Friday, January 31, 2014

AM~Erica Wonders What the Moon is Trying to Say

So anyway...

As you know, I love celebrating stuff. Today is no different...

The thing we are celebrating today is the Chinese New Year!! OK...I'm not sure if that's so PC anymore. I say that because I've seen put out there, this year, the term Lunar New Year...

OK then...we will go with that term then. So...


(image found via

I'll be honest, I don't have any Asian in me. I know...I can hear the gasps of shock right now!

This doesn't stop me from enjoying some sushi (which I know is Japanese, simmer down) & some delicious Chinese takeout (or dine in). Nom-nom-nom...

So, today I knew I would be making some Chinese for dinner. I would have used my Easy Orange Chicken (recipe HERE), but I had been excited to try a bourbon chicken, so I tried that instead.

But for lunch, and since it's Friday & hubby's & my date day, I decided we were going to get some crab rangoon! Because...ummm...crab rangoon.

There is one place we used to get amazing Chinese! Back in the Grandview, MO...there was this place called Peking Express. For a short time when we lived in a Grandview apartment, we loved making the trip over to get us some Chinese! We haven't been in so many years, we don't even know if it's still there. Anyone in the KC Metro area know?

However...several years ago, we discovered some surprisingly good Chinese food! It's not a buffet...and it's not a sit-down restaurant. It's not a drive thru or a typical fast-food joint...

Our favorite place to get yummy Chinese food is from...Hy-Vee. Seriously...the grocery store!
We don't use them for our grocery shopping, but we will get Chinese from there in a heartbeat! Whether it's there or to take home...we got to the Hy-Vee!

You know one of the great things about getting Chinese from Hy-Vee? You feel like it's pretty authentic. Every Hy-Vee we've gone to for Chinese has always had an Asian cooking the food. Seriously! And it's a good price for a ton of food! I would drive an extra distance to get to Hy-Vee  before choosing Panda Express any given day! Crab rangoon is only one of those reasons (since Panda Express does cream cheese rangoon...which is NOT the same), and the general ethnicity of employees tends to make a difference. Maybe it shouldn't...but I do find it weird to get Chinese & being served by Latinos/Latinas. It's right up there with the Chinese buffet my friend, Renee, and I would go to that was run by Mexicans...and there was literally a taco bar in the back.

Anyhoo...back to Hy-Vee for a moment...

I thought it would be a great way for hubby & me to enjoy celebrating the year of the wood horse!(Apparently there's an element tied to each year, beyond just an animal...the more you know, people; knowledge is power. It's why I LOVE CELEBRATING holidays like this!) Even though the given color [palette] of the year 2014 is Radiant Orchid & I feel it should be the year of the Cheshire Cat...whatever...

Pantone's definition sure does sound like the Cheshire Cat, doesn't it?

See? I'm totally into the Year of the Cheshire Cat idea!

But I digress...

After a yummy lunch with my hubby, we had our complimentary fortune cookies! That's how it's supposed to go, right? My hubby opened his first...his was more like advice about being a friend. It wasn't anything to "ooo" & "ahh" about. So then I decided to open mine, cuz it has to be better than his. Amm-i-rite?

So I opened it up...and could not even believe what my little piece of paper told me:

Yeah..that's right. No fortune for me! RUDE! I don't think you all would have believed me if I had just printed about I had to take the pic...

And it was like a Magic 8 Ball saying:

However, I kept it. I was so shocked & blind-sided by that little sliver of paper, I threw it on the tray to get rid of it. I mean, c'mon! How ridiculous! But then I decided to keep the paper. Why? Well, for proof of course, but for an interesting reminder.

If you remember, I had a Divine vision no too long ago. (reminder HERE) And I got thinking that we are shown other ways what the plan for us might be. Why do we rely on random crescent cookies to tell us where to head? There's already a plan for me...and the cookie had no idea where to lead me. My journey has already begun.

One of my new favorite movies is "The Rise of the Guardians." If you haven't seen it, do it!
My point is that the moon is the one "talking" to the guardians. Jack Frost says to each of us, "When the moon tells you something, believe it!"
(Believe it or not...we found this movie on TV after I wrote this blog. Meant to be?)

Well, on this Lunar New Year, I made the attempt to listen the crescent (see? fortune cookie is a moon reference, yo) for the sake of the holiday...
Guess what! The moon had nothing for me. My fortune is of a different sort. And I will continue on with my journey to get to the garden I was shown in that vision.

I don't need no stinkin' cookie to tell me that...


But, to help celebrate the wood horse lunar new year, I give you a panda on a wooden rocking horse:

(found on Yahoo! Shine via

You're welcome. Now go find your own fortune.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

On another note:
My daughter was administering some of those buzzy quizzes, and she decided to ask me questions to see which Toy Story character I am. One of the questions had to do with fortune cookies...and one of the possible answers was, "Your fortune is in another cookie."

Teen Girl thought it was hilarious. Figures.


And on another note (I know, I know..."how many of these notes will there be?"):
Just found out that Radiant Orchid is a perfect color since 2014 (added up) equals 7. The color purple is magical (duh!) & the number 7 is karmic. Whoa...deep! Thanks for that info, Ang!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

AM~Erica Does Not Want the Preview

So anyway...

As I pointed out the other day (right HERE), there's a big event coming up that a lot folks get into watching!

On Sunday evening, there will be a highly anticipated game shown: The Super Bowl!

It's crazy what all goes into this game & around it! From the hype, to the coverage, to the odds making/bets, the food, the rivalries, the tickets, the travel, the food, the tailgating (except for this year...stupid), the parties...there's a lot that happens, yo!

Hopefully the Chiefs are on the right track to finally get back to the big game soon...but this wasn't the year. *sad trombone* We'll get there...we will! WE WILL GET BACK THERE!!!


That's not what I want to talk about, though...

Part of the excitement of the game is one of the most expensive & entertaining parts:
The Commercials!

Oh man, oh man...I so look forward to the commercials! Oh Yeah!!

The wonder of what the crazy companies did with their 30-second spots worth millions of dollars! (which is totally insane, by the way)

Budweiser usually tops the pack with some crazy-amazing spots! Coke & Pepsi have both had some good ones in the past, Doritos has recently stepped up with fan spots, and there are trading companies, too.  From animals, crazy stunts, talking babies, surprise celebrities, really cool to totally the totally stupid head scratchers...they can go about anywhere.

It was always exciting to see what might pop up on the screen when the game would take a break.

You know what is supposed to be great about those? The element of surprise! These companies paid a ridiculous amount of moolah to have these ideas unleashed onto the world.

However...there's been this phenomena in these recent years, thanks to the interwebz & social media, to get their grubby little eHands all over these bits. Then...they are shared in articles, on Yahoo!, and several other places...and then they go viral before the Super Bowl...and it defeats the purpose.

Because...humans have this ridiculous curiosity & total lack of patience...they begin to share it everywhere. And then the media doesn't want to be left out & they start showing bits of upcoming "surprise" commercials to be ahead of the game (literally & figuratively).

People...that's so annoying!!! And, in my own opinion, feel it's very disrespectful. Not sure if we are trying to use this tactic of "sticking it to the man" because of the amounts spent on them...which is true...but we have this tendency to tear down experiences because we want to be on the other side of the proverbial velvet rope. And we want it to be so customized to us...that the mystery & fun gets lost.

So now, instead of waiting for the surprise of what the commercial might be or who it might be from, we can now see two seconds of the commercial we've already seen because you posted it for everyone just the other day...and now we can go pig out on the food spread on the table & throw our resolutions out the window.


Why do we do this? My hubby & I hate the early viewings of the Super Bowl commercials. Because they are supposed to be viewed at the time of the Super Bowl! *face palm*

I don't care how funny it is or sweet it is...we will change the channel from that news cast who are gonna be showing any info on the upcoming commercials...or even the commercials themselves. We shun the articles & avoid the shared links! But we end up seeing images from them before we can run. And it really ticks us off!!! Because, we don't see it as a tease...we see it as the start of a ruiner. *Ugh*

Really...what is our obsession with this? We have to know the outcome right now? In our current culture of immediacy & living in the waiting for anything...
Even though the commercials are finished & ready to be shown...why do we want the outcome before it happens? We don't know the outcome of the Super Bowl. Well...maybe Marty McFly does...but the point is that we don't know...
The Seattle fans WANT the Seahawks to win...
The Denver fans WANT the Broncos to win...(OK, that one nearly made me throw up putting that)
...but we don't KNOW who wins.

I do wish we would wait for the outcome of the experience in its entirety. The whole kit & caboodle!

Now then...if there's a commercial that won't be shown...and we KNOW it won't be shown, then I don't mind taking a gander at it...however...I would be very unhappy if I watched the banned commercial just to see it shown anyway.

Let's all step away from this madness! Let's enjoy the whole event at once, shall we? The first Sunday in February at & commercials...the WHOLE thing! All of it!

Until then...step away from the link, people! Let's all simmer down, relax...and enjoy the experience for what it is...don't give into the temptations of sneak peeks & such. Mm-kay?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, January 27, 2014

AM~Erica Sees Why Most Give Up

So anyway...

It's January...amm-i-rite?

We just got into a new year...amm-i-rite?

Even though I'm not one to make resolutions (read more about that HERE), a lot of people do. And a lot of the resolutions have to do with getting healthier, eating better, exercising more, etc. Amm-i-rite?

I'm huge on sales & coupons. If I can price match a few items AND have coupons, that's something that makes my day! It's near nirvana when I have a coupon to use WITH some price match! Save the money, get the stuff. That's how we gotta try to make our dollar stretch while feeding kiddos at home. Know-whaddi-mean?

We pick up a Sunday paper to get the sales ads & coupons. And my hubby & I go thru them to pull out the necessary ads along with the coupon booklets to see what we might be able to save some money on. Once in a while, one of two things happen:

A. There are no coupons to go through that week - a total downer & week ruiner

II. Up to 2 weeks before a big holiday, there is a crazy number of coupons to go thru - week maker

At the turn of the new year, or leading up to it, there are usually about 4-5 coupon booklets chalk-full of whole grain, gluten-free, high fiber, low calorie, fat free foods & drinks, along with vitamins that are right in front of you to encourage you to eat better & attempts to help out your try (again) at living a healthier lifestyle. Save money doing what you resolved to do for the new year!

I made a joke that The Onion should totally have an article about how some poor extreme couponer must now have to give up her chips, soda pop & Twinkies because the coupons have only allowed her to live a dreadfully healthy lifestyle for the new year! If it was done in true Onion would be hilarious!

But what happens in the meantime? Anywhere from 3-6 weeks from starting your new lifestyle, cold turkey, many give up. I always found that interesting, but I think I found a culprit that lends to a multi-layered waterfall of reasons!

A month into the new year, there's another huge event that takes place. It's months in the making & everyone finds out how into the event they will invest themselves depending what it comes down to about 2 weeks before the event. And even if you are invested in it or not, many will still gather for the event with get togethers galore!

About a week before this huge event, the Sunday papers are once again chalk-full of 4-5 slicky booklets of savings! However, these won't contain your fat-free, low-cal much of anything! Instead, you will find where you can save some money on potato & tortilla chips, dips, guacamole, pizza, pizza bites, hot dogs, fried chicken tenders, cheese, salsa, Velveeta, Rotel, M&Ms, "fun size" candy bars, Oreos, 2-liter soda pop, get the idea...takes those places.


It's only the 2nd biggest food day, only after Thanksgiving, that gathers such attention...

We prep for the Super Bowl. And when we host or go to a gathering, we plan on eating all the things! And it's so delicious consuming all the things...

Think about it for a moment...
About when do the healthy lifestyle resolutions tend to waiver?

Coincidence? I'm thinking not...
And when you don't get coupons, sales & money savers on the good-for-you stuffs, but instead have the coupons, sales & money savers on the junk that "makes the football party"...I think there's a correlation...

It's no wonder! Look at that!!

So...are you one that tries to keep your health resolutions, take in a Super Bowl party, and then strangely find a way to fall off your healthy life style wagon? This could be your reason...

Just wanted to share this PSA with you...along with my face palm moment that it took so long to figure out...and be amazed at the sneaky-ugly marketing that happens in this short period of time.

OK...are we aware? Good luck keeping up your resolutions...

Oh...and, as much as I love me some football...I will be rooting for the commercials...again. Depending on how much I'll get to watch...but that's another post...for another time...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, January 24, 2014

AM~Erica's Love/Hate Relationship with the Comfort

So anyway...

I have a rule about fashion: If IT LOOKS ADORABLE, COVERS NECESSARY PLACES, delivers some umph, and is comfy, then it's perfect.

There are items of clothing that appear uncomfortable, but they really feel awesome on! Then there's the items of clothing that appear to be super comfy...but it is horrible on: maybe it doesn't fit right, or there's a scratchy seam, or it's been cut wrong. Then there are the items that are so comfy, they are just that: comfy.

There's an article of clothing that is ever popular right now & has been in the last few years. I have had some in my possession for the last several years. I used to get actual use out wearing this piece of clothing for how it was intended to be used. But not so much recently...

Back in the 1940's thru the early 1960's, the typical "modern" housewife seemed to look very much the same:

Of course I'm gonna use a pic of Lucy to illustrate my point!

The same type of circle skirt as/or a shirtdress, an apron & typically sensible shoes (heels or not). And it's always amazing to look at these pics since it was to help women feel pretty while doing their "wifely/motherly duties". Besides maybe some pockets & the apron, not sure how useful the whole outfit might have been.

Fast-forward to the mid 2000's to the present...

Nowadays, the typical "modern" housewife has a very different look:

It's not the circle skirt. It's not the apron. It's certainly not the sensible heels.

Actually, one of my very favorite comedians, Tim Hawkins, probably puts it best in this song:

Yes. This.

And the phenomenon began...and it's slightly contagious!

Now then...I have had about 6 or 7 pairs of yoga pants for several years. I still have most of them. I got my first pair to wear to teach dance in & to wear to work...because we were told that wearing a blazer with them to dress 'em up was completely acceptable. Remember that? Yeah...not so much...

But I did get other pairs, later, to actually wear to yoga class! I really did! And I loved wearing my yoga pants to yoga class.

Then we moved & I was spoiled with an awesome yoga instructor. (If anyone knows what happened to Brenda that used to teach yoga, water aerobics & spin at Legacy in Lee's Summit, please flag me down! I miss her!) I did, however, keep my yoga pants.

You know what? I still have them. I wear them when I lead in a dance ministry...or as pajamas sometimes. But I don't really wear them anywhere else. Not sure why. They are SO COMFY! And they are so easy to put on...and...well...everything Tim Hawkins sung about. Amm-i-rite?

I usually, as a SAHM, wear jeans, or I do try to look decently fashionable. I'm not a typical housewife or pastor's wife (read about some of that HERE), so I'm not usually dressed like one, either.

Then I figured out why I may not jump right into the easy-peasy go-to's...

Many mommies in yoga pants are always on the go! They have so many errands & kiddo things...then food to make, whether for the family, potluck or bake sale...
Then the extracurricular taxi time being put in...

Don't get me wrong...I have several of these things going, myself. But usually not all at once! Until...I put on my yoga pants!!

I'm not kidding! The days when I don't have time to put the effort into wiggling into jeans while dealing with buttons & zippers...I end up putting on the schedule-twising magnets!

When I wear my delightful yoga pants, that's when I have to make an extra trip to one school, then go to another school to get a sick kiddo, which means another trip or two to the store to get an extra OTC med that we didn't already have in the cabinet...then find out another kid is staying after school, so you gotta pick them up while trying to figure out if you can get home in time to get another kid off the bus...on top of squeezing in the errands you had hoped to take care of...but could only do 2 out of the 5 because of the twists & turns of the roller coaster day that you freed up to do by not dealing with the button & zipper of the jeans...cuz pants on.

Forget it! I haven't done yoga in too long. I think I'm giving up on yoga pants. Even though I found me a new workout (read HERE for the reminder), it certainly doesn't need the stress of the yoga pants!

I'll save them for when I need to really move (like for dance ministry) or when I just need them for pajama bottoms. No more everyday wearing of yoga pants for me! I can't deal the stress! matter how much my hubby likes seeing me in them...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

AM~Erica Can't Believe Another Year's Gone By

So anyway...

It's been 9 years since it happened. One of the longest & most frustrating days of my entire life. (last year's 2-part reminder HERE...grab some popcorn & settle in when you read or reread it)

However, at the very end of that long, Long, LONG day...and after a lot of waiting & working really brought Lil Guy into this world.

This dude is an amazing kiddo.

Though he's been thru a lot, in his own right (the reminder of that journey HERE), he's always been a trooper & has so much going for him!

Much of what I'm gonna say about him, in celebration of his day, may sound like a biased parent...but just note that we are realist parents, and we will tell it like it is...both good & bad of our kids.

Lil Guy is so smart. He has always had a high IQ, but it was always slightly dragged down by his struggle he went thru. Now that he's passed that, we need to test his IQ again. Because he is always at the top of his class...and sometimes even his his reading & math, for sure. I was helping at one of the parties, and another parent announced that she heard that Lil Guy had the highest reading score in the grade. That surprised me! Not that his reading score was high, but that it was announced by a parent! I think word is getting out...

He's also very liked. He's probably one of the most popular kids. We've always heard that many of the kids want to be at his table &/or want him on their team. He really is a team player. He knows where he will do well & he knows when others will do well. It's amazing to watch kids go out of their way to say hi to him.

He's super athletic. This kid is fast, he's quick, he sees a bigger picture on whatever field he's on. He's tall & agile, too. There's always things he can work on to get better, but he's usually one of the best on whatever team he's on...if not the best one. If he's not the best on his team, he can certainly hold his own with the best. And he's competitive...sometimes a little too competitive, but he's got drive, for sure.

Lil Guy has a lot of talent. He has his moments where he gets to prove his acting & speaking skills. This is a big deal!! He has an ear for music, too. He actually has rhythm, even though he likes to act really goofy when he dances around. And he can pick up on things musically fairly quickly.

This kid is a big goof! We never know how he's gonna enter or exit a room. He might make a weird face &/or add a weird voice &/or a weird walk. His imagination fascinates us often.

This boy is a quick-wit, too. We never know what might come out of his mouth. He always surprises us with his grown-up comebacks to situations...that he usually delivers with a dry humor & straight face. It's always entertaining to hear what his young brain can come up with to shut people down in a hurry...but with an end result of laughter. He's a hoot.

He is a game player. When I say "game player"...I mean of all sorts! From Go Fish, to several board games, so many of the electronic variety, too. And he is strategic & competitive (if I hadn't already mentioned that). He gets frustrated at his mistakes & does his best to learn from them...cuz he's in it to win it!

He can keep track of stats. Whether it's sports or some geeky/nerdical games &/or players, he can keep track of some of that stuff. It's amazing to hear him keep up pretty well in conversations surrounding these things.

Lil Guy is definitely our natural leader. He attempts to "organize" how things are or will look at home...but we need to remind him who's actually in charge here. However, he can be the captain of a team if he wanted to. He can see where others should be in position on whatever project or game or event he's a part of. It's amazing to watch. And...other kids, for sure, will usually listen to him.

He can keep track of schedules & things coming up. And, if he wants to do something in that schedule that he is keeping track of, he will be persistent about asking & talking about it. It's irritating for us...but I'm sure it will be good for him in the long run.

This guy has a big heart. He may not like everyone, but he will stick up for whoever he needs to & will feel bad if someone is left out of something. I think it has to do with the struggle he went thru & the type of kids he dealt with along the way. He usually sees the worth in those who others have issues seeing the worth in. It warms my heart when I witness him doing this or talking about it.

In this last year, we have seen his personality grow even more. The levels of smartness & goofiness has been amazing. He has come out of his shell so much. He is even much more willing to be in open conversation with others. In the past, he would feel out the situation & what he felt about a person before partaking in conversation with them. He's processing the situations much quicker now.

The potential for Lil Guy is near endless. I've referred to him as our Captain America before. I believe he may be a future CEO of some Fortune 500 company. I won't push him that direction...there's still a lot of life for him to live & experiences for him to go thru before he sets sail for a particular direction in his future. In the meantime, we will be proud of all of his ever-accumulating achievements.'s hard for this mama to grasp that the baby is in his last year of single-digit ages. So, next year...prepare for a tearful mommy post.

Until then...we won't rush it & will enjoy every moment of Lil Guy's next trip around the sun.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Sunday, January 19, 2014

AM~Erica Has Paths to Follow

So anyway...

I was shown a garden today. The garden had lush, green archways & a beautiful stone fountain in the middle of what appeared to be a courtyard. There were 5 archways, maybe 6...but definitely 5, in front of me that each led to a path...and all of the paths led to the courtyard with the fountain.

I see a light in each archway; none brighter than the other.

There is a chance some of these paths cross, but I cannot see down the paths due to the lushness of the archways. But I wonder which one I should take to get to the courtyard fountain. Because each path leads to the stone fountain.


As I have done well the rest of this week, which didn't start out so well (reminder HERE), I also felt I was wandering...wandering to something. I felt lost, yet led.

I haven't lost the feeling of being led somewhere.

Church was awesome this morning. The message had to do with questioning why we are Christians. Between the message & the music...and some other things that have, literally, come up thru the week...there are things working within me. I can feel it.

Several doors (actually about 5) seem to have revealed themselves to me. Now I need to pray on some kind of direction.

However, during the part of the message where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was brought up...and his iconic words of, "I have a dream..." I had a near-vision come to me. Seriously.

As I was worshipping & praying for direction...there was a garden revealed to me. The garden had lush, green archways & a beautiful stone fountain in the middle of what appeared to be a courtyard. There were 5 archways, maybe 6...but definitely 5, in front of me that each led to a path...yet all of the paths led to the courtyard with the fountain.

"Under a Blue Sky, In a Green Courtyard, Arch and Fountain Compose the Day" painting by Marcio Melo
(just found this painting after the vision when I was hoping to find a visual as best that I could...crazy...appears to be the vision from the courtyard fountain waiting for me)

I see a light in each archway; none brighter than the other.

There is a chance some of these paths cross, but I cannot see down the paths due to the lushness of the archways. But they all definitely lead to the stone fountain.

Not sure what this means. I'm guessing that all the things that have been laid in front of me will lead me to the sacred courtyard to the flowing fountain?

It was an incredibly holy moment. I cannot explain it any other way.

Now time to figure out these paths...gotta get to that courtyard. It might be the promised land.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, January 16, 2014

AM~Erica is Better

So anyway...

The last few days have been difficult in my depression struggle. (reminder case you want/need to read it)

Though I don't get the onsets very often, it's hard when it does hit. And I've had it last for weeks, but usually maybe a day or two.

After this 3-day span, I can finally say that I feel better. Started getting a few upswings yesterday...and I think it finally took hold. YEA!

I find that when I blog about my current or former struggles, it's actually very therapeutic. Not only does it record like a journal about my struggle at that point, but also how I feel, etc., and there's a couple of other benefits that go along with it:

1. It lets others who struggle know that they are not alone in their battle. It also allows me to gage if there's something in the air when others step forward saying they've been feeling the same things right at that moment, too. And it helps give them a reciprocal gage on their feelings, too.

B. It keeps this illness in the forefront & allows those who do not have the struggle to know what the rest of us can go thru. It's hard when we hear things from non-sufferers that just say it's in our heads, we just have issues, and what a sin it is...and many other harsh misconceptions. Gosh those are awful...and it continues to tear down those of us who do suffer.

I will tell you some of what has helped me:

Talking about it.
Believe it or not, just stepping out to kick a hole in the stigma has been part of my own personal therapy. I haven't been on meds for a long time. I'm so thankful for that. But I also feel, in my own battle, that I go thru this so infrequently that I really don't need the meds around. They would expire before I might need a third dose.

Helping others thru it.
Bizarrely, I am (usually) still in OK shape to help someone else going thru it at the time, or to just be an ear about their struggle. It's like forming a support system with those who know what you are going thru. It's a strange comfort to know you are not totally insane feeling the way you do.

A solid support system.
When I hit my lows, it is so hard on my family. My kids want me to carry on, but my hubby tries to understand. I do have family who don't suffer but try their best to help me out & try to pick me up. They try to give me my space, but try to involve me. But I realize it can drag them down, too. So, for families who have a loved one who suffers, just please know that (more than likely) you are not cause of an onset...unless you were a real jerk. That can be an onset. But a lot of times, it's underlying triggers that may seem to come out of no where. Please be supportive of them. It's hard enough as it is, but when you start voicing concern that you're the, can it ever drag down the sufferer more. Because they will spiral faster in the vicious cycle of sad thoughts that they have now made you feel bad. Pick a different time to discuss this. Just keep trying to get them to talk, if they want to. Don't push. Just love them. They love you, too...but it's difficult in an episode to appropriately let you know. Sometimes they think they are showing more than they actually are because they have clouded thoughts. Don't take it personally. That's important to help in the upswing moments.

Boy, do I ever pray.
And I attempt to pray a lot. At least how it goes in my comprehension during that time. But I always keep an open line with God. I hate closing any's my own thought that we should be in constant contact with Him. So, when I hit those lows...I try so hard to talk to God about finding that light...finding that wholeness that I lost somewhere. God doesn't leave me. So I pray it leads to guidance and comfort somewhere.

Now then...the support system is the most important for anyone suffering. The others (along with other smaller things like blogging, trying to laugh, and eating chocolate) are part of my own healing each time. Yours might be different, just try to have that support system of trusted family &/or trusted friends.

A friend shared this video. It's an interesting illustration of depression.
Please take the 4+ minutes to watch & help you understand.

I'd like to throw in here that I never look for sympathy when I put out my own struggle. I feel bad when I get sympathy. It's not being a drama queen or whatever. Remember what I said earlier in the post? It's therapeutic & I hope it's helpful information. Not just for me, but truly for others. Because I get such an outpouring of support from closeted, not-as-closeted, and out-in-the-open sufferers. And I mean from all different levels...

And I want to make it clear that this is an invisible illness. You don't necessarily know who suffers & what they've been thru. In the last year & a half, I have had several come to me privately about their struggle. And don't worry, my friends, you & your struggle levels are totally safe with me. I was in that place for so many years. And I pray for the lot of you often.

And, in that sense, I want to thank those of you who have offered up love & prayers for me. The additional support is amazing. That kind of positive energy is unbelievable.

I also want to thank a couple of friends who were frighteningly on with a couple of triggers I think I had this time. Ones that I had no inkling about me going thru until pointed out.

Now then...I'm not an illness hypochondriac. Just because someone brings it up doesn't mean I automatically have it. But it does peak interest.

And, just for my sake of journaling, and after talking to the greatest of my support system, my hubby, I think there was a combo of triggers that seemed to come out of nowhere, but were actually underlying.

It is not my place to put out there what happened to a particular family, but my hubby had to deal with a ministry situation that was very difficult. I had some ties to a situation like it, and I was discussing my experience with my hubby so he knew what he'd be heading into a little bit more. It involved some grieving. (For those who know of the situation, please respect the family by not discussing the situation. Thank you.) As it appeared, bringing up those memories again may have been part of the trigger. A dear friend, privately, brought up the possibility of this being a trigger...and I was blown away. I never even thought about it because my experience happened so long ago. My hubby wondered if it was a possible trigger, too. Wow.

Also, there was another dear friend who brought up the idea that it could be seasonal blues (aka - SAD). That threw me off since I've never been one to experience it. I know others who have, but this has never been one of my triggers. However, with freshly getting back into a regular routine, the hustle & bustle of the holidays had faded, and the twinkles go's almost like a let down, just being left with the cold & gray of winter with lifeless trees & brown grass. The color is gone...and it can zap you. Believe it or not, my hubby wondered if that was another facet of my underlying trigger.

Have I mentioned talking it out actually helps? It does. It can be weird if you're not used to it, but it does help. I hope it has helped any of you who have turned to me to feel a little better, at the very least.

Now then...deep down, I still have a feeling of wandering. I think I'm headed somewhere in my own journey. I feel led somewhere...but I don't where that is yet. I've had lots of interesting signs of things & just trying to piece it together.

And, for anyone who has these feelings of self-doubt, emptiness, sadness, my friend, Katy, says, "Feel all the feelings." If you need to just let someone know you are in that place, please track me down. If you haven't been diagnosed with depression, but think you might need to be...please go see a professional. Please. To help you get back on the right track for you.

Whew! It feels good to be back. It feels good to laugh. It feels good to...well...feel good.

And I hope this continues to give insight on what a struggle looks like & what you can do to help.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

AM~Erica May be in a Wilderness

So anyway...

As the new year is off & running (some of that is a literal resolution for some of you), there are those who are taking their resolutions & changes by the reins...and riding it out. Then there's those who are trying so hard to stick with the resolutions they made & are already chasing that shiny squirrel down a different path.

If you might remember, I talked about HERE, I am not a resolution maker. My brain & moods take me to all different places so often, I forget which path I started on. I tend to follow the shiny squirrel, that happens to be a dysfunctional hologram, as it appears, disappears & then reappears while it dances with a mobile disco ball. The dancing shiny hologram squirrel also does karaoke sometimes, too.

I know so many folks have made the resolutions to be more positive & such. I think a lot of people want to try to be that way (except the ones happy wallowing in their own self pity). I try really hard to be that way anyway. Try to give the encouraging word...but I freak out on the inside often. And I try to force the happy positivity; however, I do realize that there's times where it's obvious it's forced.

There is not much secret, anymore, that I suffer from depression. (you can read about some of the struggle HERE) And here we are at the beginning of this new year, and I've got that feeling rearing its ugly head.
I've gotten that distant feeling setting in...
...the emptiness...
...the sadness...

It's that feeling of being in a rut...and we just got back into the routine after the extended break we just got thru with (my thoughts on that HERE).

The biblical part of me starts setting in & I think about Jesus wandering in the wilderness while fasting for 40 days & 40 be led to the tempter (the devil) to be tested. (Matthew 4:1-11)

I feel like I'm stumbling into the wilderness. And I feel like I'm being led to something. I just have no idea what that is. But I'm in the stage of feeling lost...just wandering.
And today is the first time, in a long time, that I've had the overwhelming urge to cry about it. I get the down feelings, empty feelings, distant feelings...but that needing to open up & cry out of no where is a rarity in my case. But it's hard & heavy today.

Then I get thinking about that wandering & fasting for 40 days & 40 nights. That makes me realize it was the same amount of time that Noah & his family were sent afloat when God drowned out the world...for 40 days & 40 nights...with it raining...

...drowning the world...
...yeah...that feeling...

And I try to stay afloat. Because, biblically, the number 40 stands out as the number of years that Moses led the Israelis out of Egypt to the promised land. People...40 YEARS!! And Moses didn't even get to see the promised land!

Then...I get thinking about those I went to school with...and I cringe at each of them slowly-but-surely turning 40 years old. *AAACCCKKK*

Maybe that's part of my issue, too. It's my own biblical wilderness? Maybe?

I don't know.

Right now, it's hard to see that I might be strong enough to make it thru dealing with an evil temptation, to be able to stay afloat while the new shows itself & there's a rainbow (I am gnawing on Dove chocolate at this moment), and maybe I'll get to see whatever that promised land might be.

In the meantime...I'm wandering, drifting & trying to stay motivated to drudge forward. Because there's times like this when it's hard. This is one of those times when I'm not necessarily OK. And I also know that it's OK.

Don't get me wrong...I know I am blessed with so much around me & in my life where others struggle with not having the things I do. But there is a battle I fight. And right's a battle.

In the meantime, I'm going to find one of those trees in my wilderness to sit under & cry for a bit. Then I will continue my journey to see where I'm being led...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How AM~Erica Almost Got Her Groove Back

So anyway...

There is this new term out there for the weather-talkers began throwing around this week. And has had a frigid effect on much of the U.S. Many of us have experienced...THE POLAR VORTEX!!!


As the kiddos had been finishing up the 2-week(ish...depending on where you were at) holiday/winter break, the Polar Vortex decided to show up.

With snows that had come thru during the break that kept families super cozy with each other for a couple days at a time...we had been working around that crazy Christmas schedule & stuffs, too. Right?

And, after a couple of restless teenagers AND Lil Guy nearly bouncing off the walls, we'd gotten thru Christmas (it really was great, folks) & toasted in the new was TIME for those kids to go back. Getting back into a routine was quickly becoming necessary.

Don't get me wrong...I truly love my children! But I also got a glimpse of what it might be like if we were stranded in the middle of nowhere together. It might be entertaining at first...but I'd be worried of who might win that particular version of Family Survivor! *shudders* Not something I honestly want to think about...

So, as we were planning on getting ourselves together to begin a new week & get the kiddos off to school to begin the new semester & in a brand new numerical happened. The Polar Vortex. *sigh*

After the 1st few days of the break, it's not so bad. The change of pace is usually a welcome one. But when you start hitting day #6 of begging to play Go's time to start making an appointment with the men in the little white coats. As the kiddos count down to Christmas...the parents usually count down to when the kiddos head back to the regularly program...

|||| |||| ||||
the total number days the break should last

...then...the super chill of the Polar Vortex happened...and schools began to close. But if we had another day...that's fine. We understood. We couldn't believe that the high would maybe not even hit 0 degrees F, and we knew it was miserably colder in other areas. Dangerous! And we got the call. But we figured. But I hadn't had any, just, time! Sunday, church got cancelled, too, so we'd been inside since the Polar Vortex had hit on Friday night & into Saturday. We had cabin fever. As I was trying to figure out how to get a small break from my beloved children (I swear I love them dearly), I had hoped I could get out to pick up the Sunday paper for the sales ads & coupons (of course). Well, hubby & I bundled up, headed out to QuikTrip (by car) to get a paper & get drinks for the kiddos. It was 10 minutes, but it was nice. Because we were getting another day closed up inside.

|||| |||| |||| more day...

So we stayed bundled up, inside, on Day #15...I was trying to keep my cool, especially since hubby needed to go into work for just a little while. However, as the day went, and as hubby still had folks coming into his office & got caught up in a couple of meetings...I can only take being asked to play Go Fish & listening to the strains of teenage voices attempting to "softly" sing what is being piped into their ears & the TV blaring Skylanders. The kiddos arguing over video games & who is singing & who won't play nice with whom...a mama can only take so much. Only. So. Much. the day wore on...and after a few more games of Go Fish (which is a game that does not like me...and I really hate playing games anyway), I was ready for the temps to warm up the following day so my beautiful children could GO...BACK...TO...SCHOOL...already.

We did see that some of the rural areas were canceling school for the next day, but early that evening. With the high temps the next day getting into the 20's...the brief interlude of below 0 temps wouldn't hurt the kiddos too much. Amm-i-rite?

So, by the time we went to bed, we were pretty confident (Ok...maybe 75% confident) that I could get up early & shift these kids out! (Totally out of love...for all of our own sanity.) With that...we drifted off to sleep, planning the morning & breakfasts & everything...

However...when we got simultaneous phone calls at 4:36 AM...we just ignored the calls & said, in stereo, "Oh no..."
We shut off our alarms...since we could get a little extra sleep (except when we got a 2nd simultaneous call from the schools around 4:47), but we would just surprise the kids of the their continued extended break. *sigh* Apparently some of the busses weren't exactly working well, and they couldn't send them out to pick up

|||| |||| ||||  |
That extra marking for the extra day is what was nearly the breaking point
to bring in the men in the little white coats, mad laughing, and soft crying while needing
a straight jacket & padded cell (or at least a corner with bubble wrap)

On day #16 proved to be a near breaking point. First began hearing the sounds of a loud zipper down the hallway. After a couple of minutes, Lil Guy sauntered into the living room while dragging his backpack with him. It was about 8:30 (I was up & enjoying my coffee, thank you very much). He asked me why I didn't get him up. I explained there was no reason to. He looked confused & then lit up as he realized school had been called off...yet...again...

Around 9:15, I figured I should wake up Teen Boy...otherwise he gets really grumpy if he doesn't get his day started by 10:00. So, I woke him up letting him know the time. He semi-sat up, looked confused, paused...and then started laughing! I think he realized why I woke him up with daylight shining into his room.

Teen Girl could care less. She said she woke up around 6:30 & thought she was sleepy-hilucianting. But she figured out around 7:30, and I no one had checked on her...she figured out there was no school. But she still had to get around for play practice anyway. (Yea! She's in another play!) the day went on... were fighting, children complaining they are bored AS they are messing with their iPads/laptops, knowing you can only play certain games a certain amount of times before wanting to throw the games out the window, nearly eating us out of the house while complaining they are hungry, and we all could only deal with each other so much....NEEDED A BREAK!!!!!!!!

Luckily, the boys headed out for a little time in the snow, but we watched the weather carefully, all day, to make sure we were still on track for tolerable weather in our area to get these kids back.

Finally! We got the kids to bed, we got to bed, and I was thrilled to have my alarm go off at 5:30 AM. This meant we were on track to get a school-day routine going! WOO HOO!!

Remember the part in the song "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" where the lyrics go:

And moms & dads can't wait
for school to start again.

Found at
(click the pick to follow the link to the page)

I was ready to get my own days back. Errand s & things on my time...
And then we got word about a short-but-sweet graduation we might want to attend (that was on, then off, then on, then off...and apparently on again). OK, that's in the morning & have the day to do what else I need to do! I did get an errand done...and then I realized...'s the high school's short day! They get out an hour early on Wednesdays!!!


I was so close to getting the groove back in my "routine". But it may have to wait...
At least I have a new workout routine to be doing to help out. (read about it HERE)
(this choice was rocking back in forth in my padded corner while in fetal position)

And as for the others who have been terribly affected by the Polar Vortex...I have no words. I would send straight jackets in bubble wrap with the men in the little white coats for you...but I think they would all freeze on the way to you.

Stay safe & warm, my friends...and may we all get our groove back...soon...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica


P.S.  This post took me pretty much all day to write. Why? Timing of listed above, plus Lil Guy came home and automatically started on wanting to do a scavenger hunt & play Go Fish...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

AM~Erica Has a Lazy New Year Workout Plan

So anyway...

It's another brand new year!


And as a new year begins...we are hearing about all the resolutions people are wanting to make.


Seriously. It's crazy to hear about all of them. I really question all of these resolutions. If you keep 'em...great. But there's so many people who put these out there like a promise ready & beckoning to be broken.

If you couldn't tell, I'm so not a resolution-type person. I've always got goals & dreams. I just don't look at January 1st as being the beginning of "my year." You know what I mean?

I'm always striving to do things, failing to do things, and end up stumbling upon other things that I had no clue I might have any interest in. Every day should give us a want to be something better...someone better; a new beginning to discover something new. Amm-i-rite?

One of the resolutions I smile & nod at folks who made it is the one about starting their healthier lifestyle: better eating, no sugar, watching calories, working know who you are. The ones who gobble up all the junk in the last week of December because January 1st will be all new. Right?

Not me! I love food. I even started making food. Heck...I started a blog about my food! (check it out HERE) I just try not to gorge on everything. I believe in moderation. Don't go back for seconds. Know what I mean? I work in healthier stuff, but I won't deprive myself because of a "diet".

Now when it comes to the exercise thing...ummm...I'm not so great at that. I used to dance. A lot. For around 20 years of my life, I danced pretty least for about 15 of those years. I carried on teaching it, and it kept me pretty fit. Now I do it so infrequently, it's really sad. It's my ministry, but it has been a slow upstart where I'm at right now. I did yoga for a while, too. I miss doing it. But it's sometimes difficult to do on my own, and...the dog ate my yoga mat. Which is a true story. Our dog actually ate my yoga mat.

I'm definitely not one to pick up & start running...

I have walked off & on. What happens is that I start walking for about 3-4 weeks, and then I get really ill...and I have issues getting motivated to start back up. But I believe I have found something that just might work. It. Just. Might...

When it comes to working out, I'm such a weenie! I tried gym stuff, but hated it. I don't even want to discuss the 30-ish minutes I spent with a personal trainer that left me near-lifeless & ready to vomit in the lobby's floor. I spent more energy dodging "Adam" than actually working out. Sad, but true.

I can deal with walking at my own pace. I can deal with yoga. Of course I love to dance. But there is something so easy, so's so green. At least I think...

Teen Boy randomly brought up (as he often approaches smarticle-type subject things) about working out somehow. And all I know is that is began talking about fidgeting. He began going into how fidgeting was a true calorie burner, keeps muscles moving, keeps a heart rate up due to the constant movement, and...wait for it...uses less energy! (See? A green workout!)

So...I found a  couple of articles, and seemed entertained & taken with this one right HERE.

OMGoodness! This is it! The "workout" for me! As a matter of fact, I'm working out right now! You can do it while multitasking! And, if you are annoyed by the person by you clicking their pen, tapping their fingers, or even shaking their foot...join them instead! Make it an impromptu group session! Yeah!

So...who's in? In a lazy workout...let's fidget our way to fitness, yo! Plus you can dance or run or walk or lift or whatever if you wanna.

C'mon! Do it with me!

Wiggle that foot & tap those fingers...

Click that pen & bob that head...

Holding up? You should be. Breaking a sweat? You're doing it wrong.

And, if this is the case...then...

"Me? Work out? You betcha!"

Hey! I'm feeling fitter already! Pass me that Reece's!

(Does this mean Teen Boy's my trainer? Hmmmm...)

Viva la Resolution! (or whatever...)

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica