Tuesday, September 8

Running a Mental Marathon


This is a word I have grown to know all too well in my adult life. At 19 I was diagnosed with GAD, general anxiety disorder. I used to suffer debilitating anxiety-turned-panic-attacks that would land me in the hospital receiving a large dose of a magical injection in the rear. It has been years since an episode of panic has wrecked havoc in my life and I give full credit to God for that.

Over the past couple of months this demon monster has begun creeping its way back into my life and body. I'll startle awake in the middle of the night and find myself unable to turn off my mind and release the unbearable tension in my body. I will pray, read scriptures, sing worship songs in my head, envision a protective angel sitting over me blinding my thoughts and anxieties into oblivion... You name it, I've tried it.

When this new school year started I was energized and filled with a renewed passion and love for teaching. The first day of school was a frenzied blur but I left the building smiling and returned with a genuine smile the next day.  That is when things started to shift. Knock after repeated knock on my door brought floods of new students into my classroom bringing the numbers over the state limit of 22 and taking my sanity with it. By Friday I had to take a minute to lock myself in the faculty bathroom to just let the tears flow. The instant the door shut my face was covered in tears, my breath had been stolen from me and my heart was beating out of my chest. Panic. Utter helplessness took over.

Pray Nicki. My mind just barely able to form the thought, but more likely God whispering through the cloud of darkness, I was able to stop and pray and through God's provision, make it through the rest of the day. 

Monday rolled around and I showed up to work restored and ready to take on the 25 five year olds that awaited me with love and compassion. Through constant deep breaths, positive self talk and more prayers than I can count, the school day concluded and I was making my way back home.

On the drive home a sense of unease and overall ickiness began to take over. By the time I walked in the front door I felt as if I had the flu. Barely making it to the bathroom I began to lose the content of my stomach and instantly realized that I hadn't had a sip of water the entire day. After getting some fluids in me, everything came back up, only something wasn't right. It looked like coffee grounds and tasted like copper.  6 hours and a trip to the emergency room later, we discovered that I had thrown up blood and I was referred to a specialist with a general diagnosis of bleeding ulcers and gastritis.

You'd think all of that would warrant a doctor to see you speedy quick, but you'd be wrong.  I still have two weeks before I can be seen... Medicine and time off to rest and recover have helped the stomach pains to ease but it will be some time before we know what is actually going on.

Through all of this I've been battling GI issues along with eczema on my hand, elbow and eyelids. Yeah, my eyelids (what in the world?!) All stress/anxiety related. And I know what you're thinking, because, duh!

Stop stressing Nick! Give it to God. Don't you trust Him? Don't you read the bible? He COMMANDS you not to worry! Gosh, just LET IT GOOOOOO! (Insert song lyrics that won't leave my head... You know you do it too).

Well, gee, if it were only that easy. The chemical make up of my body vs the knowledge and desire I have to give it all to God battle it out every second of every day the monster is with me.

I struggle with feeling like a fake - I'm a Christian but I struggle with anxiety. I feel like a failure. Sometimes I just stop feeling. It's a battle you'll never understand unless you've lived it.

My dad struggled with very similar things and it robbed him of his life. I refuse to be a victim, but I am also wise enough and cautious enough to know when I need help.

It is 4:55 am, my alarm is set to go off in 25 minutes and I've been up since 1:15. I keep picturing my fatigued brain, exhausting itself on a treadmill running at a pace that it just can't handle with no way to turn the dial down. It sees God's embrace and open arms just beyond the bars but is hopelessly trapped in the marathon that doesn't end.

I know this is temporary and that God is stronger, bigger and mightier than this monster called anxiety. He will be triumphant and I will be shouting of His mercy and goodness even as I wait for His victory over it.

Friends, I don't tell you all of this to gain pity or sympathy. We all have mountains in front of us, don't we? I share this with you in hopes that it would shed some light on who I am. Demons and all. Anxiety is a very real thing that can lead to very real pain and suffering. I am a Christ follower, a believer, and I still suffer from it. It doesn't make me a fake, it doesn't make me ashamed. It's my reality, but I am thankful that it is not forever. I am thankful that my God is bigger.

I want thank you all for your prayers and love as I continue to walk through this journey. I am immeasurably blessed by each word that is lifted up to God on my behalf.  If you know someone who suffers from anxiety, just give them a quick hug and tell them you love them. If you suffer the same, I love you deeply and want you to rest in knowing that you're not alone and you are so precious to God. He will be triumphant over this. And through it all, it is well!

Sunday, August 30

Callie's 3rd Birthday

Yes, I know it's nearly September and Callie's birthday was in May.... But can I get a cyber high-five for actually getting around to it? Hahaha.  

This year she wanted to do the bouncy house again, and of course - everything had to be PINK.  This girl is a little princess and loves all things frilly, fluffy, pink and sparkly.  I'm so not complaining.  We rented the most amazing princess bounce house equip with slide, basketball hoop and lots of room to bounce around.  My lovely mother graciously opened her home to us so we could have more room for the kids to run around.  Overall, Callie had a blast.  Here are a few pictures from her big day!  

Obsessed with babies

This picture screams girl click, doesn't it?!  They look so old!

She absolutely loves the moon, so we decided to buy a telescope!

 And just for fun... Her birthday boards!  1, 2 and now 3!

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Saturday, August 29

The Ever Faster Life - Summer Recap

Growing up I was always eager to be older.  When I'm this age I can do this, when I'm that age I'll be able to do this...  You know how it goes.  Now that I am a mommy I just want time to slow down a little bit.  As Summer came around this year I was so excited to finally have time to blog and slow down a little bit.  Unfortunately, in my slowing down, I seemed to get even busier.  Callie started dance, we made trips to the zoo and the library, vacationed; I lost myself in time. 
It's mind boggling how many hours are spent on senseless/pointless activities.  I feel kind of bad for neglecting this blog so much, as it's so therapeutic to me and I love being able to look back and read about things I've already forgotten about.  The kids are getting so big and everyday they look and act just a little bit older.  My babies aren't babies anymore!

Over the Summer we did so many new things!  Callie started a tap/ballet class and she has fallen in love with it.  I love watching her shake her little booty and try her best to follow along with her dance teacher and friends.  Her smile is so radiant and she genuinely loves every person she meets.  So much so that we've had to have conversations a lot lately that go something like this, "Callie, is so-in-so in our family?" No? "Well, if they aren't in our family then you can't be kissing them."  She kisses EVERYONE and it's been an interesting conversation to have!  Here's a picture of our little ballerina.

We also traveled to Pittsburgh, PA for a family reunion.  It was so awesome to see our family, but VERY exhausting traveling on the plane with both kids and all 4 of us sharing a room for a week.  Very little sleep, and a lot of recovering once we were home. SO worth it though. My cousin Jessica was a doll and took some family photos for us while we were there.  She is immensely talented, you can see more of her work on her website; JJanePhotography.com

Here are few more pictures from our trip to PA! 

Had to go to a baseball game!
My beautiful cousin, Kiera
Taking a break at the amazing animal park we visited
Callie feeding a giraffe!
My mom's side of the family! What a great time!!! 
When we returned from PA there were two weeks filled with trips to the zoo, library dates and lots of running around town with the kids.  It was so much fun to focus on JUST being a mommy.  I loved every minute of it. 

Our last big event of the Summer was heading to Destin, FL for a family vacation.  My mom is an enormous blessing in our lives and we were so fortunate to tag along with her for a week!  We swam, tanned and ate our weight in delicious foods!  Callie's favorite things were catching crabs and building sand castles.  Kellan was content to stay out of the sand and wasn't a huge fan of the beach... but by the end of the week he finally caved and joined us for some digging fun.  

Josh and I started making sand sculptures!

Overall, it was a jam packed, wonderful, relaxing and fun summer for the Morgans.  I'm sure there is so much more that I am forgetting, but I'm on picture/post overload, so I am sure you are as well!  Hopefully I'll be back soon to update on all of the other current things in our lives, but school just started this past week and I've got a lot of recovering to do. :)  Maybe I'll treat myself to a pedicure this afternoon... 
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