Holding On

“Holding on,

Why is everything so heavy?” – Linkin Park, “Heavy”

I read back through my posts lately and thought why is everything so heavy? This is where I come to wrestle with my demons and reconcile the past with the present. Sometimes it’s heavy stuff but I have entire weeks and months of uneventful moments that would bore you to tears to read about. It’s time to lighten things up a bit.

I quit my job!

One of my jobs, at least. I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I have a business in an industry that can be fickle and turbulent. My Achilles heel is not feeling safe financially so I thought that if I went to work outside the industry, I’d help create stability for my family during the down times. I found an amazing job that was everything I prayed for and more.

Until it wasn’t. I hate when that happens because I really, really like to get things right the first time. You would think that after all these years of NEVER getting anything right the first time that I’d be used to it, but no. I still strive for things to work out in a way that perfectly matches my expectations.

Expectations are like watching a tree’s leaves fall and trying to predict where each and every one is going to land. That’s really good. I’m going to quote myself.

“Expectations are like watching a tree’s leaves fall and trying to predict where each and every one is going to land.” – me

You can substitute expectations with trying to predict your business’s cash flow, watching your kid navigate through school, driving in rush hour or any other situation where we think we should be in control of the outcome.

I wanted this job to be the “the one” and when I realized it wasn’t, I automatically went into scarcity mode.

What if this is the last great thing that will ever happen to me? What if God gives up on me? What if, what if, what if…

2016 kicked me in the teeth. So many things tested me, challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. In hindsight, I can see that for a period of 3 or 4 months last year I was seriously depressed and I probably should’ve seen a doctor but I didn’t recognize what was happening. I get mad, I get sad, I fill to the brim with anxiety but I never get depressed. The last time I remember being truly depressed was over 25 years ago in college.

What’s sobering for me when I look back is how isolated I had become. I wrote in my journal, “I can’t tell if how I feel is reasonable or out of proportion to the situation. And I can’t tell anyone about it.”

That is a dangerous place to be. I was honestly scared of some of my thoughts. I may not have known I was depressed but at that moment, I knew that I had to force myself to ask for help. I started with God and little by little, my heart was opened to possibilities and hope. People came into my life and I took the risk to let them in. I can almost pinpoint the exact day when the depression lifted and I could see with clarity what I had been going through. I created a file titled Remember and I filled it with quotes, songs, blog posts, articles and anything else that would remind me that if I started to feel depressed again, I absolutely should not try to handle it alone. Depression is nothing to mess with.

We live near a cactus farm (yeah, that’s a real thing) and one day while perusing the cacti and succulents, I fell in love with a plant known as a Desert Rose (Adenium obesum). It’s a dramatic plant and it reminds me of the Weirwood heart tree in Game of Thrones. You almost expect to see a face carved in trunk.

I felt an instant spiritual connection to it and my husband surprised me with one for my birthday. It loves heat and thrives in our hot summers but it has to be brought indoors for the winter (even the mild winter in Tucson). It’s in the oleander family and I’ve read that its sap is poisonous. Some people might find it high maintenance but it fits me perfectly. Stark and lush, hardy and delicate.

I learned some things about myself during this season in my life. I can trust in my resiliency. I can trust in the tools I’ve gathered along the way but that they need to be cared for and honed. I can trust that God will never, ever give up on me and that He dreams bigger than I do. I’ve learned that if something doesn’t feel right, no matter how much I want to resist the feeling, I can trust my heart and do something about it.

This post is dedicated to anyone who has ever felt like giving up. Please don’t. The world needs each and every light.



desert rose 3

desert rose 1

desert rose 2

19 responses to “Holding On”

  1. It is completely apropos that your love of this wonderful plant is often featured at the “weird plant” sales at the Botanical Gardens.

    My sweet friend (who I think of as the eternal seeker) – remember this favorite quote:

    Of all the things that could have happened, this is what happened.

    Sometimes the rhyme & reason we need to find in the ‘whys’ are never going to make sense to us – so sometimes you just have to give up trying to control the leaves and just let them fall. And sometimes you find a meaningful pattern that makes sense to you or sometimes just accepting that the leaves fell and that it just means that leaves fall. I don’t think there is a right answer for every situation – you are doing the best you can with what you have – and you do it with love. That is the best of all possible worlds.

    I’d like to quote something from “Grandma For Dinner” but all I remember is something about bouncy white sneakers.


    • Grandma For Dinner! I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to appreciate existentialism. 😉

      I love that quote and I love what you’re saying. One of the biggest lessons in my life has been learning what can and can’t be controlled by me. It turns out that control is overrated! I’m in such a good space right now and it feels wonderful to take things as they come. xxoo ❤


      • Yeah, I suspect control is way over-rated. As always -we know what we need to do; the kicker is knowing HOW to do it. I crave logical cause & effect… and I typically have the wrong cause which makes for a faulty effect.

        Also, I always am surprised that again & again I look at the surface of ‘others’ situations’ and wonder ‘why not me?’ and then I learn that below that surface I’ve craved, lurks things that are not always what they seem. And it re-affirms that every leaf we see on the ground is not necessary just from a straight fall-from-the-tree.

        And as always – when you need a helping hand, my hand is always open for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Depression can be a sneaky bitch. I was depressed for years after I had my son, and when I brought up to my doc that I thought I might be depressed, she blew me off. It wasn’t until I was using hypnosis to find the root causes of overeating that I first experienced a sudden and dramatic (yet temporary) lift in the depression – letting me know I had been correct with my inklings. These days it’s almost a thing of the past. And it’s only fairly recently that I know that the birth of my son was a massive PTSD trigger for me. Pretty sure it’s healed now. So glad to hear you used your tools. Kudos.


    • I feel fortunate that what I went through was relatively short lived. My biggest issue has always been anxiety, which I still struggle with from time to time but it’s something I know how to work through. It’s so helpful to recognize our children’s role in our PTSD triggers. Understanding that has been such a healing thing for me and it sounds like for you too! ❤


  3. That is beautiful.
    All my tattoos are reminders for when I get depressed and forget that there is hope and help and things will not always be dark. Because that’s what depression hides.

    Thank you for sharing that. I hope you feel a bit lighter!


  4. Oh man…do I relate! My last post talks a bit about it.
    I’m sorry you went thru that, awful, awful depression…
    and so happy you’re coming out the other side, just as I am.

    Beautiful writing, as usual…thank you for this!


  5. Karen, I look forward to each time you post something new. Somehow, you’re able to connect so eloquently with the essence of so much of what others experience as wives, mothers, and as women. A couple of years ago, I faced (I can now reflect back this more clearly now because I’m not in the crux of it), what I call my spiritual breakdown and depression from stress, change, friendship betrayal, job, house-building… I didn’t realize how all of it impacted me at the time. I just seemed to bear down and gut my way through it, somehow. I pushed back hard on others, I isolated myself. It was quite a process to work out of it and recover. Indeed, I do identify with your words in this post.

    So thank you, once again, for offering up such honest reflection and acknowledgment of how we can—and do—get through to the other side of the tough stuff. We are resilient.


    • I wish it’s something we could see when we’re in the middle of it but that doesn’t seem to be the way it goes. What I went through gave me a lot more compassion and insight into depression and what it’s like for people who struggle with it on a regular basis. It’s so hard to reach out for help when you’re in the grips of it.

      I’m so glad we both got through it! ❤


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