Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Therapeutic Journaling

One of the issues that has plagued me with my depression is an ongoing sense of deep sorrow.  Sorrow without explanation.  Sorrow and its cousins Guilt and Shame.  It's easy to push Sorrow, Guilt, and Shame deep down in our gut--cover it over, and do our best to be happy.  But with years of this chronic stuffing, Sorrow, Guilt, and Shame grow larger than life.  Hiding them away somehow fortifies them and they grow and grow and grow. 

Eventually they bubble over.  We are no longer strong enough to contain these toxic emotions.  They come out.  They prefer to show up at the most inopportune times.  It isn't pretty.  It's frightening to us and our loved ones. 

The first time Sorrow, Guilt, and Shame reared their ugly heads for me was about 10 years ago after a difficult pregnancy.  The outcome of the pregnancy was good, but the anxiety and fears took a toll on me emotionally.  I cried for no reason.  I sat, numb and lifeless, and cried.  I tried to pull myself together and couldn't.  That's when I started taking antidepressants.  I talked to a counselor briefly, but only dealt with the surface level which was a determination that I should be joyful--my precious baby was healthy, my lengthy hospital stay was over, I was reunited with my dear family.  I chose not to go deeper at that time. 

10 years of depression and assorted antidepressants followed.  They worked.  Sort of.

Last year, the antidepressants stopped working.  This was actually a blessing since the meds really weren't working very well overall.  I was back to feeling numb and lifeless a lot although I could still manage to hold myself and my family together to some degree. 

As the doctor changed dosages and meds, I found that sometimes antidepressants will actually mimic or worsen the very symptoms of depression!  That's when I knew that I had to get off the bus.  I didn't know how to proceed, but I knew in my heart that God wanted me off the medications.

I am happy to say that I am off the antidepressants. They were weaned over the course of many, many months.  Weaning off the antidepressants was painstakingly slow because my body was fully addicted to those chemicals.  My body had to learn to create it's own happy chemicals again. 

I've sought out a variety of alternative, natural remedies.  I use essential oils and assorted supplements to support my health.  I hope to share more about that in future posts, but you are welcome to email me if you want more info. 

I've also started working with a counselor.  Therapeutic Journaling was one of my first assignments.  This practice has great value for me. 

I like to do my Therapeutic Journaling in the morning.  It's easy to do. 
What tools will you need?  Blank paper, a pen, tissue, and a trash can. 

You'll need a safe place to work by yourself.  Sit down and start writing.  Just write whatever comes to mind.  Don't try to edit or clean up your thinking.  If anger bubbles up, let it.  Write it out.  Cry As Needed.  When Sorrow, Guilt, and Shame rise to the top of your consciousness LET THEM OUT!  Don't try to figure anything out or analyze it.  Just let it out.  Write it out.  You will cry.  You need to cry to purge these old toxic messages. 

The first few times you try this, you may write a LOT of pages.  I did.  As I chip away at the stuff in there, less is coming up.  My writing has gotten a bit shorter.  My typical journaling session fills both sides of lined paper.  This is just my experience--yours may be different.  There are no rules.

How will you know when to stop writing?  The tone of your scribbles will change.  It will change from anger and sorrow, to hopefulness and answers.  Then you'll just sort of know that you are done.

Next step?  Crumble up the paper(s) and throw them promptly in the trash.  You can choose other methods to destroy the page--you might prefer to burn or shred your pages.  Any way is fine, but you must destroy the page.  Do NOT reread the paper first.  Just get rid of it.  Be Free.  Have peace.  Allow joy to enter your soul.

So here are the basics again:
Write. Cry.  Destroy paper.  Repeat.

After that, you need to say some positive affirmations.  Fill your mind with positive encouraging words.  (we'll chat more about this later, too.)

You are a dearly loved Child of God.  God sent His Son Jesus to free us from guilt, shame, and sin.  Jesus is happy to take these heavy burdens from us.  We must choose to let Him.

may you feel God's incredible love for you today,

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.
      Psalm 68:19

IMPORTANT!  I am not a doctor.  I am not prescribing health care for you.  You are a grown up.  You can take responsibility for your health and wellness choices.  My only purpose is to share what I have experienced.  I use Essential Oils and Products and share these products with others as an Independent Product Consultant.  (translation:  I make money when you purchase these products through me).  I only share these products because they work for me and my family. 

EVEN MORE IMPORTANT!  If you take antidepressants, do not stop them abruptly!  This is very dangerous.  Antidepressants should only be weaned with the guidance of your doctor. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall Blessings

Pantry with applesauce, green beans,
tomatoes, and pickles. 

I LOVE a stocked pantry!  And even more so when the pantry is stocked with the bounty of our own garden.  We still have some more applesauce to can from apples that we bought locally.  We've got apple trees started on our place, but they aren't quite old enough to produce apples.

Team Stahl working the hay delivery!

Hay was delivered this weekend!  It's such a relief to have hay ready for the winter--equivalent to stocked pantry and freezer for the humans!  I'm not sure why I put off getting hay for so long each year.  I seem to worry and fret about the decisions associated with hay far too much.  Thankfully it all came together this weekend complete with help from my home-grown work force.

Moveable animal shelter and round bales in the pasture

This is a new shelter that my very talented, very patient husband built for me!  It's solid but not too heavy.  2 people can actually attach a strap to it, lift the front end and pull it to the next pasture. 

More hay in the barn.  Beautiful!

We placed one roll of hay in each of our 4 long grazing paddocks.  The rest is stored in the dry barn.  We have been practicing rotational grazing using a variety of methods for a couple years.  We are modifying it just a bit for the winter to keep from moving the shelter as often.  Trying to find a happy balance between pasture health and work load/time required to move animals/shelter/water. 

Becky, Bambi, Bob, and Annabelle
Our little bovine collection.

One last thing of farm interest.  See little Becky to the left of this picture.  Turns out she is a real socialite!  She kept jumping fences to be with Bob and Annabelle.  This has been frustrating since ideally a nursing calf will stay with her mama--duh!  I think Becky would fill her belly and then set out to find playmates--forgetting that her tummy would get empty again.  (not sure why she never jumped back to be with her mama).

Today I found that all 4 cows had managed to get into the same pasture.  I had been keeping them separate because Annabelle and Bob still tried to nurse poor Bambi whenever the opportunity arose. 

But, O Happy Day!  Today, Bambi refused to let either of the older girls nurse!  It looks like the 4-some can share a pasture harmoniously!  This is such good news because now I can just manage one group of animals with the pasture rotation!  Also good news that I no longer need to retrieve and return Becky to her mama each day!

To all the Homesteading Newbies out there, I want to offer a word of encouragement!
We have lived on our little farm for a bit more than 2 years. 
I'm starting to  hear strange new things come out of my mouth!
Words like:
**  I know what to do next!

**  Hey, we've got that tool/seed/supply, and I even know where to find it!

**  Sure, I know how to do that!

This is a whole new and much-welcomed experience! 
So please be encouraged if you are taking this new path.  There really is a point where you will have the knowledge and tools that you need when a project rolls around!! 

many blessings,

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; 
may they be happy and joyful.
Psalm 68: 3

Linked to Homestead Barn Hop!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Meet Becky

Born September 16, 2013

Just born.  We found Becky within a few minutes after delivery. 
Notice her Mama cleaning her up. 

Becky found her feet.  She was wobbly for the first 20 minutes or so. 

Bambi is the ever-vigilant Mama getting Becky clean and tidy.

Yum!  Here's the Milk Bar!!  I like it here!
Elizabeth looks on--enjoying a perfect day of homeschooling. 

Becky at 1 week of age.  Bambi is still at it keeping her clean and well groomed!
"Ahhh Mom--Stop it already!"

Becky at 1 month

These are the wonders of farm life that I never tire of.

May your day be filled with wonder and joy.

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:  livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind."  And it was so.  God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.      
Genesis 1:24-25

Linked to  Homestead Blog Hop

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Play First!

Morning Play Time
Right on the table--complete with Salt & Pepper
and a Green Smoothie for breakfast!

I "remembered" something a couple weeks ago.  A very important something.  Something that I need to not forget again. 

Any idea what I'm talking about?

How to play. 

Crazy, huh?  Yeah, well forgetting to play will make you (and most likely those around you) a little crazy.  Can I get an Amen?  (family all nodding in unison)

Here's how it goes with me. 
I'm the first-born, overachieving, driven, type A kind of person.  (makes you want to run right over, doesn't it?!)  It's easy for folks like me to get so caught up in crossing things off the (never-ending) list, that we miss playing and having fun altogether.  (guilty as charged)

For over a year I have been driven by some hateful little demon (you've seen the pictures of the devil sitting on a person's shoulder?) that told me this lie:  "if you just work a little harder for a little longer, you'll get all this stuff done and have time to play and do the stuff you really want to do."  I believed it.  IT'S A LIE!

Working without taking time to rest and play will drain your very soul.  Crossing things off the list will become empty.  Sorrow and mean-spiritedness will take up residence in your heart.  Don't take this path!  It's no fun.  If you are on this path called WorkWorkWork, turn back!  You really can turn around.

How did I see the light?  I awoke one morning and felt like crying about all that "needed" to be done.  And I felt like crying the night before, too, because I really wanted to work on a quilt, but was completely out of energy.  That was my cycle.  I thought that stitching at end of the day was my reward for hard work.  But I never got to the end of what I thought had to be done to get my "reward"....and if I did, I was simply too tired to claim the prize.  Sad, huh?

So what's the answer? 
Play First!

Moving forward with a UFO.
Some of the colors aren't reading right in this picture,
but I need to  find a better answer for outer border cornerstones.
Trying not to get uptight about it--
Progress is better than Perfection!

I do set a timer so that I don't Play All Day (family still needs to be fed, don't-cha know?!)  The timer helps me relax and fully enjoy the time that I have.

Some interesting discoveries with the Play First plan:
1.  My whole day is brighter.
2.  I still get lots of things done on The List!
3.  My positive, creative energy is contagious to the rest of the household as they begin their day. 
4.  Most days I'm able to claim the Reward at the end of the day and sew some more!! 
5.  I'm excited to get out of bed (and don't feel like crying!)  Hooray!

Please refer me to this post if I return to my cranky, driven, workaholic self.  (I tend to be a slow learner and am often required to repeat the lessons of life.)

many blessings,

May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.         1Thessalonians 5:23-24

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sissy Camping

We just returned from our fall camping trip.  It was a beautiful weekend.  We visited Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill, Tennessee.  Gorgeous place with the Duck River running through the park. 

Did I mention that is was cold this weekend??  Not cold, like Illinois- or Michigan-cold, but cold for us nonetheless.  Down in the 30's at night. 

My hubby (he's the smart one) had a great idea to help our bones stay warm this trip.  (We froze on our spring trip, so cold bones are still fresh in our memory!)

Here's a clue:
Hmmmm.....what's that cord??

Inside, we find this!  Yes, it's true...we Sissy Campers used a space heater!! 
Bliss.  Absolute bliss to be toasty warm when it's frosty cold outside.

I love having multi-use possessions and this little heater fits that description well!  Notice the label.  We purchased this space heater to keep Bob warm in our garage this past January.  Apparently one of my kids thought the heater needed a better name.  Not sure that "Bob's Heater" would help the company with  marketing, but it makes me pause and smile.

A Special Label

It's nothing short of miraculous to get a basic group picture with 2 teens and a little sister involved! 

This trip was good for the soul.  Hope you are blessed with some special time with your loved ones soon.

much love,


He leads me beside quiet waters,

He restores my soul....
            Psalm 23: 2,3

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Alive and Well

Hi Friends,
Yes, I'm alive and well!!  Sorry for the long delay between posts.  You know it's time to post when some of your faithful followers start to think the worst!  Thanks to those that contacted me and "encouraged" me to write something!

The Big Guy is 16!

Life has ramped up a bit now that my oldest son is 16!  Gee, where did 16 years go?!  And how is he driving?  And when did he grow taller than me?  And what about that deep voice?  Oh MY!  Let's just say I'm a little startled at this taller, grown up model of my son.

Michael and Boots pose in the sunshine

And did I mention that my middle guy just hit 14?! and my baby is 10?!  I'm trying not to let the cat out of the bag, but apparently I'm aging--Drag!  Of course, I have lots more ideas popping in my head, so I'm not looking to redeem my one-way ticket to heaven just yet!

I'm trying to recalibrate my farm world a bit.  You know how we sometimes have to stop, take a deep breath and figure out what we are trying to do?  In farm lingo that translates to questions like:  "where did all these animals come from?" and "how did my systems for caring for said animals become so complicated?" and "how big of a garden do we really need next year?" 

Our first sheepy visit to Under the Son Farms in 2011.
It's easy to fall in love with these little cuties!

My sweet little sheep left to live on another farm this week.  It's sad to see them go, but also a relief to send 3 animals elsewhere.  The hard part is finally realizing that a dream that my brain hatched didn't fall into place like I envisioned it.  I have a tough time letting stuff go even when a dream or idea or hobby or project has run it's course.  It's hard for me to determine where the endpoint is. 

I've tried to let things linger indefinitely thus avoiding these difficult decisions, BUT then I get overwhelmed because my brain is ever hatching up new adventures, wacky ideas, and projects to start on.  Do you have this sort of ongoing mental popcorn??

I'm still working my way through the whole depression thing, too.  It seems that when I fell apart 10+ years ago and started taking antidepressant medications that I perhaps DID have some junk/issues that needed to be worked through.  Apparently I couldn't face it then and was convinced that my life was great and my melt-down was all related to a chemical imbalance (no mental issues, oh no surely not!)

The truth is I DO have a great life!  I am blessed in so many ways.  Knowing that I'm blessed somehow makes me think that I'm being ungrateful for those blessings if I admit that everything is not hunky-dory on the inside.  My method for dealing with my internal struggles is to work harder (physical labor has been my tonic for any number of dilemmas) and choose to be happy.  Those are both fine and good, until the day that you wake up feeling empty and dead inside, completely unable to control your emotions.

That's what I found when I weaned off the antidepressants.  I knew the antidepressants had to go because I was feeling dead and lifeless and found myself crying about all sorts of things, both real and imagined.  Not a good place to be. 

Don't worry---I already know what you are thinking--Are you in counseling??
Yes, I've enlisted in some counseling. 
Not my favorite thing to do (you know, dredge up some old, old thing that has been bothering you unknowingly for decades and have a good cry about it all the while paying someone to pass you a box of tissues!)...but necessary none the less.

A good counselor can help you unpack an old musty suitcase that you've dragged along for God only knows how long, clean it out, and repack it with some good healthy messages of hope. 

That's where I'm at.  I want to fully live this life that I've been blessed with!  I am cleaning out the garbage bin. 

Hi.  I'm Pam.  I'm 48-years-old and it is time to clean up my head!  (Our own little cyber-space recovery meeting!...Care to join me?)

Let's chat again soon.



This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
                     Psalm 118: 24