Monday, October 21, 2013


This is the next installment in my series on anxiety and depression...if you missed my previous posts, you can read them here and here and here.

Today's post is a quiz. It's just one question, really...but I hope it causes you to really think about something....

What are you focusing on today ?

There are several aspects of this topic that I want to address, but for now I'm going to stick to this one...what are you giving your mind to ? Are you a glass-half-full kind of person, or a glass-half-empty one ?

blurry, because she was bouncing and laughing so hard

Every day we're faced with choices about what we give our minds to. Every day there are things happening all around us that can pull us down or cause us to worry...but no matter how hard the day is, there are always things we can focus on instead.

When I was going through depression and anxiety, my husband typed this verse out on strips of paper for me (in several different translations of the Bible) and had each strip laminated...

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8

He posted them all throughout our house - on the refrigerator, on my bathroom mirror, on my dresser, etc.  Every time I went to a different room, there was my little reminder-  focus on good things today.

Depression and anxiety are filters, if you will, that cause us to view life in a skewed way. When we are bombarded with despair and worry, everything seems scary or out of control or potentially bad. I used to tell Sam - I am not TRYING to look at things a certain way- this thing is MAKING everything feel different !

As hard as this sounds - when you are in the middle of these mind battles - you have to change your focus. You have to choose to view life a different way. You cannot allow your mind to go to default- which is focusing on the negative. It takes a deliberate effort, and believe me, I know how hard it can be. But allowing your mind to wander down those "rabbit holes" of depression is not going to solve things. As difficult a task as it seems, when you are bombarded with negative thoughts - you absolutely have to take control of your own mind and put it on other things.

We've been given a wonderful gift when it comes to our minds -  and we do have the power to direct our minds to "whatsoever things are lovely and pure."

What are you focusing on today ??

Things I am choosing to ignore right now, so that I can focus on happy things:

  • I had a terrible night with a stomach bug, and Lily did too. 
  • Christmas is 64 days away - my children informed me today - and the thought of shopping for our large family in that small amount of time is a bit overwhelming, to say the least.
  • the mouse is sticky (computer one that is - if it were real I could NOT ignore it. I have an extreme rodent phobia.) Someone obviously ate a piece of candy and licked their fingers before using it this morning. 

  • these little bullet points will NOT line up with my sentences. what.the.heck ???

  • the dog needs to go to the groomer before my mom gets here next week, only I really don't want to shell out the cash for that in light of point #2. (Mom, if you're reading- can you ignore Tillie's coat when you come ? She likes the dreadlock look. She told me.)
  • somebody is banging on the piano and I have a headache. 

  • my hair is coming out everywhere...Hayden is five months old, and traditionally I lose a third of my hair between four and five months after delivering my babies. Consequently I have hair in my shower, on my pillow, on my carpet, in Hayden's diaper (??) and probably in a few dinners I've prepared.

  • the bullet points won't line up. I am ignoring this. Really, I am.
  • Someone just threw a football in the house - AGAIN - even though this is forbidden. It knocked my phone to the floor, and I don't want to look at it to see if the previous crack is now a full-fledged shattered mess.
  • I have ten pounds to lose after having Hayden. Instead of spreading itself out nicely in places I would like it to be, it has decided to land solely in my middle section. Giving me the pleasant appearance of a woman wearing an inner tube underneath her clothes.
  • I have seven loads of laundry to do, in spite of doing multiple loads on Saturday and one and a half loads yesterday (I left wet clothes in the dryer. Again.)

Here's what I am focusing on, so that I can successfully ignore the above annoying things in my life today:

Tyler just walked down to the place he works to get his paycheck (Queen's Chopstick!) and surprised me by bringing home my favorite chicken dish and soup. What.a.stud.

I may have a laundry room full of dirty clothes, but I have a houseful of wonderful children who wore them. I am blessed.

Sam came home for lunch. I love my husband so much. He works a full-time job to support our family, and is a full-time pastor to our church as well. He works all day Saturday on sermons and Tuesday nights too. He gets up when it's still dark on Sundays to go to church to study for the morning service, and goes back after lunch to study and prepare for the evening service. He stays late if people need counseling, he drops everything to go pray for people in the hospital, he helps move people when they're moving, he has helped more people than I can count to find a job, he takes homeless people to the store to buy them lunch (so he knows the money is not going to booze!), he has given cars to people, clothes to people, money to people, sleeping bags to people, his free time to husband would give the shirt off his back to someone if they needed it.

And on top of all this, he takes time for his kids and for me. He walks the floors with crying babies in the middle of the night so I can get some sleep, and gets up at the crack of dawn to go pray at the church before starting each day. He works loooong hours to support our family, so that I can stay at home to raise our children. HE IS MY HERO.

I may have an inner tube looking piece of flesh under my shirt, but I have a delicious baby to show for it.

My hair will grow back, and in the mean time, it doesn't take as long to blow dry.

I have an iPhone. Who cares if it has a crack. Some people don't even have maps.

Christmas is 64 days away- my favorite time of year. We will make gingerbread houses and go caroling, we will be baking fools, Christmas music will be blasting 24/7 (actually, it does that in October too), we will have daily fires in the fireplace and drink hot cocoa from our favorite snowman mugs, my kids will have roles in the our church Christmas play, I'm plotting an auction of Lily and Hayden's clothes to raise money for an adoptive family on Reece's Rainbow, we will decorate cookies and bring them to neighbors and friends, and it is Hayden's first Christmas ... so much to look forward to !

Lily is feeling better, and so am I...

And who needs bullet points anyway ???

What are you focusing on today ??


Naomi said...

CLICKED on that "maps" link and laughed. I'm focusing on my kids and so Im closing this computer and going on a walk and a trike ride with K =)

MamaV said...

God is awesome... I am holding the sweet fruits of my hard-won VBAC!

Mary said...

Great post, Patti. Thank you.

Maria said...

Struggling a bit here. Wanting to do so much & dealing with pain & fatigue & an addiction to food that I'm finding nearly impossible to deal with. Still, I pray every day, I remain full of hope & thankful for every wonderful thing in my life. I know I am truly blessed. It's hard to shift focus but it's something I work on every day. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lindsey Ehlers said...

I love this post!

Lindsey Ehlers said...

Love this post!

Elindsey said...

Our babies are a week apart and I'm jealous you only have ten more pounds!!

babypelly said...

Got the same hair and inner tube issue over here on the east coast!!

babypelly said...

Got the same hair and inner tube issue over here on the east coast!!

Pam said...

Love the post Patti. Miss Lily is a doll!...Loving all the adorable pictures of her :) Sure wish you all lived closer to us so Ally and Lily could be friends!

Heidi said...

Love this post...from a mom of 8:)

Heidi said...

Love this post...good reminders to me!
From a mama of 8 in Canada:)

Allison said...

Wait wait wait!!! Christmas is ONLY 64 days away?!?!?!?! HALLELUJAH!!!! ;) Can't wait!

Allison said...

Wait just one second! Christmas is ONLY 64 days away?!?!?! HALLELUJAH! Can't wait! ;)

NikkiB said...

Patti.... I had the same issue with my hair falling out. I was told Biotin (a vitamin B supplement) helped... And it does!!! Just took one each day :).

NikkiB said...

Ps.. It is perfectly safe to take if nursing....because its just a vitamin supplement! Seriously helped so much!!

Elizabeth said...

Lily's hair is so long!!! Love it!

My new focus... for the last 3 mornings I am waking up and saying to myself (repeatedly and throughout the day) "I choose Joy."

And it's working!

It worked this morning when my little boy (almost 4) was a complete beast and very trying when he woke up. I sat in the hallway as he hollered and slammed his door saying to myself "I choose joy." It kept my temper under control and things smoothed out. :)

Teena said...

thank you for being real. enjoying these posts... counting gifts and being thankful.

my focus is have some fun with the kids on this gloomy rainy fall day in Georgia. We are going to make Turkish Delight and watch Narnia. :)


Stefany DeLorme said...

I am focusing on the fact that my little friend Drew (who is 7 and has severe CP) Had no complications from his tonsil surgery yesterday :))))

fourshoves said...

Love the map link!

fourshoves said...

Love the map link! My girls & I laughed out loud

Mindy said...

Came across this post this morning.
PERFECT for me as I have already gotten two emails this morning (work/church --since work is church for both my husband and I -- related). Two emails that make me want to SCREAM at these people "Where is your focus because it isn't on God"......thanks for reminding me to check my own focus.