Moody Blues

Still in the Woods


I cannot wait until I can write a post called, “And then I lived to tell about it.” But unfortunately I’m not there yet. My computer is back up and running. I have all the software I need to work on a day to day basis but I can’t use my apple mail or safari. Both cause ram-crunching memory leaks.

It’s really weird. It’s either a virus, which I haven’t found any evidence of, OR some kind of cache issue where Carbonite backed up so many versions of things that my email and internet browser can’t find the cache they are looking for. I just need to find those caches and throw them out but I’m floundering because I can’t tell what is what.

The good news is Toby is helping me out. He’s been a real friend through all this. It’s funny how I have all these mixed up feelings about our disolved marriage and where things should be with our (still pending) divorce. But stronger than all that is our friendship. It seems to have stood the test of time. I am so thankful for that. It doesn’t make sense to the outside world but I just have to tell myself that outside opinions don’t matter. We are a still a family. Not a traditional one but we still put each other first which is really cool.

Anyway, when I finally get it all sorted out I’ll try to write a comprehensive post about what happened to my hard drive and why the restoration process went so wrong with Carbonite. I’m sad to say I can’t recommend Carbonite as a product if you own your own business. It’s handy if you need to back up 30 gigs or less but if you have a mac I wouldn’t recommend it. They say they are compatible but they aren’t.

In the meantime, I’ve got a busy week! Work has been flooding in which is a real answer to prayer.

It’s funny, before this whole computer problem happened, I prayed that I would be more motivated to work. I was in a slump creatively. Nothing really made me feel excited anymore and I hate that. It’s really hard to be creative when you are bored. I can’t really do my best work unless I’m on fire over whatever project I’m working on or I have a deadline looming. Deadlines are good for inspiration.

If neither deadline nor interest are present in a project then I tend to while away my time cleaning my house and watching Netflix. It’s stupid and pathetic. There is a reason why creative people are not good business people and this is it for me. I can’t afford to be a domestic goddess or up on all the latest tv shows. But when the juices aren’t flowing they aren’t. I’m a blob of stagnant energy.

Kick the computer that I work on out from under me for a month and suddenly the urgency to make money is knocking me down so hard I wake up with panic attacks every night. It was getting really bad. I would lay awake for four hours every night doing nothing but stress out with such concentration that I could almost feel it like a bag of bricks on my chest. Everything from impending cancer to eviction to the possibility that there is no God…my brain worked so hard pedaling backwards in it’s tiny hamster cage, I think smoke came out my ears.

Normally, when I can’t sleep I just open my laptop and start working on something. It’s the best cure for insomnia and underproduction. If it’s boring it puts me back to sleep. But I had no laptop. I had an ipad that I could watch movies on but I couldn’t turn off the smoking hamster wheel long enough to keep track of any storyline. Every five seconds I would launch into some new anxiety attack.

Well, anyway. I’m sure I’m not unique to this. Many many bloggers have written about their battles with mental illness or depression or financial troubles. I don’t think I’m mentally ill. I think I just hit on some hard times. Hard times are happening to all of us. It’s not an easy time in history to be providing for a family but it’s not going to get easier either so we best buck up and make the most of what we have, right?

I can say that I started reading my bible every day and praying on my knees. I used to just say a prayer wherever and whenever. Doing dishes, taking a shower, sitting on the pot. Whatever! God doesn’t care, right? Well, I think he does. I kept thinking how the bible always talks about prayer and fasting together. I’ve never really gotten around to fasting but I’ve started praying with more purpose. I actually get on my knees, put my head down and then pray for ten things. I count them off finger by finger and it takes me outside my hamster wheel brain just long enough to stop the destructive cycle that has been my thoughts lately. You can call it whatever you like. Maybe I’m fooling myself with some kind of mental meditation or maybe God hears me and prayer actually works. All I can say is that it’s helped me a lot. I was so down and now I feel hope again.


  • Stephanie M

    You’re exactly right that outside opinions don’t matter. Just as a happy ending side note, my grandparents divorced when my mom was a young teenager. (I’m 30, so that tells you this was more than 50 years ago). They both remarried later on, my grandma staying married my grandpa…not. Either way, my grandparents stayed friends and family, and still are. My grandma hosts a (casual almost to the extreme) family dinner most Sunday afternoons, and my grandpa almost always shows up. Sometimes she even makes it a point to make his favorite (white beans, fried potatos and cornbread) around Father’s Day and his birthday. It’s really pretty great.

  • mamalang

    I think it’s awesome that you two can remember why you got together in the first place, and remain friends.

    God gives us what we most need, though not always what we think we want. :)

  • Jody

    I wanted to share with you the story of my aunt and her ex-husband. They were married for 25 years and shocked everyone when they divorced, almost 20 years ago. They remained friends, though, and would meet for breakfast, or have dinner together, or, when I would take my Dad to visit, we’d go to his house or he would come to my aunt’s.

    Recently, my aunt was found in her living room, not responsive. She remained unconscious for days, but my uncle (former uncle?) was there every day. When my dad and I were there (we live about 4 hours away), care givers at the hospital suggested the family decide on end-of-life protocol. I was talking to my aunt’s ex-husband, and he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said he wasn’t ready to let her go.

    The story is not over – my aunt is making a miraculous recovery, but needs a lot of care. My uncle is committed to bringing his ex-wife into his home so that she does not go to a nursing home. THAT is true love that goes beyond the bounds of marriage.

  • Donna G

    Brenda, I am here to tell you that prayer DOES work. And fasting puts it in overdrive…

    Don’t give up.

  • Sam

    I so wish this crazy computer thing was over for you. I can’t imagine how hard it is, but I am glad Toby is helping you out. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about how your family works. It’s wonderful you can still be friends and coparent in a healthy way! As for getting back some inspiration, maybe try some other creative pursuits outside of your normal routine? You’re endlessly creative, really, but sometimes you have to fill the well. Love hearing about how prayer is helping you get through this.

  • Jen

    I’m sorry that you are still dealing with the computer issues. What a drag. I’m so glad you have Toby to help you out through this.

    I’m sorry but praying on the pot just gave me the biggest laugh. I agree with you, that praying with purpose is more meaningful. I’m not the traditional type of prayer but I do try to find reflective time every day to keep myself in check and make sure that I’m living the way I should be.

  • Ninabi

    I completely understand the insomnia when there is stress. Problems seem to loom larger in the wee hours, growing beyond any reasonable solutions. Morning comes and despite a lack of quality sleep, there’s a cup of coffee to help you make sense of things again.

    No, no mental illness- just an ordinary response to stress. I wish we didn’t have the low parts but without them, we can’t appreciate the good times as much. Or so I tell myself… :) Faith is a study handrail and I’m glad you have that.

    I hope the computer messes get worked out and I’m glad that you and Toby are friends. My own parents were practically mortal enemies and I’m glad for your sake and for Bug’s that you aren’t having to deal with that.

    Sending good thoughts your way for increasing jobs coming your way. A PTSD therapist once told me that one way to get rid of my stressful thoughts was to keep so busy I didn’t have time to think.

  • Cathy

    Just remember that all this is temporary and everything WILL be okay. Have you ever thought about therapy? To help you talk through what’s stressing you out. I totally understand the over-thinking, over-worrying thing….it sucks and it’s trying so continue to take care of you while you’re getting things done. And it’s great how you and Toby still get along – it’s comforting to know you have someone to be able to count on. Deep breath, honey!

  • Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian

    It’s very inspiring that you found new hope through prayer. I firmly believe it works. Also, it’s a wonderful thing that you and your ex-husband can still make things work together as friends and a different type of family.

  • OMSH

    I am happy to hear you are inspired, thrilled to hear work is flowing in, discouraged to hear you are still dealing with computer issues, but absolutely and completely encouraged to hear you are actively praying (ON YOUR KNEES EVEN) to our Lord who has walked you through all of this. He is your provider.

    *Also Toby, way to go. :)

  • Lorey

    I’ve never felt closer to God than when something happened in my life that knocked me on my knees- in prayer. It may feel like the worst of times, but when you get to the other side and look back- oh the growing and learning you will have experienced! Refined by fire, right? And you will also realize how much God has been instrumental in getting you through these times. You are an encouragement to me in your candid and honest writing. Girl, you have a sea of women nodding their heads and saying, yep, I’ve been there. You are on the right track, keep lifting that head up and He will take care of the rest.

  • Liza

    I’ve had those nights….and had those times when the Bible and prayer were the only thing that got me through.

    Read Isaiah 43…especially vs 2.

    I would recite that verse over and over.
    I like the NLT version: “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
    When you go through rivers of difficulty,you will not drown.
    When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

  • leslie

    thank you for your honesty!

    i just wanted tu suggest one little thing: you might be right about not being mentally ill, but maybe counselling would be an option, nontheless? maybe your church is offering something? i have a christian counselor who is actually “for free”, because she is paid by the diocese.
    just a thougt:)

    i’m hoping that this new week brings new smiles&lighter thoughts!


  • Marianne

    Psalm 27 has given me peace in many hard times. Seek the Lord! We are always totally dependent on Him, sometimes we just forget that and live in our own strength. So we think.

  • Uncle George

    Figures Carbonite is not Mac compatible. So it goes. Now I worry how I should back up mine. I just want you to know that I’ll always consider you my sister no matter what happens between Toby and you. You’re the best, B.

  • erika

    Big hugs as always from here. You are living my worst nightmare (computer issues) and I really hope your computer information comes out whole on the other side. You’re the sweetest and shouldn’t have to deal with this.

  • Elizabeth

    I always love reading your posts, and I root for you and Bug (and Toby, the other part of your family — good for you!) so much.

    Just wanted to say — be sure that when you get your laptop fixed, you get an extra external hard drive and back everything up onto it. That way, if your laptop ever crashed, you would still have everything, all your data. They are not expensive.

  • Andrea

    my old art teacher used to say….the only way to start, is to start. ….maybe start with some old school drawing excercises out of the book (drawing on the right side of the brain stuff) or life drawing. Get ‘doing’ without the pressure of doing, and maybe the creative juices will start to flow.