Opening the Curtains and Battling Depression

I’ve shared with you that I’m unemployed. That has left me with a lot of free time on my hands. For some of you, that might sound thrilling. You could probably come up with a list of dozens, if not hundreds, of things you would like to do around your home. I have a list like that. I’ve accomplished some of it, but certainly not all of it.

Often, I find myself sleeping late, sometimes until the middle of the day, because it makes the day go by faster. I watch the minutes tick away, waiting for Joseph to come home so I’m not alone anymore.
Loneliness is hard for me. It’s one of my biggest struggles being unemployed.
One of my other struggles is a lack of desire to do anything. I’ve wondered if it just boiled down to laziness, but I don’t think it does. Oh, sure, some days I’m just being lazy. Others, I just don’t want to do anything, even things I enjoy doing. I just want to stay in my pajamas, not put my contacts in, leave the curtains closed and the lamps off, and lie on the couch.
I recognize that as a symptom of depression, because I’ve been depressed before.
It seems different this time. It comes in spurts. Sometimes, it sneaks up on me in the middle of a happy moment. I’ll have a few good days, and then I’ll have the days where I want to keep the house dark and keep to myself.
I don’t think I’m depressed because I’m unemployed. I think the unemployment triggered the depression. There’s a difference.
I think if I were depressed because of the unemployment, I would have some sort of longing for my old job or for a new one.
Instead, I think the loneliness, a feeling of a lack of purpose, a feeling that I no longer contribute to our family, those things triggered my depression.
I don’t want you to feel scared for me. I assure you I am not depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts or anything of the like. If anything, I would consider this a mild case of depression, because I can usually pull myself out of it (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course, because without Him, the curtains stay closed).
I’m trying to recognize when I’m feeling depressed and counteract it. When I notice the living room is looking dark and gloomy, I make myself open the curtains. When I look at the clock and it’s almost 2:30 in the afternoon and I’m still in my pajamas (oops … like now!), I make myself get up and put on real clothes. I make myself put my contacts in, brush my teeth, brush my hair … you know, typical good hygiene.
One of the most important things I’m doing is striving to spend time with the Lord in the mornings. I notice a difference in my days when I do. I’m more apt to be joyful and to be productive around the house. When I connect with the Lord, I’m reminded that I have many reasons to be grateful and filled with joy. I’m reminded that He is with me always, even when the curtains are closed.
Also, when I connect with the Lord in the mornings, I’m more apt to connect with Him throughout the day. When I start my day talking to Him, I talk to Him throughout the day. When I bring others to Him in prayer in the morning, I find myself thinking of them throughout the day, and I continue lifting them up in prayer.
I also recognize the spiritual warfare connected with this depression. I’ve been seeking to trust the Lord and follow His leadership in this new phase of my life. I know the enemy doesn’t like that. He is going to do everything he can to try to distract me and keep me from staying connected to the Lord. So I must suit up:
“10Finally,<sup value='(M)’> be strong in the Lord and in<sup value='(N)’> the strength of his might. 11<sup value='(O)’> Put on<sup value='(P)’> the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against<sup value='(Q)’> the schemes of the devil. 12For<sup value='(R)’> we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against<sup value='(S)’> the rulers, against the authorities, against<sup value='(T)’> the cosmic powers over<sup value='(U)’> this present darkness, against<sup value='(V)’> the spiritual forces of evil<sup value='(W)’> in the heavenly places. 13Therefore<sup value='(X)’> take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in<sup value='(Y)’>the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore,<sup value='(Z)’> having fastened on the belt of truth, and<sup value='(AA)’> having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and,<sup value='(AB)’> as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up<sup value='(AC)’> the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all<sup value='(AD)’> the flaming darts of<sup value='(AE)’> the evil one;17and take<sup value='(AF)’> the helmet of salvation, and<sup value='(AG)’> the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,18praying<sup value='(AH)’> at all times<sup value='(AI)’> in the Spirit,<sup value='(AJ)’> with all prayer and supplication. To that end<sup value='(AK)’> keep alert with all perseverance, making<sup value='(AL)’> supplication for all the saints, 19and<sup value='(AM)’> also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth<sup value='(AN)’> boldly to proclaim<sup value='(AO)’> the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I<sup value='(AP)’> am an ambassador<sup value='(AQ)’> in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:10-20, courtesy of biblegateway.com)

Unemployed

I’m unemployed. I’ve been unemployed since March 1, 2011. Being unemployed is strange for me. Strange because I don’t know what to do next.

Joseph and I started a business with Premier Designs about a year ago. While it was profitable for us, and we think Premier Designs is a great company, we sensed the Lord directing us not to continue our business. Initially, I thought our business with Premier would replace the income I made at my last job. With that thought in mind, I wasn’t concerned about losing my corporate job. Without it, I grew a little concerned.
Joseph and I have a photography business. We really enjoy photography, and we’d love to see our business grow. We just have to be realistic that sometimes it can take a while for a business such as photography (particularly in a pretty saturated area) to grow. The Lord has really used photography to help us make ends meet, and we’re so grateful. It just isn’t a full time job for me.
I was just about to blog about the fact that school hasn’t worked out for me. I attempted to register for classes at Greenville Technical College in the spring, but all of the classes I needed were full. The same thing happened in the summer. As I started to type, I was prompted to check GTC’s website to see what courses were available. The two classes I needed to begin my coursework with were both open, so I’m registered for them! Praise God!
I feel hopeful now. We’ve been praying for direction. Course availability was direction we needed.
That still doesn’t answer the unemployment issue, but at least it will occupy a lot of my time and eventually help us in our photography business (I think I forgot to mention my goal is to take photography courses at GTC).
Our prayer as far as employment is pretty simple right now. If God wants me to pursue a job, we’re asking Him to drop it in our laps. That may seem like we’re being lazy and not doing the good old fashioned hard work of looking for a job. Please trust that it’s not. We don’t know what we want me to do. I don’t want another corporate job like I had before where I was unhappy. I think I would enjoy a job in a church or other non-profit organization, but I don’t know what exactly I would like to do. God knows me better than I know myself, and He knows our needs better than we know them. We’re trusting that if He wants me to work, He’ll prepare just the right job for me and make it obvious that’s what we should pursue. I would love it if you would join us in that prayer.
I know this post was a little dry, but I thought it would be a good way to answer the “what next” questions I receive on a regular basis about what I’m doing now that I’m unemployed. Thanks for reading!

Crocheting Newborn Photography Props

I’ve been unemployed from my full-time job since March 1, 2011. I’ve been praying about and pondering how I could earn a little extra income from home. I know how to crochet, so the idea of crocheting photography props seemed like a good place to start. We likely will not get rich from crocheted photography props, but, as long as they sell, I think I can make a little money for us. Also, it will give me another creative outlet while I’m at home alone a lot.
I’m so grateful that there are people in the blogosphere who are willing to share their knowledge and create tutorials.
I found a tutorial here for the newborn nesting bowl. It was really easy to follow, and I’m pleased with the final product. I didn’t end up with as many rows as the pattern said there would be, but I think a newborn would fit in the nesting bowl if my Cabbage Patch doll does. It’s also fairly stretchy.

Crochet Geek is probably my favorite reference blog now. She provides excellent written and video tutorials. I’ve learned a lot just in a couple of days. I found the pattern I used for this fuzzy newborn hat on her site.

I would really appreciate your prayers as I take a few steps on this journey over the next several days. I purchased enough yarn to make seven newborn nesting bowls. My goal is to post them on Faceboook as I complete them and try to sell them for $20 each. They go for more than that on Etsy, so I think $20 is a good place to start. I’m hoping to get them in the hands of some of my photographer friends who could help me spread the word. We’ll see how it goes!

Mail Holder Makeover – Silhouette SD

This is a project I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I was putting it off until my craft room was cleaned up. Crafting is much easier when I can actually sit at my work space. :O)
I purchased this mail holder from Goodwill for $3. It still had the Target price sticker on it where it had been clearanced, so I don’t think it had been used (the price sticker was on the front of the mail holder). My goal was to clean it up (it had been sitting around for a long time …), spray paint it black, and use my Silhouette to create “IN” and “OUT” labels for it. Simple.
The more I thought about it, simple “IN” and “OUT” labels didn’t seem to have enough pizzazz for me. I didn’t want anything flashy, but I wanted more than just “IN” and “OUT”. In hindsight, the simplicity of the “IN” and “OUT” would have saved me a lot of time this afternoon, but I’m still glad I chose to do something different. :O)

I mentioned that I wanted to clean it up first. There were three Goodwill price stickers (Have you noticed that Goodwill always puts a lot of price stickers on their items? I suppose they want to prevent price switching.), a stack of Target price stickers, and the original bar code sticker on it. Some of the stickers came off easily, but some were tricky. I purchased this bottle of un-du adhesive remover several years ago. It’s was marketed for scrapbooking, but it comes in handy for removing stickers. It almost always works, and this time was no disappointment.

This is the final product. The top bin is for mail we receive, and the bottom bin is for mail going out. Isn’t that so much cuter than just “IN” and “OUT”?

If you ever come to our house, please promise me you won’t look at the paint job. I think I should have sanded the mail holder first. The finish on it reminded me of the white shelving units that can be purchased in boxes and assembled. I tried painting one of those, and I could scrape the paint off with my fingernail. This project didn’t turn out that severe, but it has a very uneven finish, even after multiple coats of spray paint. From a distance, it still looks nice. That’s all that matters, right? Projects that look good from a distance = successful projects, right? Right?
I hung the mail holder on our entry wall that is by our front door. We don’t have a mud room, but this works for us. I need to add a small picture above the mail holder. Maybe I could just add an empty frame to match the other two empty picture frames that are hanging on the wall. We’ve only had the house a year and a half. I still need more time to decide on which pictures will go in those frames. Maybe I’ll decide before the 5 year mark … maybe … I make no promises.

Thanks for reading! It makes me feel special. :O)
I thought I would attempt to link to Tatertots and Jello’s weekend wrap-up party. Let’s see how it goes.

Labels for My Photo Boxes – Silhouette SD Project

As you may already know, I’ve been revamping our croffice (craft room + office). It will function mostly as a craft room, but we couldn’t do without an office completely. One of my top goals for the space was that it be very organized – EVERYTHING has a place, and EVERYTHING in its place. One of the ways that is being accomplished is the use of photo boxes on two bookshelves (the bookshelves were purchased a few years ago from Walmart, and the photo boxes were purchased on sale at Michael’s).
My original plan was to use the built-in “label holders” the boxes already had. As I filled the boxes, I put Post-it Notes on them to identify the contents. Then I was going to make the labels all at once at the end. The other day, I was looking for something, and I had a difficult time reading the Post-It Notes, particularly for the boxes on the lower shelves. The built-in labels would have been even smaller. My goal was efficiency, not wasting time crawling on the floor trying to read labels!
So the Holy Spirit gave me a great idea (He gets the credit for anything good that comes out of me!): use my Silhouette SD to make larger labels on the backs of the boxes. Such a good idea!
This is a shot of the boxes in their Post-it Notes state:

I used the Silhouette Studio software to make my labels. It was a simple as using any word processing software. Arial Black is the font I chose. Isn’t it funny that out of ALL the fonts I could have used, Arial Black won out? Ease of reading wins out every time with me. This is a screen shot from Silhouette Studio:

Once I ran the vinyl through the Silhouette, I removed the excess vinyl. The paper was curling, so I used painters’ tape to hold it down.

The next step was adding the transfer paper. I had a few issues with the transfer paper, but I still recommend using it for anything involving this much text. Any straight lines I managed to maintain were the result of the Holy Spirit and transfer paper. After a little trial and error, I discovered an Exacto knife was the easiest way to separate the roll of transfer paper that you see to the right in the photo below. I scored the paper and then tore it off in a relatively straight line.

I used a paper trimmer to help with straight lines. I also use a paper trimmer when I’m cutting my vinyl projects off the roll. That has worked much better than scissors. It gives me a much cleaner edge for my next project.

This is the side of the box where you would expect the label to be:

I chose to label the boxes on the “back”. That gave me a larger surface area, and I didn’t have the empty built-in label holders looking at me longingly when I was finished. This is a shot of the label lined up and ready to be adhered to the box. The masking tape looking material is the transfer paper. I have a scraper that I bought from the Silhouette company, but it’s MIA. My sea pass from our recent cruise worked great, as would any credit card, bonus card, library card … you get the picture. The scraper of your choice is used to smooth everything out and ensure there are no bubbles. It also affixes the vinyl to the transfer paper and ultimately to the final product.

This little guy came in handy more than I thought it would. It was perfect for getting out the little doo-dads in the “closed” letters (i.e. “e’s” and “p’s”). It also reminded me of my fabulous dentist. Doesn’t it look like the scraper tools dentists use?

I am so pleased with the final product! They are so easy to read, and they look crisp and clean. Although, I just realized I didn’t line my boxes up straight enough. I’m trying not to be a perfectionist about that. I may need help from the Holy Spirit on that one!

This is a slightly closer look at them. Just in case you were wondering, I opted to left justify the text on the boxes rather than center it so that I wouldn’t be up until the wee hours of the morning with a ruler making sure the text was perfectly centered. Left justified was much easier.

What do you think? I think I love it! :O)

Cow Appreciation Day

Friday, July 8, 2011 was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a. Anyone who went to Chick-fil-a dressed as a cow received a free meal. Fortunately for us, Chick-fil-a was generous with what they considered a cow costume. Ours consisted of dressing in black and taping white paper spots onto our shirts. I put my hair in pigtails, and Joseph made bull horns out of paper and one of my headbands. We totally rocked the cow-look. haha! Enjoy a few photos from our fun evening!

Upcycled Bulletin Board and Croffice Sneak Peek

When I was a child, my mom gave me a bulletin board that was hers when she was growing up. I used it for years. I even covered it with fabric and ribbon to make one of those ribbon memory boards when I was in college. A couple of months ago, we went through several boxes of my old things that were in storage at my grandmother’s house, and I found the bulletin board. It still had the fabric and ribbons on it, but those were easy to remove. I decided I’d like to incorporate it into my craft room update, but I wanted to frame it to downplay some of the age on it. Easy peasy.
Mama’s bulletin board prior to the upgrade:

I found a frame on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $8.84. It was a tad more than I wanted to spend on it (I attempted finding a frame at a thrift store), but I really liked it. It’s white with just a touch of a reddish-pink color around the raised edges. It didn’t have a back to it, which was perfect.

This is a bad picture of the edge of the bulletin board. It had a ribbon-y trim around it that was showing some age. That was part of the reason I wanted to frame it.

This is a shot of the back of the bulletin board. Again, you can see the age it was showing. It already had hardware on the back of it for hanging, so that meant I didn’t have to add a hanging mechanism to the frame. Yay!

I used my high temp glue gun and attached the frame to the bulletin board. There was a small ledge on the inside of the frame, so it really was easy.

This is a picture of the framed bulletin board:

Joseph was super fab and said he would hang the bulletin board and a few other things on the wall above one of the desks in the croffice (craft room + office = croffice). He said, “I think there’s a stud right here.” I said, “Yep. *wink*” haha!

I purchased this bulletin board from Goodwill for $3.00. It’s in pretty good condition. Not bad!




This is the wall where “we” hung everything above the desk. This is your sneak peek of the croffice update. I have some finishing details left to do, and then I’ll post the reveal. :O)