Thursday, September 4, 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Depression and Anxiety are not a Choice.

There has been a lot of talk going around the internet surrounding the recent death of Robin Williams. While I am greatly saddened, I hope we can use his tragedy to spread light on the fact that many people are quick to deny-

 Mental illness is real.

Depression is real.

Anxiety is real.

And it can kill.

Mental illness is devastating to those who suffer from it and those around them. I know this because I am a sufferer of depression and anxiety. In my short 30 years of life, I have suffered from depression, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and panic disorder. For lack of better words, it sucks.

It sucks because a lot of people think you should just choose not to be depressed anymore. People don't judge diabetics for taking insulin, but they will judge people with mental illness for taking medication.

(Image source:

If you are one of those people who thinks that enough healthy eating, sleeping, exercise, and prayer will pull you out of the pit of depression, I am happy for you. I am glad that worked for you. But, it doesn't work for everyone.

Depression is more than feeling blue. It is feeling like this:  Anne Voskamp.
It is the feeling of no feelings. I liken it to ring in one of those rooms Star Wars style where the walls are closing in on you and crushing you.

OCD is more than wanting a neat room or being clean. It is vomiting after you eat because you are sure your food has been poisoned. It driving back to make sure you didn't run anyone over every time you hit a bump. It is checking your baby's pulse every 10 minutes because you are sure he died of SIDS. It is removing all the knives from your house in so no one gets hurt. I say that because that was me.

What people need suffering from mental illness is not to be torn down, to be ridiculed. We need God. We need your compassion, caring and prayers. Sometimes we need medication too.

My name is Katie, and I have suffered from anxiety and most recently post partum depression. I take medication and I am not ashamed.

Because at the end of the day, it is NOT a choice. No one would choose to feel like this.

If you ever need someone to talk to, you can comment and I will email you. I will listen, and pray for you. Whatever you need. You are not alone!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Sabbatical

This is the view from my summer vacation home in Maine. We were lucky enough to go on a family vacation with my parents, my sister's family, and my other sister's children (while she and her husband spent their 20th wedding anniversary in France :)

I have taken a step back from the blog. I have a lot of things I want to write about, but not a lot of time to write them. There are many writers who write about simple living and living in the moment, and you see that is exactly what I have been doing.

(From left - my son, my nephew, and my mom swimming in the lake)

Consequently, I veered off the path a little from the compact.

I bought 2 new skirts from an independent skirt maker.

But, I am not going to worry about it. I will be back on track in September. We still have another month before school starts, and I am really enjoying soaking in all the lazy days of summer.

(From Left: My husband, son #2, my brother in law, and my nephew)

I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer (or winter, on the South side of the equator!)


Friday, July 11, 2014

Help! Food Allergies and My Out of Control Grocery Budget

So, I was going along nicely with my grocery budget, keeping things within reason despite having to shop for my husband with celiac disease, when I was thrown another curve ball.

The baby started having bloody diarrhea, which was quite alarming but apparently is a sign of a dairy allergy. Since I am still breastfeeding, I was advised to cut dairy out of my diet (and discontinue the baby yogurt I was giving him.)

His symptoms have since cleared up, but being dairy free and gluten free presents challenges in our house, particularly with the grocery budget. Almond milk is more expensive than dairy milk (and soy milk gives me ahem bad flatulence.)

I am caught between the dance of wanting to buy sustainable/organic foods and keeping the price down. It is hard to decide which is the most important.

Also, not having the accountability of posting my expenses here has made me lazy, and I have become lax in keeping the costs down.

For July I am going to go back to posting my expenses, and gluten-free dairy-free meal and snack ideas.

Suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Would You Accept Government Help if you Qualified?

I have mentioned before we do not make a lot of money. My husband is self employed and currently I am unemployed outside the home (I am a homemaker!)

Earlier in the year we received a letter telling us we qualified for free and reduced price lunch. I had mixed feelings on this, but we did not have to do anything to accept it so I accepted it. Most of the time my son was a packer. When he did buy lunch, the food seemed to give him very bad gas (it isn't the healthiest of fare, but I am all for everything in moderation).

Because we do not make a lot of money, it has come to our attention we qualify for a few government services, such as WIC, LIHEAP, and health care tax credit.

I was interested in the health care tax credit, but once again my husband and I have mixed feelings about insurance. We have a friend who traveled to another country and broke her leg, and at that country's hospital, each procedure was listed with the expense. We both think it makes a lot more sense to pay for services rendered.
Then we heard about the concept of Christian health care bill sharing programs. Essentially you pay a monthly gift that helps everyone pay their medical bills. At this point in time, this is the route we are taking for health care.

If you are interested, here are 3 links to Christian health care programs:

Christian Healthcare Ministries

Christian Medi-Share

Samaritan Ministries

We have also qualified for the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Food Program. I think this is a great program, helping provide breastfeeding support and nutritious foods for mothers and their babies. But, even though we qualify, I do not feel we should accept it unless we are really desperate for food. And we are not. We are incredibly blessed.

I do worry about the future- what if my husband income diminishes, etc. But it this a reason to accept help?

What would you do?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Low Waste Endeavors as of Late

I am not blogging much, but here is what I am doing in the "low waste" homefront.

1.) Composting.
Don't know why I didn't start years ago.

2.) Forgoing the Air Conditioner
Even in the 90's we've managed to only use the unit in the bedroom at night. The hottest the house has gotten is 89*F. Time to find a fan?

3.) Cold Showers
This makes it fast.

4.) Local organic farm co op
We joined with my mom and sister. I am really enjoying the fresh fruit and veggies!

What are you doing to reduce your waste/impact?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Blog Update

It has been a while since I posted. I have just been enjoying life home with my boys. The summer weather has arrived here in Pennsylvania, and our community pool has opened and it is where we spend our weekends.

I am excited to be hanging the laundry out again, my husband also hung a hammock in our yard. I spread the quilt on the ground for the baby to play while I hang my laundry. It feels quite idyllic.

I am now only going to do monthly budget updates- I think you get the point that my weekly spending isn't much. My grocery/gas/takeout budget has remained pretty constant.

My next goal is to lower the utility bills (electric/water). We are trying to see how far we can push the envelope on air conditioning.

When I am not spending time being mom, I have been trying to strengthening my faith and working on my relationship with God, clean and declutter the house, and reading. I look forward to sharing with you books I have been reading soon.

I leave you on this Monday with a favorite poem my wonderful Pastor shared with us.

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

— Teresa of Ávila (attributed)