I feel vulnerable sometimes for being so "real" and so very raw on this blog.
What if it frightens people away?
What if it makes people FEEL down or sad after reading my accounts of depression...yikes!

I don't regret writing words that express my pain....but I worry sometimes if too much information is...too much.

That being said, I am still glad I have this place to express myself. I'm not ready to let go of it.
I want to visit this outlet for expression and feel, somehow, that I've done someone some good. It cannot just be a splattering of my crazy thoughts and reflections...it must be a place for others to find safety and solace.
That is my prayer.
That is my hope.
Safety and solace.
For all.

Have a happy long weekend everyone!
I pray that there are moments of happiness sprinkled into your life.
God Bless you.
God save the Queen!! :)


Bit by bit. A few random thoughts.

Slowly but surely the boxes are cleared away and our posessions are organized. Its labour intensive but incredibly rewarding.

Liam remarked the other day that he felt "claustrophobic with all the mess". (He is getting quite proficient articulating his feelings).

There is goodness to be found in this transition.
-we have very friendly neighbors. People living on either side and accross the street have welcomed us to Charleswood.
-we are already enjoying the mature trees and flowers on our yard (a dream come true).
-driving to work (for me) is only taking an additional 5 minutes.
-Mail is delivered right to our door step! We are used to biking or walking to a communal mailbox. This is a treat!
-Kent can come home for lunch on my days off.
-We are no longer in the land of "inbetween"...living in a home while we wait.....for another home.
It feels wonderful.



Part of my depression is the overpowering fear and thus belief, that my existence in this world is a hindrance. a down right nuisance to everyone. I cannot do things "right" nor can I do things consistently...so I should just give up trying. 
Giving up on living doesn't fall under that mind-set. I don't want to die, but my mind/brain can at times make it really hard to live. 

A protective dam or wall in my brain (consisting of good drugs, rest and God given hope) hold my worst symptoms at bay and keep the depression from consuming me. I can function well thanks to that wall. However at times it weakens (because of hormones, stress, grief)...and waves of self loathing, paranoia and anxiety flood in and shut me down. The feelings of failure and worthlessness are so strong I can hardly look at myself in the mirror. The thought of being with people, even loving and gentle people freaks me out. I don't want to be a hindrance...an imperfect, difficult to understand annoyance in their lives.
So I hide.
I sleep.
I seek out some peace.
Until my strength returns.

At times hiding or staying home to rest isn't optional, so I do my best to avoid..... I leave events early to avoid failure, or to avoid disappointing people.
Avoidance makes life safer. 
But it can also make things worse

I am a perfectionist.
A depressed perfectionist.
Nice combination.
Saying "I'm sorry" is what I do best.
Avoiding is safe but doesn't keep me from failure entirely.

I'm sorry mom that I missed mothers day...that I can find drives to visit you exhausting and that I need reminders to call.
I'm sorry friend that I don't visit regularly and that I am hard to understand. 

I'm sorry that you've had to cut yourself off from me. I understand, although it makes me sad.
I'm sorry husband that you go to church without me. I'm sorry that I don't dress up or put on lipstick in honour of your homecoming from work.
I'm sorry brother that I don't send you pictures of your niece/nephew. I'm sorry that sometimes even your phone calls go unanswered.
I'm sorry children that you live with a mom like me. A mother who crys a lot and sleeps a lot. I'm sorry you have to so often be quiet because I have a headache. I'm sorry you sometimes have to eat  junk food because I'm too tired to grocery shop or overwhelmed to properly plan meals.

*Thank you to those who love me despite it all.
*Psalm 32:7


Sick music

Watch "Matthew Sweet - Your Sweet Voice" on YouTube
My forehead feels like an elastic band pulled and stretched from side to side...ready to snap with any quick movement.  I am shivering underneath the warmth of a thick quilt, and can't stare at the  screen for too long before I'm worn out, and my eyes burn.

There is music for times like this.

For moments when happiness is cough syrup, soft pillows and memories of my mother stroking a little fevered brow.

For moments when I drift in and out of sleep. Thankful for the chace to rest.

Matthew Sweet's "sweet voice" is in order today. (after a nice "cuppa" and some sleep).



Watch "John Smith // Freezing Winds Of Change // Live at Whelan's, Dublin" on YouTube

Ok. If you are a folkie...even a teeny tiny bit, I'd say check out this video! Yes.
John Smith singing "Freezing winds of change".
INCREDIBLE jam session.
Everything *e.x.p.a.n.d.s* < the longer you watch.
-The camera lens <
-the instruments <
-and the voices <

Thanks for stopping by.
Sorry I'm not exactly wordy today, its just time for my mid-morning nap.

Freezing winds of WINNIPEG.


We are all on it....

I feel better tonight. Better than this morning when I wrote last. 
I allowed myself the luxury today of reading and finishing the book "Love Anthony", by Lisa Genova.
And that has made a difference.

I enjoyed the book, although not as much as I had anticipated...(high expectations after Still Alice and Left Neglected)...however I wasn't disappointed.

It was this quote that left me with incredible feelings of peace.

The spectrum is long and wide, and we're all on it. Once you believe this, it becomes easy to see how we are all connected.

How powerful and true.

Good night!


I'm in a space these days that is not pretty to anyone looking in. My face and body appear as an impenetrable bubble repelling even the softest expressions of comfort and the sweetest gestures of compassion.
I know the little ones study me and can't help feeling hurt and betrayed.

"How can I help you?" I read. Its a text from my mom. I love that she asks. "Just be yourself", I text back. Which means if you read between the lines...don't avoid me because you don't know what to say, don't judge me, don't give up on me, see my beauty with eyes brimming with grace.

I am grateful in this bubble. A cup overflowing with gratitude helps the anger, the pity, the fear go down. In the most delightful way. (Cue the twittering fake bird on the window sill). but as it goes down, and sinks in, it also threatens to destroy.

-marriages typically don't survive this
...the PDD, the therapies, the doctors, the pressure.
-we need to hire private therapy again -so many things are improving
-so many things are not
-somedays the patience and consistency of a patron saint are required.
-some days it all seems too much.



Questions: (reflecting on my last post).
Can we FORCE ourselves to develop an appreciation for a particular kind of music?
If we have never had an affinity for ....lets say country music, can we do anything to genuinely change that?

I'm wondering if my quest to morph into a cbc groupee is more about cultural snobbery.....wanting to be deamed "cool", than "broadening my mind" and challenging myself?
I wonder.
Maybe I'm having a mid-life crisis?! Standing between the life of a "young-er mom" and a pre-menopausal 40 year old (of which I have yet to become) and yet not really fitting into either world.
Not sure I like sitting on the idea that I have to change myself....my clothing, my hobbies, or my taste in music at this point in life.

Of course this is yet another overly analytical offering of print both unnecessary and redundant. But I think its a nice epilogue to yesterdays post....and I feel better having worked absolutely nothing out.


Friday morning song.

In an attempt to "broaden my brain" and gain a new found appreciation for "the classics", canadian artists, up-and-comers, and be treated to a dj who is well versed. (like this guy), I turn the dial to 98.3 fm. cbc radio 2 on my way to work.
Sometimes the songs are admittedly.... a stretch. They sound unfamiliar or down right depressing i.e. Leonard cohen's tunes (I know, i know how could i not love leonard cohen??-don't tell my brothers). I keep listening however -so don't judge (broadening the brain takes discipline).

There is always a reward in the morning mix though, a song that i can sing along to or one that takes me back to my years as a discontented rebel rouser (i was dan-ger-ous back in the day). Sarah macLachlan, REM, Barenaked Ladies, indigo girls.....yes!
And yesterday, a bright and fridgid thursday a familiar little number  played that I like by the band "boy".

Lets call it a Friday morning song...in honour of the weekend.
Here she is...
youtube vid.

Thanks cbc. I'm a fan.


Feeling regret

Yesterday and today I was an incredibly crabby mom.
My kids irritated me.
They did unforgivable things.
You know, like.....
-spill orange juice
-fight over a game
-whine because Dad was "leaving again" for the evening
-barf all over the kitchen floor
-insist on holding my hand to fall asleep.
-talk during dramatic parts of "the Bible" (become completely mezmorized and quiet during commercials)
-want food
-want hugs
-want time alone with me
-want a bedtime story
-want a soft spoken mom
-want help
-want to tell me something exciting

I helped them, held them, smiled and listened-mostly.
I sighed a lot, hoping people would notice.
Slammed down plates of second servings.
Snapped at innocent inquisitive questions.
Over punished mistakes.
Reprimanded for singing.too.much.

I was desperate for sleep, longing for an escape from never ending domestic ...stuff.
And of course,
now that the kids are off in dream-land I feel like a monster for being so selfish and impatient.

Why is it so hard to be kind and loving to the people in your life that you love most?
I know.
Its hard because its hard.
And it always will be.


To grasp....

My attempts at creating a cross for the Easter display at work started and ended quite smoothly! (i document this fact because it is important to celebrate small victories). But as I attempted to wind elastics around a ruler in order to straighten the twigs (do NOT roll your eyes), the petty annoyance of its imperfect appearance brought a realization home. The realization that i was actually recreating a symbol of death.  An ancient method of torture and execution.
(A rather serious but necessary note)

My sweet little twiggy cross was not  being displayed for the sole purpose of DECOR.. to fill an empty space on the mantle. Rather the shape and symbol of the cross was meant to bring to mind a story of sorrow and pain. Somewhere along the line of work related seasonal to-do's and trips to the Dollar store I jumbled up the brevity of the cross with bunny window clings and colourful egg-trees.

Easter is the celebration that gives us hope! Hope beyond the crap/pain/burdens we all have in life...
I wish it didn't take the obvious-staring at twigs and tree branches to recall the suffering Jesus experienced at Golgotha, to willingly wade in pools of painful images of his sacrifice on the cross.
But it did.

(Btw my next post will be a follow-up TuTORIAL. Yes. It will.)


Yah don't say? aka: new job, coffee and life in general.

-I have worked at Bethel Place for a total of 6 days and am enjoying it immensely. I've met 15 Anne's, 5 Helens and 12 Jakes. The last names of the folks range from Braun to Zacharias, with a few Janzens and Rempels sprinkled in the mix. I am in familiar territory.

-There is a convient Starbucks drive-thru on Taylor 2 min away from the doors of Bethel place, I find that extremely handy. The people at Starbucks are very friendly.
I have started listening to cbc 98.3 whenever in the car.

-I got locked out of the house last Thursday (when everyone else went to see the HOBBIT). Walked to Indigo and drank coffee while reading a wonderful book for 2 hours.  Felt a bit stupid trying to break into my sons basement bedroom window though (this was before I decided to walk to Indigo). Wonder if I would have fit thru it after kicking it in...? 

-I do NOT like the blond roast at Starbucks, and can't figure out how my mother and two brothers can claim to enjoy it. Lets face it, I must have been adopted.

-I really need to send out a family newletter to catch (distant) folk up on the recent Rygiel changes. I dread the conversations that begin with, "i thought you were building a house?"....

-I think my husband gets more and more handsome the older he gets. I truly hope we move into Bethel Place in 40 years and turn into the couples I see walking down the hall to supper, holding hands.

-Kent and I celebrate 15 years of matrimony this May. Crazy. We are driving to Minneapolis ("Anthropologie-town" as I like to call it) for a few days to celebrate.  He'll probably watch TSN in our hotel room, while I read a book...but we will be together...like an old married couple should be.

-I haven't been to IKEA as often as I thought I'd be going, now that its in Winnipeg. I've gone a total of two times. Go figure. I think its the revolving front door that is keeping me away. Whats up with that?

-I wish dad was alive so I could talk to him about my job....and of course other things. He is absent from our lives. Still so bizzare.

-The older I get the more I appreciate life.

-I wish my mom lived in Winnipeg or we lived in Winkler!!! We need to see each other more than once a month (sometimes its 2 months when our weekends are full). She gets cheered up when the kids are over..wish I could give her that.

-I LOVE the tv show Parenthood. I literally cried through every episode in the first season (thanks netflix for the ability to watch them back to back). Fantastic writing.

-Funny Face is playing at Silver City cinemas starting today!! Man do I wish I could go and see Audrey and Fred dancing on the big screen (in Paris no less). Funny Face was her "big break"....the world loved her after it came out.

-I have a biography about Audrey written by her son, and apparently she hated her face. She didn't think she was pretty at all. So she focused all her energy on dance, even through WW2 when she was very poor and incredibly young. Her ability to dance is what got her the job in this film.. AND i believe her beauty and charm. 



"Good morning!!!!! Thank you for calling Stella's Bridal. Christine speaking, How can I help you?"
I took some pics of Stella's today for my mom...she wants me to send her photos of the store ("my workplace") because she has never been inside to "see me in action". I quote.  (thank goodness).  Personally I think she wants proof that i'm actually on staff as a RECEPTIONIST...i.e. a person who spends most of their day on. the. phone.
I guess her lack of faith in my ability to operate a telephone has something to do with the fact that I really hate to answer my own phone....let alone be solely responsible for answering two lines for 7 straight hours. (when two lines simultaneously light up I imagine I'm working one of those huge switch boards from the 40's. plugging and unplugging lines.... and really wish I could answer with a thick New York/  Bronx accent.."could ya hold a moment? I got someone on the uh-thah line ".
For some reason I refrain.
Yes, its true I'm not a huge fan of the phone. But money makes us do crazy things sometimes.
don't it?



Winnipeg Winters.
Can't say there are too many endearing qualities about them...
the skies are clear and the days are bright
sunny skies are nice.
too bad you can only enjoy them
from INSIDE your furnace-cranked home or workplace.
i love winter.
Seeing this made me scoff chuckle...

tricky i say.....
The only way to "embrace" our frigid temperatures of -35 (with wind chill making it feel like -69)....
is to dress in layers (throwing away any hopes of looking "stellar" while waiting for the bus- dressed in large puffy parka, ski pants, your husbands large toque and mismatched mittens-oh wait that's just me), wear wool (m.c.c in winkler sells new "woolen mittens" for $2!!! I always stock up because by February we rarely have a matching pair).
*wool lasts forever.... and reminds me of England (where they may NOT have life threatening blizzards but do have their share of bitterly cold winds).
And of course we must keep a ready supply of afghans, quilts, covers, blankets and comforters.....

(ready to provide warmth)... draped over furniture, over our beds, in our closets, our car, desk at work, possibly our purse, our child's back pack for school recess... yes,
EMBRACE the day my friends. Be ready.
DRESS WARM and smile at the sun.


she speaks of him again.

Losing a parent is one of those "gifts" (or wake up calls) in life where you recognize (like a hit over the head), how truly valuable time is with your children and loved ones. Yes, its one of those life lessons meant to be learned the hard way. Grief painfully and yet beautifully, reveals what COUNTS in our days. {What is that poem I love from Dead Poets Society, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may..."? I'll look that up later.}

This newly acquired "knowledge" of mine, has created a softer mother in me. I'm really trying to give the children more hugs than words of correction (when realistic), I'm trying a little harder to make them feel special in the every day, and trying my best to ensure they are aware of how incredible they are to me. *Of course ask my kids if I am any different and they will tell you I'm the same sleepy, have-no-energy-to-cook, chart-making, drill sergeant I always was...but I know I'm trying harder.
And that counts for something.

What if I didn't have any warm-fuzzy, happy memories of my dad?
(I know too well that could be my experience.)
What if there weren't any special recollections, unique traditions, or even just endearing *dad moments* that  he gave me (without maybe realizing it) to remember him by?
Now that he is gone...I have stories to tell about his character, traditions to carry on or write down, happy memories to relive in my mind and feelings of affirmation from words once spoken, to bring comfort.

I pray my children in years to come, will smile and feel a warmth in their heart when they recall memories from home....even if there were/are difficult (ok dysfunctional) memories, I want and HAVE to make sure there are plenty of good retrievable ones as well. Don't we all want that?
A last minute scribbled sign with colorful snacks to welcome my tired students home. They LOVED this. 


Breaking (it) down

I slept most of today...which has been good. I am learning to accept that my body requires tremendous amounts of rest. I always need a day to recover after a busy stretch...otherwise I break down (hide in my bed-I love my bed). The downside to this requirement is the overwhelming feeling at the END of my slumber, when the reality of completing unfinished TaSKS...and the perpetual, never ending to-do list...we all must face, hits me.
*GAK* (thats the sound my brain makes trying to sort it all out...).

There is a 15 minute window upon rising, where my mind decides whether it will crumple and become paralyzed (i.e. head back until I pick up the kids from school), OR become functional, and MOVE...by simply doing something small (putting in my contacts, pulling on jeans, making coffee). Even if my mind is not ready for the day, my body is helping it get there.

Today during the foggy 15 min. window, I shuffled into the kitchen and grabbed my pretty post it paper (dollar store beauty). With just enough determination and energy I jotted down some goals to complete in the rest of the day. Hopefully. Maybe.
Ok. I may not get them all done but I know I'm moving in the right direction.
And its only 2pm! 

To thine own self...

"This above all: to thine own self be true,  And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell my blessing season this in thee."
-Shakespear ("Polonius" -Hamlet)


a brief reconciliation

Mornings and I are not friends.

I rarely speak to mornings... and mornings rarely speak to me.
We have a nice system called the silent treatment.
Maybe you and your mornings have a similar relationship?

Today, however was one of those rare, brief, glimpses of a kinship between us...
where upon I considered my non-friendly/enemy (the early, school day mornings) to be
quite kind...and worthy of my attention.
*Packing up thermos' s of hot dogs, raisins and other non creative items in lunch kits, I took a sip of an extremely good cup of coffee!!
you know that first sip of coffee from a dry, parched (MORNING) mouth...when it tastes so good you have to say "ahhhhh"? 
yes. that was today.
{It never ceases to amaze me how the same number of scoops, of the same kind of coffee,
can make so many different tasting cups. This morning we got it right!}

*There were more smiles from the children than tears.

*A certain sweet soul agreed to wear socks AND a toque out the door...without disputing the relevance of such tight-fitting articles of clothing. victory!

*The rays of morning sunshine were blinding and bright -promising me a sunny day.
*I tacked up a crumpled drawing that had been discarded... it made me smile.

*I heard the sweet sound of birds chirping through my living room window (right before they froze to death)

Yes Mornings and I made peace.

For today.


moving on

We only have 3 (or 4) more months left before we move out of the house we've been renting and into a permanent HOME.
I like the sound of that.
Permanent. Home.

This fall we ended up selling the house that we were having built-the one that we were supposed to move into this past September. I will admit it was a bit sad for me initially, knowing that all the exciting decisions we I made for the new house (finishes, additions, size of baseboards etc. FUN!!!), and all the modifications we (yes "we") dreamed and planned, would actually never be ours to enjoy. Indeed...the kitchen had beautiful white shaker cabinets, a white subway tile back splash and vintage looking -"school house" light fixtures. How fabulous is that!
Yes it would have been lovely to enjoy.
So there was disappointment. 
But a new house (even with subway tile back splash) wasn't worth living in for me, if financial stress and more heavy burdens threatened to come along side and consume us.
I think we made a wise decision. We definitely don't regret it.

And so that chapter of uncertainty is drawing to a close.
We start actively looking for homes/ pounding the pavement with our realtor this week.
Should be fun...
I'm praying it won't take us too long to find the one just for us.

This is actually one that I have my eye on!
ain't she a beaut!

I complain

I like to complain-
to myself.
I tend not to complain at work
or with friends when we visit...rarely anyway. For that would make me seem-
And that would be unthinkable.
Oh but I make up for it in my heart.
Yes I do.
A lot.

Why this...God?
Why that....God?
Why now...God?
Why not...God?
I rage and I spit out my disgust.

I try to be thankful,
I honestly do...
but I hardly skim the surface of gratitude.
I neglect to acknowledge the abundance and goodness that my life overflows.
I neglect to show love and concern,
where so many in my life are in need.
By complaining, I become blind.
My sight is lost.

There is work to be done to improve my outlook and vision.
Work and study that has long been left and ignored.
I don't like to change or work at my attitude.
A heart of dissatisfaction is easier.

Yet I sorrow for my blindness...for not seeing the hurt in my dear friends and family. For not being present.
I sorrow for the friend I should and COULD be.
Instead of complain I want to proclaim
HIS goodness and faithfulness.
And see less of myself and more of others.
I pray.


The dream is gone

I ended up deleting the "perfect dream" post tonight after initially going back to add a few things, and edit it a bit.  I kept repeating myself and sounding confused and much more desperate then I intended.  DELETE!!
That's the beauty of a delete button. Starting over from scratch is always an option. Or just leaving the thoughts and perceptions be.


checking out the local market

yup, like the book/movie.
Its one of our favourites (heart-warming story with a great message), so of course taking a picture was the proper thing to do!

All sensationalism aside Winn Dixie was simply where we went today for groceries.
They have gluten free products.
Need I say more.

The family is in Florida for a few days of sun... and (hopfully) relaxation!
Good to leave winter, work and school behind for a brief respite.
Why do we live in Manitoba again???
Seems rather vague when one walks around palm trees in January.


Be happy

"Happy are those who are pure, for they shall See God".
See God.
What does that exactly mean?
To See beyond my circumstances?
My shortcomings.
My moods.
My lengthy list of aggravating "first world problems".
Its so easy to get down when facing the uncontrollable giants in life.
Yet its so clear in the bible where our hope lies.
Striving for purity as a remedy for  hopelessness and helplessness.
Maybe there is something to that?
Gee I wonder! ...(I say to my almost 39 self, moping around in wrinkly saggy skin...)
Maybe I should stop my self-pity for a change and tap into those promises!?


happy new year!

I started the year offf right with a plateful (2 already devoured when pic below was taken), of New Years cookies. Deep-fried doughy goodness with the sweetness of raisins. Delicious with a cup of strong coffee!

How did you bring in the new year?
With sweet and savoury culinary delights? With an attitude of optimism?
With a list of things to change? With a heart of gratitude?

A blessing for another year...

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