The Impending Doom – Relentless “Warnings”

The Impending Doom – Relentless “Warnings”

FEELINGS

Good morning!

I guess Fridays have become my day to blog about anxiety. That’s fine!

In case you are just tuning in, I have dealt with OCD for most of my life with especially terrible bouts after having each of my kids (postpartum OCD).

In today’s post, I am hoping to give some of you obsessed Googlers out there just a little relief. (No offense, I was said obsessed Googler.)

Having an anxiety disorder is like being placed inside a nightmare. In a nightmare, you don’t know that it isn’t real but you wholeheartedly believe it is. Because it seems real at the time, you end up scared out of your whits until you wake up and realize, that thankfully it was all a dream.

Your brain is amazing. When you are in a real-life dangerous situation your brain sends you warning signals telling you to run! It’s a life-saving defense mechanism. But when you have a chemical imbalance, these “warnings” go into overdrive resulting in an ongoing feeling of doom and fear. There isn’t any real threat, but because you are overcome with the feeling that something terrible will happen, you wholeheartedly believe it! When you refrain from running because you happen to be, you know, trying to live life and be an active member of society, you are hit with sweat, rapid heart rate, dizziness, feeling faint, and all of the symptoms of impending death that does absolutely nothing to help the already existing anxiety but only makes it worse because now you think that if the office building doesn’t blow up any minute like you feel it will, your days are numbered anyway because there is obviously something physically wrong with you.

Man! My mind spends just reliving it! Haha!

But sufferer, rejoice! Those who deal with extreme anxiety, when they finally make it through to the other side, often times they actually end up mentally stronger than someone who never had to deal with it. This is because they have had to force themselves to live life for months or years on end through all-encompassing fear. I keep trying to describe it for those of you who do not have a chemical imbalance but it’s the kind of pain you can’t explain to someone that hasn’t gone through it. Like childbirth.

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So now, given you have a chemical imbalance, we have to remember that you cannot do much about that until you receive help (CBT, ERP, medication, etc.) just like a person with a broken leg likely can’t mend it without a cast (and think about trying to do that yourself!) This blog is not to take the place or professional help but is just a vessel to hopefully direct you to it and a place of encouragement and relief.

So here’s today’s “relief” message.

Your Feelings Lie To You All The Time

In our feelings driven society, our first response is to give significance to our feelings. Most people do this, not just those who have an anxiety disorder. Let me put your mind at ease, your feelings are not facts. They are feelings and they lie all the time. If the Lord wanted us to be led by our feelings, He wouldn’t have given us a written Bible.

When you receive a feeling, bad or good, do not be quick to believe it.

Challenge Your Thoughts!

When a thought comes into your mind, know that doesn’t mean it is true. Step back and challenge the thought. Your brain will try to prove that it is true so your job is to actively prove that it is NOT.

It takes work to do these things but when you do them day after day, guess what happens? Your brain begins making new pathways and begins thinking this way on its own! Isn’t that amazing? I am always so fascinated by how God has created us!

I hope you are at peace today, but if you aren’t, don’t give up! Pray, reach out, and know that there is a purpose in your pain.

Blessings,
Angela

Questions:

Have you suffered from an anxiety disorder? 

Have you ever had an anxiety attack?

Brave ones, describe your experience. Anxiety is a LONELY place. Please help those who are suffering now by sharing your story. 

 

 

 

 

Not Only Forgive…But Bless!

Not Only Forgive…But Bless!

Good morning!

Any journalers out there? I LOVE to journal. When I am blogging, I don’t journal my thoughts that much because God for whatever reason made me an open book. Any poor unsuspecting soul from Jason to my grocery cashier to all of you, are unfortunately subject to my thoughts, feelings, desires, struggles, and weirdisms. I don’t know why this is. This has done me well at times and absolutely horrendously at times. Anyway, when I am blogging I don’t journal much because I am already sharing much of my life but I do journal notes from my Bible reading, my prayers, and I even have a journal of letters to Ryan and Anna telling them the things I have learned so far in this crazy thing called life.

I rarely go back and read the journals but yesterday Jason found one from 2009. It was a horrific time in my life. I was leaving my ex-husband, I had completely given up on God, I had a job that required me to be extremely thin and my eating disorder was the worst it ever had been. Looking at those pages and remembering all of the pain and chaos, I am so grateful to God for His mercy on me. In my time of need, I did not run to Him but instead shook my fist at Him and tried to handle it all myself which of course ended in years of misery. I was not good to him yet He was beyond good to me! Not only did He keep me alive through that traumatic time while I was spitting in His face, but He has blessed me with a loving husband and two beautiful kids to serve. The time came when I realized how real God actually was and I had wronged Him greatly. I was so scared. But again, He gave me undeserved love. He sent Christ to be punished for my iniquities. I didn’t have to pay for the terrible things I had done because Christ paid for them instead.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 

That is so unfair, isn’t it? But I cannot tell you how grateful I am to Christ for what He did on the cross for me! Praise you, Lord. Praise you, Lord!

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Luke 7:50

The Bible says that whoever is forgiven of much, loves much. I can tell you that is a thousand times true. I can’t fathom the love of God. But it is real and He gives it abundantly!

Who loves like God? Who not only holds back an angry response but bestows the offender with gifts!

God loves like this so we need to at least put forth the effort to love like this.

But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:20-21

 

Anyone? Have you been forgiven much? Do you love much? Do you forgive much? Do you bless much?

Let’s try.

Blessings,
Angela

 

 

 

In the Kitchen II

In the Kitchen II

Good morning!

Here are some more of my kitchen adventures! Some are healthy. Some are just yummy.

Breakfast

Going along with my “meal plan”, I usually like for breakfast to be one of the “2 healthy meals”. Also, I’m almost never in the mood to cook in the morning. Here are two make-ahead healthy breakfasts that I find delicious and energizing!

Healthy Vegan Peanut Butter Granola

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I kind of quit granola years ago because it’s always loaded with sugar. Not this one! It’s sweetened with honey (or maple syrup if you want to keep it vegan) and so easy to make. I just baked a batch one night and then threw it in with some Greek yogurt and blueberries.

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If blogging had emojis, this one would be a yummy face.

Cinnamon Vanilla No Bake Protein Bites

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From My Instastory.

These are so good and easy! You just mix all the ingredients together, roll into balls, and then freeze for 20-30 minutes. You keep them in the fridge and just grab a few in the morning. Two of these make a perfectly satisfying breakfast. The recipe does call for protein powder. I just used the vanilla Elevation brand from Aldi. Only $16.00! I also used flax meal instead of almond meal.

No new lunches this week. Still on the sandwich kick.

Dinner

Sheet pans! I love these. They are such an easy, healthy, and delicious dinner with your main dish and sides all cooked together in one pan!

One Pan Crispy Parmesan Chicken With Vegetables

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You will notice that there are always many more potatoes than non-starchy vegetables on my sheet pans….Jason is still a not on the veggie train. But he does like the potatoes!

If you are just tuning in, I love to eat all of my food together in a bowl. I don’t know why this is. But look how yummy it looks!

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And it is!

Sheet Pan Crispy Cheddar Pork Chops

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You can definitely do sheet pans without breading the meat. We are just in the mood for something different lately. We will definitely have these crispy, cheddar pork chops again but the recipe said to cook for 15 minutes, flip the pork chops and then cook for another 15 minutes. This was difficult to do without the breading getting all messed up. So I didn’t flip them. Still good!

One-Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta

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THIS is delicious. We have had it a few times already. Mother Thyme’s blog is amazing too! Jason loves hamburger helper. This is very similar and MUCH healthier. It’s made with ground beef, pasta, salsa, taco seasoning, and cheese. I used gluten-free rotini and the organic grass-fed ground beef from Aldi. If you have picky eaters in your household, I highly recommend this dish. I added spinach to mine. Yum!

Good Ole Mac N Cheese

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When Jason is in an indulgent mood, he always asks for mac n cheese for dinner. Jason loves this and it’s always a crowd pleaser. Here it is!

  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 1/2 cup elbow macaroni
  • 3 Tbs all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 8 x 8 casserole dish.
  • Boil water with salt. Add macaroni and cook for 7 minutes. Drain. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a pot. Add flour and whisk until smooth and lightly browned. Whisk in milk and salt and pepper. Bring just to a boil. Add cheese and whisk until smooth
  • Add macaroni to cheese sauce and pour into casserole dish.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sweets!

1 dessert. 🙂

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I attest that the name rings true! If you are a fan of the classic chocolate chip cookie like me, you will LOVE these. As a former break-and-baker, these are truly enlightening on the difference of homemade. So good.

Peanut Butter Gooey Bars

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Instastory

I actually messed these up but they still turned out really tasty. I am NEW to baking. I in the baking aisle looking for condensed milk with two munchkins running all over the place. I grabbed what I thought was the store brand condensed milk but was actually evaporated milk. When I realized my mistake, I Googled the difference between the two. Condensed milk is sweetened evaporated milk. To make condensed milk, heat evaporated milk and add 1 1/4 CUPS sugar to every ONE CUP evaporated milk! Holy sweetness Batman!

WARNING: This dessert is for the die-hard sugar fan.

I’m actually glad that I messed up and got the evaporated because I instead added just half a cup of sugar to it and the gooey bars are still REALLY sweet. These are definitely yummy, but SUPER sweet. If I make this again, I will definitely modify the sweetness.

Banana Blended With Almond Milk

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It’s funny how when you allow yourself ALL THE THINGS, you end up not even wanting them sometimes. One day, I did want something sweet but wasn’t in the mood for anything really indulgent. I just blended together a banana with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk and it was perfect. A refreshing sweet that happens to be healthy too!

That’s all for this week! Bon appetit, Peaches!

Monday Book Club – Non Fiction Edition

Monday Book Club – Non Fiction Edition

Good morning!

I am so sorry that I don’t have any fiction to share this Monday. I have three fiction books that I have waiting for me but found myself absorbed in non-fiction this past week. But please share your fiction reads with me below! I am always on the lookout for a good one to add to my list.

Monday Book Club

Ruth

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I visited my mom’s church this Sunday and the sermon was on the book of Ruth. So funny because our church just finished a sermon series on Esther! It’s the ladies time to shine I guess. I had never heard a sermon on Ruth before but this one made me want to go straight to the book and read it all again. If you don’t know the story of Ruth, it is about a woman named Naomi who loses her husband and two sons. Ruth is Naomi’s daughter-in-law. Bitter and grieving, Naomi decides to go back to her hometown, Bethlehem and tells her daughters-in-law to go make new lives for themselves in the land they are currently in. But Ruth does not go. She has it set in her mind that she is going to stay with her mother-in-law no matter what.

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

The point of the sermon was that Ruth was completely selfless. We have to learn from Ruth! When we go with God we must abandon ALL worldly wisdom, all selfishness and pride, and go!

Ruth doesn’t know if she will be blessed or not. She just goes. But in the end, God does bless both her and Naomi. Ruth marries Boaz and they have Obed who is the Father of Jesse who is the Father of David. For those of you who don’t know, this is the beginning of the line of Christ!

It is a truly amazing story so if you haven’t read it, maybe read it for your next Bible time.

Still Hangin in Proverbs

Prov 165

I swear all I do is write Proverbs. You know how you take notes on what you read, I seriously have three pages of Proverbs. Haha! I keep imagining my walls lined with all of them on the pretty wall art from Kirklands and Homegoods. 🙂

In my reading, there are Proverbs that warm my heart…

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives. Proverbs 11:30

Then there are ones like this…

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

Sobering. Especially when we are a society of PRIDE. All of us.

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace

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I am in a Bible Study that is reading Damsel in Distress by the same author. One of the chapters of that book is on manipulation and as we were discussing it, I started feeling like maybe I might be manipulating Jason sometimes! So I ordered the book right away and started reading it this past weekend. I am only on chapter two but am already learning things, even in the acknowledgments. The author’s story was an example of how when God has a purpose, He fully equips us to carry it out!

I am excited to read this book and will tell you all what I get from it.

Have a great Monday!

Questions:

What are you guys reading this week? 

How does it make you think and feel? 

 

 

The Searchlight of OCD

The Searchlight of OCD

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Happy Friday Friends!

I promised myself that once I made it through to the other side of the dark cloud of anxiety, I would tell my experiences so that some other obsessed Googler will happen upon them and be comforted.

Today I want to talk about the searchlight of OCD. OCD is an anxiety disorder in which the individual has repeated unwanted thoughts and is compelled by those thoughts to carry out certain behaviors to reduce or get rid of the thoughts temporarily.

Everyone, with or without OCD, has strange thoughts run through their mind. When waiting for a train at the station any given person may have a strange thought like, “What if I jumped in front of that train?”

But while the person without OCD immediately dismisses the thought and moves on with their day, there is a fear response that happens in the mind of the person with OCD. This fear response leads them to feel that there is significance to the thought. They begin to obsess about the train and may start to avoid train stations. They would then develop compulsions to deal with the obsessions in their mind. They may only walk into the train station at exactly 3:04 pm and stand 34 feet away from the train tracks until the train arrives. They do this because these numbers when added equal seven, a number that they have deemed safe. When the train arrives they take 25 steps up to the door making sure they sit in the seventh seat from the front.

As obvious as this all seems, someone can live for years in mental anguish without even knowing that they have OCD. The obsessions and compulsions are just a part of everyday life. It isn’t until trauma occurs or hormonal change like pregnancy occurs that the fear and anxiety becomes too unbearable to take on alone.

When I was struggling with OCD, I was sure that I had a reason to be so anxious about all of the things that I was obsessing about. Everywhere I looked there was proof. I couldn’t watch the news or be on the internet without having an anxiety attack that my fears were moments away from coming true. I couldn’t get through a conversation without crying because whomever I was speaking with never failed to say something that validated my worries. My stomach was constantly in knots and I felt that at any moment the proverbial piano was going to fall from the sky and crush me!

I shouldn’t have waited so long to get help but I did. I waited until I couldn’t shower for more than a few minutes without having to get out. On numerous occasions, I had to pull over to the side of the road and contemplate calling my husband to come to get me. Every time I walked into a grocery store everything would blur and I would feel like my legs were going to give out. Now not only did I have the focus of my obsessions to worry about but I thought I was dying too! The symptoms of anxiety are so physical!

I finally went to the doctor with dizziness and shortness of breath. The doctor asked me what was going on and of course, I burst into tears. He told me that he would do some blood work but that nothing was wrong with me. It was all in my head. I made an appointment to see a counselor the next week. God literally healed me through His word and this woman. I will tell you all the things that helped me because where I was, I never want anyone to be! So let’s begin with the searchlight.

See, all of this proof that I had for believing what I believed, as real as it was at the time, it was just my mental searchlight. When we are anxious our minds begin looking for proof of what we are worried about… and it finds it! So our anxiety grows and grows because we will keep seeing proof that isn’t really there.

So if this is you, next time you are watching TV or talking with a friend and that fear rises up inside of you because you are finding proof that your fears are valid, know that your mind is looking for that proof; no one else would see it. And second, make the conscious effort to find proof of the opposite. It takes practice but the more you do this the more your mind will begin finding proof of the opposite without you having to try.

I hope this finds you well! But if it doesn’t, know you aren’t alone and there is help to be found.

Blessings,
Angela

 

The Fit Front – The Secret to Long Life

The Fit Front – The Secret to Long Life

Good morning!

TKP Diet

In case you missed last week’s fitness  update where I shared my “meal plan”, the fit front has changed quite a bit for me in recent months. I have never felt better. Really! I find it so fascinating how being less strict and less disciplined makes for the best. I read this article that interviewed people living past the age of one hundred. NONE of them were runners, bodybuilders, or super disciplined in their diet. One even said that his secret to long life was NOT eating healthy! This all made me understand a little more why my current approach to fitness is working so well. Extremes of any kind are not good for us. Our society loves extremes. So many of us eat ALL the junk or we make the way we eat and exercise our identity! This is not right.

In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
    and the wicked living long in their wickedness.
16 Do not be overrighteous,
    neither be overwise—
    why destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overwicked,
    and do not be a fool—
    why die before your time?
18 It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

Ecclesiastes 7:15-18

Why die before your time? I am definitely NOT saying that I think we should just throw all caution to the wind and eat a bunch of junk, drink a bunch of boos, and start a smoking habit (ew.) Definitely not. But what I do know is that this article just goes to show that God has a day planned for each of us that we will die and it doesn’t matter what we eat or drink or even smoke, we will not die until that day. In the meantime, are our choices going to enhance or hurt our wellbeing? Is what we are eating and what we are drinking making us the best vessel for God’s work?

I can definitely attest to the fact that a lifestyle of drinking, smoking, and poor eating habits will lead to poor health and a poor state of mind. You may not die, but you will feel close to it! But at the same time, being super strict and pushing yourself to the max for every single workout can be bad too. A healthy amount of exercise will lift your mood and energize you to better tend to your priorities. But too much exercise may give you defined abs, biceps, and a thigh gap but will drain you and leave you with no energy for life! That’s what was happening to me. My workouts were leaving me with no energy for the things that I really needed to be doing. Little things like, oh you know, managing my household.

Diet is another beast in itself. From experience, I can say that it is a thousand times true that restriction only leads to weight GAIN. Our minds do not want to feel deprived. They will torture us unit they feel satisfied! That is why when we are on a diet that restricts certain foods or food groups, binging is inevitable. It may be days, weeks, months, or even years but when we give in, we give in HARD. I dieted for twenty-one years. I was never satisfied after meals. I ate ALL of whatever was in front of me. It didn’t matter how much water I drank or how many vegetables I bulked my meal up with, I could always eat more. People would make comments about the size of my meals all the time but I could have honestly eaten two or three of them and sometimes did! When I think of eating that much now, it seems daunting. But the fact was that even though I was eating loads of proteins and vegetables and all things healthy, I was still deprived.

We have all followed a diet that says it is going to work because it doesn’t deprive us. The thing is, they DO deprive us! Who wants a bite of dark chocolate? No one. They want a brownie. Or two brownies. They want to eat their daily allotment sweet but then if someone makes cookies they want to say yes to one of those too!

What I have learned is this is ok and better than being “good” for days or weeks or months and then falling victim to the inevitable binge that will ensue because my mind is perceiving deprivation. God gave us beautiful foods like quinoa and spinach but He also gave us chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake and wants up to enjoy them in a healthy way. Thank you, Lord!

Maybe today celebrate God’s sovereignty with something you truly enjoy.

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Blessings,
Angela