This year feels different. I have had a rough week here and there this fall (usually just when I’ve been sick and when Robert was out of town), but overall I feel much stronger coming into a historically very difficult season.
God has brought some things into my life this year that have been life-changing.
The top one being a closer, more intimate relationship with him. I have gone through a deconstruction over the past several years and kind of hit rock bottom with that this summer, but He very clearly helped me come to terms with the fact that an intimate relationship with Him is the most important thing and that I won’t ever have all of the answers. One day I heard Him speak to me clearly, and I haven’t really looked back.
Finding my counselor has been another life-changing thing. She has given me the tough love and truths that I have needed to hear. She has challenged me and taught me that I always have a choice in how I handle things. The difficult situations don’t run the show. My mental illnesses don’t make big decisions for me, I make those decisions. They are something that I have to manage, but I have a choice and get to manage them. They don’t run the show. She’s also the one that suggested that one of my meds was causing my chronic cough. I got off the med and got better! After 4 years of coughing. I still cough when I’m super anxious or when my allergies are flaring, but that’s it! It’s not a 24/7 problem anymore.
Finding the med combination has been a huge part of my mental health as well. My psychiatrist is amazing. She always reminds me that there are ALWAYS options. I am never stuck in my struggles. And at the end of July, I joined Street Parking. I’m not sure where I’d be without it, but I don’t want to find out. I’m a lifer. I workout 4 days a week now. I never saw that coming. The community is amazing. They are the most encouraging, motivating group of people that I have ever been a part of. They also challenge in a positive way but also preach “more than nothing” and “consistency is key.” They talk about expecting imperfection and just consistently showing up is what brings results. There is a huge idea of body autonomy. You get to decide what your program looks like. You can want to work hard on your body composition if you want, or you can just workout to be healthy. Of course, health is the main thing that they preach. As far as nutrition goes, they preach mostly whole foods because that’s what our body needs. If you want something that isn’t “whole foods,” then they call it “sometimes foods” and it’s normal! Carbs are necessary for working out! They don’t cut out/cut down any macros or any food groups. This is another “consistency is key” area. All this to say, my relationship with food has improved SO much in addition to my relationship with moving my body. Life-changing. I was stuck for years. I’m in a new place now. I also KNOW that working out regularly has benefitted my mental health by leaps and bounds. And beginning running again is a huge part of that! I’m thankful that I don’t hurt as much as I did! I guess my friend was right: I just needed to let it heal.
I found an amazing podcast that has taught me SO much about nutrition. She teaches the science about everything but also keeps it simple: lots of fruits and veggies + adequate protein are the most important parts of nutrition. I have listened to almost all of her episodes and look forward to new ones. Her podcast is called The Consistency Project and she is found at Optimize Me Nutrition on social media.
This summer when I was switched from 3rd grade to 4th/5th grades then to pre-k, I was VERY frustrated. But now I know it was a God thing. I don’t have to worry about testing, the kids take a nap every day, and we just do a lot of playing! Teaching has become less of a chore and more simple than ever. Well maybe it was more simple when I taught pre-k part time, but this is a close second. I’m also learning to be more relaxed with it and not expect too much from them. This is a time to learn how to be in school and be introduced to a lot, but they don’t have to master anything! As hard as it is to work full time some days, working has changed my life so much. I have purpose, I get to teach, I get out of the house, and I stay busy which are all necessary for my mental health.
And then there are the people/things that I’m grateful for every year and for years to come!
My husband who supports me to be the best me. He is encouraging through the hard times, and he’s my equal partner. We will be married 18 years next month and while some of those years were so hard, we never swayed in our commitment to each other. He has gotten me through so much and I will forever be grateful for him.
Our kids have grown into really cool people.
Karis is an amazing teenager who is confident in who she is more than any teenager I know! She’s also just cool and fun and beautiful and strong and intelligent. She has quirks but that makes her who she is. She’s a pretty big introvert but has been coming out of her shell a little more these days.
Ethan is a strong-willed young teenager who is passionate and wants to be in the middle of all the people, all the time. He wants to try everything. He has grown a whole lot this year, and I’m grateful for the person that he is becoming. I won’t lie and say that this age isn’t hard, but I know he is coming out on the other side soon enough so I will just keep loving him for who he is.
Levi is his own little person. He’s quirky and kind and gets excited about things. He is very smart. He is creative and passionate and dives into things deeply that he’s interested in. He seems to be pretty confident in who he is for an 11 year old. He has his best friends here at camp that he spends all of his extra time with, and I love that for him!
We don’t see our families all that often, but we are always so supportive of each other. I’m grateful that I can be me with everyone, including the in-laws! I know that not everyone has that. I never have to worry about being someone I’m not or impressing anyone. I am loved just for who I am!
I haven’t been as involved with our camp community since I started working, but I know that they are always there when I can be involved. My friends are always my friends and love me despite my quirks. This will always be our home, for better or worse.
These are more things that I’m thankful for…
Our home. It’s cozy and warm and perfect for our family.
The view from our home is beautiful every day.
We love our pup, Loki! He loves hard and well and can never get close enough. He has a lot of energy but also loves to cuddle. He’s always there when I need him.
Having the ability to do adventurous things right outside our door.
My Happy Planner and stickers.
Fall scented candles.
LOTS of food and all of our needs met, all of the time.
The ability to eat fresh, healthy, whole foods.
My amazing car (it’s my dream car).
Money in savings.
Coffee and hot tea.
Peace and joy.
Sunrises and sunsets.
And I could go on and on. Life is so good even though it’s hard.