Monday, October 25, 2010

Whiter Teeth NOW!

Dumb. Sometimes I'm pretty dumb.

I used to work in a dental office and the big bonus to me when I got that job was that I'd get a great deal on the kit to whiten my teeth. Eight years later, I still whiten my teeth. I started with the whitener that came in the kit, maybe 15% whitening strength, and now I use 30% strength whitener. Since I'm no longer at the dentist's office, I order online and save the huge mark-up the dentist charges, and continue to use the personal, molded trays. Hearing this, you may think I'm smart, frugal even...

Until I tell you that I use the 30%, which I don't even remember being an option when I started whitening, and I put the trays in and go to bed. You're supposed to wear them for 30-60 minutes at a time. I usually go 4-5 hours before I wake up to take them out. There's a noticeable difference in the morning, both in whiteness, and sensitivity. The whitening agent in the gel is hydrogen peroxide and as it whitens it also dehydrates teeth. Dehydration causes sensitivity to hot, cold, sweets...oh yeah, and breathing! And I know this, but somehow on the night before the pain when I prepare to put the trays in, it doesn't matter.

Someone said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Either I'm crazy, or dumb.

And then I wonder how many times I make this same decision, going for fast and easy and getting painful results, instead of slow and steady winning the race.

So, that's all. My teeth hurt today, they are nice and white though, and I'll probably do it again. Dumb.

Monday, October 18, 2010


A rare moment of camaraderie. 
After eating out the other night, Grace had a tummy ache and Micah took her to the van to rest. 
This is what we found a few minutes later.

This makes my mom heart happy.

A Box Lunch

I went to a luncheon last week in recognition of National Coming Out Day, observed nationally last Monday. As I work on a state university campus, there is an active GLBT group on campus and staff frequently receives email regarding the inclusive atmosphere the university promotes. It was a nice meal with two excellent speakers; a student and a faculty member. Without consulting each other, they both spoke on the same aspect of their individual coming out stories: Stop putting people in boxes. A couple of the examples given were that not all lesbians wear plaid flannel and carry at least one tool at all times and not all gay men are promiscuous, disdaining monogamous relationships.
Interesting. I ran into someone there, a friend of a friend, who introduced me to her partner. Our mutual friend has apparently loudly voiced her disagreement with their lifestyle. And as such, the second statement after our 'nice to meet you' was, "Do you subscribe to the same belief system as X ?" Wow, right to the point. "Ummmm, I really don't know, I don't think so, we've never talked about it. I think that love is more important than judgment." (That's why I was there. She also said that there is a church in town that says they 'Love God. Love People. Period.' Had I heard of it? Yes, I have!  ;o)  )  So, that was strange, I was just put in a box, all because of knowing this person.

And then I started seeing boxes everywhere.
The boxes I put my kids in, and try to squeeze my husband into. The boxes I live in, afraid to leave the safe atmosphere of my cardboard home. Who makes these boxes?
We dress them up, decide who is right, who is wrong, what their box is, and tell them to stay in it. Stay in it over there where I don't have to think about if that's the right box for you or not. It's still a box. And I don't want to be in a box anymore. One of the best ways to get out of my box may be to stop putting other people in boxes.
Maybe then we can see people for who they are, see the real people instead of just their box. And then next year when I attend this luncheon, no one will expect me to pull out a Got Aids Yet? sign just because I'm a Christian. Instead, I hope they see something else, like the big box Jesus carries bearing the words 'Everyone welcome! There's room for YOU here.'

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More than you want to know

or need to know and probably more than I should tell you. But I'm writing this more for me to figure out what's going on. And, I just thanked someone the other day for sharing something similar on a newsletter he sent out. So I'll write it down. When you take a chance and share some of the hard, personal stuff, you often find that others struggle with the same stuff. No matter how alone you feel, or I feel, it's a lie, you're not alone.

In my layman's terms, here's where most people live:
'Normal' is pretty even keel with room to move on either side to slight depression (sadness/hopelessness) or slight mania (happiness/optimism), fluctuations often caused by circumstance, hormones and the like.

14 years ago I was officially diagnosed with depression and I have taken anti-depressants since then, with the exception the 1.37ish years I was pregnant and nursed Grace. I am quite certain that I have always had depression, and that my mom also had it (undiagnosed), and our 15 year old was recently diagnosed and has had great results with a low dose prescription - heredity. Along with prescription medication, I have found ways to 'self-medicate' to cope. like avoidance of things I know will trigger unpleasant feelings with sleep, food, reading & TV. I didn't even really know I was self-medicating.

Here is where I usually live:
and it's seemed do-able. It's felt OK because it is my 'normal', and you don't miss something you never had. It hasn't been normal lately. At all.

Hopelessness, irritability, fatigue, sluggishness, appetite change (actually less!), need to sleep more, feeling worthless, thoughts of mortality (different from suicide), withdrawing from friends and family and not comprehending why they care or notice...  sometimes I feel like I can't even function, I don't want to get out of bed to go to work and am distracted when I'm there. I use all my energy up at work to 'keep it together' then I have next to nothing left by the time I walk in the door at home each night.

Here is where I live now:
not even making it to 'normal'. When waiting it out didn't work (it's been over 5 weeks now), I saw my doctor. He said that "There is no blood test we can do to check for 'midi-chlorians' [I have the best doctor EVER!] to see exactly what is going on..." But that this is severe depression, which does ebb and flow, and right now it's flowing. I am not bi-polar because I never get to the manic pole on the above scale, I only have one pole.

All this is to say, I've got some work to do. My regular dose of anti-depressants has been doubled, I need to walk through the stuff that scares me and hurts instead of withdrawing, I'm going to learn to let myself be dependent on Jesus instead of stuff that is never going to change anything. Next week I begin a 13 week intensive course through our fabulous church called Freedom for Life, that is all about getting rid of addictions, with lots of accountability.  And exercise will help, too...

And now I know, and you know, too. And I hear knowing is half the battle.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Devil is a Liar

 We had a family birthday party for Grace yesterday, made the ice cream cake she wanted, cleaned, decorated and prepared. We expected 14 guests, we had 5. A couple let us know a few days prior that their plans had changed, another group canceled because one of the three was sick, and another group of four just never called, never showed up, nothing.

I was mad. And upset. And fought against the ironic circumstance of  hearing a message on forgiveness that morning at church, working through some stuff with that, and now needing more. This, I have found, is just like God - always wanting to smooth my rough edges when I think they are just fine, thank you, the way they are.

What I was hearing was, "Nobody cares about you. And see? No one cares about Grace either. You are all alone. Nothing can change that. Alone. No one can see your pain. Alone."
...(Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ~John 8:44
I bought it, hook, line & sinker, swallowing that barbed lie until I could hardly breathe while making small talk like I could.

Fast forward to a leader's meeting last night. During ministry time, I prayed with a couple other lovely ladies and turns out we are all feeling depressed & alone. That doesn't mean there isn't really hard stuff going on in each of our lives, but it does imply that this is a common tactic of the enemy who even now looks for someone to devour. If he can keep us alone, isolation steals any hope we have, destroying us, destroying me.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.   ~John 10:10
 I am working through some really hard stuff that has been coming for a long time. I feel isolated & alone, I want to go to bed and get up in a year, maybe. Depression. Poor decisions. Too late decisions. Sick of the fight. When people are nice to me, I wonder why?  I am trying to pursue that abundant life Jesus talks about. And Satan is a liar who takes advantage of all this crap. My daughter is not another me, and she does and will know she's loved because I can change that. Sometimes I see a ray of hope, can see the hand of God using this stuff for a reason.

Heavy post, huh? I meant to write this and then turn the end of the post into a 'One Thousand Gifts' post because there is so much to be thankful for and things I should focus on instead, but I can't just right now. Just where I'm at. If you're a pray-er, please do.

*** Grace was very happy with her party. Since her love language is receiving gifts, and she received gifts, it was all really good, and with no other kids around she was the center of attention.