Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Clothed with joy

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. (Psalm 30:11)

Well...I'm not exactly that happy, but I am - for the moment at least - feeling much better than I sounded on my last post. I hope this picture will make you smile and make you happy too.

Yesterday and today I was truly able to focus and work on my book. It feels good to be accomplishing something on it. And if I keep this up, I'll be able to focus on Christmas, without any sense of guilt for abandoning my book for a while. In the past, I've always found that the best way to defeat stress is not by sitting around, but by just carrying on with the work at hand. Sitting around makes me more stressed because I wallow in my worries, not getting anywhere. When I do something, I begin to feel in control again. It's good to feel in control.

I'm grateful for all of you who commented. Thank you to both Amateur Dancer and Bipolar Girl for pointing out that it's probably memories of what happened last year that made me worry about it happening again. And I know that what Dream Writer says is absolutely true, I need to take one day, one moment at a time. I know that, once I get going on the preparations, I'll be ok. I DO love the carols. And I DO love to bake. And I DO love getting together with friends.

This year we're going to try limiting our gift giving a lot more. We'll spend the money we would normally spend and buy World Vision gifts for families in third world countries. Perhaps buy a couple of hens and rooster for my mother; and maybe a goat for my son and his wife. I'd feel a lot better about that than wrapping dozens of gifts that we don't really need. The materialism of Christmas truly sickens me.

I'm looking forward once more to our Living Room meeting on Friday. When I began this group I never realized how much I would look forward to meetings. I love preparing the devotionals and planning topics for discussion. That group really DOES give me joy - a quiet joy - a grateful joy. It's a mystery how a group where people talk about their problems and where Kleenex has to be passed around, can make me feel that way. It's good to know that I'm providing a place where people can open up and be real. I'm thankful to God for having given me this work to do.

So, I send you all a big smile and hope that you're smiling back.

With love - marja


Anonymous said...

That did make my heart smile. I had a question though. What is the Living Room chat? Get back to me on that. And thanks for the little notes on my blog- they make my heart smile too.

marja said...

Boy, you're quick. I just finished editing this post - again - when your comment came in. Living Room is the name I give to a faith-based support group I've started at my church. I also helped another church start one. We placed announcements in the local papers, so we get people from all over - those with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders. It's self-support for people who want to be able to feel free to talk about their faith in God and how they find comfort in that(something that's not easy to do in secular groups). It's in the Vancouver area.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marja,

That made my heart smile too! What a fabulous photo you took and a paired it with the perfect scripture.

One thought, that crossed my mind, while reading your post....I am learning that there is a joy in being flexible with the years/holiday traditions. And, maybe this year, you will not be up for all the stuff you usually do.

That is OK too!!


I hear you sigh and relax when you talk about the Living Room and the intimate atmosphere. Maybe, if you can, put Christmas on hold....could everyone go away for the holidays this year? a family trip? (that is not too expensive?) Something to take the pressure off of YOU being the HOSTESS?

It sounds like your body is kicking and screaming "i want rest" "i want the intimacy but not all the pomp and circumstance"

So....what can you and hubby do to facilitate that?

Love to you! And, thanks for the smile.

Dance, Marja, just shrug your shoulders and sway and let your body tell you how it wants to relax...


bipolar_girl said...

I looove the picture,Marja!It made my heart not only smile but danced, too.:) You are such a mood elevator, maybe some 450 mg of lithium for me:) Glad you're in a good mood and planning for Christmas. Don't worry. Everything is falling into its right place in God's time. Take care always and be well!

Anonymous said...

wow how awesome brings things back into focus a bit what you wrote many thanks

Bleeding Heart said...

You are a wonderful photographer!! Great picture!

marja said...

Thank you everyone for your comments. It's so good to get your support and encouragement.

amateur dancer: I know you really care and I appreciate that and your ideas. But my husband and I would never go off on a holiday at Christmas. It would mean leaving our mothers alone at a time when they should be least alone. We're having them over for a few days to get them away from the homes they live in.

bipolar girl: That picture elevates my mood too. My mood shifted upwards just by putting that post together. I think I'll leave it up for a few days.

jumpinginpuddles: Yes, it's amazing how you can just tweak your thinking and attitude a bit and everything begins to look better - sharper - more in control.

dream writer: Thank you for the compliment. I DO love photographing children. Wish I could do a lot more. I'll post more in the near future. Such a fun thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marja,

I hope you had a really nice Thanksgiving.

My parents are up, visiting, and we joined some friends for FOOOOD!

It was funny, throughout the day, my thoughts drifted to my friends, wondering how everyone's day was going...I was thinking of life-long friends...and I was also thinking of you, Sarah, Chalexa, Dream Writer, Misha...the whole crew, the bipolar blogger family

I am sorry, Marja, if I offended you re: the thought of taking a vacation over Christmas, I was thinking "family holiday"....

I was brainstorming for a way that your family could be together, without you feeling the pressure to host the big events.....for some reason, it when you write, it sounds like you are excited about the experience of the holiday with everyone, but like you are dreading the work that goes into it, like you are feeling tired this year.

But, I am not with you so...and a lot can get misinterpretted over emails...so, I apologize if I wrote something that came off in a way that I did not intend it to.

Take care, and enjoy this day, Marja.

Thanks again for the adorable picture! I wish my photography skills were that good.....

marja said...

Dear Amateur Dancer: I want you to know that you didn't offend me at all. I never feel offended when someone talks to me from a caring heart.

I AM now starting to prepare for Christmas. I've decided to set my book project aside for a while - at least most of it. I'll only do some research work, but from a relaxed state of mind. So I feel somewhat freed up to delve into my holiday work with a new attitude. I DO like all the stuff that goes with it: the baking, gift shopping, and entertaining. But I'll take lots of time off to relax in between. Guess I'm just scared that what happened to me the last couple of years will recur. - Will have lots of praying that God will keep me on an even keel.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marja,

I just got your kind comment on my blog. Thank you...I am feeling a bit blue, and replied over there...
to that topic.

You sound good. I am such a "pleaser" by nature (ugh). So, I appreciate your words of reassurance that i did not offend you.

I will keep you in my prayers, that you won't fall back into the past events. And, when I say I will pray for you, I will.

I don't know why this is going through my mind, but, I am thinking about what a witness you for our Lord and for the Mental Illness community.

I am just envisioning that freefall exercise that we did at camp when we were teenagers.

It was an exercise in Trust.

We would have to fall backwards, eyes closed, and trust that someone would catch us...and, THAT WAS THEIR JOB--to CATCH US WHEN WE FELL.

I am thinking of the verse in the Bible, to Trust and obey...and I am just imagining, that freefall exercise, where You take a breath and relax, freefall....KNOWING HE IS THERE, WILL CATCH YOU if you fall...because He has plans for you, in all of this.

anyway, I promise, i am not manic..

that image is just in my mind when I think of you...relaxing in His arms...and how He WILL carry you through the Holidays.

And we will all be here, to help you...It will all be OK....

One day at a time.

be blessed,

marja said...

That freefall exercise, is exactly what it was like to me when I first decided to trust God. I had for so long rejected Him outright. It was truly like letting myself fall into His arms. I found out they were loving arms.

You are a dear, Jessica. Thank you so much for your encouragement. As your message came in, I was just in the process of writing a post, that one of Misha's posts put in my heart. I feel very strong today.

Wish you could be one of the members of my Living Room group. The meeting yesterday was SO good. I love the work.

Thank you ever so much for your prayers. I pray for you as well.