Sunday, January 30, 2011

Breaking Free of Depression and Fear

There is so much to write about!!!!

First off, did you see my weight loss ticker up above!!!???!!!  I have lost a total of 15.2 pounds so far!!!!!!!!  YEAH ME!!!!!!   I am so delighted.  I have started to work out again too!!!  Yesterday I ran/walked 2 miles!  I'm on my way.  

It's funny that this week I have not run to food once.  This might have contributed to my MONSTROUS MOUNTAINOUS MISCHIEVOUS DEPRESSION I went through this week.  Praise the Lord it is has passed!!! YIPPEE!   My two friends Tracey and Marc really got me through it.  They have been praying for me hard.  Finally Friday night I had to rebuke Satan out loud in order for me to fall asleep.  Those of you who do not suffer from depression will not understand this.  Depression is REAL and HARD and SCARY.  I am so glad I know my body, mind, and soul now and know how to get through it.  It's not easy but I have learned so much about my self and how to take care of myself.

Interestingly enough I have realized that I am finally working through my problems, my demons, my insecurities without food.  Funny it has taken me 2 years post-op to do this but God has his reasons and his timing!  I'm just tickled PINK that I'm actually not running to food anymore. 

On another note Autumn is doing really well.  I see her growth more and more.  Two things happened today that I would like to recognize.  First off, at church she was so well behaved.  I'm blessed with a church that doesn't mind that Autumn sits on the floor sometimes in order to get comfortable :).  Today Autumn brought her mini drum and her shaker.  She loves playing the drums and we have an AWESOME drum player that she likes watching.  So today she played along, she was very shy about it but she'll get there.  The other thing she did at church was go get hot chocolate by herself!!!  She is stretching her wings and I'm so glad she is comfortable enough in our church to  go off on her own. 

The second thing that happened to day was that we started to desensitize her to dogs.

My friend Tracey has two dogs.  One pitbull named Geezy and one black lab named Blizzard.  Tracey is the mother to Autumn's best friend Julia.  Autumn will not go over Julia's house because of the dogs.  Autumn's fear of dogs has gotten worse and worse so today I decided enough is enough we are going to do something about it. 

We left Blizzard in the kitchen behind the gate and True (Tracey's boyfriend) got Geezy out.  Autumn was petrified.  She cried, hid, she clung on to me for dear life.  Geezy is a sweetheart.  He is a gentle giant and he is more scared of you then you are of him. 

Rayne loves him, as you can see in the picture above.  He kept kissing her and we wanted to get a picture but every time Tracey took the picture he would turn his head!

I have come to the conclusion that dogs scare Autumn because 1) they are loud when they bark (she does not like loud noises unless she is the one making them) and 2) they are unpredictable (she doesn't know where they are going or what they want).  Fear is the main emotion of Autism so if you remember that you can see why a dog would scare Autumn. 

She never touched the dog today but she did stay in the room with us for the full 20 minutes.  We all pet and talked to him and she watched.  At one point she was calm enough to say, "He's tired" because he yawned.

I decided I'm going to bring her over every week to do this.  I'll make sure she has her medication in her (today she didn't because we went over right from church) which will also help her to relax a little. 

My girl is growing and so is her momma!!!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Black Sheep

Did you ever feel like the black sheep?  No really, like have you ever felt like no one else thinks like you, behaves like you, that you are different?  Did you ever feel like you are a freak?  Like the things you feel and think about no one feels or thinks about?  Like you have all this passion to give, all this love, all this friendship, all this energy but no one else will understand it if you gave it to them? 

This is how I feel most of the time, for most of my life.

I have always felt like the black sheep of my family, of my friends, of my schools, of my work. 

Don't get me wrong, I definitely "fit in".  I'm no social outcast.  I have great friends and family who love me but I feel like my inner being, my soul is different then everyone else's.

Let me take that back.  I have a very small group of friends who "get" me.  Like . . .  really get me.  This is a very small group, maybe even two or three. 

They know:
I love deep.
I hurt deep.
I forgive, a lot.
I see the good in EVERYONE.
I trust way too easily.
I love the messy side of following Jesus.
I love broken, messed up, not perfect people.
I love to be different.
I hate injustice.
I hate racism.
I hate judgementalism (is that a word?).
I love my family.
I struggle to love some family members more than others.
I mess up, all the time, and I admit it.
My heart is broken right now.
I want to save the world.
I am happiest when I'm "doing" something to help others.
I can be friends with just about anyone.
It doesn't bother me that someone has different views than me, different skin color, a different religion, different sexuality, different political stance, a different kind of family, or a different lifestyle.
My job is not to change anyone, my job is to live the TRUTH

Unfortunately my TRUTH right now, this moment, is not TRUTH at all.  It's DEPRESSION.  I have been going through major depression since Sunday.  So much so that I have been crying everyday.

Last night was the worst.  I cried with my friend Tracey in her bed for what seemed like all night.  Then I got home and cried some more.  Thank God for my friends.  My friend Marc gave me this verse to help me through my tough time.  I wrote it on an index card and I keep it in my pocket at all times.

1 Peter 5:10
And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will HIMSELF restore you and make you
strong, firm, and steadfast.

I'm dealing with a lot.  A lot of emotions.  A lot from my past.  I'm trying to get threw it, and I will but it hard. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel.  Not sure I know where that light is but I'm sure it will get closer and closer each day . . .I hope!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Focus, Focus, Focus

Distraction, Distraction, Distraction

Sunday night I wrestled with myself, it was pretty bad.  No matter what I did I could not remain focused on what I wanted to focus on, which was God.  I texted two of my good friends who helped me regain my bearings.  I tried reading the Bible, I tried to pray, but nothing worked.  I was flooded with thoughts of inadequacy, self doubt, and depression.  I believe it was spiritual warfare at its best.  Finally I did what I know how to do best . . .

I went to sleep.

Well it worked.  I was able to quiet my mind and I am sure God was protecting me all night. 

This decision about India has been weighing me down.  I have sought some great council and have gotten some great advice so far.  One consistent piece of advice is "India will always be there". 

True, India will always be there, Rayne will not.  She will will be off to college on her own before I know it.  My good friend Sarah told me that going to India is the cool thing to do, I'll get tons of recognition and I'll feel good.  What I won't get credit for and the not so cool thing to do is stay home and spend time with my children.  I won't get recognized for telling my daughter she is great, she is wonderful, or that I love her. 

This is true. 

I found these verses today.

Acts 3:19-21 (Today’s New International Version)

19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

What sticks out to me is the word REFRESHING.  God will bring refreshment once we repent and turn to HIM.  That is pretty cool and pretty encouraging.  I could us a little refreshment right about now.

I'm starting to realize that what I wanted out of India I can get right here at home.  I wanted a life changing experience.  A uncomfortable, soul stretching, intimate encounter with God.  After my prayer group on Monday night and a conversation with my Pastor today I'm realizing God can do that with me anywhere, not just India. 

I decided that one of the first steps to improving my relationship with Rayne is to tell her I love her before I go to bed.  I'm not sure when I stopped doing this but I did and I regret it. I was supposed to start last night but didn't.  This might seem simple to you but to me it's huge and I need to make it a habit. 

So I'm refocusing, although this blog post has been all over the place, at least in my mind, at least its a start . . .

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is it God, or Satan?

I'm really struggling right now. 

I was so pumped up to go to India and now I am down right wondering if I should go.  And to top it all off I'm struggling with whether this is coming from God or Satan. 

I have been praying that if it is God he would shut the door completely.  So far the door is still open but it's closing slowly, so I think.

I haven't sent out my support letters, not because I didn't want to but I didn't have the $200 it would cost in postage.  The funny thing is that now I am not sending them because I don't want too, not that I have the money, I don't but because I guess I'm afraid I will get donations and then I will "have" to go.

What I'm feeling is that my family needs me more here then India needs me.  I'm starting to feel selfish to go.  I will be leaving my daughters for 3 weeks.  The big breakthrough is that I'm not so worried about Autumn (my 11 year old) but I'm worried about Rayne (my 17 year old).  I have been feeling like she needs me more than ever.  I also have been feeling like I haven't been there for her. 

I was 19 when I had her.  She grew up with me.  My mom said it the other day on her 17th birthday, "You were like one of the sisters".  She was.  We all lived with my parents, me, Rayne, and my two sisters. 

Everyone was in love with her. 

So why do I feel like I can't remember a lot about bringing her up?  Why do I feel like I was so busy getting my education, first my associates, then my bachelors, then my master's degree?  Why do I feel like I then got pregnant with Autumn and was consumed with her for the next 11 years?  Why do I feel like she hates me?

I'm thinking that 3 weeks away from her is selfish.  I feel like it could be a time to heal, a time to catch up, a time to get to know each other.  Am I wrong?  Am I using this as an excuse?

I just started a new small group at my church.  We are reading " The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian.  We are two weeks in and it's going to be great, however it's forcing me to admit some things about myself as a mother that I don't want to face. 

Facing things like:
~Frequently I don't like my kids. (I love them, but like??)
~I often work really, really hard at work but not so hard at my family.
~Sometimes I stay at work longer then I need to in order to avoid coming home.
~In the past I have taken way too many trips without my daughters.
~I like taking trips without my daughters.
~I don't listen to my kids.
~I often have a glazed look on my face and just nod "yes".
~I don't feel guilty that they don't have a father around, I actually prefer it that way.

I guess this is a good thing, facing the past, facing the truth, it just feels so raw.  I want to heal.  I want to become a good mother, not a great one but a good one. 

I am often told I am such a good mother. 

Sure, on the outside I am a good mother, a darn good mother, but that's what you all think.  I want to know what my daughters really think.  I know Autumn would say I am, she loves me no matter what I do, but the real test is Rayne.  What would Rayne say? 

I'm interested in how this book and small group is going to change my life and I can't wait!  I want a better relationship with my kids.  They should be the most important thing in my life.  GOD SHOULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE.  If HE is, then my relationship with my children will improve and isn't that what it's all about?

I started this post going in a totally different direction.  I'm glad it went astray and focused on my kids, they deserve it. 

Ugh!  I just wish I knew the future. 

Another thing that happened this week is that I hired a new manager.  This is a huge answer to prayer and she will make my life so much easier at work however she needs to take vacation the exact time I would be in India.  Is this a sign?  Is it God?  Is it Satan?

Prayer, I need to talk it over with God.  If you're reading this please pray for me and my decision.  I don't want to make the wrong one.  I don't want to run from God.  I don't want to regret this very important decision.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

20 years later . . . your walk matters.

Last night I reconnected with an old school mate from 9th grade.   He found me on Facebook.  It was really good to talk to him.  We also dated :) in 9th grade, for a very short time.  We were good friends and over the years I have always wondered how he was doing.

He said some pretty nice things to me.  He mentioned that my FAITH had always stood out to him, that my faith was always real.

WOW!  What  a compliment. 

He was one of the cool kids in school.  He actually came in 9th grade and never finished, he was expelled (hence the reason why I liked him, you know the who bad boy image).  Because we "went out" for such a short time I always thought something was wrong with me.  I was too fat, I was too ugly, I wasn't cool enough. 

Hearing from him gives me a whole new perspective.  Maybe our faith in God and the way we live really does matter more then looks and things of this world.  Although I appear to be confident on the outside, on the inside I struggle with lack of self esteem, depression, and feelings of just not being good enough.

Now over 20 years later I hear from a guy who thought I was great.  Who learned from my example.  Who thinks of me now and says, "Amy you were one cool chick".  It had nothing to do with my weight, or my looks, or how "cool" I was.  It had to do with my faith.

God takes care of us. 

He knew I needed to hear this.  He knew I just began my way back to weight loss and that I am struggling with being "good enough". 

God is amazing.  Really. 

P.S.  I'm on day 3 of my reset!!!  Total loss 4.6 pounds! YIPPEE!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 2 of 5 - resetting my pouch!

So today is day two of my new life.  I feel fantastic!!!!!  I have so much energy and guess what??? 

I lost 1.8 pounds since yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO ME!!!!

I seriously owe a big thank you to Kaye Bailey for writing these fantastic books and creating The Neighborhood on-line community where people just like me can find strength and encouragement after weight loss surgery.

I seriously thought I was broken.  I thought I had failed.  I thought I was stupid!!!

I have learned I am none of those things. 

I am in remission from obesity and have to live this way the rest of my life.

I thought after surgery I didn't have to do any work, that my stomach would do the work for me but I was wrong.  My stomach is just the tool, I have to do the work, every day, for the rest of my life. 

Oh and yesterday I said I gained 44 pounds?? Not true, it's really 46 pounds!  Yeah me (not really!). 

So like I said my first goal is getting the 46 pounds off.  Then I will chip away at another 38.  Then I will conquer 20 more pounds to be at my goal weight for the rest of my life!!!!

Day 1 of liquids was not so bad, although I did have an emotional breakdown over something that happened in my family and I almost lost it and ate solids, BUT . . . I didn't!  Instead I heated up some chicken broth and let the warm soup fill my belly ;)!

Day 2 is liquids also, I so got this!

Can't wait until tomorrow when I move on to soft protein!  I will be having an egg burrito and tuna patties!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blah, Blah, Blah

Right now I hate myself
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,
I know I'm not supposed to hate myself
but I do
so there

I have gained a substantial amount
of weight back
since my gastric bypass surgery

You know
the surgery I fought so hard to get
the surgery that almost killed me
the surgery that helped me
lose a whopping 120 pounds!!!!

Yeah that one
you know, June 11, 2008
I arrived

it's not easy
it's not like i expected
i didn't think i would be able to eat
like i do

at first
i couldn't
oh and I hated it

the weight came off though
but then
i discovered
what i could eat
and get away with it!!!!

How much have you gained back????
gulp . . .
44 pounds

I'm not giving up though!!!
I can do this!!!!
Today is a new day!!!!!
I found a support network!!!!!
I started my way back!!!!
It's called the 5 Day Pouch Test!!!
DAY 1 and 2 is liquids!!!!!
Day 3 is soft proteins!!!
Day 4 is firm proteins!!!!
Day 5 is solid proteins!!!!
Day 6 and beyond is eating right!!!!

I'm excited!
I started Day 1 today!!!!!!
I survived 30 days on liquids before my surgery.
Surly I can survive 2 measly days!!!
My pouch is healing as we speak!!!

I never did get down to my goal weight after surgery.
Baby steps.
My first goals is to lose the 44 pounds I gained.
Then I want to lose 38 more.
Then 20 more.
Baby steps.
Let's concentrate on the 44 first!!!!

Ok, Ok, I don't hate myself anymore!!!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Faith and Money

I'm realizing that what I thought was faith was just a good idea knocking around in my head.  I'm not sure how to explain it.  Let start by saying my finances are a mess, well not really a mess, I mean I meticulously budget my money every single month.  I have a black and white composition notebook (I know, retro), and every month I list every single bill I have. 

My pay usually does not cover my expenses, so I go about my month having faith that God will provide . . .

. . . that's a LIE.  I usually do not trust God that he will take care of my finance.  I usually just go about my life spending money I don't have, even though I write down my budget.  I might say a couple of half hearted prayers but when it comes down to it I don't have much faith. 

This month has been different.  It's been so uncomfortable but SOOOOO worth the feeling of being out of control.  You might have remembered that I lost my child support for 10 months back in June, you can read about it here.  Adding to my financial worries is my electric bill.  I'm on the budget plan meaning my bill is the same for 12 months.  Well after the horrendous summer we had (heat wise) and our air conditioning being on 24/7 and the fact we have a huge (non-energy efficient) house our payments were not enough on the budget plan.  This basically means for the next 4 months I have to pay the difference which means my electric bill is $519 a month for the next 4 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have a knot in my stomach just thinking about it!!!

So anyway this month I am really challenging myself to have FAITH.  I'm really depending on God to take care of my finances. 

Here are just a couple of ways God has blessed me financially so far this month:
  • Rayne's driver's license was only $6 instead of $40 like I thought.
  • Autumn's orthodontist does not want to start her braces work until next year, therefore I have $2000.00 for medical expenses this year that I thought I was going to use for her braces.
  • My car insurance did not go up when I added Rayne to the policy as a permitted driver.
  • I have consistently had Adoption work to supplement to my income.
I am amazed at the little things that are happening that let me know God is in control. 

I will be adding to this list as God continues to bless me. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

17 years ago . . .

i was 19
13 days past my due date

we had a full house
all 3 sisters lived at home
with my parents

hilary lived in the attic
she just graduated college
she had a new job up north

jill and i shared connecting bedrooms
a nursery was made in my childhood bedroom
the theme was black and white pandas
with bright primary colored beach balls

i did not know the sex of my baby
although i knew you were a girl
the ultrasound tech confirmed my suspicions
no one caught on but me

Isaiah Theodore would be your name
if you were a boy

i craved Cool Ranch Doritos
and Sprite
i was enrolled full time at Brookdale Community College

i gave a speech on natural child birth
i gave it 8 days before my due date
i got an A

it was a Wednesday
13 days past my due date
my grandma came for dinner
she was a widow, my grandpa died in June
we had spagetti

6:00pm i didn't feel right
thought it was the spaghetti
by 8:30pm the pain got worse
i finally figured out i was in labor

up all night
rocking in the rocking chair in the dining room
jill, my oldest sister your aunt, was up with me
she was my birthing coach
we went to Lamaze together

at 4:00am contractions stopped
the doctor said it was false labor
4:15am water broke
on the recliner in the living room
jill fried an egg, she's hungry
it made me want to puke

5:20am jill, my mom, and i head to the hospital
jill drives
we are in a honda civic
it was maroon
i felt every pot hole she hit
i can't believe this is happening
hilary can't go, she just started her new job
she is very disappointed
so am i
i want all my sisters with me

5:45am we arrive at the hospital
i am set up in the pre-admission room
getting ready to go to the ABC room
(Alternative Birthing Center)
my intent was no drugs, least invasive

pain is so bad i throw up
it's not pretty
i go to the bathroom to get changed
come out and no one is there
they are taking care of my birthing coach (jill)
she fainted in the hall way
she will never live this down

before i can go to the ABC room
i need to be cleared
your heart rate keeps dropping
they lose it
internal monitor is inserted on your head
okay, heart beat found

labor too fast and too strong to move
i decide to stay where i'm at
thank God my mom is there
i hold her hand the whole time
she is my God sent
i love her

8:25am I'm ready to push
1 set of pushes (4 in a row)
head is out!
2nd set of pushes (4 in a row)
baby out!!!!

it's a girl!!!!
i knew it
you are perfect

your forehead is blue
the cord was around your neck
a quick kiss from me
and you're off to get oxygen in the nursery

while you're in the nursery
i don't feel so great
i can't hear anyone in the room
i faint
i'm hemorrhaging and they don't know why
an intern is able to stabilize me

it happens again
i can't hear anyone
i begin to faint
grandma is with you
they escort jill out of my room
she is scared for me
they have blood on hand just in case
i continue to hemorrhage

they catheterize me
it takes 3 people to hold me down
i'm finally stable but have lost a lot of blood
i'm moved to a room for observation
i remember the lights on the ceiling in the hallway
jill is whispering to grandma
the room is dark
i'm completely out of it

16 hours later
you, my baby, are brought to me
i'm weak but okay
i love you

i am fine
you are fine
Praise God
10 fingers, 10 toes
a small skin tag hanging off your right earlobe
an "angel kiss" on your right eye lid
straight black hair
dark brown eyes
little chubby mocha body
8 pounds, 14 ounces

i name you rayne theodora
i love the rain, especially thunderstorms
theodora is after your grandfather
and your great grandfather
my father
and my grandfather

Rayne Theodora
January 13, 1994
you are extraordinary
student- 11th grader at Neptune High School
smart- you get A's and B's without any help
talented- you are in the school plays and musicals
athletic- you play soccer for high school and traveling for Toms River Blast
strong- you have underwent 3 knee surgeries
motivated- you want to be a nurse . . . maybe
intellectual- you love history and english
lovestruck- you have been dating John for almost a year

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tomorrow . . .

. . . marks a very special day.  Stay tuned!!!!!!!!!!!!