Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Week

James and Joseph began their epic journey from NC last Monday. It went okay and ended okay, but to make a long story short, the car didn't make it and went to the junkyard. The pictures show how much fun they had despite car trouble.

St. Louis arch

a park of statues to play in/on

LegoLand in KS City

war museum

I had a pretty good week by myself. Morale declined a lot by Saturday, especially because James was supposed to be home by then and wasn't. The kids and I played outside, went to the library, went grocery shopping, and went to D.I. on different days to kill time. It worked! I also watched TV and started organizing family photos from Facebook. It was great to have everyone home in time for Church. I drove Christian and Myles to SLC on Monday night (and then came back - yuck!) for their flight since they missed the one in Denver. No fun! We aren't the only ones who spent lots of money on the trip. Dad did too. The death of the van just makes me laugh, though. We will have other opportunities to buy a van. It just won't be until next year, because I really don't want to do payments.

I've started organizing my family's photos from the house. I have all of them that aren't digital, so the idea is to scan them all in, then create a CD for each family member. Since my family is so darn big, I've organized 4 people's photos so far and spent probably 10 hours on it just this week. It will be great to have them all digital, but it's going to take forever. It already is! I'm glad to be working on a project that isn't going to cost me any money. The yard is going to have to wait till spring, unfortunately, but that's okay. We're all safe and sound, and I have all of my stuff from NC. I'm really enjoying looking through it all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Sorry for two posts in one day. The other is about my vacation, but this one is kind of heavy.

The recent death of Robin Williams has really struck a chord with me. All deaths are sad, but not all are personal to me as his is.

I've never contemplated suicide, but I have dealt with depression in my life. Though it's never been formally diagnosed, I know I've felt it. I never knew I was in such darkness until I made it through to the light at the end of the tunnel.

The first (and by far the worst) of these times was during high school. I moved to a new town right before I started 10th grade. This new town was bigger, richer, and more technologically advanced. I never felt like I fit in at my high school - not even close - and felt like the poorest kid there living in an old house, wearing hand-me-downs even though I'm the oldest child, and not having an iPod or cell phone until I was a senior. Most of all, I never felt that I had a best friend who felt I was her best friend. My best friend from Florida quit writing to me, eventually, but I never "replaced" her, not really. The kids at church were all members of the band, and I wasn't, so I felt like an oddball. I'm not blaming them or anyone else for how I felt then. I've never been good at reaching out to others and making friends. Moving to a new state didn't change anything. I let others determine how I felt about myself. That damaging attitude led me to pair off with a guy who wasn't good for me (nor I for him) for almost two years. I didn't get enough sleep. I overworked myself. I had no social life. I didn't better myself or grow spiritually. I practiced my faith out of habit because I felt like I was barely hanging on and God didn't really want to listen to my complaints. Some days, all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep and not wake up until the pain was all gone. I do mean sleep, not death. Through the worst of times, I never once considered death. I ignored God's words to me through the Spirit, but he never gave up on me. In my darkest hour, I still knew that God loved me.

I didn't start coming out of my depression until I went to college, which I know was an inspired decision. I removed myself from a bad situation and stayed away. I held on to the good and got rid of the bad memories as well as I could. The clouds parted to reveal the sunshine. I don't really know how they went away. It almost happened without my realizing it.

Smaller episodes have happened to me during/after my pregnancies. It takes time for me to cope with the addition of a new baby. I struggle to see how it's all worth it. I know that my children are gifts from God, but it takes me a few months to really feel all right again after they're born.

The memories of those days still stay with me, but they're not as sharp as they used to be. Hindsight is 20/20, they say. I don't know if my vision will ever really be 20/20. The thoughts I developed about myself during those high school years still stick with me every time I fail. There are times that I laugh off my little mistakes, but there are others when I just can't. I'm a perfectionist because I was born that way, but I often let my failures bring me down instead of teaching me to be better.

What part of all this is my fault? Or other people's? Or the fate of God? Or biology? I have no idea. I'm the same person I was in high school, but I'm not. I do not condemn Robin Williams. I know that he is a son of God. Yes, his family is in pain right now. I can't imagine what he felt as he decided to take his life. I know that death is not the end, just as the darkness of depression is not the end. Life is made of both bitter and sweet. Those who deal with depression go through some of the most bitter experiences that life has to offer. I can only hope that this life will offer experiences to them that are just as sweet as those that are bitter. If not this life, then the next surely will.

I will never be able to get rid of my bitter memories. They are there to teach me, and I appreciate them now for how they've helped me grow. I'm making progress to be a stronger person. The closer I come to God, the easier it is to deal with depression, but it doesn't make it go away completely. If depression is like being in darkness, having religion is like wearing a pair of night-vision goggles.

I'm in the sunlight right now, and I have enjoyed it for many months now. I know that there will be times that I must trod through darkness. There is no shame in that. I'm going to make sure my night-vision goggles are ready to go when I need them again.

*Please don't worry about me. I've never come close to feeling how I did in high school, and that was by far the worst part of my life. I can recognize low points much more easily now, and getting through them is much more manageable than it was before.*

I know this was kind of personal. I'm sorry. It happens sometimes.

NC Trip

We left last Monday for NC, stopping by Cindy's house and Bridal Veil Falls on the way. The flight from SLC is direct now, thank goodness. We left a little late and got to RDU at 11:15ish. As with other trips, I decided to keep my kids on Mountain Time instead of trying to make the switch to Eastern. It worked! Since my family goes to bed so late anyway, it was a good decision on my part to have the kids go to bed at 10 and wake up 9, rather than go to bed at 8 and wake up at 7. 9 still felt early some days since my teen siblings weren't yet awake.

It was a busy week!

Tues: pool and family history. Dad scanned more old photos for me to put on 

Wed: beach trip with a stop to Bojangles on the way home.

Thurs: train ride (Joseph, James, and Dad) and I packed all my stuff to take home with me and cleaned out the van that is currently bringing it home. I'll finally have all my old journals, dolls, and scrapbooks, plus family photos that I'm going to digitize.

Fri: Lunch date with James to Waffle House/Cookout, temple and pizza with the family. Mara doesn't have a call yet, but it should be there any day now! I'm pretty excited for her. She will be a great missionary.

Sat: lunch with Brinson's wife Ceci's parents. We had chicken w/mole and rice. Yum! The boys worked on siding for the familia Martinez. We celebrated Nash's birthday with Mountain Momma Mudslide.

Sun: Church at 2 wards, catching up with my old roommate Emily over dinner (which I made). Cooking for the Phenix clan is like making enough food for a whole army. It's amazing how fast a couple of stock pots full can disappear.

Mon: Came home. That wasn't fun, but we lived and even got groceries. I'm still trying to convince my body that it's okay to sleep alone. No luck so far. I miss James a lot and feel quite lonely. The STUPID CAT keeps meowing in the middle of the night and keeping me awake. She hides all day until I try to sleep and then wants to play. Argh! I'm tempted to make her an outside cat.

It's been a relaxing day. James, Joseph, Christian, and Myles are currently fixing a small thing in the van (a hose) before continuing on. They did D.C. yesterday and are headed to Uncle Claude's in Kentucky. They will do St. Louis tomorrow and then make their way to Denver by Friday. Saturday, I will see James and Joseph again! It will be an added bonus to have some more clothes. I only brought a backpack with me on the plane yesterday. 

Though it's been a relaxing day overall, I still feel stressed about James not being here. I don't know how women with military husbands gone for a year can do it. That's unimaginably hard. I'm a wimp and can't do one week without feeling crazy. Oh well. It's good to be home. It will just be better when the rest of the family is here!