I have no lid upon my head, but if I did...

Lately I've been reflecting over the past 2 + years since we made the decision to move to a more affordable/budget friendly home - I mean, APARTMENT.

I knew that we were doing the right thing...the ONLY thing that would help us SURVIVE financially.  And as much as I don't like to admit it, it has been a sacrifice, and a struggle. 

I know now, looking back, that I was depressed...even though deep down, I KNEW that we made the right choice to move.

Evidence of my depression:

I stopped planning/cooking meals for my family.  We started eating fast food almost every day. 

I stopped exercising, and quickly (within 3 months) gained about 30 lbs. 

I was struggling with how to handle Jakob's issues with ADHD/Anxiety/Depression.  I felt completely hopeless as a mother...I didn't know HOW to help my baby.  (This had been going on for a few years...but came to a HEAD when we moved...due to NEW school, NEW situation riding a bus, NEW situation being gone from 7:30-2:15 every day, etc. etc. - the poor kid was having a really, REEEEAALLLLLLY hard time, and so was I.)

Even though we were saving money on rent, we were still barely scraping by...  I was embarrassed and ashamed of our situation.

Because we lived in (and I'm being frank here) an OLD, RUN-DOWN, UGLY apartment, I didn't want anyone to come over...and didn't care if it was a mess or not.

I continued to struggle with my photography business...insecurity isn't good for business...and wasn't helping me progress as a photographer at all.  I felt like everyone around me (in the photog biz) was succeeding and I was just a fumbling, floundering mess...  I felt like a failure not being able to help out financially...

The list could go on...but the point of this post isn't to make you feel sorry for me or whatever, it's just to show you where I've been and what I've been through and how I've grown, and changed. 

Here's what I've learned through it all:

Prayer can give you hope.

I am SO blessed with an amazing husband who LOVES me and our babies dearly...and he is my partner in all of this.  Fat and flabby, messy house, crazy emotions, happy days, bad days, laughing till we cry, crying till we laugh, etc.  I am so grateful I have him.  I know I COULD do it alone (thank you Gillian for pointing that out!) but I am SO thankful I don't have to...

I am so blessed to have 4 beautiful boys...who are so sweet and adorable and who are such good boys...I see the future in them...I am in awe that Heavenly Father would allow ME to be their mother.  They amaze me with their wit and ability to love and forgive me for my weaknesses.  They are my treasures.

I have learned that I DID care what people thought about me...where I lived...what kind of clothes I wore...if I had a nice house...and once I realized that, I hated myself for it.  I realized that I needed to learn from this humbling experience...and let go of pride.

I learned that Heavenly Father loves me and puts me in places where I am surrounded by people who will love me no matter what.  I was given a calling to be the 2nd Counselor in the RS Presidency a few months after we moved in, and as overwhelming as that was at times, I am truly thankful for the opportunity it gave me to learn who everyone was, and to serve them.  Otherwise, it would have been very easy for me to retreat into my home and hide away from everyone.  It forced me to make new friends.

About 7 months after we moved, there was a unique situation where my sister and 3 of her kids ended up staying with us (in my TINY 2 bedroom apartment) for almost a week.  I have a very vivid memory of a conversation we had, where she told me that I was in "survival mode."  I will never forget that...it was like the first of many wake-up calls.  Yes, I was taking care of a bunch of little boys...but I was only doing the basics.  She was right, I was just surviving...doing enough to just get by. 

I've gone back to that conversation many times over the past 2 years, and am happy to say that now, I am not just surviving, I am starting to THRIVE.

So, my word for this year, is THRIVE.  To me, that means I am making the decision to BE HAPPY with where I am...and to BE HAPPY with WHO I am...and to BE HAPPY with my children and my husband.  I want to ENJOY this crazy life and stop feeling sorry for myself.  I want to pursue my goals and my dreams...even if that means I fail along the way.  I want to provide happy memories for my family by making meal time top priority, by making sure they are taken care of and feel loved 100% of the time. 

I am ready to THRIVE. 

Are you?

1: to grow vigorously : flourish
2: to gain in wealth or possessions : prosper
3: to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances —often used with on <thrives on conflict>


Jen said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm sure it wasn't easy to share. Life certainly isn't easy and it's very easy to lose confidence.
I am inspired by you and your decision to THRIVE, even though it takes so much added effort. I know you'll succeed!

Kristie K. said...

Thrive is a perfect word! I love it. I know you can feel insecure (we all can) and having hard issues with kids is hard.

But when i see you a see a STRONG beautiful woman!Just know that i love you and admire you greatly!!!

Tall Fry said...

As I read your post, the tears started coming! From my own life, I know where you've been, what it takes to share it, and feel heartfelt gratitude that something we shared together helped you...that my presence in your life brought you comfort, consolation, and clarity. I'm sending you a Grandpa Roy HUG!!

Maria said...

That is beautiful, thank you for sharing. In my life I have learned, like you, to be thankful for trials and difficulties that stretch me because that is how we grow. You are awesome!

Sara said...

I too have tears in my eyes as I am reading this, I feel like I could be reading about my life right now. This last year has been one of the hardest for me and I hope like you I can start to thrive and not just survive. Thank you for the encouragement from this post. We love you guys and miss you.

Erika said...

Thanks for sharing this! I feel strengthened and inspired by your thoughts. I am also in a time where I can choose between surviving and thriving (Brian is out of town for three months for work) and I want to follow your example and choose to be happy despite what gets thrown at me day to day. Good luck and I hope you will let us know how everything goes for you!!!

Ashley and James said...

Thanks for sharing such personal feelings. It's always comforting to know that others struggle in similar ways; it helps you feel like you're not alone, like you're not crazy, but normal. I've been where you've been, in survival mode, and it's tough to pull out of but when you have the love and support from those who mean the most, it makes all the difference in the world. I've always admired you, Shari. You're a strong and independent woman and you're so kind and loving. Wish we could see you guys more often. Love ya!

Becky Sorenson said...

I loved reading this. I think everyone can relate to this and being in "survival mode" at times in their life. I need to remember this post. Thanks for sharing!!

Carrielyn said...

I love you so much!! I too have been struggling with survial mode... hopefully soon I can say that in the past tense. Changes are coming, slow and surely. Love your word!

Melissa said...

Good choice of word. I'm sorry you've been so blue. I'm glad your are feeling better. Don't forget to have your Vitamin D checked. :D

Bridget said...

I have a mix of the survival and thrive tendancies. Thank you for sharing your story. I think what I really need to do is get off the computer and start doing what I've put off for the past few days...or weeks. Hugs to you and Brad.

Kristen Duke Photography said...

HUGS, Shari Beth! Ugh, we all go through hills and canyons--really! My rut was right around when I turned 30, felt like I didn't have any close friends around me and I just felt sad. Even with a great family and super supportive husband. Staying grounded with the gospel helps a lot, but we do have to make deliberate decisions. I am SOOO grateful for the beautiful pictures you took of my family last summer. You are an amazing photographer, and I hope you don't doubt that--Love you!