Also…email us ANY of your questions (faith, marriage, parenting, favorite road trips, how to make a podcast…anything!). We’ll soon be hosting a Q&A on our NEW YouTube channel and we want to answer your questions! So…get to know your hosts by sending us all your questions and we’ll do our best to answer them!
Let’s face it: as much as people love watching holiday Hallmark movies, they leave us longing for more in our own lives. More family. More laughter. More kisses under the mistletoe and more snow on the ground.
Meanwhile, our reality often looks quite a bit duller when compared to this idealized version we see on our screens. In real life, we have dirty dishes stacked up high, kids screaming in the background, someone passed out on the couch due to overindulgence of one sort or another. All we really want to do is lock ourselves in the bathroom and have a good cry.
Because the holidays are hard. Sometimes, they’re really hard.
Whatever we hope for during this season seldom comes to fruition. Instead, we end up stressed out and feeling empty and dissatisfied, or worse, completely hopeless.
Join us this week as Matt and I share some of our thoughts for self-care during the holidays that might bring you a new sense of peace and joy.
In this episode, we talk about being mindful of what we deserve vs. what we’ve been given, taking our desires and cares to God, and practical ideas for relieving stressful or awkward situations. We also talk about practicing kindness towards others as well as ourselves.
We’ve been home from Hawaii for a week now and boy, has it been hard getting back into the swing of things!
I, personally, could really get used to island time. Everything is a little slower and richer, somehow. There’s time to savor the moment and really take in the beauty that surrounds you.
That being said, we were so blessed and awed by our time in Kauai, that we want to share a little bit of it with you. Now, I know it’s not as good as actually flying you all there, but we did our best by stocking ourselves up with fresh pineapple and a yummy drink as we recorded this week’s episode. We encourage you to do the same while you listen as we share some of the things we learned while on the Garden Island.
First, I share the beautiful lesson we learned on what “aloha” means. As we were driving up to Waimea Canyon we stopped at a viewing area where there was a native man sharing some of the history and legend of Hawaii. It was the beginning of a profound lesson.
Meanwhile, Matt shares how God shows up in unexpected ways and blesses us in ways we can’t even imagine. Sometimes, that blessing comes in the form of a trip of a lifetime. But always, God is blessing us.
Poipu Beach – Kauai, Hawai’i
I’m sure I’ll post other pictures either here or on our social media accounts. It’s truly a beautiful place and if you ever have the opportunity to go to Kauai, by all means…GO!
It came on suddenly and without any warning, in the middle of the local grocery store with my cart half-loaded.
I looked into the basket and couldn’t recognize any of the items resting at the bottom. My eyes seemed to glaze over as I tried to piece together where I was and what I was doing.
My heart was racing, I was getting hotter and hotter. Looking around, all I could see was a sea of people and it seemed like they were all crowding in. My defenses on high, my first instinct was to lash out at the women passing by with their own carts full of goods. I wanted to crash into them. To knock them over, out of my way.
What was I even doing here?
Coming into some sense of awareness I realized that I had to finish my grocery shopping and get home. But if I’d had a grocery list in my hand at one point, it certainly wasn’t there now. My brain kept shouting, “Just get the groceries and leave!”
With no ability to regulate my thinking, I simply started grabbing items from the shelves. All I knew for sure was that we had no food at home, we needed food, and this was the place to get it. What kind of food didn’t matter.
It took amazing effort, but I was able to convince myself that I had to wait at the check-out line and pay for my groceries. All I wanted to do was running, screaming,”Tawanda!” through the doors, but not in the funny ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ kind of way. More in the panicked, I-may-just-run-someone-over-spree-killer kind of way.
Groceries paid and bagged, now all I had to do was get to the car and navigate my way home. But even getting through the parking lot was an ordeal. Everyone seemed determined to hinder my progress. Meanwhile, my heart was still pounding loudly in my chest, my breathing was shallow, my vision was blurry and death seemed imminent.
I’m not sure the exact order of things after this point. I know I ended up at the University’s theater where Matt was working on the production of an upcoming show. Sitting at the light booth in the middle of the auditorium, he listened as I recalled my flash of crazy while grocery shopping.
I was beyond worried. Dad had died from a sudden heart attack just a couple months before. I didn’t know exactly what the symptoms were, but it seemed entirely possible that’s what I’d just experienced.
Later that week as I sat around the large oval cherry conference table, staring into the faces of others who’d also lost a loved one, I shared my tale with my grief group. Death. Loss. Sorrow. These were the only things we shared in common.
Our counselor listened intently as I recounted my experience then quietly assured me that what I’d had was not a heart attack, but in fact, a panic attack. She then proceeded to share different strategies for coping with the symptoms as they present themselves. She talked of deep breathing, visualization, and the simple mantra, ‘This won’t kill me.’
Years and countless panic attacks later, I think I understand better. They still come on sometimes. But now, rather than managing the symptoms, I am able to recognize their onset and head them off before they become crippling. Deep breathing, visualization, and mantras are still my most-trusted tools.
But why am I sharing this story?
Because on a regular basis I meet people who are dealing with anxiety and panic attacks and they don’t have any idea what’s going on. All they know is they feel like the fight, flight, and freeze responses have all kicked into high gear at once and it is terrifying. I honestly believe it is by God’s grace that I didn’t literally run people over with my car that day, 20-some years ago in the grocery store parking lot. Because everything in me felt like that would be my best course of action.
I’m sharing this because if you deal with these or similar feelings, I want you to know that you are NOT alone. You are NOT crazy. This does NOT have to overtake you. And for sure, this does not have to be something you suffer with alone or forever.
Please, if you or someone you know suffers from anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide, seek help. We are created to ‘do life’ together. We’re not meant to go it alone.
If you see someone who is hurting, scared, isolated, anxious, depressed or any of the hundred other words we use to convey our burden, please reach out to them. Depression is rooted with fear. Fear keeps us paralyzed and unable to seek help from outside sources. Sometimes we need those outside sources to reach in and gently draw us out.
Friends, be well. You are too wonderful to lose. And you are never – not ever – alone.