Tag Archives: Family

birthday thanks

Today is my 26th birthday, and I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who wrote on my Facebook wall. Even if it was just the for the millisecond it took to type out the words, it means ya’ll thought of me, and that means a lot. It’s people who make life worthwhile, and that’s going to be true as I enter the next year of existence.

I’d like to give a special shout out to the special people in my life:

To my parents, who are two of my favorite people in the world, besides being my     parents. They model a fantastic marriage, are both intelligent, compassionate, curious, and funny. My mom, who gave me my love of books and the curl in my hair; my dad, who always believed in me and never made me feel any less because I was a girl; they are both inspiring.

To my brother, my younger twin, who never betrayed himself and what he was about even when his peers didn’t understand. He hid his own pain and fought his battle alone when my depression was the focus in the family, and came out strong and never bitter. Here’s to over two decades of inside jokes, weird childhood stories, and wordless communication that could only happen because we share a bear (brain).

To Erin, my best friend, who always accepts me just as I am, and teaches me how to be a better person. She is the most inspiring and humble person in the world, without a cruel bone in her body, and fights tirelessly for what she believes in.

To Lilly, my cousin, the girl with naturally-curly hair, who I played Barbies with when we were young, and now share political rants with over Facebook messages. She’s always been more of a sister to me than a cousin, we share the same intensity about life, and the same resting bitch face we inherited from our mothers, but ya know, bitches get stuff done, and she’s definitely getting stuff done.

To Brynne, from the peanut-free table in high school to bridesmaid in my wedding to teacher in Kenya. She always worries that she isn’t a good enough friend to me, but the truth is she’s like my sister in that we don’t have to talk a lot, I know she would always be there when I needed her.

To Hannah Rasmussen, one of the most intense people I’ve ever met, who is going to do the kind of things that the world notices, and I can be like, “I know her!” She loves Jesus more than anyone I know, and it overflows to everyone she comes into contact with.

To Lauren, the first friend in Oregon. She grabs life by the horns and teaches me how to have fun. She and Jason welcomed me and Chris into their lives so quickly and warmly, I’m so grateful for their friendship.

To Kelia, the kindred spirit I thought I lost, who is always ready to talk out boy issues and laugh at random Instagram posts I send her. Even though we’re super far apart and I can only see her through her cracked phone camera, I feel like she’s right in there in life with me.

To Ronny, always cool-headed and calm, but full of an inspiring energy and sense of justice. She’s amazing at her job, always insightful, and always ready with a “Parks and Recreation” reference.

To Jess, with the artist’s heart, and like a crouching tiger, has a hidden dragon inside. She is always fighting to be able to do what she loves, and going out of her comfort zone. She’s grown so much since I first met her years and years ago, and whenever I see her, I will start crying at some point, because she invites vulnerability and honesty.

And last, but certainly not least, to Chris. I know we’ve had some really rough times, and we’re still braving the storm, but I’ve only grown to love you more and more. You bring out the “me” in me, and I want to be the best version of myself. I love the life we have, the tiny moments like getting ready for bed and knowing Yoshi is going to start licking your pillow, and you turn it over; or watching a TV commercial for a new burger, and you’re going to make a “yum” noise; your kindness, and respect for every human being you meet, your willingness to always make dinner when I’m working…the list goes on.

 

Advertisements

Yoshi Arrives

Yoshi came home yesterday! He was wiggly and as bizarre as ever. After a 4-day car ride, he was itching to run around, so we took him to the park. That meant he had to endure a 15-minute ride there and back again. He was pretty good, though! No screeching. He just ran back and forth in the backseat, looking out the window, and crashing into stuff. He loved the park. He wanted to smell and rub on everything, and he only barked once, at a dog that surprised him.

He slept through the night. In the morning, he decided to test us. I tried giving him his pill, and he wanted NOTHING to do with it. He wouldn’t even come over. He does this thing where he looks at me over his shoulder, and prances away. When I told him to sit, he did so, but very slowly. Eventually, Chris was able to get him to take it. I figured if we just kept bugging him with it, he would see that we weren’t giving up, and resign himself to his fate. Then he played fetch with his pig’s ear for a little, and we all went back to sleep.

I only heard him bark twice this morning. Once, when Chris left, and then a little later. He stopped after a few minutes though. Very good sign. It really helps that he can’t see out any windows, and the fan covers a lot of noise. Right now, he’s passed out underneath a coffee table. Today, he’ll probably be very sleepy. He’ll get a walk later. My goal is to give him a good walk every day around the neighborhood, and then on the weekends, take him to Minto.

It feels like our family is complete again, and we’ll all happier and healthier than the last time we were together. I can’t find the words to thank Tom and Marsha for taking care of Yoshi for these past three years, and giving him the best home we could have asked for. You’re both superheroes.

What I’m Reading: “Blessed Are The Crazy” by Sarah Griffith Lund

I knew I was going to love “Blessed Are the Crazy” when a random sponsored ad took me to Sarah Griffith Lund’s author page on Facebook. It had all the elements of books I am drawn to, and most vitally, it tells a story that it takes guts to talk about. Ms. Lund’s story begins when she was a child and her mentally-ill father wrecked havoc on his family, even when he and Sarah’s mother separated and he drifted in and out of her life. She goes through the years of confusion and fear about why her father was the way he was, realization of his illness, and gradually, slowly, learning from him. She also writes about her brother who seemed to “inherit” his father’s illness, which eventually cost him his wife, career, and emotional stability. One of the most profound parts of the book is when Ms. Lund acknowledges how brave her brother is by choosing to stay alive when all he wanted to do was die. This is something so many people fail to realize when it comes to severe mental illness, when just breathing is an act of heroism, the ultimate self-sacrifice. Also included in this little, extremely powerful book is the story of Ms. Lund’s cousin who was executed at age 30 and the evolution of her own spirituality.

As a person of faith, Ms. Lund works through so many thoughts and questions I have had other the years about God and mental illness. One thing I really loved was her thoughts on how everyone has a cross to bear, and for so many, that cross is mental illness. It makes songs like “Oh, the Wonderful Cross” fall flat and those little pretty silver cross necklaces trite. Ms. Lund writes, “…You can buy porcelain or jeweled crosses with Bible quotes….but what about a cross that looks crazy, that looks ugly? Not as reflective of a crazy or ugly God, but one that represents the craziness and ugliness of our burdens that we bear?” It made me think about what the original cross represented and looked like. It was where criminals hung to die. Jesus’ cross was painted red with his gore, his skin nailed against the wood with spikes. When he was forced to carry up the hill, he fell, and a man named Simon of Cyrene had to help him. Jesus needed someone to carry his cross with him. Imagine how much more do we need others to help us.

My family has been there to carry my cross of mental illness, and it has not left them without scars. Reading what I write about mental illness and my history with it is often extremely difficult for them. I wouldn’t be alive without them.

The Speed of the Season

imageThis is my first holiday season as a married adult and I feel like it rushed upon me.

I see some other young people who are much better at Christmasing than me. They have wreaths and trees and made cookies. I bought brown packing paper for wrapping paper because I wanted to be “rustic,” but I lack the wrapping skills to make the presents look as charming as I envisioned. There is more Scotch tape and less neatly-tied twine with vintage stamps.

I am baking on Thursday and that is my Christmas activity goal for therapy. I’m making chocolate chip oatmeal pecan cookies, banana fudge muffins, and red velvet cookies.

I’m planning for next year. I’m going to stock up on wrapping paper and ribbons when it goes on sale in a week, and I want to do a Christmas card. This year, it didn’t even cross my mind.

But that’s ok. Christmas looks different for everyone, and this year, we’ll be in Indiana with Chris’ parents. And it will be great.

National Adoption Awareness Month

Screen shot 2013-10-26 at 10.06.05 PM

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. I know at least two families who have adopted children and when the time comes to start a family of my own, I want to consider adoption. There are so many children in the world who need a family; why shouldn’t I be a part of that?

Stats in 2011 estimate that 153 million children under 18 have lost one or both parents. There are of course orphans and children who need families in America, but internationally, the number of orphans is staggering.  In the US, we don’t usually think about malaria, or war, or extreme poverty, or HIV/AIDS, but on a global scale, these are routine concerns and countless children are losing their parents daily. These children (usually girls) have to drop out of school to care for their other siblings and try to find work or marry. In the worst circumstances, orphans are bought and sold as soldiers, prostitutes, and slaves. In order to survive, many orphans turn to crime.

Adoption is one way that orphans can be given a family and the opportunities they need to have a full life. However, I imagine that adopting a child (especially one from a different country who is not a newborn) is much more complex than giving birth to one. There are cultural differences and emotional traumas to be considered, and is especially acute the older the child is. Families are not always equipped to deal with the challenges. I read about a trend a couple years ago where these Christian families in rural areas were adopting 4-5 children at once from African countries, through a sketchy organization, and often had to give the children to other families or even tried to send many back to their home countries. The emotional damage a situation like this causes has got to be very difficult for an orphan.

If one is not able to personally adopt a child, there are other ways to support orphans. Organizations like Worldwide Orphans work to provide children with the physical care they need as well as giving them skills to become independent. A big problem with traditional orphanages is when the children age out, they have no where to go and no idea about how to support themselves without resorting to crime, prostitution, or unwanted marriages. The Worldwide Orphans Foundations provides education, health care, recreation, and technology on a long-term scale, because not every child can be adopted. Every child can be cared for though, if the right organizations are supported.

Go to https://www.wwo.org/ to get more information and donate.