not your average holiday blog...

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After my last blog and email to you, I was amazed and humbled by the heartfelt responses I received.  From you,  who have experienced depression and grief first hand.  From you, who have loved ones with mental illness and agonize over their well being.  From you, who have lost your fur baby and understand the hole it leaves in your heart.  And from you, who sent support and concern for me.  Thank you for sharing and making yourself vulnerable too…for 'daring greatly'.  It’s not easy to open up about what’s really going on in your heart…and head.  So thank you…again. 

just a laugh…

When I started writing my ‘daring greatly’ email, I was still in the throes of depression.  Gradually, that feeling began to lift, and then, one day, I laughed.  It was just a laugh, but I noticed it immediately. And I recognized it was something I hadn’t done for a while.  And that made me realize that I was feeling better.  There are still moments of sadness and grief over losing Bodie …almost everyday.  I miss that dog with all my heart.  And there is still a cloud, but I recognized that I am able to feel happiness and joy again.  It was just a laugh, but I am thankful for it and what it signifies for me.

even on a good day…
After that, I had planned to write about all the little things in life that can bring us joy…like laughter.  I had intended to write about all those little things that we forget about or don’t recognize that let us know things are okay.  I even wrote most of the email.  But I still had a nagging feeling inside and the writing didn’t feel authentic.  I wanted to tell you, and believe, that all you have to do is look for those little things in life that bring you joy.  And fundamentally I believe that, but I also know it can be more complicated than that.  I saw this quote on Facebook recently, and it conveys this perfectly, and sarcastically:   

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Then, at some point, I realized that it’s ok for me to feel this way.  I know there are many things in my life that I'm grateful for and that bring me joy.  But I'll admit, I don’t always notice them.  Some days, I notice them more than others.  It’s the nature of the illness of depression (and life).  It can consume me, it can come in fits and waves, it can be an overarching feeling, or it can leave me.  My struggle, and for others like me, is to keep those feelings of gratefulness, purpose, and joy on a regular basis. 

my daily game of chess...
Just like my last email, I’m not telling you all of this to make you feel sorry for me, it's so you can recognize this struggle in yourself and/or others.  So you know it’s okay if you aren’t feeling the warm and fuzzies everyday … especially during the holidays.  And I want to let others in my life know that even if it doesn’t seem like it, I'm grateful for everything I do have… my husband, my home, my family, my friends, and warm emails and messages from you. 

purpose and gratitude...

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As my mood has ridden a roller coaster the last 5 months, I have been able to work on some of my art, before and after shoulder surgery (yes, another shoulder surgery!).  Working on this piece gave me something to focus on and feel productive doing.  And because it's a commission project (a big one at that), there was more of a sense of urgency to work on it.  The size itself has been a challenge for’s about 5’x5’ and weighs over 50 lbs.  But I think I have risen to the task, especially with some help maneuvering it!  I have even been painting left handed after the surgery (yep, right shoulder surgery).  I think that's creating new pathways in my brain!

I'm also grateful for my art, and for my clients who want my artwork in their homes.  Thank you Becky and Tony!

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My wish for you is a holiday full of happiness.  We all deserve that in our lives.  But if you’re having a tough time, I hope you find moments of joy and gratitude. It might be difficult, but I’m right here with you.  And every day, I see and embrace a little more.  Hopefully, you will too. 

thanks again for listening,
and thanks for just being here.