All posts tagged Faith

It’s been a long weird decade

Published December 31, 2019 by ia84

12/31/09. If you had asked me what my life would look like ten years in the future, I would’ve given you an answer that bears little resemblance to what actually happened.

How has it turned out? Let me see…

-I’ve lived in two different states.

-I’ve worked in two different medical labs.

-I got married.

-I discovered that I’m actually a dog person (I still like cats, but dogs are my favorite).

-I’ve discovered a genuine love of crafting.

-I’ve had two surgeries.

-I’ve had miscarriages.

-I’ve lost the best grandparents in the world.

-I’ve experienced evolution of relationships with both family and friends.

-I’ve learned to think for myself.

-I’ve learned hard truths about myself.

-I’ve been given gifts I never expected that have quite literally changed my life and given me back hope that I lost long ago.

Life has mountains and valleys. The last decade was filled with mostly valley, and as much as it hurt, as much as it tried to destroy me, I’m ending the decade able to say, “I’m still here.” I can’t say I’m ending the decade a better person, but I’m definitely ending it more self-aware and in touch with the world around me.

So, what about the next ten years? Honestly, I don’t know what life will look like a decade from now. If God gives me another ten years (which I really pray He does), I know that I don’t want to waste them. I don’t want to reach 12/31/29 and find that I’ve accomplished nothing. I do know that for the first time in my life I have a dream of something that I want to do, that’s not just a pipe dream (I know I’m being a bit vague, and I intend to flesh this out in upcoming posts). I know that I have certain talents, and I’ve got a calling on my heart to use those talents, and to give. I know what gives me joy, and what my purpose is. Now the trick is to dive in and not give into my fear of failure.

I survived the decade.

I want to thrive in the next.

Today we’re going to talk about the…Oh look, Squirrel!

Published January 4, 2019 by ia84

My suspicions started a while ago. One of my friends is a special ed. teacher, and she regularly shares on Facebook different articles she’s found that relates to her work. One day she posted an article about an adult getting diagnosed with ADHD. I was intrigued, and hopped over to read it. As I finished the article, it struck me that it could easily have been written by me, but I didn’t have ADHD.

Did I?

Curious, I began to do a little research, and while I didn’t fit every single symptom of ADHD , I realized I had most of them. It took me a few months to work up the courage, but I finally got myself to the doctor and into therapy.

Last August, I was officially diagnosed with ADHD, and I started taking an antidepressant that is supposed to help with both my depression and my ADHD. I can track the ADHD symptoms and anxiety back to childhood, and the depression has been fairly constant companion since I was sixteen.

Do you have any idea how relieved and angry this diagnosis made me?

The relief comes from finally knowing that I’m not stupid, lazy, or just plain losing my marbles. It comes because I finally am getting a treatment that actually is doing something.

So, if I’m feeling all this relief, why am I feeling anger?

When I was growing up, I was taught that ADHD (and autism, and schizophrenia, and a whole raft of other mental issues) wasn’t real. I was told that ADHD-and pretty much any other mental condition-was one of two things. Either it was bad parenting, or it was demonic.

Now, I do believe in angels and demons, God and Satan, Heaven and Hell. However, I also believe in science and the fact that the brain sometimes doesn’t quite do its job right. To me, the brain not being able to produce enough neurochemicals is no different than the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the heart having a valve that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

What else was I raised to believe? Antidepressants are evil. They will turn the taker into a zombie. People don’t really need antidepressants, they just need to try harder.

I’ve spent years trying hard. And I’ve failed hard. Over and over and over again.

I’m angry because the symptoms were present for so long. I’m angry that those who saw the struggle never brought up the possibility that I might have ADHD. I’m angry because when I’d say, “I don’t get this.” for the twentieth time to my teachers I was told it really wasn’t that hard; I just needed to apply myself more and study harder. I’m angry because when I’d say I was having trouble focusing, or I couldn’t function because of my depression, I was advised to just power through it. I’m angry because when I’d say I was really having trouble with my memory I was advised to just spend less time on my phone (to be fair, I probably should spend less time on my phone, but the memory problems started years before I ever had a smart phone). I’m angry because this last August was the first time since I was a little kid that I genuinely didn’t feel exhausted the second I woke up. While I’m thrilled that I awoke feeling good, I’m angry because I should not have gone 26-ish years without a decent rest.

I could keep listing things, but I think you get the general idea.

This has been a huge adjustment period. I’m still wrapping my head around the diagnosis. Even though I had been suspecting it for months, it’s a whole different thing when it becomes your reality and not just a suspicion.

A few weeks into starting treatment, I told my husband that I had realized just how bad I truly had been doing. It scares me that I was in that terrible of shape for so long. I also told him he’s an amazing man for loving me and hanging in there with me.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been living in a brain fog. Going through the motions of life. Making decisions, most of which I regret. The only thing I don’t regret? Marrying my husband.

I’ve spent so long wandering. Most of the time my goal has been to survive the day.

In the last few months the fog has started to lift. Really, truly, lift and clear. It’s like when I put my contacts in every morning. The fuzzy world around me is suddenly clear.

I feel like me, the real me, is crawling out into the sunlight. I’m meeting this girl that I haven’t seen since childhood. I’m trying to figure out how to balance the childhood me with the adult me.

I looked in the mirror a few months ago, and the woman staring back at me was different. There was happiness, joy, optimism radiating from me. My face didn’t just look like a fat blob with eyes, nose, and a mouth. I looked human. Genuinely human. I feel human. I feel present. I’m suddenly here, on planet Earth.  I’m not just sitting on the sidelines watching my body go through its day. I spent decades being detached, so it’s very strange to suddenly find myself connected to my body. I didn’t realize until the last few months just how long it’s been since I’ve been present and involved.

I’m learning to take ownership of my life.  I’m actually thinking for myself, not just relying on others to tell me how to think.  I’m realizing that it’s okay for me to admit that I love coffee, and make-up, and that I’m a dog person.  These may not seem like big things, but up until December, I never would’ve been able to say these things.  I’ve even started being able to make “simple” decisions (the first time I was able to decide within 15 minutes that I wanted Taco Bell for supper, I wanted to cry due to joy.)  I feel like I’m finding my personality.

This healing process is just that.  It’s a process.  Some weeks it’s really rough, some weeks I’m actually getting normal things done (like laundry and dishes), and it’s not feeling like quite as much of a herculean effort.

I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in decades.


Published August 14, 2012 by ia84

This is the story of how I spent most of my afternoon at Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) and ended up buying a nice new camera for 11% of its actual cost.

I wrote yesterday about mom and I going to the zoo.  I’m not a great photographer, but that doesn’t stop me from loving photography, which is why I made sure I had my camera with me.

My beautiful, lovely camera!

We had been through the aquarium and the butterfly pavilion, and my camera was working fine.  We went and watched an IMAX film (if you have a zoo membership, you get into the IMAX for free), and then headed for the cat complex.  When we were inside the building, I got my camera out, and turned it on.  I noticed two blue streaks in the upper left hand corner of my display.  I’d never had anything show up like this, so I turned the camera off, waited, and turned it back on.  Blue smudge streaks were still there.  The camera still worked, but I was concerned that this might be a sign of future problems.

Today, the blue smudges were still there, so I finally called NFM customer service to speak with them about it.  There were two reasons for this.

A: I head back to ND on Sunday, and I’m running out of time to take care of things here at home.  If the blue smudge streaks were a omen of something truly going wrong with my camera, I wanted to be able to take care of it right away, instead of having to wait months before being able to get to NFM.

B:  Two years ago I purchased this camera from the NFM clearance.  It was the exact same camera as the top of the line they had out on the sales floor, it had just been a display camera and due to that they couldn’t sell it as new.  It was in great condition, and had so much more to offer than my little Coolpix I had bought back in 2004.  When I purchased this one in 2010, I got a 3-year accidental warranty policy.  I know some people say warranties are a rip-off, but I really liked the idea that if something bad happened, they’d fix it or replace it.  Besides, when I divided the warranty price out over the three years, it was a pretty cheap price to pay for a repair or replacement.

So, I called and after explaining the situation and giving my information, the guy I spoke with told me that I had to options.  They could either mail me a check for what I originally spent on the camera, or issue me store credit so that I could come in and pick out a replacement.  I asked if it would be possible to just get my camera fixed, and to my surprise, I was told that since what I paid was  under their limit (which if it had been new when I bought it, instead of a floor model, it would’ve been over their limit), they wouldn’t repair it.  I decided to go with the option of getting a new camera, which meant dad and I headed off on an adventure to NFM.

We got to NFM, and the lady at customer service was incredibly helpful, and everything went really smooth.  Once the paperwork was filled out, I went in search of my new camera.  First, I headed to clearance, and there I found this…

Nikon S9300

Like the one I purchased two years ago, this one is the most recent version of Coolpix, and it had also been a floor model.  After checking the information and playing around with the current one on display, I decided this was the camera.  It was meant to be.  Plus, since it was a former display camera, the price was really low, and with the store credit, it was going to cost me less that $40 out of my own pocket to get.  While finishing up buying it, the customer service rep, took it out of the box, so I could make sure it was okay.  Since the battery was dead, I couldn’t turn it on, but it appeared to be okay.

When we got home, I got ready to play with my new toy.  I was really excited.  I pulled the battery from my other camera and put it in the new one (they both use the same battery, it’s really handy).  I turned on the camera, and it clicked on, but then gave me an error message about the dial mode not being in position, and turned itself off.   I tried it again, and got the same message.  This time I looked closer, and discovered that the plate on top had gotten out of position, and the dial was sitting slightly cockeyed.  Dismayed, I tried, and dad tried, to get the plate to click back in, but it was stubborn.  So, back to NFM we went.

I was really worried that they’d not want to work with me since I was having so much camera drama, and that the customer service people would be really rude.  My worries were completely pointless.  A different lady helped us, and when she saw what the problem was, she assured us it wasn’t a problem, and said I could go find a different camera and we’d redo the process from earlier.  I found another camera that was the exact same one I wanted that was also in clearance, but they wanted fifty dollars more for it.  I just didn’t have the extra, so I settled on another Nikon, that was really nice, but not as great as the one I’d picked.  I told myself that my other camera was still in pretty good condition, and apart from those blue smudge streaks, it was still a nice camera that took good pictures.  Going back to customer service, I was surprised when the really nice lady showed me that she’d managed to get the plate down, and the camera was working perfectly.  Overjoyed, I let dad take the lesser camera back, and I set about finishing up at customer service.  The rep told me that it was a really nice camera, and she had a Canon that she loved, but she really liked this one too.  She then started talking about how she’d taken her camera with her to her granddaughter’s funeral, and she’d gotten some pictures that she was sure her son and his wife would want some day, but their hearts needed time to heal.  At this point dad returned, and overhearing what she was saying (but not who had passed away), he asked if she’d lost someone.  To this she replied that she’d lost her 3-day old granddaughter.  She said that she would’ve liked for her to live to be over a hundred, but Jesus had needed her.  She started talking about how good God is, and how much He loved us all.  I was in shock.  She was so sweet, and so genuine.  I could tell she wasn’t just saying these things because they sounded good.  She really believed it.  I’m a Christian, and I was just blown away by how much peace this woman had about what had happened.

All in all, it was a pretty amazing afternoon.  I got a beautiful new camera, and it’s a Nikon.  (I grew up in a Nikon loving household.  I don’t have anything against Canon, or other brands, but I really love my Nikons.)  On top of this, I saw someone totally living their faith and standing strong in it.

Also, most amazing customer service I have ever experienced!  I dealt with five different people this afternoon, and they were all consistently friendly, courteous, and just plain awesome!