Christians and Depression and Please Y’all, it’s a Disease not a Demon (usually) (I guess) (but I’m not expert) (at least mine’s not) (I’m pretty sure) (no one exorcise me, please)

What a timely article from Relevant Magazine.  I’ll wait while you read it.  Dooo do do do dooo….

Last week was the worst week I’ve had this year. I couldn’t cook for my family; I place undue burden on Dave and his mom and (not this time, but many others) mine. His mom came up Sat – Tues and took over the house and washed probably 12 loads of clothes and took care of the kids and more or less did the work of 5 people;  I don’t know how she did it.  “She’s a worker,” as my mom says.  Meanwhile, my 37-year-old abled body laid in bed sleeping from (emotional) pain, zonked out on anti-psychotics. I am a little different, I’m bipolar so you get a side dish of anger, spending sprees and on top of that, I have nonstop anxiety.  My drug routine is going to be different from the typical person who only suffers from depression, but that’s how this journey to sheer hell (for my whole family) started.

Depression is a real disease, it hit me at about 14 out of the blue. I didn’t know what it was at the time, I just knew I wanted to stay in my room and cut my arm. What a weird desire. I wanted to release pain, but I didn’t know where the pain and sadness was coming from.  Remember, this was around 1990 and “cutting” was NOT something you heard of, ever.  I was on the “cutting edge,” I guess you can say.  I don’t know when it went mainstream, but it had to be at least 10 years later.  But back to the whys of my sadness:   I had a best friend that could simply make a noise and cause me to honk with laughter, who is still my best friend today (hey, make the noise, Andrea! I need it right now! It’s hilarious!), I was in the “new” part of SW Jr. High and it was soooo cool at the time, 9th grade was my favorite year in school – ever – I was a cheerleader and had a sweet new uniform and big hair to match…so why the tears? I kept them to myself at the time, I think. I’m sure my mom saw but probably chalked it up to hormones. It was more than that but would take four more years before I sought help.

I’ve been told the “pray it away method should work,” and asked if it doesn’t, “Where’s your faith?” before. This would be like praying and tossing the Epi pen away if Rhys ate a bag of peanuts, or just praying Henry if got mauled by a hippo when there’s a zookeeper next to me with a tranquilizer gun.  Hippos are very fierce, did you know this? They are so cute. It’s like decorating your nursery with copperheads – think about it!

I was not on Facebook a lot last week. I got a few texts, “Are you ok?” “Where are you?” “Is everything okay?” “Praying for you.” Interestingly, the last came from a psychologist. :) If I text you back and say no or give some BSish answer, and you have time to call me, or come see me, PLEASE DO – I would never ask you to do this via text, that is very un-Southern and imposing so I am asking now to plant it in your brain. I know I live on Mt. Everest and we’re going to move – oh how I want to move – and if there was one quote that resonated with me from this article it was this one:

Crying out is always the first step to healing—because depression is a disease that thrives in isolation. It wants to pull us into the prison of loneliness, where it can break us down in weakness.”

Bolding is mine.

I am crying out. I used to blog regularly and cry out if needed, but even this has become burdensome. And I figured people got a little tired of my moaning, honestly, I did.

I was broken down in weakness, though I feel much better these last few days.  It is amazing how quickly God can turn us around, if we ask Him and His timing lines up with what we want our timing to be.  You see, we don’t choose.  He does.  A lot of non-believers don’t like that aspect of Christianity because they find it patriarchial, but I find comfort in it.  Yes, the most anti-authority, cannot even stand to have my kid in public school because I feel like I’m being held down by “the man’s” schedule woman, finds comfort in laying back and embracing someone else’s timing.  He knows the plans he has for me.  Why should I try and take the wheel only to screw them up?  It’s hard, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, oh it is hard.  Dave’s probably reading this muttering “WHA?  You always take the wheel!”

If only he knew how many wheels went unmolested.  There’s a lot of untouched wheels out there, and all for the better.

If you or a loved one have depression – please seek help immediately.  If you cut your arm off, would you just stand there staring at it?  I mean, for more than a few seconds.  I admit, I would look.

  • If you are churched, see someone who counsels those with depression issues, someone who understands and WON’T shame you.  Get resources from them.  If you are in the RTP area, I have some names I can give you.  Some are believers, some are question marks.  As a counselor told me, “Good psychiatry should not change your faith or touch it in any way.”
  • If you need the name of a Christian church, period, I can give you the name of mine, or several others that are good, depending on your worship style.
  • If you already have a psychologist but cannot find a psychiatrist, I can give you the name of a few to check out.

I’ll leave you with this thought.  Believing Jesus walked this earth and died on the cross for your sins – past and future – is the only way to heaven.  I pray for my friends, people I care about, to encounter Christ.  If I have invited you to my church it is because I care about you, not because I’m trying to rack up numbers on some score sheet in heaven.  I don’t even think they have those, but if they do, I hope they’re Erin Condrens.

I’ve been bold and shared my dirty laundry that is neatly sorted in a Thirty-One bin.  Please be bold and come with me and Dave some Sunday.  It is an hour and a half you will not regret.



How does a man have “control over his reproductive rights?” assuming there’s such a thing as a “right” to reproduce.

Should my folks sue since they had to settle for adoption, forfeiting their “right” to reproduce?   It’s a little late, but I don’t see these “rights” written in stone anywhere so I don’t suppose there’s a statue of limitation on litigation.  Or perhaps there’s a clause that says you may infringe on other’s right to reproduce, if they agree.

But here’s something that’s interesting:  my biological father never wanted kids from the information I’ve been given, and he was as adult when this information was gathered.  So I guess he didn’t have control over his reproductive rights.  Where’s the ACLU?  Where’s Al Sharpton?  Where’s…?  Oh.  Because no one really cares about that half of the equation, because they know it doesn’t matter because there’s nothing the man can do if his “right” is violated.  Don’t believe me?  Try googling and finding an instance of a father legally stopping an abortion.  Or a parent – even of their minor child.

Men’s Roles

A man’s “control over his reproductive rights” ends at the front of his zipper.  Let us think logically – where else could it?  Nothing is fool-proof.   Do not let “safe sex” talks with various fruits woo you into complacency thinking condoms, and bags, and aerosols, and hot air balloons, and whatever crazy nonsense is now available on the “I can’t help but stare,” aisle at Walmart, work 100% of the time, or even close to that. (They have some really….interesting items now if you haven’t looked lately.  We got stuck in line beside them and I tried not to giggle because everything – I’m talking ever-eee-thing – vibrated or “jiggled.” 

A man can’t demand his wife or girlfriend have an abortion.    Out of desperation – a word we hear so many times relating to pregnant women when the repeal of Roe v. Wade is mentioned – this guy relabeled Cyototec as Amoxicillin and was found guilty of first degree murder of his 6-week-old baby (which is downgraded to just an “embryo” in the story).

I am in NO WAY defending what that guy up there did, but plainly, it is not fair to men in this country that women can abort babies that belong to both the woman AND the man without the man’s consent.  Some might say he’s “holding her hostage” but that’s his heir, too.  We should be civilized enough as a nation to have a rational dialogue about how to deal with a surprise pregnancy when it happens and come to an equitable decision regarding the child’s outcome.

Women’s Roles

On the flip side, his girlfriend could have strolled into Planned Parenthood without his consent or knowledge, done the same thing, and gotten “support” and a high-five from the pro-abortion community.  Granted, his girlfriend wanted the baby, but he did not.  Just like my biological father and many others around the country.

To quote an article I came across:

Women made the right to abortion a central demand of their movement because they understood that women could never be equal with men without control over their reproductive lives.”

How about, “No thanks, guy?” – this is the equivalent of where a man’s ends.  Why should we expect LESS of a woman?  That’s degrading and I thought we were going for equals, here.

How about not having sex unless you’re ready for kids.

How about birth control?

How about not not marrying someone unless you talk to them first about the number of kids you want and when you want them.

Finally, let me ask you: would you give an organ to a terminal relative that would allow them to live another 10 years?  You’re their only hope, you’re their lifeline at that point, they’re a “parasite” eyeballing that kidney of yours.  Would you give it to them?  Or would you keep it because your other might fail and you might need it?  How about sacrificing 9 months to give life to a child who will live upwards of 80 years?  Something to knock around the brain.

Fall Sports Sign-Up Time Again. My Wallet is Flat.

It’s fall sports sign-up time.  Our checking account cries out in pain.

How do you decide what to sign your child up to play? I think sports may be out for the boys after some thought last night. It’s something they like to play at home but they’re not really into it.  It’s not their first love, if you will.  Henry would prefer Jr. First Lego League, but he missed the camp he could have greatly benefitted from because I was in the hospital (he went the year before though!).  Poor thing.  I was afraid Dave was going to buy him the Mindstorm Robotic Lego set to make up for it and at almost $400, I thought that was a bit much, especially since summer is birthday season.  And THAT is an egregious amount for birthday season.  Or Christmas.  Or both combined.

Rhys wants to take guitar lessons at what will be Henry’s elementary school which are very reasonably priced along with guitar rental, and “when we move” (a nebulous, meaningless term at this point) we’re going to get a piano. He will probably take piano lessons at that point too.

Sarah. Sarah. I guess you will take dance unless someone offers kickboxing princess lessons. She’d probably beg me to do pageants if she knew they existed and there was no requirement that hair had to be brushed, let alone styled.  I can’t be a pageant mom.  No, that is a bold-faced lie.  I could be a pageant mom.  I am great with make-up and I love dresses.  I just hate the rest of it.  I’d have to get her a coach.  But she would not be caught dead or alive wearing any of those flipper things or that other device I’m not even going to mention and hope they don’t force on little girls.  I have seen TO.  MUCH.  BRAVO.  Or maybe it’s TLC?  Sad when you can get The Learning Channel’s programming mixed up with what could be renamed “Smut TV.”  What’s happened to cable?  Note to self, cancel that garbage today, we never watch it.  We watch the Roku (I still wish we had an Apple TV instead, they would have been the same price).

All this ruminating over what to sign the kids up for started because I got a letter from our community sports league and I went to sign the kids up.  Much to my dismay/relief, they aren’t offering U5 soccer.  Sarah is SO.  FREAKISHLY.  GOOD at ball control and would have been an excellent soccer player, way better than Henry at that age, and he was very good if I can toot my kid’s horn for a sec.  He didn’t get it from me!  I may check and see when Kicking for the Cross is taking sign-ups and hope I haven’t missed it.  I added the “relief” part because it’s $80 a player.  For…

  • a jersey
  • playing on a public field that’s maintained by tax dollars
  • an inexpensive trophy at the end of the season
  • 3 or 4 practices
  • 8 games
  • a volunteer coach who does a lot of work (just ask my ex-coach husband)
  • work done by higher-ups who may or may not be paid (I can find this out as I know the head of the organization)

What the DOODLE am I paying $80 for?!  That jersey is NOT cashmere!  I’m already maintaining the field with my tax dollars.  We play on public fields and at my son’s elementary school.  They’re *really* nice fields.  You know what we’re paying for, right?  The older kids to go to All-Star Games and tournaments.  We are subsidizing their trips.  Uh-uh.  No.  Sorry.  That is why you have a FUNDRAISER.  Have you heard of Thirty-One?  :D  It’s not fair to ask the parent of a 5-year-old to pony up for the expenses of a 14- or 15-year-old.  So our choice is to either do this, or not join the league.  So we won’t, and I won’t kvetch.  But they’re still welcome to approach me for fundraising opportunities, maybe it would help even out the cost over time and the younger ones could end up paying for just a jersey and a trophy so families with three kids or even TWO kids could afford to participate.  The thought of spending $240 in a few years just to play soccer makes me a little queasy.  That is a lot of money just for an extracurricular activity.  We could get some friends together and form our own league for free, say, from church or CC.  Hey!

Monty Python Gets a New Character

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged and before I recap the disaster that has been the first half of our summer in my next post, I have to give a nod to the funny Henry came up with yesterday.

Between my doctor appointments, our neighbor Maureen came over to talk to me about some Thirty-One business and when we were through, we sat and watched the boys (and when I say “the boys” I include Dave in this)  play Minecraft three-player on the Xbox.

An aside to my aside – have you ever seen three people play three entirely different first-person perspective games on the same television?  If you ever need to vomit, skip the charcoal and try this first.

Back to my story, the boys were talking about the game with Maureen who had never seen it, explaining it’s more-or-less Legos with zombies and creepers and then the topic of the Lego movie came up.  Dave bought it for the boys the other night and they’d been watching it yesterday morning.  At the very beginning there’s a man in a horned outfit talking to someone who looks like Gandalf.  I couldn’t hear the dialogue, naturally, because, well, kids, but I’d thought to myself “That looks like Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python’s Holy Grail…” so I asked Maureen if she’d seen the movie and if indeed it was Tim.  She confirmed that it WAS Tim (AHA!) and then, as only those who know MPSFHG could appreciate, she broke out with the,

“Some might call me…Tim?”

Henry has seen the Monty Python movie, but like any boy of seven, lost interest immediately after the Black Knight had his limbs hacked off, which is fine because there’s a bit of lewd stuff in it and he didn’t need to see it anyway.  He just took away the coconuts as horse hooves and the Black Knight and a British accent which surfaces quite a bit.  He didn’t remember Tim the Enchanter, which is very near the end, so he off-handedly parroted as he continued to play the nausea-inducing game of Minecraft,

“Some might call me… Tim Challies?”

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume at this point only my mom is laughing along with maybe a few others from my church and my former church who read Tim Challies.   And maybe Tim Challies himself if he takes the time to look at all the ping backs.  Which would be super cool and neat and I sound 14 and not 37.

for the record, I’m going to squeeze in that I’m 37 as many times as I can before I turn 38.

How Do You Manage to Eat Organic With A Peanut Allergy?

It’s actually easier than you think.  We’re sort of forced to do so, which is what I realized as I wrote what began as an email reply to reader.  Amanda wrote and asked:

Hi!  I just stumbled across your blog while researching Classical Conversations and from your title I am assuming you have a peanut allergy in the family?  I also notice you do a lot of organic/no dyes/healthier eating and I was wondering how you manage with the peanut allergy?  Thanks!

At first I giggled at the thought of us being “healthier” eaters (maybe that’s why she said “-ier” instead of “-y,” hahaha, spot on!) recalling how I watched Rhys chomp down on a piece of cold pizza for his breakfast yesterday morning.  We don’t actually know what’s in the crust, we just assume they don’t grind up peanuts and put them in there.  If they offered any kind of peanut toppings I’d be leery.  Side note:  we don’t eat at Chinese places anymore, except for PF Changs and their spin-off, Pei Wei because they provided us with a list of dishes that contain peanuts.  PF Changs will do this for any food allergy – just ask, very cool!

We have two in the family with peanut/tree nut allergies and one is also allergic to coconut – wish I’d known that before I let him eat half a bag of that dried kind from Costco!  No adverse reaction though, so that’s good.  Both of my little allergens are the boys (almost 8 and almost 6).  Our daughter can eat anything but I am actually horrified to give her nuts even though rationally I *know* she is fine based on skin tests and blood work.  I guess I’ve just had “no nuts” driven into my brain for so long it’s hard to think the other way.  Plus it’s dangerous to feed her something nutty since she’s around them, likes to touch them, lick, not sure what all else, etc.

I did not *think* it was difficult to manage feeding them until we tried going gluten free.  OH.  MY. GOSH.  There is basically one brand of flour that I’d have to mix together along with xantham gum (which has not come yet – hope it’s nut-free) to make any kind of bread/crust/muffin unless I want to buy Namaste and pay $7 a box for a mix that makes 12 muffins or one loaf of bread.  Uh, no.  I made muffins from the mix once, which I thought was pretty good, maybe a bit chewy, and they ate the tops off and left the bottoms.  Coincidentally, I’d sprinkled turbinado sugar on top.  Weird how they just ate that part, hmm.
We do no food dyes because it makes my oldest hyperactive.  Not in that “boyhood energy” type way, but in that, “This child needs a hamster wheel,” kind of way.  It doesn’t really seem to effect my middle or youngest, but they still don’t need dyes regardless.  We never gave them juice or soda to drink before I cut out food colorings, so I didn’t have to worry about eliminating any beverages.  Instead I started looking at the backs of cans and boxes and buying them lollipops from Whole Foods.  One advantage of the peanut allergy is that they really can’t eat any kind of candy bar/chocolate – everything has nuts or is made in a nut facility.  They’re weirdly understanding about this, so I figure if we buy them some unreasonably priced suckers every now and then we’re actually spending less than most Americans do on candy for their kids.  We are (fortunately?) forced to eat a healthy-ish diet.  The downside to the no-dye thing is that you do pay more for things like boxed mac and cheese (I’ve just started making my own with noodles and Kerry Gold Dubliner cheese) or anything made by Annie’s, which they do not like –  save the mac and cheese.  It kept getting more expensive on Amazon Subscribe and Save so I cancelled it in lieu of homemade.

Other things:  As I said, we buy Dubliner cheese and cut it off in slices for sandwiches, it is made by the same company that makes Kerry Gold butter and is an extremely good cheese.  I buy Boar’s Head sliced deli meat because it is nitrite-free and waaay better than that stuff in plastic (noo plastic either) boxes.  I try to give them the Cascadian Farms (?) version of fruit loops for breakfast, or I’ve started making smoothies with frozen berries, milk and raw honey.  I have been guilty lately of buying Frosted Mini Wheats which breaks so many rules, but at least it’s dye-free.  Somehow chocolate Cheerios  keep finding their way to the pantry…not the best choice but the cereal fairy can’t be stopped completely, I suppose.  I’m a libertarian after all, far be it from me to limit another adult from what they buy for breakfast.  But maybe they could disguise it in a box of Grape Nuts?

I have to use dye and scent-free laundry detergent on them because they have really bad eczema and any sort of scent makes their skin break out.  I use those wool balls in the dryer instead of dryer sheets.  Love those things.  The one oddity that sticks out is that the only soap they can tolerate is Dove unscented.  I tried switching out all our soaps for Dr. Bronner’s (because why NOT go whole hog and completely restock all your soaps before you’ve even tried Dr. B’s?) and got the Baby Bronner’s for them but it burned their skin.  I kind of scoffed because they can be dramatic and I have no idea where that came from, but I have some eczema on my hand, so I lathered up and WOW.  Burned like fire. So, we can’t even use hemp-based non-soap soap that’s supposed to leave the natural oils in your skin which is exactly what they need.  The only thing that’s worked is Dove soap and prescription strength steroid cream which I hate using on them but nothing – literally nothing – else ever has.  I have tried coconut oil and wondered why it made Henry worse (gee, maybe because he’s allergic to it!), essential oils with a special eczema synergy blend, Vanicream which is suppose to fix everything because it’s parabens,  phlalate, on and on and on-free but it burned their skin too.  ARGH.  Egyptian Magic and Blessed Bees (something something) work well but they are so.expensive.  And Dave doesn’t show any discretion when digging in that jar to slather them up.  I’ll get a jar of Egyptian Magic and after one bath, 1/4th of the tub is gone.  Fail.

I’m going NOW to look up and possibly join a CSA.  We have a juicer but I’d rather get all the fiber and bulk from the produce if we juice any so I might look at a Ninja for a Mother’s Day gift, though I really *wanted* another piece of Le Creuset.  I have absolutely LOVED my dutch oven.  It really does make a difference what you cook with – it distributes the heat so evenly and the for always tastes wonderful.  Still haven’t made my loaf of bread in it yet, though!  I’ll try that when my xantham gum arrives.

ALSO!!  Please check the sidebar!  I am fundraising for therapeutic massages for orphans in war-torn Ukraine.  These kiddos were bed-ridden but because of the massage treatment, they are learning to WALK, they are happier, more interactive and have a much better quality of life!  Therapeutic massage is healing for the body AND mind!  Help bring some joy to these little ones and just think – your donation may help one of these bedridden cutie pies get up and DANCE!!  Just watch and I dare you not to smile!

Please donate today, these children need these services and you can help them feel sooooo much better!  With the power of a click, you can help an orphan go from listless to happy, smiling and relaxed.  Please visit my Crowdrise page here to donate.  I am working with Maya’s Hope, a wonderful foundation that gives aid to orphans in need in the Ukraine and the Philippines.   Visit her page as well to see the HOPE she is giving orphans – personally! – in these countries.

Getting All Up In Your Prayer Life

If someone says “I need prayers” or “Please pray” on some social media outlet and you type “Praying for you…” do you do it?

I fully expect a chorus of guilty people hollering “Naw,…”

I admit, I have typed it a lot and then forgotten to do it – many times over. So I’ve started typing it and then STOPPED what I’m doing and prayed. No long, elaborate prayer is needed, one of my sweet friends taught me this. Just a simple prayer based on the person’s request.  Some people I pray for I don’t even really know so I’ve got to follow the rule of “KISS” (keep it simple, snapperhead).  I can’t use the regular word because Henry reads this and he’ll be like, “You said ‘STUPID!’ and then I have to explain how it’s an expression.  So my kids are going to grow up with some weird takes on familiar expressions until a peer corrects it.

But back to the topic at hand, it’s a lot easier to do early in the morning if you’re alone or at night as long as you don’t fall asleep while praying.  I’m guilty of that too, I’m probably the only person with a drool-stained Bible that’s not in seminary.

This “I’ll pray for you,” deal was something that was on my mind, I’m not trying to holy roll you, I’ve just felt guilty for saying I would and then not doing it and I thought “Hey, maybe someone else has had the same feelings,” so I wrote this out. Plus I can’t skate or use a rolling-pin for anything other than, well…okay, I have to go pray again now.

As an aside, as I was praying for my last friend, I extended my hand over to Sarah and asked God to heal her from this horrible cold she has going on.  The prayer went something like this:

“…and Father, please heal Sarah from her cold…”

*lays hand on Sarah’s head, she immediately swats it off*

“…because she is miserable and is in need of your tender touch and comfort…”

*moves hand down to her arm, is immediately swatted off there too*

“…as she has struggled all week and hasn’t gotten much sleep…”

*moves hand to leg and it’s slapped away*

mental dialogue: “Okay, so you’re a Presbyterian and taking that “frozen chosen” nickname literally, which is an outdated stereotype.  But fine.  No laying of hands.  I’ll keep my Baptist to myself.

“…and I pray she is restored to health soon in your Son’s Mighty and Powerful Name.”

Side note:  she’s sleeping peacefully on the couch now.  :)