Black Dog Syndrome

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

I have a history with big, black dogs.

When I was just a toddler, my parents had a dog, Buttons. It was a pinscher-mix-type mutt, their “before kids” kid. And it hadn’t ever shown aggression to anyone.

Until.

The story goes that my parents were feeding the dog Cheez-Its. I crawled up, and they gave me a Cheez-It, too. And then the dog attacked me, nearly ripping my little ear off. They loved me more than the dog, so they got rid of it (or put him down – I don’t remember).

So I spent a few weeks looking like this. I have no memory of any of this at all, but I’ve never liked big dogs.

jessie_post_dog_bite

Then, when I was in eighth grade, it snowed. It snowed enough for us to be out of school for three weeks. My mom had pretty recently gone back to work, at least part-time, and after all these snow days in a row – we had a TON of snow for central Virginia – she needed to work. I was plenty old to take care of my sister, who was in fifth grade.

But I was tired of playing in the snow. One day my sister went outside with our next-door neighbor. She tried to pet their dog, a black Lab who was chained behind their house. And the dog attacked my sister, tearing a gash into her arm.

What I remember is calling my mom at work, hysterical. Our neighbor taking us to the hospital in his work van. How Ashley’s coat wasn’t torn even though her arm was. But somewhere in there, apparently I tightly wrapped the wound and elevated her arm, they say. My babysitter brain kicked in even though I have no memory of it doing so.

So see, I am kind of biased against big, black dogs. (And by the way, you are BIASED. You have a BIAS. There’s your grammar lesson for today.)

And then God saw to it to put us on a campus full of them. When we moved here, we lived next door to a man with an elderly black lab called Bio. Bio was absolutely the sweetest, most gentle dog I’ve ever met. When we moved to another dorm, Bio and his owner moved with us. And in the apartment on the floor between our two apartments lived two MORE big black dogs.

Is the universe trying to tell me something?

My boys love dogs. Their exposure has been mostly to these big old ebony-furred friends. Little by little, my defenses against such animals is wearing down. Maybe someday I’ll be able to approach a black Lab without any fear at all.

Maybe.

{Apparently Black Dog Syndrome is an actual thing, according to Wikipedia. Who knew? My prejudice does come from real life and not TV and movies.}

Favorites of the Week

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

IMG_5320 IMG_5321 IMG_5326

Favorite pictures: Little ones enjoying what qualifies for snow in Tennessee.

Favorite links:

Recipes I want to make:

Favorite moments:

  • Joshua having a conversation with Mommy and Daddy on the couch. This mostly consisted of, “Daddy paci! Daddy milk!” and trying to shove his paci and cup in Daddy’s mouth. But there were also a lot of kisses.
  • Cuddling and watching The Croods.
  • Getting to sleep in (hello, President’s Day and a week of “not really snow” days).
  • One of the other moms from Libbie’s kindergarten class saved my life yesterday by inviting us all over, despite the fact that we don’t really know each other and she has four sons of her own. The kids had a blast and it was such a blessing to me to get out of the house and talk to another mom.
  • Doing an essential oils class with Tiffany last Saturday on campus. It was a lot of fun, and I just enjoy sharing about the oils!

Favorite offline reading: I devoured It Was Me All Along by blogger Andie Mitchell over the last few days. I wrote a review on GoodReads about it if you can’t wait to see it here in my February books recap. I also FINALLY finished The Woman in White. Woot!!

What’s going on in your neck of the woods this week? Snowed in? We actually got maybe a whole inch of snow last night, and now it’s sleeting on top of that, so we may be stuck today.

 

Your Art Is Not You.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

The Art of Daring

I am reading the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, and I read this passage tonight. It’s kind of long, but please read the whole thing here.

You’ve designed a product or written an article or created a piece of art that you want to share with a group of friends. Sharing something that you’ve created is a vulnerable but essential part of engaged and Wholehearted living. It’s the epitome of daring greatly. But because of how you were raised or how you approach the world, you’ve knowingly or unknowingly attached your self-worth to how your product or art is received. In simple terms, if they love it, you’re worthy; if they don’t, you’re worthless.

One of two things happens at this point in the process:

1. Once you realize that your self-worth is hitched to what you’ve produced or created, it’s unlikely that you’ll share it, or if you do, you’ll strip away a layer or two of the juiciest creativity and innovation to make the revealing less risky. There’s too much on the line to just put your wildest creations out there.

2. If you do share it in its most creative form and the reception doesn’t meet your expectations, you’re crushed. Your offering is no good and you’re no good. The chances of soliciting feedback, reengaging, and going back to the drawing board are slim. You shut down. Shame tells you that you shouldn’t have even tried. Shame tells you that you’re not good enough and you should have known better.

If you’re wondering what happens if you attach your self-worth to your art or your product and people love it, let me answer that from personal and professional experience. You’re in even deeper trouble.

 

Whoah, did this ever hit home for me.

Want to hear something that qualifies as very vulnerable for me? I’ve sold a grand total of 7 copies of my devotional, Parenting Parables.

Is it maybe because I gave it away to all my friends? Perhaps.

But you know what? I’m OK with it. If I had published the devotional on my 30th birthday, as I had planned, and it had only sold a handful-and-a-half of copies, I would have been up there in #2. I would have been CRUSHED.

Am I still, a little? Maybe. But my okay-ness with the situation shows me how I’ve changed in the last three years. God has worked on my heart so much during this time. I poured my heart into this devotional. But I was able to offer it to Him, not anyone else. It’s my sacrifice of praise. It was something I felt like He called me to do, and I did it.

Maybe it will really touch one of those seven people. Maybe it won’t.

But it has no effect on my being Enough. I am Enough because God says so. Not because of my Art. Not because of anything I do. Not because I read my Bible or brush my teeth or teach Sunday School or wear the right jeans.

I am Enough because He lives in me. And oh, the feeling of knowing that – the fact that nothing I could do would make me any more in His sight – it is warmth. Comfort. Cry-worthy.

So I’m baring myself again, telling you the truth, and hoping that you know: you are Enough. You, who write a blog that you think no one reads. You, who paint what no one sees. You, who want to be on the stage. Every one of you. Enough.

 

Favorites of the Week

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

IMG_5287

It seems I haven’t actually taken any pictures for fun this week, so I am sharing this picture Libbie took of all her Calico critters. Hehe.

Favorite links:

Recipes I want to try:

Favorite moments:

  • Spending all of Sunday cuddling with Joshua. Yes, he had a fever, but Mommy loves some snuggles.
  • Making meatloaf and buttermilk mashed potatoes for my people Thursday night.
  • Libbie telling me a hilarious and long story she made up in the car this morning.
  • Doing water aerobics while oldies music played and having a huge grin on my face. It just makes me happy!
  • Seeing response to my essential oils and depression post.
  • Big hugs from David every night as he proclaims he is thankful for Mommy or Daddy.
  • Seeing my husband loving on all three kids on the couch while they watched a movie.

Favorite offline reading: I am still reading The Woman in White. It never takes me this long to read a book. Insanity. I’m also working on Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, and if I can find some time I’d love to just sit down and devour it.

What’s going on with you and yours this week?

Essential Oils and Depression

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

EOsanddepression

FDA Disclaimer:  The information, advice, statements, and testimonials made about the essential oils, blends, and products mentioned on this web site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The information on this site and the products listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease, nor are they intended to replace proper medical help. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any regimen with essential oils.

I try to be very open about my struggle with depression. I’ve been on medicine for it most of the time since I was 20 years old – more than a third of my life. If you want to read a little background, here is My History Part 1 and 2. I wouldn’t try to hide it if I had cancer or a broken arm, and I won’t try to hide that depression is a major medical issue for me.

I go in and out of phases where it is worse and then better. When it’s worse, I have trouble making it through whole days. I cry a lot. I do a lot of contemplating what’s wrong with me and why God even gave me children when I am obviously the worst mom in the world.

After I bought my Young Living Premium Starter Kit, Tiffany sent me some information on oils for depression, knowing my story and struggles. I decided it couldn’t hurt to try them.

And I can tell you in completely honesty that I feel better emotionally, more stable, than I have in YEARS. As long as I stick to this regimen, that is – just like with any medicine, if I stop doing it, the results taper off. Essential oils, while not being medicine, are medicinal – they work with your body chemistry to detoxify and change things. So if I don’t use all the oils or I skip a day, I regret it.

Here is my regimen.

  • Valor :: I use one drop of Valor, undiluted, on my wrists and rub them together. Valor helps with courage (as well as snoring, but that’s a whole other issue).
  • Frankincense :: I use Sacred Frankincense, just because it’s what came in my kit when I ordered it (a short-lived replacement they did). I rub one drop, neat, at the top of my neck.
  • Stress Away :: Oh, we all know how I feel about Stress Away. Ahhhh. I rub Stress Away on the bottom of my neck and also anywhere I have tense muscles and knots on my shoulders.
  • Lemon :: I rub one drop of undiluted Lemon somewhere it won’t be exposed to sunlight, since it’s photosensitive – usually on my stomach stretch marks, since it can help fade them. You can substitute Grapefruit or Orange if you wish.
  • Joy :: I rub one drop of Joy (neat) over my heart and breathe it in deeply. The smell of it often turns people off at first, but the more I use it the more I love the scent of geranium in it. This blend also has rose, bergamot, and ylang ylang, among other oils.
  • Peace & Calming :: I rub one to two drops of Peace & Calming on the right side of my chest.

I’ve sometimes thought Peace & Calming wasn’t really doing much for my depression. Then I stopped using it. WHOAH. I recently realized when I started using it again how much it helps to calm my heart and my mind. I snap at the kids a lot less and am able to stay calm more when they drive me bonkers. And since it also helps me get to sleep at night, P&C is one of my very favorite oils.

oilsfordepression

art source: Erwin Fisser via Flickr Creative Commons

Usually those six oils will keep me upbeat and out of that pit of depression I tend to fall into. This is on top of taking my antidepressant. I am not ready to try to taper off it, but I can see myself doing that in the future if I can keep the depression at bay with essential oils.

Sometimes I will also add White Angelica, one drop rubbed onto the top of each of my shoulders. White Angelica is a blend said to help combat negativity. It shares some of the same oils with Joy while adding sandalwood, spruce, melissa, myrhh, and others. It feels soothing on my shoulders and really does seem to affect my mood in a positive way.

______

I’ve honestly put off writing this post for months, wanting to make sure it really was going to keep working. And I can attest that yes, these oils are seriously helping my depression and anxiety, too. I’ve had friends tell me that I seem more centered and that I appear to have found my way in parenting. The oils have definitely had a place in this. I thank God for His gift of the amazing properties of these plants! (I am sure finally finding my exercise mojo hasn’t hurt, either!)

Four of the six oils come in the Premium Starter Kit: Joy, Lemon, Stress Away, and Frankincense. Thankfully, Valor and Peace & Calming aren’t too expensive as far as essential oils go. If you’re interested in learning more about the oils or have any questions, leave me a comment or e-mail me at vanderbiltwife@gmail.com. Or if you just need to talk to someone about depression and staying sane as a mom – I’m your girl.

The Wonder of Time

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Pinterest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

Tree Grows in Brooklyn quote

I just got a giant box of back issues of ParentLife in the mail. Something had been messed up with their contributor copy system, so it’d be more than a year since I got any physical copies. I flipped through each issue, glancing at my own articles, remembering how and when I wrote them.

The first time I was published in ParentLife it was almost a scandal. I still worked at LifeWay, although I was on the brink of leaving. My friend Jodi asked me if I would write something for them – I think it was about being a working mom. And I wrote it. And then my manager came in and told me they wouldn’t allow internal freelancing. He made me feel like I was about 5 years old. This was my dream, period. It was finally coming to fruition. And I felt it go splat on the carpet. I’m pretty sure I cried heaving sobs once he left.

After he found out that I’d actually already written the article, before he even knew or spoke to me, he let them publish it. I would have done it without the payment, though. For me, it was all about the byline. The actual being-in-print. Seeing my words sitting there in a magazine and knowing people might actually read them.

When I first started working from home and freelancing for the magazines, I scanned each article that I wrote, so I would be sure to have a digital copy in case I lost the magazine. For my “portfolio.” I laugh a little bit now at this 2009 Jessie.

I’ll admit that now I glance at the articles. I make sure they haven’t edited me so much that I no longer sound like myself. (This has never happened, but you never know.) I am glad for the paychecks but it’s longer glamorous to have my name in type. It just is. I love to write, and I am so thankful that someone pays me to do so. But it’s not the same level of excitement it once was.

christmaslibbie

Parenting feels the same way, for me. When we had just one child, everything was a big stinking deal. Decorating. Doing the right thing when she was sick or eating or sleeping. Every moment was new, and it was exciting. I remember asking my mom, when Libbie started grasping at toys, if it was as fun when your subsequent children did the same thing. Would I still be enthralled? She looked doubtful.

In some ways, I am. I am still tipsy with love when each child learns to totter around, talk, give kisses. It’s not less special just because I have experienced it three times. But in some ways, it is less of a high. Those long days they talk about can turn everything into monotony. Yes, Joshua narrated everything I brought home from the grocery store. David did a 48-piece puzzle … again. Libbie read me a chapter book. Can I go to bed now?

Joshua will be two in a little more than a month. (Let’s not talk about that, OK? It makes me cry.) For Libbie’s second birthday, we had a big old Dr. Seuss-themed party in our rental home’s backyard. For David’s second, we had some friends, mostly adults, come over and ate appetizers and failed to take a single picture. And for Joshua’s second birthday? Ummm … maybe some cake at home? He’s only going to be TWO, right? It’s not like he’ll remember!

Times change.

naartjiekidsdress

I’d like to remember to get down and experience some of that wonder every day. This involves closing the laptop and ignoring the dishes. (Because I don’t totally ignore the dishes anyway …) It means I actually get down on a child’s level and listen to him or her talk. I wonder at the magnificence of their tiny voices, of David’s precise coloring skills, of Joshua’s curly blonde head, of Libbie’s sensitive heart as she talks about interactions with her classmates. I don’t try to multitask. I just am, there, with them.

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” – Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn