Summer Is….

The bright sun beating down on your back as you mow the lawn. Sweat pouring down your face as you just walk from the house to the mailbox and back. Warm rain storms and puddles to splash in. Bright fluffy white clouds and laying on blankets arguing over what each one looks like.

The smell of charcoal grills and propane grills firing up all kinds of goodness; hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, vegetables. Your mom’s potato salad that you don’t really like but you eat because you love her and don’t want to hurt her feelings. It is cherry jello and ice cream with sprinkles (jimmies as they say in Philly) and lots of whipped cream and a cherry on top. It is water ice and pretzels with mustard.

The loud bang of fireworks bright in the sky, twinkling as they fall and disappear. It is a sweaty hand intertwining with another sweaty hand as you walk the boardwalk. It is the pounding of the ocean waves, the smell of pizza and popcorn as you walk down the boardwalk. It is mini-golf, tag, kick the can, and sweet first kisses that you’ll never forget.

The brown skin of my Italian husband and the red skin of my Irish/Polish skin. It is SPF- 100 suntan lotions and sprays. It is the smell of salt and sand and coconut lotion. It is the soothing balm of aloe at the end of a day spent swimming and splashing with friends. It is the best sleep all year because your body is warm and has been soaking up sand and sun all day.

The crackle of bonfires while camping at the lake and eating smores. Ghost stories, late nights, cabins, and finding God. It is the best fruit time and corn on the cob with butter melting down your face time. It is family and friends and a coming together of people who matter most to you. It is lawn chairs and beach chairs and book after book. It is the songs of summer and wearing the coolest shades you can find.

It is a feeling, it is a memory, and it is indescribable although I’ve tried.

 

The Twists and Turns of the Past Month

Early October, my husband calls me at work saying he doesn’t feel well and is going to Urgent Care. The doctor there says he looks okay but wants him to go to the Emergency Room because he can’t get a full breath in. Turns out he had a massive blood clot in his lungs and another in his leg. One day later and I would have lost my love and best friend. He’s now on medication and doing fine but three days in the hospital were very scary for me. I got a taste of what it would be like to live alone, without my best friend, and I definitely did not like it. There was much sobbing and fear.

On the same day my husband went to Urgent Care, I was sent home from work early because I was totally and completely burnt out. I was snapping at my boss, crying, stomping around like a 2 year old, and engaging in much muttering under my breath. Thank God in the long run she sent me home because then I was able to deal with my husband. But at the time it made me angry because I had SO MUCH WORK TO DO!!

My boss has finally realized driving her team into the ground was not working so as a team we came up with expectations that seem more reasonable. This has lifted a load off my shoulders in the best possible way because I felt like I was drowning and would never recover from the stress of it all.

Last weekend I went to an Apple Festival with my mother in law and a bunch of people from her work. It was the most wonderful weekend I had in awhile. There was  crisp fall breeze, the scent of fresh apples in the air, beautiful leaves that were changing color, craft vendors, and of course fresh apple cider which is literally one of my most favorite drinks on the planet. The whole day was a big soul refresher and for the first time in months I fell asleep contented and did not wake up once.

Also in the past month I have joined two Bible studies. One is for people struggling with mental health issues called Hope and Grace. They meet every week and its a great group of people. I am making my husband go with me for support but it’s actually helpful to him so YAY! I also joined a Bible study about Romans which is very difficult because the book they are using is written like a college text book and is very hard to get through. But the people are nice so I’m going to keep trying.

My church has been doing a sermon series on the Beatitudes (Matthew Chapter 5 in the Bible). It has been very helpful in giving me insight into what God is looking for in a person. I also finished reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. That book blew me away! It really made me question how I am doing things when it comes to my relationship with God and also some strongholds I have in place that are getting in the way of my relationship with God which has been tough.

My fellow blogger, Jenny Lawson, also opened up her own book store which I was really excited to hear. You can find her blog here. She is one of the most hilarious writers I’ve ever read and you should definitely read her books. I would love to meet her in person one day.

Well that’s it folks. My mental health is back on track, I am no longer wallowing in despair and I hope to be writing more often.

 

Life Goes On

So it’s been a few weeks since my father in law passed away and I am doing a little better. I can’t say the same for my mother in law, but she’s taking it day by day. The evenings are hardest for her and it truly sucks I can’t do anything to ease the pain.

This latest death has me thinking, really thinking, about my life. I mean let’s face it, anytime someone close to us dies or even a favorite celebrity dies,  it makes us consider our own mortality.  If I were to drop dead tomorrow for some reason I’d like to think I left behind a legacy of kindness, support, and genuine love for those I encounter. I would like to be remembered as a patient person, who tried to never give up on others, even if I didn’t extend that courtesy to myself.

The truth is, I don’t know how anyone else sees me. And you never really can truly know because most people aren’t going to say to your face the things they really truly think. When I look deep into myself I see a lot of fear. I see so many chances not taken in order to have a sense of safety. But in that safety is disappointment, and it’s not a fun place to live. I want to be bold. I tell myself to fling myself head first into something, ANYTHING, at this point because I am not really living so much as existing at this point. But then fear tells me no, don’t do that, you’ll get hurt, you will fail, people won’t like your idea or you. And I shrink like a flower caught in a cold breeze.

I recently read a book called My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock. It is a fabulous read about a young lady, much like myself, who is constantly living in fear of doing anything. So after seeing a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt in a local cafe (“Do one thing every day that scares you.”) she takes it as a personal challenge to do so. She takes acrobatic classes, she swims with sharks, and she does a lot of other little things. The book culminates with her climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it.

Until I finished the book I did not realize that this was a memoir and that this was a real person that did all of these things. For about five minutes I thought about doing something similar. But after those five minutes, financially and physically I realized that tackling some of my fears would be next to impossible. Still it got me thinking that maybe it’s time I just tackle some of them. I can write and submit my stuff to places. I can reconsider school again. I can reconsider becoming a foster parent again. Maybe I can’t do one scary thing a day but I can do some scary things.

So with that I will say my goal for the rest of the year is to simply try. Try to do some things even though they are terrifying. Put myself out there just a bit more. We shall see what happens.

eleanor