Monday, 9 March 2015


Just a quick post to let any of my readers know I have moved. You can find my new home right here....

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Monthly Reading List

After last month's reading list post I decided to make it a monthly routine. I am sure there are many more avid readers out there in blog land and I would like to share the many books that I have read, and loved, with them.

My latest book love is for memoirs and I've read more than 10 of them in the past month on topics from slavery in the south in the early 1900s to Chinese orphanages. Needless to say, this month's reading has been very emotional. 

Maude was the very first memoir I read this month and everyone after was compared to it, their stories compared to hers. My heart raced, warmed, ached, and shattered for "Maude" as I read her story. 
Synopsis: In 1906, I was barely over fourteen years old, and it was my wedding day. My older sister, Helen, came to my room, took me by the hand, and sat me down on the bed. She opened her mouth to say something, but then her face flushed, and she turned her head to look out the window. After a second, she squeezed my hand and looked back in my eyes. She said, “You’ve always been a good girl, Maude, and done what I told you. Now, you’re going to be a married woman, and he will be the head of the house. When you go home tonight after your party, no matter what he wants to do to you, you have to let him do it. Do you understand?” 
I didn’t understand, but I nodded my head anyway. It sounded strange to me, the way so many things did. I would do what she told me. I didn’t have a choice, any more than I had a choice in being born. 

"Maude's" story is both beautiful and tragic and I shed many tears as I read it. If you love a true, honest, and beautiful story you are sure to love Maude.

Yellow Crocus was another beautiful and often heart wrenching tale of a privileged white girl and her black wet nurse who is more of a mother to her than her own mom. I smiled, cried, and gasped all on one page many times
Synopsis: Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family ‘owned’ her, although she occupied the center of my universe, her deepest affections lay elsewhere. So along with the comfort of her came the fear that I would lose her some day. This is our story...

So begins Lisbeth Wainwright’s compelling tale of coming-of-age in antebellum Virginia. Born to white plantation owners but raised by her enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth’s childhood unfolds on the line between two very different worlds.

Growing up under the tender care of Mattie, Lisbeth adopts her surrogate mother’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. In time, Lisbeth realizes she has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though she’s confined by the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parents’ expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie.

This compelling historical novel is a richly evocative tale of love, loss, and redemption set during one of the most sinister chapters of American history. 

This story broke and warmed my heart all at the same time. The twist near the end is spellbinding! A must read! 

At the time I started this book I was feeling very stressed and down regarding my current financial situation- working part time means a meager pay cheque and debt is piling up. A couple of chapters into this book, I felt selfish, and suddenly my problems seemed very small. 

Synopsis: When her family relocated to rural China in 2003, Kay Bratt was thrust into a new world, one where boys were considered more valuable than girls and poverty and the one-child policy had created an epidemic of abandoned infants. As a volunteer at a local orphanage, Bratt witnessed conditions that were unfathomable to a middle-class mother of two from South Carolina.
Based on Bratt's diary of her four years at the orphanage, Silent Tears offers a searing account of young lives rendered disposable. In the face of an implacable system, Bratt found ways to work within (and around) the rules to make a better future for the children, whom she came to love. The book offers no easy answers. While often painful in its clear-sightedness, Silent Tears balances the sadness and struggles of life in the orphanage with moments of joy, optimism, faith, and victory. It is the story of hundreds of children and of one woman who never planned on becoming a hero but became one anyway. 

This book really makes you look at how fortunate you are and how much you have compared to so many other people in the world. Since reading it I have been doing some research on charities for Chinese orphans to see how I can help. Sure, I am poor to our standards, but by theirs I am rich and I'm sure where is a way I can manage to scrape up a little money to help these poor children. I will be sure to post about it when I do. 

Until Next Time....

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Day 3: The Bipolar Rollercoaster

Today marks the third day of what I am now sure is a bipolar episode, just a few weeks after a very harsh 6 day period of depression. 

Day 1 started with a sudden, overwhelming feeling of frustration, anger, irritability and rage which I pushed through. 

Day 2 (yesterday) was much the same but I had managed to grasp control of my emotions and once again, trudged through the trenches of the war that raged in my head. 

Last night I slept through the night- no nightmares. Kaleb was spending the night with his dad. I slept in his bed, a place that always makes me feel warm and loved, and managed to get in a full nights sleep. This morning I awoke feeling afraid....

Afraid that the things I had felt the previous 2 days would continue today...

Afraid that I wouldn't be able to push through if they did...

Afraid that the frustration and anger would boil over onto those around me...

Afraid that this episode would be the one that pushed me over the edge. 

Although much of the time I can retain control when it comes to the roller coaster ride of emotions and thoughts that I experience during these episodes, there is always that fear hidden just beneath the surface. What if this episode will be the worse yet? What if I can't fight it this time? What if it takes me to a darker place than I am able to bear? What if, despite all my efforts to fight it, this is the episode that pushes me past my limits? I have been lucky thus far in my experience with bipolar disorder. I've never had to be hospitalized and I am so very grateful for that but I am also well aware with each episode that hospitalization can happen and for me, this would be unbearable. It is my greatest fear. 

This episode is different from the last. The  element of despair isn't there, but is replaced with a mixture of anxiety, frustration and irritability. My family gathered at the table for supper feels like I am trapped in a small, crowded place. Their voices are so loud and more than one person speaking at a time is a roar. The sound of the water running to fill the sink for dishes is a rushing river. The hum of the dryer is a droning in the back of my mind, the background sound of the orchestra of noises around me. How are they are so much louder? Each sound stimulates a cringe. 

STOP! I want to yell at the people, the washing machine and dryer, the running water, the sound of laughter on the television screen, the purring cat, the parking dog. Just stop. I need silence, stillness. I need for the world to stop around me, even for just a few moments, so that I can clear the noises from my head, to find my footing, to pull myself together. 

I am not in a good place. I can recognize it, I can grasp and accept it. For this I am grateful. I am grateful that this disorder has not taken over my mind to the point where I am unable to see things clearly. I am grateful that my mind, no matter how muddled, can recognize the truth when it's staring me straight in the eyes. 

Today, like yesterday and the day before, I am just trying to make it through; trying to focus on things that will distract me- my projects, writing, a telephone conversation with a friend. Anything that will occupy my mind and body and help keep the enemy within at bay. 

Today I am still fighting and praying that it isn't a losing battle. 

Until next time, when I hope I have something far more positive to share....

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Battling the Storm Without Letting it Take Control

The storm continues to rage on but I am dealing with it much better today. For those of you who didn't read yesterday's post, I had a bad day; a "bipolar day" as I call them, and today it continues. Yesterday I threw myself into the first step of my Spring cleaning, which was completely gutting out Kaleb's bedroom and the work was a good distraction. Several hours after I began, his room was done and I was feeling a little more in control. 

Last night my sleep was plagued by nightmares. This happens often when I am in a bad place mentally. I never remember them but I awake gripped with fear, breathless, and trembling. Last night when I awoke I quickly sprang to me feet, rushed to Kaleb's room and climbed into his big, warm bed. Cuddling my son I slowly fell back to sleep and the nightmares were gone. 

Today I awoke feeling much like I did yesterday. My head hurts from the chaos that is my thoughts and feelings- frustration, irritability, anger, sadness, anxiousness, rage. I wish I could turn it off, just flick a switch and the madness would just shut off. But it isn't that easy so instead I keep trudging on, keep battling the storm, throwing myself into anything that will distract me and get me through this day. 

My Mom and I are still working on our total home makeover project in small steps and on a tight budget. I recently posted the porch/entryway makeover, laundry room makeover is completed and will be posted soon, and the hallway makeover is almost complete! Next step is the bathroom and we started it just last night. 

I turned to the best place for inspiration- Pinterest- looking for bright, bold bathroom ideas with black and white accents....

This huge mirror was above the dresser in my parents bedroom but Mom took it down when she moved a different dresser into her room. 

It is getting a coat of black paint and will hang above the black speckled faux granite counter top in our bathroom. 

I also finished a couple of dollar store crafts that I was working on....

The finished product....

My new favourite color is burgundy. I am loving it and considering having the burgundy/ brown/ tan colour scheme for our kitchen and living room makeovef with a primitive feel. I've been filling an album on Pinterest with TONS of gorgeous primitive ideas. 

So, there are plenty of things to do to distract me, plenty of things to occupy my thoughts so they do not focus on the negative. I'm trying! I'll never stop trying! Today might not be the day when everything is better, and tomorrow might or might not be, but the day will come. 

Until next time....

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Storm Inside: a Bipolar Day

A day that started with a snowstorm has quickly turned to a whole other type of storm for me. As you have seen in my blog title and in the "About Me" section I have bipolar disorder. My diagnosis came nearly 10 months ago and has changed me in so many ways. 

Do I run around town with grandeur ideas believing I am a Hollywood star or some other off the wall delusions? No I don't. I do, however, have periods of mania where I am extremely hyper, cannot sleep, forget to eat or shower, talk extremely fast and have trouble carrying on a coherent conversation, cannot sit still, cannot focus on anything, and have constantly racing thoughts. 

Do I have periods of extreme depression where I can barely function? Yes I do. I have periods where I question life and why I am still a part of it, periods where my bipolar mind convinces me the world would be better off without me in it. During these phases I either cannot eat or cannot stop eating. I binge eat on junk food, go days without showering, am in pajamas 24/7 and do not want to talk to another living soul. These stages are so much worse than the mania. These are the stages where I actually question my sanity, and when it finally passes the physical relief is just as strong as the emotional relief- I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I can actually breathe. 

Then there are other days. Days like today. Days that I call my "Bipolar days". I am agitated and frustrated. One moment I want to scream at everyone around me and the next I want to hide away and cry. Standing in the middle of our kitchen earlier......

My Dad and my oldest son were sitting at the table eating and chatting...

My mother was washing dishes...

My littlest son was in his room playing videos games and yelling out every few seconds asking was his lunch ready yet...

Our cat was meowing at my feet, also waiting for lunch...

Our dog was barking at the door waiting for someone to let her outside...

The washing machine was loudly on the spin cycle next to the hum of the dryer...

The telephone began to ring....

And the wind was howling outside the window. 

Out of nowhere I was filled with anger and frustration and felt as if I was about to SNAP! I had to walk away, go into the bathroom, take a deep breath and try to calm down and pull myself together. Did it work? No it didn't. 

So today I will battle the storm. 

I will try to remain calm and composed. I will try not to snap at those around me. I will try not to run and hide. I will try not to allow the frustration and anger to get the better of me. I will try to keep going, to keep moving. I will try to find an outlet, something to distract me or help me remain calm. 

I will try to be normal, because, beneath it all I am still normal. 

And most importantly, while the storm rages on, I will remind myself that although I have bipolar it does not me and I will not let it control me. It can have have my "right now" but it cannot have my life. 

Until next time.....

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Just Another Manic Monday

Happy Monday!!! 

Oh who am I kidding?! There is nothing happy about Mondays! 

As per every Monday morning, getting my kids to exit their comfy, warm beds this morning to venture out into -10 (feels -17) temperatures to go to school was harder than trying to get them out of the womb many years ago! Then, as if the house is not chaotic enough, my mom and I also had to get up early to make the nearly 1 hour drive to do some grocery shopping before the snow storm is due to hit us today! 

2 of my ABSOLUTE favourite shopping and snow! You do catch the sarcasm there right?

So we managed to tackle the grocery shopping and even got a quick stop in at Dollarama and Goodwill and picked up a few things....

We made it home before the snow storm started thankfully but it's real nasty out there now so it looks like the kids will have a snow day tomorrow, or at least a snow morning which means, woohoo, I don't have to wake them at 7AM! 

I've already begun working on some of the projects that started with today's purchases, and have 1 nearly finished. 

Sneak peak anyone?

I am loving the distressed burgundy box! 
Primitive is my latest love and I couldn't wait to start at this project!!

Well, thankfully, another Monday is nearly over and I am going to finish it off with a little more crafting. I promise to post the finished project as soon it's done. 

Until next time....

Proud and Loud Volleyball Mom

Yesterday was volleyball day for my youngest son, Kaleb, who, as you have seen in recent posts, turned 12 just a few days ago. He is the youngest, and smallest, on the team but that doesn't stop him from giving it everything he's got and he is becoming a great little baller! My nephew, Hayden, who is nearly a year older, is also on the team AND yesterday was a boys and girls tournament so while Kaleb and Hayden were off court we switched to the other side of the gym and cheered for my niece Haley, who will be 15 in a few days, and her team. A triple whammy! 

The week of team try outs back in October is a week neither of us will soon forget. There were 5 practises as part of try outs and the names of those who made the team would be posted after the last practise. These 5 practises spanned almost 2 weeks and Kaleb was on pins and needles the whole time. 

Our schools junior volleyball team usually only consists of grades 7, 8 and 9 but because of a shortage of students trying out this year they opened it up to the grade 6 boys with the grades 7, 8, and 9 boys getting first pick. Kaleb was beyond excited and came home from every practise beat out and hopeful. 

Finally, try outs ended and the day before the results were to be posted Kaleb couldn't think of anything else. He could hardly even sleep! Myself and his father were just as anxious and nervous the next morning as we waited for him to come home at lunch time. Because of his age and size (Kaleb is a shorty and oh so cute) we weren't sure he would make the team and although we prayed he would, we did have a you'll-make-it-next-year and you-tried-your-best speech prepared just in case. 

I paced the floor for a good half an hour before Kaleb got home for lunch and was watching for him when he came through the door- smiling from ear to ear! He made it! He was beyond excited and I nearly cried with pride! He called his dad who was thrilled and relieved and the two couldn't wait to start practising together, which they did that afternoon. 

This season was a slow one for the team with only 3 tournaments because of several being cancelled because of bad weather. They had yet to win a medal until yesterday! 

They all played with a force I hadn't seen in them all year and my little boy played his absolute best as well, getting a few points for his team, some new moves, and a roll of about 12 consecutive serves! I was proud and along with a few other moms, very loud, cheering at the top of our lungs and blowing into noise makers with every point! 

Kaleb on the court

The boys team won silver, just 1 point away from gold, and played with e vengence until that very last point! The players, their coach, and us parents were so proud of them! 
Kaleb receiving his medal

Hayden receiving his medal 

The girls team won GOLD!!

Haley and her gold medal
It was a fantastic day all around! Kaleb was so proud of himself and his team, and has hardly taken his medal off since.

Kaleb sporting his new bling! 
So, this loud volleyball Mom and Aunt is super proud today of all 3 kids!

Until next time....