. SADD tore at my mind daily. And every day, as I battled to get out of bed and do what had to be done, a small part of my heart clung to the grateful blessing that is my children, because if it weren't for them, I plain and simply would not have gotten out of bed. Forget showers. Forget food. Forget everything. Bring on the sleep. And sleep. And sleep forever. Forget it all. Just sleep until I die.

For those of you I have horrified, I do apologize. I do try to keep things upbeat. But I am slowly starting to come to the conclusion that more and more people out there are truly suffering. And one of the ways we can nurture, bless, and succor each other is sharing our own hardships.

I don't share this today to garner pity. Please, please, please keep your pity. I have no need of it. I do not seek sympathy or attention. If anything, I ask for understanding, because I am sure that more than once I have unintentionally hurt feelings due to my condition. Mostly I share this because it is so hard for me to do so. And I keep feeling that God wants me to do hard things. So, I continue to scrape away my pride to share my true self, even though I grew up thinking that was the last thing I should do. I'm realizing more fully that the ugly is what makes me human, and learning to acknowledge, understand, and master my humanity is the point of all of this. There is no true honor in swallowing it down, hiding it away, and pretending it isn't real. Finding the ability and reasons to smile through it all is where the glory is. Not in smiling because you are putting on a show and acting like the shadow of darkness has never crossed your door. God frowns on falsehood. And how does acting like you've got it all together when every. single. thing. feels like it is falling apart bless you or anyone else? Inspire growth? Empower change? It doesn't.

{Note: I'm not an advocate of the "woe is me" attitude. I'm not saying air your dirty laundry for the whole world to see. I'm not saying when someone asks how you are, you open up with a torrent of hardship and drown the kind inquirer in your sorrow. But, I do feel that we, as a world family, should share our shortcomings and pains when we feel prompted to do so. While my blog is public, I feel my readership is small enough that this is an intimate enough forum to share what I have shared. Furthermore, I feel there must be someone out there who needs to read this. Just please know I am not saying that all wounds should gape open for all to see. I'm just saying, let's be a little more realistic about our humanity, and be willing to share ourselves a bit more freely, so we can gain further love and true understanding of each other, and help each other overcome.}

Opening yourself up for judgment is scary. It hurts to yank aside that curtain of prideful showmanship that you have masterfully and painstakingly kept hiding the icky corners and the unsightly gashes of your life. Especially when that veil of deceit is one of your most polished accomplishments. It can be agonizing. It has been, and continues to be agonizing. I feel like I'm bleeding inside typing this. However, I keep punching these keys, because of a young woman I helped over a year ago by sharing some facts about my life I never thought anyone else would ever know. She has since moved away and we didn't spend a lot of time (in calculated hours) together when she lived here, but we are bonded for life and beyond now. She came back a few weeks ago to visit family, and she sought me out specifically in the few moments she could spare to throw her arms around my neck, tell me she missed because, because she "just had to." She is my sister, always and forever, bound together through shared pain and understanding. Not because I seemed to have my life altogether together. Because I allowed myself to show her that she isn't alone. She isn't weird. She isn't evil because she is having hard times. Because I tore back the curtain and let her look. She is my sister forever now. And I will always cherish that sacrifice I made to gain that relationship.

So, to those who trudge through the sludge of the every day, or feel like your very soul is being torn at by the slinky hands of hell, I feel you. For those of you who squirm inside every time you have to make a phone call, or would rather hide somewhere in a dark room than attend a public function, I get where you are coming from. Those of you who have bits and pieces, or even long chapters of your life of which you feel pained and ashamed, and wish you could erase, that tear you open again with a simple memory, I have been where you are. You aren't alone. And, most importantly, you can get through this. I know this, because I know that feeling. I know this, because I am getting through it. I know this, because you, like me, have a Savior and Redeemer who understands every. single. thing. you go through and can lift you up no matter how low you sink. I know this, because time after time, when my pride keeps me caught in the trap of thinking I'm unworthy, or that I have to fix myself first before I present myself to Him, or I just am too [expletive] tired to live one more day....He is always there when I decide to look up one more time. This gift isn't for a select few. This gift is for every single one of us. The whole world, beginning to end, was faced, challenged, lifted, and overcome by Jesus Christ. He did that. He can lift you. He wants to. He suffered and died so He could.

I know how the adversary twists things to make us think we are somehow strong because we never let anyone, including our Savior, in on our pain and trials. But let's face it, that's just plain asinine. Of course Christ already knows. He saw it all. Felt it all. Beat it all. Whatever particular rhetoric your personal demons use to keep you from your Heavenly Father and your Brother, Jesus Christ, put down the poison. I know...It feels like oxygen. It feels like if you let go to the one thing you can "control," you'll just shatter into a million pieces and never recover ever again. But it's not true. For one thing, when we let those lies bind us, we are being controlled by guilt, or fear, or pride, or insecurities....we do not own or control ourselves in any way. We are slaves. On the other hand, we have the promise that all things will be made perfect in Christ. No matter the myriad lies the serpent dishes out. He's just a petulant little liar with too much time on his hands and thirsts only to bring you down because poor baby didn't get his way. If you shatter in the process of giving over to the Savior, or even just feel like you will, He will pick up all the pieces and put them back together again. Stick with Him, and you will find joy you never knew was possible. What is even more cool? That joy is Jesus's why; the reason why He did all He did. So we don't have to suffer and just barely bear this life. That is not what He wants for us. That is not the design. The design is for us to take the Hand of the One who knows, sees, understands, and fixes all, let go of the lies of this life, and just be free.

We run around trying to balance, carry, juggle, and fix so many things on our own, no wonder a vast majority of us are medicated. If you believe Christ, you know He is the Physician. He doesn't say, "Fix yourselves and then I will love you." He always teaches from the principle of "Let me love you, and we will win this life together."

No matter what you are fighting, for I know we are all fighting something, you are still ok. I promise. You have not been written off. You have not been abandoned. Only hell understands that type of response. God the Father doesn't leave His children behind. Not ever. So don't give up on Him. He never gives up on you. Keep fighting, keep smiling, but do it hand in hand with your Father and the Savior so you can be gifted the strength to win the fight and so your smiles can be genuine. Not because you have no problems; but because you know through faith, diligence, and the mercy and grace of a loving Father and conquering Savior, you can have JOY.

I bear this witness to you, from the depths of my torn and bloody heart, that all wounds can be bound up and healed in the gospel and light of Jesus Christ. This is where love and peace flourish in the midst of the storm and tempest. I know this to be true, even as I am one of the most flawed of the masses. Even in, and through, and during my messes, I am still Loved.

And so are you.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I am MAD

I've used this blog so far as a tool of connection between ourselves and our long-distance loved ones. It will remain that, of course, but I think I need to use it as of a chronicle of the lives and doings, opinions and emotions of Team Schweg, including myself, more than I have. The main thing that will change in this shift will be that I censor less. So hold on to your hats, or stop reading now, because I AM MAD.

I'm in a fight with myself and my current surroundings. As today progresses, instead of being able to talk myself out of the things that bother me, as (believe me) I have been trying to do, I find further things to swirl me downward. Some of them are irrational. A lot of them unfair. Nearly all of them are exquisitely human and some readers may lose respect for me for having them, or at least for admitting them so publicly. So, be it. I will get over this moment. I always do, but I feel like I need to write this down anyway. A few purposes behind that: 1) it should help me purge and move forward; 2) it's real, and it's good for me to not pretend all the time; and 3) my kids should be able to see that mommy had bad days sometimes and was cranky and threw fits and handled things poorly, awkwardly, or not at all, and she was still a decent person and didn't get struck down off the face of the earth because of it.

So, I'm in a snit. I'm mad that I need a new bed and can't afford it, so I wake up sore everyday. I'm irritated that I haven't had time to make a new batch of soap in months. I'm frustrated because my basement is flooding again and I can't find the source to stem the flow. I'm livid with myself for not getting everything in plastic bins and up off the floor since the LAST time it flooded down there. I'm unhappy that my basement--hey, let's be brutally honest--my entire existence, is so unorganized. I'm agitated that school is almost back in session and I didn't accomplish the goals with the children that I had hoped to. I'm vexed by the existence of Japanese beetles. I'm perturbed at how many times I have to repeat myself to get the kids into action, and how many times I have to repeat the steps to what seems a simple idea, and how often I have to stress and stress and stress the importance of something basic that someone has been doing wrong repeatedly for MONTHS, in spite of incessant, detailed instruction. I'm sickened by how that reminds of how Heavenly Father must feel about me. I'm furious our vehicles refuse to function perfectly and maintain pristine working order, and that my husband desperately needs a new car and I have to keep telling him we can't afford it right now. I'm galled with myself for blogging instead of working right now. I'm distraught that I don't know how to use power tools, or how to build a fence by myself so I can't help around the farm more. I'm disheartened by the knowledge that there is one person on this planet whom I truly, fervently hate. I'm boiling that we have had repeated predator strikes on our property again this year. I'm enraged that I keep incurring injury after injury so I never can seem to catch up. I'm irate that this also keeps interfering with my exercise program, and I'm perturbed that this makes me lazy, making it harder to get back into a program once I'm healed, however briefly. I'm annoyed that every day feels like I run around putting out fire after fire but never accomplishing anything concrete. I'm rankled that it seems the household supply of towels is a constant state of varying levels of dampness. I'm irked that all the band-aids are always used up. I'm bugged that my family doesn't see the things that need to be done and just automatically help. I'm chafed that when I do ask for help, I get blank stares, sighs, or even tantrums. I'm displeased that this upsets me like it does. I'm bothered that even for an instant I think of refusing new callings when I'm extended them. I'm exasperated that I can't catch up on laundry. I'm nettled that no one seems to be able to find the laundry hamper. Ever. I'm aggravated I still haven't taught myself to sew, quilt, can, dehydrate, and all other things homemaker-ly yet. I'm infuriated at dust. I'm incensed that we keep trying to do the right things and it seems we keep getting kicked for doing so. I'm offended that my hernia won't heal on its own. I'm peeved that I seem to be the only one able to find anything in this house. I'm perturbed that some of that is actually my fault. I'm indignant that I haven't been visit taught in months, and worried that I may have given the impression I don't need to be visited. I'm troubled that my kids are going back to school and I worry they will be behind. I'm terrified of summer-brain-drain, and feel like it will be my fault if they struggle. I'm plagued by the thought of sending them back into a school system that, for all its virtues, I know is flawed, and I'm frankly, freaked out about what they might learn from their fellow students. I'm distressed that I don't feel like I could handle home-schooling. Overall, I so want to be that all-nurturing, perfectly-organized, stunningly-prepared mother who flits from job to job, performing them effortlessly, children following behind, learning from every opportunity, stepping in mother's footsteps, growing into capable, responsible, loving, respectful, and skilled citizens of society. I rage at myself that I in no way resemble that woman.

 I scowl within my soul, at the uncooperative muck of my character that refuses to take the appropriate, desirable shape. What is wrong with you, soul? Why do you want to just be the person who is perpetually late, constantly harried, consistently forgetful, and always at least a step behind? Don't you WANT to be better? Don't you YEARN to grow? Don't you ache for--not perfection, but--something better than your current self? The answer pounding inside my heart and mind is a resounding, pathetic, plaintive "YES!" But then there is that ornery, squirrely, sticky blackness, the dregs of myself that catch hold of the willing, chuckling sinisterly, knowing that a little restlessness, a little sloth, a little defiance go a long, long way to pull down the good. The tarry, persistent, ugly "natural man." How I despise you. And yet how I cling to you, or rather, let you cling to me, as something finite, real, and present.

This is not written as a cry for help. It is not a pity-party. It is not a ballad of a lost soul who needs directed back to gratitude and God. I know all the right answers. I know the correct path. I know how to apply the balm of sacrifice, service, and sanctity. This is merely an acknowledgement of my current frailty, a snapshot of a weak day amidst the struggle of relative success. A cathartic ode to my purely human self.

The chasm of never-ending possible complaints seems, at times, too wide to bridge. But then, I give myself permission to feel it all, to rail against the injustice, the unfairness, and the just plain sucky. To embrace my humanity, because it is part of me, part of the plan, part of all of this jumble of existence that I need to figure out and master. As I feel it, it begins to dissolve and dissipate, like so much fog when the sun comes out. Then there is space, space for humility, gratitude, and love to come in. The flood of what is good, what is right, and how I don't have to be the one to bridge the gap rushes in to buoy me up, to lift me to the highland, to erase the less-than-perfect, or at least put it in its proper perspective.

And after all that, believe it or not, my dear ones, I have peace.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Out comes another tooth!!

Right after B lost her last tooth, the second front tooth became loose. After Daddy pulled out her last one, she was a bit more aggressive with this tooth, where before she would do most anything to avoid putting any pressure on the wobbliness. ;) We were starting to eat dinner on Sunday April 7, and she said, "Woah, it felt like I was eating my tooth!" LOL. I figured it was a false alarm, because I thought if she actually lost, chomped, and swallowed the tooth, there would be a lot more fuss. I got up from the table to grab something and when I sat back down, I looked over at her and sure enough, her previous gap had doubled in size! I said, "Babe! What?! Did you actually swallow your tooth?" She looked at me in total shock. LOL. She didn't know it had really come out. I'll let her tell you about it.

She's pretty adorable, huh? ;)
Speaking of teeth, we are trying something new here at our house: tooth soap. By "we" I mean me. Haha. It's a bit harder to get the rest of the fam on board. I have been trying to go more natural in my personal and household cleansers and have been looking at tooth powders for a while. Most recipes just say "put in a jar and dip your tooth brush in before each use." Now, that just seemed gross to me.  I'd been pondering on how to make this not quite so yucky. Spice jar? Salt shaker? Nothing satisfactory presented until I found this recipe. I was excited.
I loved how she used the soap dispenser for the tooth soap! It's been great. It's simple to make and I have noticed how much cleaner my teeth feel and continue to feel throughout the day. Plus, my teeth are getting whiter!! How cool is that?! I've been using commercial whitening toothpaste for years now with no real visible results. This I've been using under two weeks and already, whiter. I've been impressed.
T has been worried about her teeth being yellowed, so I told her about this, with the caveat that she probably wouldn't like it, because it does taste a lot different from commercial paste, and the aftertaste is kind of unpleasant. (I don't even notice it now.) I gotta give the kid kudos; she tried it anyway. Afterward, she scooted down the hall to tell me how horrible it was. LOL. I held up my hands and said, "Hey, I warned you." She went back to her usual paste for I think a day, and has been using the tooth soap ever since. She told me "Mom, that stuff is awesome. My teeth really feel a lot better." Woah. If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Late is better than never, they say

Oh, my cute girls, B with her first front tooth lost, and T sporting her new braces. :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Yay, More Videos!!

A few weeks ago, B did a Diva Dance Camp put on by the Tigers' dance team. Here are her performances, #1 and #2.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Because it's Always Good to Smile :D

Thought I'd share a cute little video, just cuz. :) Enjoy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Time OUT!

So, wow. It's nearly March. Of 2013. Wow. Does this seem crazy to anyone else? Odd to the point of fishy even? Like there is a conspiracy on all calendars and clocks surrounding me, stealing my time and my children's childhoods? Okay...that's a bit much. But there are days it sure feels like that.

It's nearly March of 2013.

Again, wow.

....moving on. :)

We've been busy little bees here at our house. (Speaking of bees, all of ours died AGAIN this year. Sigh. Kiiiiiinndaaaa getting sick of that.)  We've had some mean and nasty colds lately. Blame it on the fluctuating temperatures or the public school is what it is and we've had some crummy yuckiness going on here. SO, that makes being as productive as we would like to be a bit harder, BUT we still have fun here at the Schweg Hacienda, and that's what counts.

To bring you up to speed on our goings-on, B and T are doing soccer and basketball right now, respectively. Sam is coaching B's team, which has been a great experience for them both and really fun to watch. B runs around the court (yes, court. They are playing indoor soccer.) like a little speed demon with a smile on her face the entire game. It's truly adorable. She rarely gets the ball because she has some ball hogs on her team, but when she does, she's a good little passer. T is getting more aggressive on the court (also fun to watch) and not being so afraid to take risks and make mistakes. My heart swells at her courage. I love watching her get out of her own way and slowly learn to master her insecurities. She's awesome. :) She's got excellent passing skills and is the best free throw shot on her team. She's really come a long way this season, and I'm really proud of them both for just going for it.

We have some exciting stuff going on in oral news. T got braces, which she is very excited about, go figure. The colors she got are "fire red," and "coral flower," I believe, but I'm sure she'll correct me later. M is getting his canines in and he's a delight when he's teething (yes, sarcasm). Also, just tonight, Sam pulled out B's top left front tooth! She was so scared but out it came! She looks tooooo adorable with that big ol'hole! So, yeah! Lots going on with teeth. Pictures to come.

We are in the middle of our first kidding season of the year. So's been rough. We do have two adorable kids, but we've lost several. We had one doe drop triplets 2 weeks early in the barn during a cold snap, so they didn't stand a chance, and another drop doubles a week later, a week premature...ugh. Just sad. So, it's been frustrating, but we are pleased with the way the two we have are progressing and we have demand, so we are hopeful the remaining pregnancies and deliveries will go smoothly.

We are getting ready to start vegetable and herb seeds in the house. Hard to believe it is that time again. I'm grateful I'll be able to help in the garden this year, and the herbs are kinda my baby, so wish me luck! We'll find out if I have a green thumb, or no. Let's hope it's not no! :)

That's us, in brief, and I'll try to be back soon. Busy, busy!