Thursday, September 22, 2016

Taking Another Blogging Break

Hello, my beautiful friends in Christ!!
Well, here I am, once again, announcing my need for a blogging break.
I've taken a couple of them over the years since I have been blogging.
I think it's something we all have to do now and then.
The timing for this blogging break is vital, as I will be having major surgery next week, with an expected recovery time of 4-6 weeks.
 This past summer has been a long and difficult one for me. I have shared much of what those difficulties here in my blog over the past few months. Now, I feel a need to just rest, let go, and let God restore my health, my heart, my spirit, and my mind.

I love to write and share from my heart, but it does often pull my focus away from getting a much needed rest.

As we enter into a new season - Autumn - I know that there is also a call for change in my own life. Change is not always easy. But it is needed and in the end will bring more joy and peace to ones life.

I'm also feeling like there is change coming in how I live my life. I just turned 55. Now, I know for many people, that's not old at all, while for others that seems ancient!! I know I am definitely feeling every bit of those 55 years...not just physically, but through life's experiences, and the wisdom that comes with age.
Time tends to do that to all of us.

‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'”
(Mark 6:31) 

So, I bid you farewell, for now. I am not sure when or what the future for my blog will be bringing. I know I will be away for at least a few months, as I heal from my surgery. This includes time away from my other blogpage, Cairn Cottage. Please continue to keep me in your prayers. I want to be open to what and where the Lord is leading me in this new season of my life! Whatever He has for me, I will get back and let all of you, my lovely bloggy friends, know what that will entail.
Until then,

You may find me linking up at any of the blog parties listed on the left sidebar.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Personal Experience with Depression and "Hope Prevails" Book Review

Hello, friends in the Lord!
It's good to be back here blogging again, as I have had another rough few weeks. My health issues continue to cause me some pain and difficulties in daily activities.
Today, though, I want to share some info with you that I have wanted to share for awhile, but wasn't sure how to go about it. 
Several months ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to be a part of the  "#HopePrevails Insights from a Doctor's Personal Journey through Depression" book launch team. 
The book was released a little under a month ago, but due to my health issues(as well as some online issues), I was not able to read it till recently. 
Actually, I am still reading it and hope to finish it very soon, as I will be having surgery at the end of September.

As I have read through some of the chapters, I was reminded of a time when I also struggled with depression, following the birth of my only son 24 years ago. The name often given for this is "Postpartum depression". My experience with this lasted several months and I can only explain it now as having no energy or desire to do anything every day, all day. I could barely get enough energy to feed, bathe, and change my son's diapers. Most days, I just would lay on the sofa and cry. My husband obviously knew something was wrong, but had no idea what to do about it, as neither did I. I just knew I couldn't find joy or happiness in my life and I felt guilty that I wasn't enjoying spending time with my son at home. I was a full-time mom and had isolated myself from most friends and family members. I think at the time, I wasn't fully aware of what was going on. If I had known to tell my doctor, who may have been able to help me regulate my hormones, which were definitely going haywire, it would have most likely shortened the time I had been depressed. In time, by the grace of God, my hormones went back to normal and I felt more energy and desire to get out and do things. I began to enjoy playing with my son and became more social. Throughout this period, I had prayed, off and on for relief. I know that even when I could barely say a prayer, God knew my heart and desire to be healed and eventually, He brought me out of that dark place. I'm not sure exactly why I was allowed to go through the depression, but I know when I see/hear of a mother who is struggling with postpartum depression, I have a sympathetic heart. I also had to encourage and get help for my own son, when he struggled with depression as a teenager, going through the many hormonal changes of puberty and the following years.

As I was reading the book, I also felt that author, Dr. Michelle Bengtson, shared some very informative words, as well as empathy for those who struggle with depression. I think that we, as Christians, often feel like we should be able to overcome such difficulties, just by reading the Bible or saying a prayer. But this is a myth and lie straight from Satan himself! Yes, these activities can and often do help, but sometimes we need more support and expertise to get us through the deepest lows. As I am reading further into the book, I notice that there are many spiritual truths that Dr. Bengtson focus' on. From recognizing that we truly do have an enemy to remembering our secure destiny through salvation and so much more, this book will help the person who feels like there is no hope, to find hope again!! Not only that, but to recognize that hope, through Christ, always prevails!!!

I recently enjoyed an afternoon out by the lake, reading "Hope Prevails" and taking time to just commune with God!! I have loved wearing some of the reminders of the hope we have in Him, as well. Here are some pics from that afternoon.

I would definitely recommend to anyone who is struggling with depression for you to read "Hope Prevails". Whether depression is something that has seemingly dismantled your life, has been a result of stress or difficult circumstance, or maybe just seems to be something you struggle with off and on, the words and suggestions may be just what you need to start getting you out of the depression that holds you down.

You may find me linking up at any of the blog parties listed on the left sidebar.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cultivating Gratitude in the Midst of Suffering

Hello all my lovely friends in the Lord!
I pray you have had a blessed week. Mine has been busy and also full of unexpected news. Last week I met with a new primary physician, due to some physical issues I have continued to deal with. She was very thorough and did several blood tests, most of which came back negative. But one of the test results surprisingly(and yet, not surprisingly) came back positive. It was a test for antibodies that are found with a disease called "Lupus". I had heard of Lupus, but was not aware of what it was. Upon some studying, I found that this can potentially be a very serious disease.  The reason I was not surprised by the test results was that all of my symptoms have been identical to the symptoms experienced with Lupus. I have an appointment in a few weeks to see a specialist, who will confirm whether I do have Lupus or not. With my symptoms, I would be surprised, though, if I don't have it. There is no cure, but thankfully symptoms can be treated with medications. I am praying for relief of my symptoms and for healing. I also am awaiting and preparing for my scheduled hysterectomy surgery at the end of September. This definitely will be a busy month! Please continue to hold me up in prayer!
As I wait for my medical issues to be addressed, I continue to care for my mother, who has dementia. I spend lots of time just being with her, which allows me to catch up on my reading. I have already started reading the book, Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor's Personal Journey through Depression by Michelle Bengtson. I hope to share a review of this book very soon.

Until then, I wanted to continue to share from my gratitude list. This list continues to grow and has helped me stay focused on the blessings God has provided each day of my life, in spite of much hardship and pain.
 This list and the photos I share remind me of the joy and goodness that springs up from God Himself, of which I so often miss in the day to day business and struggles of life. May you enjoy and be blessed by what I share. 
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." 
William Arthur Ward

#1861 - Finding beauty in the small, and seemingly insignificant.
#1862 - Being able to take regular walks through our neighborhood and being able to feel safe for the most part.
#1863 - A tree loaded down with pinecones...upone reading about the pinecone, I learned that there are many evil symbols related to it (read about it here). But, as I looked upon this pine tree with its profusion of pinecones, it reminded me of the multiple blessings in the Lord and how creative He is to come up with such a unique plant. I also learned these things about pinecones:
  • Pine cones are the reproductive parts of pine trees
  • There are both male and female pine cones.
  • Male pine cones are soft and small.
  • Female cones are the ones we generally associate with pine cones.
  • Maine’s state flower is the White Pine Cone & Tassel.
  • Many species of birds and squirrels feed on pine cones, including crossbills, woodpeckers and the gray and red varieties of squirrels.
  • Humans also eat parts of the pine cones: Pine Nuts! People usually toast pine nuts to improve flavor and texture.There are around 20 types of pine nuts that are edible by people.
#1864 - A lovely pathway through some trees that my hubby and I take on our walks. Unfortunately, this path will be closed off in the near future, as someone recently purchased the land next to it and built on it. 
#1865 - My hubby's expression whenever we walk by this neighboring house. I think he dreams about one day catching a fish this it's not real, but still...LOL!!!
 A close-up of the fake fish hanging above this house porch.
#1866 - Watching my hubby, who recently obtained a metal detector as a gift, searching for something of great value in the lake. Due to having our pontoon boat out for some repairs, this has been his recent hobby.

#1867 - Even when I come across something scary, the amazing beauty of God's creation amazes me. This GIANT hornet(holding onto a dead cicada) landed on the back of my chair, while I was sitting out on my patio. The size and sound of his buzzing frightened me. 
 Because of his size and threatening appearance, he was definitely not what I wanted to see!! I immediately found a different place to sit, after getting this snapshot, of course!
#1868 - I was also reminded, though, that even in these situations, we need not be afraid, for God is with us. His love truly does cast out all fear!!

You may find me linking up at any of the blog parties listed on the left sidebar.