Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Friday Recap

I’m starting the last day of this work week in a reflective mood. A comedic mood. Slightly triumphant.

I started this day with a grumpy 10 year old. This is our 8th full week of in-school education. He’s tired. He’s going to be even grumpier when he finds out that he isn’t going to the farm for Friday night and Saturday. His bag was packed, but my mom called this morning to say she’s down with stomach flu (which is circulating thru adults in our area). Eeek.

However, we did get both kids on the bus with hugs, water bottles, and backpacks. So, I’m considering that a win. Cue the triumphant music!

My morning surprise was walking out to see my large morning glories finally blooming! I’ve waited months. This was my first attempt at planting this flowering vine. I had no idea it would overtake a 8ft x 14ft area. These vines have been a happy place for many insects and creatures this summer. Each bloom is 5-6″ wide. What a startling blue color!

Next, I headed to town to donate blood. This was donation #10. I did a whole line of Oreos yesterday to get my iron high enough to donate. This should have been donation #14, but I’ve been turned down three times for my iron being too low and once for a “timing issue.” Did you know Oreos are iron fortified? Yes. Yes, they are. I’m trying to make healthy choices (and Oreos don’t fit that eating plan), so you better believe I wasn’t going to waste that line of Oreos by not showing up at the donation drive. Boom. My iron was 14.5. After donation, the organizers treated me to a bowl of chili, a sandwich, and a piece of apple pie. A second breakfast at 9:30am? Absolutely.

Have you ever used an automatic car wash and had it shut off on you while you were in it? Strange. That happened this morning. My extremely dirty vehicle (dirt roads, fall harvest, three months of bugs) was due up for a wash. A friend at the auto parts store where I grabbed filters for the shop made fun of how dirty it was. Thus, I headed over for a quick scrub. It went thru the pre-wash/ undercarriage and then everything just turned off! No lights. No movement. I drove forward and backward multiple times thinking maybe I just wasn’t placed quite right. Then I called the phone number. “Yes, it seems we’ve had a complete failure of power at the car wash.” Ok then…. All I could do was marvel at the ridiculousness and laugh. I ended up washing it by hand in a different bay in my nice, new cardigan.

I’ve been back at my desk for a couple of hours doing normal work things. What a full and crazy morning! All you can do on a day like this is giggle. Keep it positive. I feel like I’ve lived an entire day in 6 hours.

On a different train of thought – I realized that as much as I was trying not to, the social media comparison game was getting in my head (thank you therapist!). I deleted the Facebook and Messenger apps off my smart phone. If you are feeling anxious, try doing that. Weight lifted. No nervous pressure to click and see what everyone else is doing. Just be in your moment with your people.

Have a glorious weekend! — Jen

Faith · Family · Health · Perspective

The Anxious Mind

The anxious mind. Last night as I was tucking my 10yr old into bed, we started talking about having busy brains. I have an extremely busy brain. My son does as well.

The thing about a busy brain is that it never stops. All day long, ideas, conversations, and second guesses roll around. In recent memory, I’ve not experienced a truly blank mind. Never have I enjoyed the pleasure of just…. quiet.

When my husband got home late last night from fall (soybean) harvest, I asked him what he thinks about as he cuts. He said “nothing.” My response “Really? Like… Nothing?!” How is that even possible? He said the hum of the combine, the constant feeling of the machine, and all the dust billowing up lead to a quiet nothing. Of course he’s still aware of what’s going on around him, but his brain isn’t also processing phone calls he needs to return, conversations he had with customers, or how he’s going to juggle getting T to the campout Friday night. He does have situational anxious moments, but it isn’t a constant barrage in his mind.

Yoga, meditation, prayer. I’ve tried and continue each of these on a sporadic, regular, and frequent basis, respectively. The only place I’ve felt close to quiet is when I’m running. Then, the kicker is that I have music blaring in my ears but my body is mostly focused on breath and gait. Still not completely quiet, but all my senses are pointed towards supporting the run.

I started talking to a therapist about 5 weeks ago to help sort the thought cloud out. The events of this year pushed me past the realm of my typical coping mechanisms. Do you know the character Pig Pen off of Peanuts? It’s not dirt, but the thoughts that swirl around in my mind feel like that cloud. The cloud is claustrophobic. You want to burst out in all directions, but yet don’t have a pathway to do it.

Peanuts Comic by Charles Schulz

Part of me thinks that all these conversations I’m having with her seem frivolous compared to the mom with post-partum or the woman who lost her husband that are likely part of her clientele. She told me to stop second guessing myself because we all have our things. Goodness, if I could just take out the second guessing part of the mind cloud…

The step I’m working on to shine a light on this darkness is to talk about it. Anxiety had me boxed into thinking that I couldn’t talk about anything non-functional with my husband, family, or friends. “Everybody is dealing with things, so don’t add non-positive issues to their plates.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Anxiety thrives in hidden environments, so bring it to the light and talk about it.

My anxious mind is amazing. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Anxiety. It is a liar.