It Started with the Apricots

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I am sorry if anyone who gets my posts emailed to them got the raw writing last week.  I was trying to write my thoughts, then I tried adding a picture, and not only did I end up publishing work that was not up to par, but I uploaded the wrong picture as well.  That’s when I walked away from the computer and decided tomorrow was another day.

The delete button is a marvelous tool.

Now for the part that I am nervous to write.  In July I had a traumatic experience.  I doubt I’ll ever write about it publicly, but we’ll see.  It was my own stupid fault – hind sight is 20/20 and the warning signs were there.  Still, the important thing to know is, I’m seeing a therapist for the anxiety.  There is this shaking/trembling that takes place inside my body that no one can feel except me.  Apparently that’s not all that uncommon in people who are experiencing extreme stress or fear.

I want you to know how grateful I am.  My husband, my children, and my siblings have prayed to Heavenly Father on my behalf.  I have been blessed with a quick recovery of rational and logic.  As soon as I was functional, I began to look for ways to serve someone else to take my mind off of things.  Believe me, it helps… and opens up opportunities.  That’s how it happened.

I had a whole kitchen full of apricots and I had no desire to do any kind of canning.    So I grabbed two sacks and threw some apricots in them and wracked my brains on who could use two sacks full of apricots.  My friend Susan came to mind… the same Susan who inspired me before.  I had an overwhelming feeling I should go see her.  So I did.

When I got to Susan’s home she whisked me away to her room so we could talk privately.  At first I tried to be myself, but at that point I couldn’t smile or even feel.  It’s a very scary thing, not to be able to feel emotion.  Then she grabbed my arm and pulled me slightly so I could focus on her – and told me to tell her what was going on.  I told her some of the story eliminating a lot of the scary details.  She looked at me and said, “Aine, you have been suffering!  I don’t want you to suffer!”

And then she told me about HER therapist.

The thing is, I never in a million years would have considered therapy.  I still don’t know how I feel about it.  The more she talked though, the more I could see I really needed some help.  I went home and thought some more.  Then Susan started texting me, making sure I would go through with it because she knew my reservations.  Bless her for that.

My husband went with me once to make sure we weren’t putting me on a life sentence, and was satisfied that this man’s main objective is to get me out of therapy as quickly as possible.  I have read his book Navigating Your Mind and I have to say, of all the therapists in the world, I think this one is a good fit.  From the beginning, he has given me tools to help me get through the “bad moments.”  They’ve been very helpful and his calm manner and the fact that he said to me, “You’re not broken.  I know you think you are, but you’re not.  You just have to put in some work because I’m not going to give you a band-aid.  Medication is not going to help you – only YOU can help you.”

I completely agree.

So that is what is new in my life.  I don’t want you to think that this is it for me as far as writing goes.  It’s not.  My story is on hold – I can’t write the “dark” scenes in my book right now.  I am considering writing a lighter story to keep myself in the habit, but Son of Asgard is on indefinite hiatus.  That worries my mom – she doesn’t want me to give up.  I’m not.  I just need some time, but I know I will heal.

My first indication of this was standing in the Deseret Bookstore looking through a display of books.  My darling husband was piling books in my arms.  How to be happy books.  The importance of women books.  Cd’s by my favorite speakers.  His attentiveness was almost comical, except the softness of love mixed with worry around his eyes.  That man loves me, and I love him so very, very much.  Anyway, while he was searching for more “help” for me, I came across this book:

Click on image to go to Deseret Book.

Which is nothing more than a retelling of President Uchtdorf’s 2011 talk, but as I leafed through the pages I came across the words, “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.”  In that moment, I began to cry, which kinda freaked out a couple of people in the store.  I was overwhelmed with joy because my internal body had stopped shaking (and at the time I didn’t even know what was causing it) and I knew beyond faith that the words of my Bishop’s blessing was true – that in time this challenge was going to be nothing more than a small moment.  In other words, it is not a defining moment.  It is not going to break me.  I am going to be stronger, and more faithful because of it, but it’s not going be life altering in a negative sense.

Jeffery R. Holland in his talk, Broken Things to Mend (The Ensign, May 2006), said this about the Savior:

…The Master over every problem and fear, He who is the solution to every discouragement and disappointment, stretched out His hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.

Healing is coming.  I may have been through a storm, but I have seen the pockets of sunshine since.  Everyday there is even more to be grateful for.   It will come.

Don’t worry – this is not my confession of turning this blog into a therapy journal.  I simply want to make you aware that this will probably come up from time to time.  No biggie.   I also want to say that I’m not giving up.  I’m supposed to write.  I’m also supposed to cook dinner, and read scriptures, and educate my children…

I did mention I would be writing about my attempts to maintain balance, didn’t I?

Thanks to my mom for coming to stay with us for awhile.  There would still be a lot of dark things rummaging around in my brain if it wasn’t for her.   And thanks for anyone who sticks with me through it – I appreciate you all.

Side note:  the rest of the apricots are pitted and still waiting for me to do something with them in my freezer.  I am content at this time to let them wait.  :)

Wanted: A Peaceful Heart

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Recently I had a puzzling experience.  One night a friend of mine had acted much like the loving, kind, gracious person I know and love, and then a few weeks later changed for a day.   It no longer seemed like he/she wanted to have anything to do with anyone that didn’t seem to be on board with their agenda.  I would say it was confusing, but I understood where my friend was coming from in the social setting we were in.  Some would say it was necessary.

Except, we had been in that social setting before, and this was the first time my friend had acted differently.  That night when I went home, I laid in bed a long time thinking about the day’s events and what was going on with him/her.  Unlike my husband, I don’t have the capacity to shut my brain off when I go to bed.  It likes to ponder until I have a conclusion…  which in the end I decided my friend was dealing with what the Arbinger Institute calls a warring heart (see video below).

Normally this person isn’t like that, but people aren’t perfect.  Everyone has off days – that’s why we all need unconditional love.  If we were only friends with perfect people, we wouldn’t even be friends with ourselves.  That’s why you love them and respect them anyway, no matter what’s going on. 

True friends deliver.

What does this have to do with writing?  As much time as writers spend behind a computer, getting read is still very much a social game.  Even if you plan on publishing via ebook and using book bombs, blogging and the like to sell your book, if you have a warring heart, it’ll show.  The only way to true success is to have your heart at peace – no matter what your profession.  Only then will you attract the success you desire.  Whether that’s readers, agents, fans, business partners, etc. – you can determine the outcome by discerning where your heart is.

I’m happy to report that it seems my friend has found peace again.  That’s always a  happy state of affairs.

Here’s a short, five min. video that shares a historical story that illustrates the point in Anatomy of Peace (which is an excellent book, btw).  It’s worth the five min.  :)

The Glass Pen

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I have to thank the stalker woman who was taking photos of my child off my personal blog and printing them out for who-knows-what-reason.  Because of her, I took a sabbatical to examine the reason behind why I blog.   After all, blogging is not the dream – writing the novel is. When I bought this domain I was attempting to follow my writing mentors’ advice:  to be published you  MUST have web presence, and one mentor went so far as to say, “Don’t put any of that personal stuff on there.  Keep it professional.”

Okay, so I tried that.  A personal blog, a homeschool blog, a poetry blog, a recipe blog, a flash fiction blog, a writing blog, a personal history blog, a book blog… etc.  And those are just some of the ones people know about.  o_O   Then that thing happened and I ended up shutting everything down…  and even after an attempt of resurrecting myself on blogger as anonymous I found myself in this place of, “What’s the point?”

Talk about an inspiration killer.

Then I got this little kiss from heaven from my friend, Susan:

I MISS YOU! I miss your sassiness, your laugh, your knowledge of all things “interesting” that I end up believing in, I miss [your daughter]. I miss YOU!!!! I miss reading your blog! I hope you are doing well and know that you are super duper LOVED by ME!

When I read this I suddenly saw my blog parade like a shoe store.  I’ve tried on sneakers, sandals, cowgirl boots, high heels…  the attendants are panting in the aisles with tissue paper and boxes piled high.  To those of you who have followed them all – thank you.  I know it’s been exhausting.    Then there’s that last shoe box which opens to reveal the glass slippers I’ve been looking for – the perfect fit.  And guess what?  They were there right in front of me with a blinking neon sign saying, “HERE.  HERE.  HERE.”

I don’t know why some of us choose to try on different shoes.  Maybe if I hadn’t tried all that I would be constantly looking over the fence WONDERING if I’d like myself better in boots.  Now I know I don’t.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either.  It’s like I get so competitive with myself, I forget that sometimes it’s just an experience I’m having.  It’s got NOTHING to do with me, except giving me an opportunity to learn and grow.

No more apologies, no more switching back and forth.  This is the domain that bears my name, so it’s the one I’m going to stick with.  The crazy stalker lady can stick a sock in it – I’ll just have to be more careful.  *shrugs*  I chose the new name “woman with the glass pen” because while the Cinderella metaphor works, the truth is I really can’t see God giving me glass slippers to walk in.  Geez – we’d see me doing a repeat appearance of my wedding day when I missed the chair in the endowment room because my mother didn’t hold it down for me and I disappeared on the floor with my dress high above my head.  (True story – Mom had to reach in the middle to pull me out.)

I don’t think God sets us up for failure.  Instead, I see Him handing me a glass pen saying, “You’ve got your direction – now stop eating your words and write what you’ve been wanting to say.  People want to hear it.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is, sometimes we don’t know what we want until we know what we DON’T want.  And that’s okay.  Let yourself experience it, let people love you where you’re at.  Know that they don’t judge you for changing your mind.  What they really want to see – the people in your life that matter – is you happy doing what you do, fulfilling your greatest potential, and living the dreams that God put in your heart.

THAT is the point.

PS  I’ve missed you ALL.  Thank you for your kindness and understanding and sweet words of encouragement and emails like Susan’s.  We all need cheerleaders.  Everyone does.  And Susan, I love you too.  You still have not come to see my super-duper cool old house!  :)

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