joy

My Dear Addye, With All My Love, Susan

Hello, dear readers of Butterfly Confessions. Lauren of My Postpartum Voice here. I've recruited some of Addye's friends to write posts for her blog while Addye babymoons with hear new little one. This letter is the first guest post and it's written by the fabulous Susan of Learned Happiness. If you'd like to submit a guest post to be published while Addye is babymooning, email me at mypostpartumvoice (@) gmail with "For Butterfly Confessions" in the subject line! Without further ado, I present Susan's lovely words for Addye.....

 

My Dear Addye,

You and I have been friends for 3 years, now.  And in that time, I have watched you transform into a wholehearted woman.  You took chances with your life and made huge leaps of faith - faith in yourself more than any one person.  You have learned to be honest with yourself about who you are and who you want to be.  Your integrity has been hard-fought and is well-deserved.  You honor me with your friendship.

You said when you married Bert and took his name that it was the beginning of a new life - one written by you and you alone.  One that speaks to all you hold sacred and points to a fulfilling life with your family.  And this baby?  Is a part of that new life.  I can see it in your eyes - in the way you look at him and hold him.  I have experienced the hope brought by a new baby birthed in joy and a sense of calm.  It renews the spirit.  And I couldn't have wished a better birth experience for you.

SusanQuoteRemember that no matter how good your birth (or how much you love that amazing tiny man), having a newborn is a special kind of torture.  The nights are long and the days are even longer.  And no matter how happy you are, it's okay to be exhausted.  It's okay to be emotional.  And it's okay to still need help.  This is not a test of your spirit.  You are not being graded on how gracefully you weather the fourth trimester.  There will be beautiful moments and there will be unbearable ones.  And your tribe?  Will be standing beside you for both.

I hope with all of my heart that the darkness you fear is blotted out by your joy.  But if it's not, if it all becomes too much, you are armed and you are never alone.

With all my love, Susan

FRESH PAINT: New Horizons & A Foreboding Joy

I painted two pieces last week, and tried something new with both of them. First, instead of reaching for the 16x20 bundle packs I normally grab (and can afford) I listened to a heart whisper and went BIG, purchasing sizes I had yet to explore: 24x48 and 36x48.

(How would I fill such large spaces? What was my inner creative longing to release that required more space to tell it's message on?)

Second, instead of reaching for the brushes in my box, I found my hand landing on the rag I normally use to wipe my brushes on, and used it to distribute the paint across each canvas' surface.

The results? Left me breathless to be honest. I look at both pieces now, in my living room and am in awe of what's staring back at me. Maybe it's vain to say I absolutely love these pieces and I think the messages they convey are important ones for me...but...it's the truth-my truth anyway and it's not often I find myself in love with something I've created on canvas.

Two of my words for this year are "explore," and "pursue." In regards to painting I told myself  that I would explore my new found passion for painting and experiment with various styles and techniques to find what "fits," if that makes sense. Working with a rag and my hands instead of brush and with larger spaces exposed me to a freedom I hadn't realized my inner creative had been longing for. I'm looking forward to doing more in this fashion, and I think I have a theme that can make the pieces in this style an actual collection....we'll see.

Both pieces are up for sale in the shop along with other pieces from the last 7 months. Feel free to stop by for a look....

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This one was inspired by a lyric from the song "New Horizons," by Flyleaf: "Bring your normalcy to the edge and watch it drown in new horizons...new horizons..." It speaks to the new horizons that have been stretching themselves across my life these past months: new decade (30's!), new city & home (AUSTIN!), new marriage (details and photos in a forthcoming post) and.....one completely unexpected and unplanned that I will share in a post later this week :)

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This one took me by surprise-it started out very dark with just black and white paint blending together to create a very heavy, grayish-moody base. I didn't really think about it much as I worked, adding layers of color and I moved quickly through it, finding myself a little winded at it's end. As I sat back to wonder what the hell it was, my mind rested on a comment made by Dr. Brene Brown regarding joy: “If you ask me what’s the most terrifying, difficult emotion we feel as humans, I would say joy.” She had made the comment to Oprah, during a Super Soul Sunday discussion, and was speaking to how joy terrifies us so we never allow ourselves to experience it in it's fullest. Watch her discuss it here: http://www.yidio.com/show/super-soul-sunday/season-0/episode-0/3088395102

I realized that as overwhelmed and happy I am about all of the newness in my life, every time I've felt joy trying to take over, I've immediately pushed it away...this piece represents that tension, that fear....

So...those are my latest pieces. Thoughts?

Music That Moves: Let Me Feel You Shine

This song literally had me jumping out of my chair to dance about 5 mins ago....my new battle song for when I'm in the low place and I don't know what to say to God...."If I could feel you shine your perpetual night, then maybe I could crawl out of this tonight...." YES YES YES!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMPVEmC4DRw]

This place is trying to break my belief  But my faith is bigger than all I can see  What I need is redemption  What I need is for You for to put me back on my feet 

Wha ah ooooh ooooh oooh  Wha ah ooooh ooooh ooh oh 

I swear I'm trying to give everything  But I feel I'm falling, oh make me believe  What I need is resurrection  What I need is for You to put me back on my feet 

Wha ah ooooh ooooh oooh  Wha ah ooooh ooooh ooh ohhh 

If I could feel You shine Your perpetual light  Then maybe I could crawl out of this tonight  If I could feel You feel You shine  Oh let me feel yYou shine  So beautiful and warm  So beautiful and bright  Like a sun comin' out of a rainy sky  Oh let me feel You shine Oh,  Let me feel You shine 

I lift the knife to the thing I love most  Praying You'll come so I can have both  What I need is for You to touch me  What I need is for You to be the thing that I need 

Wha ah ooooh ooooh oooh  Wha ah ooooh ooooh ooh ohhh 

If I could feel You shine your perpetual light  Then maybe I could crawl out of this tonight  If I could feel You feel You shine  Oh let me feel You shine  So beautiful and warm  So beautiful and bright  Like a sun comin' out of a rainy sky  Oh let me feel You shine  God I need a Savior  O come Generous King  O God I need a Savior  To come rescue me 

Oh let me feel You shine Your magnificent light  Then maybe I could crawl out of this tonight  If You let me feel You feel You shine  Oh let me feel You shine  So beautiful and warm  So beautiful and bright  Like a sun comin' out of a rainy sky  Oh let me feel You shine 

Let me feel You shine  Let me feel You shine

Making Lemonade Without Sugar Having Joy Without a Reason

Soooooooooo as if the current pile of stress in my life couldn't get any heavier or wackier, it just did this morning. On the first day of a very crucial "I'm praying and hoping things I need to work out, work out" kind of week. The day after God told me, "Hey, I got this-just do what you can and I'll do the rest. No worries. Just trust me kid." The day after a much needed 2 day break from my boys that left me feeling relaxed, and ready to get back in the ring. And then....another ingredient was added to the stew, another brick on the load added to see if I'm going to let the pot boil over, or buckle under the weight. Well guess what, LIFE? I'M NOT. (And yes, my hands are on my hips and I'm sticking my tongue out at you)

I have no internet so I can't work, no car so I can't drive, and the little money I have is for emergencies, not fun. The Earth and the Sun have launched their evil plan to scorch and choke us to death with heat and humidity, so going outside might not be an option. And I'm moving this weekend.

That's a lot of lemons folks. Enough to make your mouth pucker. But I vowed to myself that the boys and I were going to have a good summer, one that we enjoyed before I got back into the full-time student grind this fall. It hasn't gone the way I planned or thought it would, it hasn't been what I expected. But I see how through it all He's been teaching me the difference between happiness and being joyful, and how to pursue the latter inspite of the circumstances.

So, I'm just going to take this latest round of events as a chance to just take a little vacation and focus on joy. A vacation. In my apartment. From everything. No internet & no Facebook, Google +, & Twitter on the Blackberry. Not even the Bible on my Blackberry. Not even blogging. Maybe a phone call, maybe a text here or there, but that's it. I'm going to spend the week finding a way to keep two wild boys occupied, writing/journaling, reading, building forts, coloring and creating some meals on a serious shoestring budget.

I'm going to make the best tasting lemonade EVER this week. It won't be easy to sweeten without any sugar, but I'm sure He'll show me a way. So, I hope you all enJOY your week, try your best to keep the heat from evaporating you, and are productive in whatever it is you do in your corners of the world.

As for me and my house-we on vacation ya'll. Blog you next week! ;)

“Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle — even then, I will be happy with the Lord. I will truly find joy in God, who saves me.” Habakkuk 3:17-18

addyeB

Recovering With a Smile

I'm smiling right now. I'm not really sure why, but I am. I should be crying. I should be a wreck....But I'm not. I'm smiling a little. I do feel some twinges of sadness, when I think about what I had hoped would be, but I'm not reeling from the shock and pain of it like I was before. Strength. That's what I felt this morning when I woke up. Quiet strength undergirding me, carrying me, making me feel stronger than I've felt in months. Strong like its going to be okay, I can do this, we will make it through these choppy waters, God has never failed me even when I mess up strong. Even the tears I shed a couple of times felt strong.

Acceptance. I felt acceptance.

I did feel some twinges of fear, some "OMG what am I going to do!!!" But the strength I was feeling in my gut spoke louder than the voice of fear.

And I'm smiling. Because I've let go. Of the ambiguity. Of the uncertainty. Of the game of hot and cold. Smiling because even though it looks grim right now, and even though it will hurt from time to time, I feel in control. Of my emotions, of my health, of my life. I haven't felt like this in....I don't know how long. Smiling because I'm looking at my boys and they are smiling at me, Brennan with his loving gaze and Alex with that ever present mischievious and playful glint in his eye. He climbs into my lap, Brennan starts doing one of his silly dances to the Fresh Beat Band, and I laugh. One of those deep down from the gut laughs that leaves you gasping for air. And its in that moment that strength speaks loud and clear in my head: "See? I've got you. All you've got to do is just trust Me and let my joy be your strength. You'll get through this. "

I don't know why I let circumstances, situations, or mistakes I've made give me amnesia and forget-He will never let us go.

And so, I'm just going to keep smiling :)

Are Problems Necessary?

I saw this on Faith Baby's Facebook page (who by the way has adorable clothes for wee ones):

Every problem is a character-building opportunity, and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for building spiritual muscle and moral fiber. Problems also force us to look at God and to depend on Him instead of ourselves. 

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4"

Just wanted to share their post because it's good food for thought ( at least it is for me), especially when deciding what's better to strive for: a life of happiness, or one filled with joy

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.. "

James 1:2-4 MSG

Kissing Happiness Goodbye

My pastor brought up this subject a few weeks ago in his message and its been weighing down my thoughts ever since... What does it mean to be happy? What is happiness exactly? How do you go about attaining it? How is it maintained? What's the difference between being happy and having joy?

I've heard the phrase "level of happiness" a lot in the past 2-3 years...I even told myself and others 2 years ago, that that's what I wanted to be, HAPPY, and that's what I was setting out to pursue: HAPPINESS. I set out for this like you do with any journey: with an expected end in mind, a goal to reach, something tangible to obtain-"I'm going to carve it out, a nice slice of HAPPINESS a la mode," I told myself....but I'm 2 years into the journey and I'm not any happier overall than I was back then. That's not to say that my life hasn't improved any, I haven't grown as a person, it doesn't mean I don't have anything to be happy about. Even with the growing pains, health issues, parenting stress, some anxiety and occasional depression, and just LIFE in general, my existence and quality of life is not a miserable one. It may feel like it at times, but especially when compared to others, it is not. I haven't lost my home in a tornado, flood or catastrophic earthquake. I don't have to fear about nuclear reactor meltdowns near my home, I live in a country that despite its many problems, I am free to go, do and say as I please. I may be a woman, and considered a minority, but I still have some basic rights-like being able to drive (unlike in Saudi Arabia) and I can freely worship who I want. (Who Jesus? Yup, that's how I roll.) My children have clean water to drink and I may worry about what I'm going to cook for dinner, but I at least HAVE a dinner to worry about...1 in 5 American families can't say they have a dinner to EAT.

So when I think of all of this I'm left asking myself: "A'Driane, why the h--- aren't you happy?" As is what always happens when I ask myself something I don't know the answer to, I turn to ask God. Sometimes I have to wait for the answer...others I barely get the question formed in my brain before He's intercepting it with the mind blowing response and I'm left sitting there dumbfounded at the truth He just sucker punched me with.  Guess which time this was? (Hint: I've had the dumbfounded look on my face for weeks now)

The reason I'm not happy, (and maybe this is true for those of you paddling in the boat with me) is because I'm chasing an ideal that is ultimately elusive, one that really can't be apprehended unless you've got some things settled within you and a certain attitude adopted first. Don't stop reading, yet, bear with me, we're going somewhere I promise :)

See here's the thing about chasing after happiness, or rather something about PEOPLE who chase after happiness, people like me. We set out like conquistadors on this quest to find happiness by setting in our minds this expectation that once we find it, VOILA-we've made it, we can jump in its fountain and be magically transformed into happy people for the rest of our lives. We will smile all the time, problems won't shake us, no matter what we encounter WE WILL BE HAPPY. Is there a problem with this kind of thinking? I believe so.

You see, one of the problems with this, is that ok, let's say you get there-you reach the benchmark or level you've set as the qualifier of what you think will make you happy in this life. That's awesome, that's great, life is phenomenal, you feel all enlightened and possibly fulfilled...but what happens when you leave cloud 9 and descend through the stratosphere back to earth? Because you know that will happen right? Because we're living this thing called LIFE. And this thing called LIFE is wrought with imperfections and imperfect people we have to deal with on a daily basis. Imperfect people who hurt us, betray us, violate us, fail us...these people get sick with awful diseases, they die...You yourself are imperfect so you are bound to hurt others, possibly get sick and we all eventually die. So what happens dear friend, to your happiness then, what becomes of your precious treasure when LIFE has rocked you to your core? How do you maintain that level you worked so tirelessly and tenaciously to attain?

Here's the thing about LIFE: It eats away at your happiness. It just does. You can talk about all the rainbows & sunny skies all you want-the weather will always change, the skies will inevitably go grey for a spell and rainbows? They only come out after storms :) Sure it can enhance it, don't get me wrong, but life is all encompassing....some days it buoys  you up, other days situations and circumstances, people, and even our own tangled up insides chip and eat away at whatever happiness we work tirelessly to build up. Like hamsters we run on the wheel of life never realizing that we aren't really going anywhere...

And why aren't we going anywhere? That brings me to my next problem with this"carving out" happiness crusade-we put parts-if not all-of our lives on hold while we pursue it. I believe we unconsciously tuck away our emotions, and close off our minds to everything in and around us once we decide to chase the shadowy billows of happiness. We tell ourselves everything else can wait til we reach it, unwittingly ignoring the world around us and what's going on within us.

Maybe that's not true for you, and that's ok, but it definitely is for me. During my quest, I've put my life, my emotions, BEING WHO I AM on hold.

When I lose the baby weight, this 40lbs that I can't seem to shake or be comfortable with-then I'll be happy. Until then, I'll spend my days feeling crappy about my appearance, worrying if my boyfriend finds me as attractive as he did when I was a size 6, constantly comparing myself to other women I see who are thinner aka prettier than me. I'll never be ok with anything in my closet, getting dressed with frustrated the hell out of me, and I'll never be satisfied with how I look.

When I get over my depression, when I no longer have my anxiety, THEN I'll be happy. Until then I won't enjoy the days my symptoms aren't kicking my as-k me about it later, I won't relish the moments my mind is clear, my spirit is free enough to smile, laugh, dance & be an active participant in my freaking life. That's when I'll enjoy being a mother, when I'm happy. Until then I'll keep thinking I'm the worst mother on the planet & my children will need therapy from the botched job I'm doing because I'm a depressed, anxiety ridden lunatic.

I'll wait til I'm happy to pray again, to worship God how I really want to in my heart, I'll wait til I've gotten it all together before I allow God to envelop me in his love. I don't deserve His love, not yet-I'm not happy.....

Get the picture? See if I wait til I put everything I think needs to be put in place before I can deem myself HAPPY then I've lost out on enJOYing the road that took me there. The detours, the wrong turns, the right ones, the bridges, the valleys, the deserts, the mountains that needed climbing? What good is it to reach the top of the mountain if you don't appreciate or focus on the effort it took you to get there? And what if it rains once I get to the top? Or a crisis comes? What then? What if I get there and then realize it's not enough? The level I reached doesn't make me happy? How do I maintain?

The key is to forget pursuing happiness. It can create an insaitiable appetite that is impossible to satisfy. It always wants more, creating a space for a gnawing hunger to occupy. It's decieving-it blinds you to the value of what you already have, it creates this delusion that unless everything is in order and in it's proper place, unless you have every I dotted & every t crossed you have no right to lay claim to it. It leads you on, allowing you to think you're close when BAM life happens & it dodges out of your grasp-again. It's attainment is based solely on ideal circumstances & positivity.

SO....with all of that said....am I pursuing happiness? No. I'm taking a cue from my pastor's message and I'm working on having JOY instead. The kind of joy the Bible talks about, you know the fruit of the Spirit? The kind of joy that allows you to be happy when everything's going wrong. The kind of joy that breeds contentment, that focuses on what you DO have instead of what you don't. The kind of joy that carries you & gives you strength to face this thing called Life. ("Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh. 8:10) You might not be where you want yet, or things might look pretty bad, but God can give you joy to sustain you til the storm passes. ("Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."Psa 51:11-13) Like my pastor said, joy will give you a song to sing while you're in a crappy situation, waiting for things to change: Cue the music Paul & Silas-"Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." (Acts 16:24-26) You think they were singing off of pure happiness alone? Get real. You think they said, "we'll wait til we're in a happier situation to praise God." Um, apparently they didn't. They pushed past whatever negative emotions they were experiencing and tapped into joy to get through being in jail.

Ever met someone who had nothing to smile about but they did anyway? They had JOY-that's what I'm going after. Learning how to be present and enjoy what I've been afforded now. Focusing on enjoying the journey, who I am & the changes happening throughout it, and LIVING my life.

I'm finally kissing happiness goodbye-it's overrated & I'm tired of waiting to get there to be it. I'd rather let go & just learn how to enjoy the ride-wherever it takes me.

Counting It All Joy

Today was definetely one of those "crazy" mommy days. If you're a mother or are responsible for a life other than your own, you know those days-they are the ones that make you feel like you have as Bill Cosby called it "brain damage". The ones that make you question what on earth possesed you to engage in the activity that brings children to this earth in the first place, the ones that make you just want to ditch adulthood and go make mud pies. Yeah, I had one of THOSE days. Between my fussy 5 week old who doesn't like to ride in the car much less be put down for more than 10 minutes, and my 3 year old home from daycare with Scarlet Fever, (yes, you read correctly, I did say SCARLET FEVER!) who, either from medicine or being couped up in the house for 3 days, acts like he can't hear me (I must be speaking Chinese, why else would he just IGNORE my command to stop throwing his toys?) today was a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong day.(and yes, that many o's were necessary)

The highlight or climax of the day occured earlier this evening. Having just fed the newborn, I was sitting with him in my living room, paitiently waiting for time to pass so I could put him down without worrying about his dinner coming back up (he has reflux and has to sit up after eating) when as I gazed lovingly into his eyes, I heard a massive explosion as the volcano that is his rear end emptied his afternoon snack into his diaper...and my lap. Yep. There it was, oozing out of the side of his diaper like yellow, scrambled egg lava, covering his clothes, and my new pair of jeans I had just washed yesterday. As the 3 year old whizzed past me with his nerf sword, screaming something about Iron Man and death rays, I blabbed something about him sitting down like a decent human being and went upstairs to handle Mount St. Doo Doo.

Upon further inspection of the destruction that resembled a diaper, I decided to  just give him a bath earlier than originally planned and quickly filled the tub while I got him undressed. That's when the 3 year old decided he needed a bath too and started peppering me with "can I take a bath too Mommie?", "Mommie, is it bathtime?", "Mama, whatcha doooiiiin?", "Mommie, Mommie, Mommie, Mommie!" Walking back into the bathroom, I diverted the 3 year old with promises of a future bath and ordering him to go play in his room. Turning my attention back to the baby and the bathtub, I realized that I had failed to put the plug in.....and all the water was easing it's way out the baby's tub and down the drain.

Mumbling something about just wanting to go to sleep under my breath, I put the baby in one hand and used the other to rerun his bathwater. Almost instantaneously I felt something wet covering my lap and looked down to find my adorable son peeing all over my newly-changed-into pajama bottoms and the floor. I was about to growl in frustration and ask why did I decide to put myself through this when four simple words stopped me dead in my (vocal) tracks: "Count it All Joy." Huh? Come again? "Count it All Joy." Count what joy-the fact that I had just been pooped and peed on in less than 15 minutes? Or that today had been motherhood's way of testing me to see what I was made of? "God," I said, "you have got to be kidding me-why would I be joyful about any of this?" "Why not?" was His reply and as I put my son in the bath, I began to ask myself the same question.

Why let the demands on my nerves and patience wear me out? Why let such trivial occurrences weigh me down and frustrate me? Why get upset and worked up, angry with myself? Because I had been having the wrong attitude that's why, I found myself answering. Instead of looking at things from the perspective of a frazzled, frustrated person, why not just take it for what it is? "It's all about your perspective, A'Driane," I heard God saying. "True there are things in life that aren't pleasant, that demand all of what you have and push you to your limit. Yes, you will have days where you feel like you don't know what you're doing or where your going, days you will feel like you can't go another step. Yes, you will go through things that make you question yourself and everything you think you know about life. Yes, you will be faced with trials and tests, some big and some small, but how you handle them, how you think about them, will determine how your character is developed, and how you respond to future situations."

He then brought to my remembrance a scripture I had been meditating on a few weeks ago: James 1:2, which in the Message translation says, "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." In the King James version it says to "...count it all joy" and that's just what God was reminding me to do. Now maybe a trying day with your kids and your son peeing on you is nothing to get worked up over, things such as that don't even make you bat an eye. But for someone like myself who has been battling depression on and off since 7th grade and who is currently taking Zoloft to help ward off postpartum depression, a day like today can have me in my closet with the door closed crying hysterically. I'm serious people, a day filled with open defiance from a sick 3 year old, the always present needs of a newborn, a 35 min car ride filled with screams from BOTH children, a dirty house that was just clean 24 hours ago, and not a free moment to myself all day would be enough to send me down Despondency Lane sometimes.

The demands and pressures of being a mother to two children can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning, and although two weeks ago after reading that scripture I was all pumped up and ready to be joyful, life had handed me a two peice and a biscut in recent days.  As a matter of fact, just on Sunday at the altar, I had told God I wanted off the up and down, merry-go-round rollercoaster of depression I had been on  not just for most of my life, but particuarly this past year. I asked Him to show me ways to battle it,strategies to overcome it, things to think on and practice during moments such as I was currently having while bathing my son. I left the altar feeling changed and for once confident.

And then Sunday night, my son's face was twice it's size...by Tuesday he was diagnosed with Scarlet Fever and declared unfit for daycare for at least 10 days-after he had already been home testing my limits for a full day. And then today happened...but sitting in my bathroom, bathing my son, talking to God and thinking about things, something else happened: I started to laugh. It started as a giggle, then evolved to a chuckle and then burst out into belly hugging, gut busting laughter. It was so loud and unexpected it made the baby jump and brought the 3 year old in from his room, demanding to know what I was laughing at. Splashing water on him, he laughed started acting silly which made me crack up even more and by the time I was rinsing the baby off, I was fully relishing spending this time with my kids, the feelings of stress and being overwhelmed completely gone, a distant and quickly fading memory. "See now was that so hard?" He asked. "How do you feel?" "Much easier than I thought," I replied, "I feel lighter.....well whatya know I feel joyful!" I laughed and took the baby into my room with an extra pep in my step. (may sound corny, but that's how me and God talk, okay?)

Taking that moment to change my perspective and choosing to laugh through my frustration and stress instead of getting weighed down by it and worked up made me realize that I can choose how I look at a situation and how I respond to it. Me taking that moment to laugh allowed me to enjoy putting the baby to sleep, bathing and feeding the older one, putting him to sleep, and even gave me the energy I needed to do a quick "pick-up" of my house, which will definetely make me happy when I wake up to a clean house in the morning.

I didn't realize when I asked God for a strategy to deal with my depression I would find myself with an answer so quickly, but I'm so grateful for it. I'm even more grateful because I understand that I may have alot on my plate now when it comes to motherhood, but if I tackle each challenge with the right mindset, it will equip me to handle stress and other demanding situations in other areas of my life.

Now I understand that days like today aren't about trying to make me lose my mind- they are all about developing my character, and giving me an opportunity to find joy in the most unexpected places.