Today I spent my morning reading articles on worry and anxiety.  I stumbled upon encouraging thoughts that lead me down the path to some truths I needed to hear.

The thing is, I have been dealing with depression again (off and on).  This move has been hard on me and my husband's new job has been very demanding.  I have made some good progress at acknowledging how I was feeling and healthy habits I have learned to cope with them but even still I couldn't completely shake the gloom.

For the past few months I have been blaming this move and job change for my feelings of sadness.  Yet after some reading this morning I realized that though this move has controlled some of my happiness, it is actually a lot of ongoing pressures that I have had in my life for years that is eating away at me.

I am extra sensitive right now.  So every little thing that hurts my feelings, makes me anxious, or questions an aspect of myself seems to be intensified.  I feel so weak in my abilities, question my every word, and have lost so much of the confidence I once had.  I cave into weaknesses - isolating myself so I don't get hurt, eating so I don't have to feel my feelings, and zoning out instead of choosing to find the strength to be productive. 

I have about twenty drafts of blog posts that I just can't get myself to publish.  I sit in front of my computer wanting to find my voice, to have a purpose, and to articulate my thoughts in a clear and hopefully beneficial way. 

But instead I just save it for later.  Walking away.  Feeling like I wasted my time and that I have nothing to offer. 

After my little bit of "research" this morning, I have a feeling that a lot of my insecurities, fears, and anxieties are heightened when I spend too much time on social media.  So I will be doing a little digital detox to figure out a better balance.

I hope to throw it back to some old but good habits I used to have: reading books, journaling, working on small creative projects that I can take places with me, and hopefully building back the confidence I had to actually publish some of those blog posts I write. 

My heart and mind need a space to breathe.  So this is a step for me in the right direction.

I crave a smaller community - but a more intimate one.  And I hope to find that through real and authentic relationships.

Other Resources on Depression, Anxiety, and Social Media:

What I'm Reminding Myself This Morning by Allison Fallon
Depression, Creativity and the Dangers of Being Constantly Plugged In by Allison Fallon
How to Overcome Fear, Anxiety and Worry, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
The Cause and Cure for Worry by Joyce Meyer

Favorite Board Books | Around the House

Our little guy has started to show more interest in books and it has been so much fun to read with him.  We have a few favorites to read that are also super cute and look great around the house.  Win win for mom and baby!

Like the toys, we have books scattered around the house in baskets or bins in each room.  I like to have access to a few things at all times.  Plus varying what we play with in each room seems to keep our son's interest.  Every few weeks I gather the toys and switch them up in each room.

We have quite a few books and only read certain ones at this point so they usually stay in the same place.  I have incorporated the books into our shelf decor both in our living room and our son's bedroom.  The ones that fit in with my neutral with hints of blue color palette get corralled in our living room space.  These wire baskets are also perfect for being able to see what is in each basket while still looking stylish (please excuse my TJ-Maxx price tag still on one!).  I use the white bins and wicker baskets for hiding not as pretty toys.

I don't love having toys and books spread out all over the place.  But if I am going to have to look at it all day, they might as well be cute.  I am a sucker for anything bright and cheerful.  They add a sweet pop of color to our fairly neutral house and nursery.

So here is a list of some of our favorite board books:

Travel Books:
I love picking up children's books as a souvenir when we travel.  The simple text and pictures take me back to our favorite places.

Paris: A Book of Shapes (Hello, World)
All Aboard! Paris: A French Primer 
All Aboard! California: A Landscape Primer
All Aboard! New York City: A City Primer
New York: A Book of Colors (Hello, World)
San Francisco: A Book of Numbers (Hello, World)
London: A Book of Opposites (Hello, World)

Interactive Board Books:
We don't have a ton of these but the few we do enjoy are great for helping him interact with reading.

Peekaboo! A Fun Mirror Game (couldn't find a link to this one)
Baby Touch and Feel: Farm
Baby Touch and Feel: Tractor

Usborne Books:
Such beautiful, well made, and a variety of age appropriate books.  Many of these are my son's favorites.

123 Counting
Baby's Very First Black and White Library
Colors (Very First Words)
Nursery Rhymes (Very First)
On the Farm
Very First ABC

Usborne books can be ordered through an independent consultant.  If you do not know of one, I highly recommend my sister in law.  She is a mom and teacher and is happy to help you find the right books for any age group.

Katie Vogt with Usborne Books & More
Shopping Site:
Facebook: The Book Nook

Books with meaning:
Sweet books that display love or faith for little ones.

My Dad is the Best Playground
God Knows All About Me
Baby's First Bible
You Are My Cupcake

Books on my wish list:

Hello, World! Solar System
All Aboard! Pacific Northwest: A Recreation Primer
All Aboard! Washington D.C.: A Capitol Primer
In The Beginning
Hello, Animals!

// Do you have any favorite board books?  I would love to hear which ones!

Listening To Dreams

I was recently thinking about dreams and how they are portrayed in reality.  The thought made me realize that where we are living out in Virginia has actually fulfilled quite a few dreams that I have had for my life:

A wrap around porch.

A beautiful farmhouse in the country.

A small town where children get picked up on their street by the school bus.

Time away from it all where we can just focus on our little family.

A child of my own.

A caring husband.

And yet in reality there have been times where I have felt the opposite:

Isolation.  Loneliness.  Stress.  Anxiety.  Busyness.

And I had to stop myself and remember that many of my dreams that I have had for years are being lived out right now.  They just aren't necessarily how I imagined it would be.

And so it got me thinking about dreams.  Why we have them and why they are important.

I realized that without any dreams this whole scenario of moving could be really sad and disappointing.  But it has been in realizing and acknowledging that some of my dreams are unfolding that help make this transition bearable...and maybe even joyful.

I feel like too often we are afraid to dream.  As if we are fearful that if we put it out there, we will only be disappointed if it doesn't happen.

A couple of years ago my husband and I wrote out some of our dreams.  No limits.  But they were realistic in the sense that they were things we truly wanted - like taking a trip to Paris versus winning the lottery.  We have some control over the opportunity to travel versus the luck of winning a bunch of money.

And while what we wrote on that list is not exact, I see our current life being portrayed in some of those things that we had hoped for.  It just has come packaged differently that we probably hoped or imagined.

So it got me thinking - maybe our dreams are put on our hearts for a reason.  Maybe God gave me these dreams as a gift.  He knew that this move would be hard but these gifts of dreams fulfilled were almost like a lifeline.  Something to get me through the day.  Something to find joy in the transition.

And I wondered how much harder things might have been if I didn't allow myself to dream a little.  Curious of the disservice we are doing to ourselves by being overwhelmed by our circumstances when we have small little nuggets of hope and joy right in front of us.

So I am going to keep on dreaming.  Not because I want it all.  But because I want to be true to my heart's desires.  I want to acknowledge how I am wired, what brings me happiness, and how I was designed to live.  

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