A Winter Hat

Last Saturday, my husband, my son, and his girlfriend and I went for a small hike outside Colorado Springs. It was to Paint Mines, which is an area of rock formations called hoodoos. A hoodoo has a hard rock cap on the top of softer rock, which erodes into a pillar of rock.

Hoodoos in the distance

In getting ready for the hike, hubby and I were gathering our outdoor gear. Gotta be prepared for any type of weather! As I was looking through gloves and scarves, I discovered that I don’t have a winter hat! What happened to the one my mother-in-law made for me? Or the cute purple cap? They were not with the vacuumed-sealed package of outdoor gear. I borrowed my husband’s yellow and gray beanie for the hike.

But yellow and gray don’t go with any of my coats, so today I got onto the REI website, and searched for a cute topper, one that would coordinate with my winter coat.

How hard can it be? My coat is black, so everything goes, right? But my scarves are either burgundy/cream or multi-colored pastels. Not easy to match.

Plus, it’s really important to me that the cap completely covers my ears. That’s what gets cold when I’m hiking in the snow. So the beanie needs to come down low enough to keep me warm.

I don’t look good in hats. My hair is short, and so when it’s all tucked under, I look bald. Or one glance at me and one assumes I’m bald. So I want a hat that’s cute, maybe just a little big for my head so that it’s not completely tight.

I found three on the website. I ordered all of them (free returns) so I could try them all on. Make sure they meet the criteria of cute and ear-covering. We’ll see which one makes me look less bald!

Celebrate with me!

I had a realization a couple of days ago: I’ve been an entire year without a depressive episode! That’s the first time in eleven years!

Yes, I had some bumps. And some down days. But that’s part of living; that’s not depression.

I attribute this milestone to several factors.

  1. I take my medications faithfully. And if I feel myself dipping towards depression, I tell my psychiatrist so he can modify my meds.
  2. I was actively involved in a support group: Fresh Hope. We met weekly – folks who struggle with mental health issues and loved ones – and we talked and encouraged one another. More importantly, we reminded each other of the hope we have in Jesus – hope that allows us to live well in spite of a mental health diagnosis.
  3. I wrote a WRAP – a plan that outlines my triggers, my indicators, my “plan of attack” if depression should resurface.
  4. I told my husband and friends if I was feeling low for more than a couple of days. Just saying it out loud helped.
  5. I prayed for strength. And my family and friends prayed for me too.
  6. I stayed in God’s Word each day. The Bible is full of the hope we have in Christ and how much God loves us.
  7. I talked to a therapist regularly. I know myself well enough to recognize that I really benefit from talk therapy. In fact, I’m without a therapist right now, due to just having moved here a couple of months ago, and I can tell by my mood that I really need to talk to a counselor.
  8. I got out my gratitude journal again, and resumed recording those things for which I’m thankful. Studies show that counting blessings is effective in fighting depression.

I’m celebrating this victory, and hope you’ll join me!

Pictures of Our Apartment

We made it! It took several days, but we got here a week ago. Our furniture arrived two days later. Stuffed the storage unit, but the apartment feels comfortable.

The back of the car is holding all the boxes – need to fit those in the storage unit somehow!

It was 70 degrees and sunny two days ago, but today is our second snowfall in a week.

Seems like this could be a bigger storm – supposed to snow on and off for the next couple of days, after it takes a break this afternoon. What a fine time for my hubby to travel to Mexico! Still, at least I don’t have to shovel.

Didn’t get to a church yesterday😕. Drove hubby to Denver airport instead – snow was already starting up there, so drive was slow-going. Son and his girlfriend came over last night and we all made dinner – fun to be living near him!

I think I’m going to like living here in Colorado. It feels a little like we’re on vacation, but I’m sure that will settle down as time goes by, and it will feel more like home instead of holiday.

The cats are adjusting to apartment life. They discovered the top of the cabinets!

Today, they’re each sleeping curled up and staying warm, including one who crawled up under the covers. I wonder if they’re responding to all the snow?!

As the saying goes, “So there you have it!” Blogging from my new home in Colorado Springs. Not so much Spring today, though. I think I’ll curl up like the cats and take a nap!

Marriage

I wish for other people to have what I have, specifically when it comes to marriage.

I have a husband who helps around the house. He’ll throw in a load of laundry if he needs something washed. And he’ll include my dirties, too!

He loves to cook, so all I have to do is buy the ingredients for the meal. He wants me to come up with the menus and buy the stuff, but he’ll do the cooking. I usually do the cleanup, but he’s done the dishes countless times.

He listens. He often perceives when something is bugging me or bringing me down, and he’ll ask if I’m ok. Then he listens, without trying to fix it or even offering advice. He simply listens, which is often all I need to feel better.

He expresses affection. He used to make a big deal of kissing me in front of the kids as they were growing up (their response? “Ew! Gross!”). He’ll go out of his way to give me a hug. Or he’ll wrap his arms around me if I tell him I need one.

He supports my passions, like facilitating Fresh Hope and volunteering. He wants me to have hobbies. And girl friends. He wants me to be fulfilled and happy.

Things weren’t always this way. After 32 years of marriage, we’ve grown into this. I’ve learned to not assume, and to ask for what I need. He’s learned my moods and body language, and how to respond to them. We’ve both learned to listen more and argue less.

We’re still learning to express ourselves to the other with respect and without angry words. We’re learning to speak in terms of “I feel…” instead of “You make me feel…,” keeping it personal and in first-person. We’re learning to navigate the proper timing for discussions – not after a business trip nor right before bed. We’re learning to laugh together again, like we did when we were dating, before all the stresses of family and life. We’re still learning to talk about the hard things – money, the kids, mental illness.

I don’t write this to make anyone jealous. I write because I see other marriages that are one-sided or lacking love or respect of the other spouse, and it makes me sad. I want them to have more.

I’m left wanting for my friends who don’t have this. I wish everyone could have someone who is a kind, thoughtful, responsive, and supportive spouse, like I do.

My husband loves me as Christ loves the church – sacrificially, generously.

Sure, he has his faults. In all of the above examples, there are times when he doesn’t do. When he assumes I’ll do the laundry, or won’t ask about my mood. Ours is not a perfect marriage; none is. But he tries, and “hits it out of the park” most days.

I feel treasured and valued. I long for that for others.

I hope that we can model what a Christ-centered marriage looks like. I hope we can improve our communication, and our relationship – as a couple – with the Lord. I want even more for our marriage, and am willing to work so it will continue to mature and improve as we grow old together.

And I’ll keep praying for my friends and their marriages, that God will transform them into all they can be.

Sleepless

What. is. going. on?

We went to bed 3 hours ago, and I’m still wide awake. I tried chamomile tea. I tried warm milk. I tried Advil. This all in addition to the sleep med that I take. But it’s no use. I’m still wide awake.

Contrast that to other nights this week. Hubby was traveling, and I found myself bored and tired by 9pm, collapsing into bed and asleep by 9:30 at the latest.  And I’d get a full 10, even 12 hours of sleep! This happened all week long, until tonight.

Now here I am at 1:09am, typing a blog because I’m too awake to even close my eyes. They keep popping back open!

My mind isn’t racing with a long to-do list.  I’m not worried about anything. I’m not anxious for anyone. I’m just awake.

There are two variables to which I might be able to pinpoint a cause. One – I had a glass of wine right before bed. But I’ve done that many times, and have rarely had a problem falling asleep. Two – my husband is home and back in bed with me. Hmm. Perhaps I’ve gotten comfortable having the bed all to myself!

This second scenario would imply that I’m sprawling out in the middle of the mattress, hogging all the pillows and blankets, and taking over the bed. But this is not the case. I sleep on my side of the bed, even when he’s gone. I might occasionally pull the blankets my way, but I’m not sleeping down the center.

So what has caused this nighttime wakefulness? I haven’t had insomnia for several months – is it cyclical, and it’s time for me again? Is this going to be a repeat pattern, every few months? I can’t draw that conclusion from just one night of wide-awakeness.

The cat just wandered in, wondering why I’m awake. I’m sure. She usually has the house to herself at night! She sniffs my computer and then saunters off to explore another corner of the home. Maybe out to the garage, where she can hop through the open window and curl up in the seat of the car and nap. Oh, that sounds nice!

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. Psalm 4:8 NLT