Dollar Tree Puzzles: Minnie Mouse, Shimmer & Shine, Jojo Siwa

I don’t have a whole lot to say today, so thought I’d share a few more cute puzzles I’ve done recently 🙂 All of these came from Dollar Tree, so they were nice and cheap!

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I’m Back on YouTube!

I took three months off YouTube to focus on my written blog here and just because I was feeling a bit burned out making videos. Now I’m going to focus on my toy and children’s book channel (Maranda’s Toys & Books) as far as video-making goes, so if you guys are into that kind of stuff and want to subscribe to my channel there, please do so!

Here is my “comeback” video:

Family Issues and Ex-Pastor’s Wife Resentment

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So I am going through a couple things right now. For one, my already strained relationship with my mother seems to be going farther downhill. To get a bit of the backstory on our relationship, you can check out this post. Anyhow, ever since I confronted my mother about the past, I could feel her slowly backing away. She now lives in another state and at first she would call me once or twice a week and would call back within a day if I called her. Now she doesn’t return my calls for a week at a time and it has been three weeks since she last called me, even though she said she would call me in a few days the last time we talked.

I can’t help but feel a little snubbed and like I am slowly being phased out of her life, which doesn’t surprise me now that she has remarried and doesn’t need me so much anymore. This has always pretty much been the pattern when she gets a man in her life. I stop mattering as much. Honestly, there have been times I’ve considered going “no contact” because the little bit of contact we have now only tends to make me sadder, and the more I feel put aside and ignored, the more I hurt.

I’ve also been dealing with some pent up resentment I didn’t even realize I had about the years I spent as a pastor’s wife. For the first 11 years or so of our 15 year marriage, my husband was a pastor. In the past few years we have kind of drifted from the faith and become agnostic, which is a huge change from what our lives used to be. However, I just realized when having a conversation with my husband the other night, how much being a pastor’s wife for so many years deeply bothered me.

For one thing, I constantly felt judged by the congregation and compared to previous or other pastors’ wives that the congregation knew. I was not old-fashioned. I was not meek and submissive. I did not want to teach, play piano, or lead anything. It just isn’t my personality. My social anxiety makes leading anything a horrifying thought for me, but yet, I found myself almost forced to sometimes be in these roles I hated. I was pretty much forced to teach at times, and while I loved the kids, I felt panic at the responsibility. No one helped or trained me, I was just thrown right in. At one point, I had a panic attack and burst into tears about my fear of teaching in front of the head pastor, his wife, and my husband and yet none of them seemed to take it seriously and pretty much just patted me on the shoulder and said I would be all right. But I wasn’t. Even when I found out I had autism and tried to explain to the head pastor why that made social things so hard for me, his response was that everyone has those problems. But no – everyone does not!!!

My husband now realizes how many mistakes he made by pushing me. He is sorry and has genuinely apologized for putting pressure on me and making me feel like I had to do things that made me anxious to the point of sickness. He realizes now that he learned that behavior from his own parents who pressured him constantly about being involved in church and often tended to ignore his feelings if he didn’t want to do something. Like most people, he was acting out the unhealthy patterns of his family as an adult and unfortunately, I got the brunt of it.

“The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life” Book Review

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I wanted to write a short review of a book I picked up at the library recently. I found it in the children’s section, but I truly believe it is an inspirational read that anyone of any age could appreciate. It is called “The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life” and it is written by Kwame Alexander, who happens to be a Newbery Medal-Winning author.

The book is a fairly quick read, with much of the book being simple “rules” for success and inspirational quotes from various athletes. There are a few written chapters interspersed throughout that tell personal inspirational stories about athletes that obviously inspired the author. The one that I found most interesting was the chapter about Wilma Rudolph, the incredible Olympic track champion. I had no idea that Wilma had suffered chronic illnesses throughout her childhood, including polio! A woman that went on to win three gold medals for running in a single Olympics was once a child that had only one working leg and had to wear a metal leg brace for many years!

Stories like these mean a great deal to me as someone who struggles every day with chronic pain and other health issues. It makes me feel like I can still make a difference and chase my dreams, even if there are significant obstacles in my way. Another story in the book that made an impression on me was the one about Venus and Serena Williams and how their father would actually pay other children to yell out rude and demeaning comments to his daughters while they practiced tennis as kids. He knew they would face racism and other forms of hatred and wanted to toughen them up. I’m not sure this is actually a good parenting tip lol, but I guess it seemed to work in the long run for the girls.

There was one quote in the book (by the famous motivational speaker Willie Jolley) I took a real liking to:

“A setback is a setup for a comeback.”

Imagine having that attitude about every challenge we face!

Feeling Insecure and Confused

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The dollies and my bunny say hello! The baby doll in the panda suit is a new addition to my collection, but sadly, he has some issues (floppy, loose head) and I may have to return him and get another one. The outfit that the bunny is wearing I got at a thrift store for less than a buck! Good deals! I also got some more vintage puzzles that I’m sure I will be sharing images of soon!

Ok, now with the cuteness aside, I’ve had a rough few days. A lot of mood swings, anxiety, and depression. I’ve also been feeling insecure and sometimes like I don’t even know who I really am. I wonder if that is why I try so hard to figure out what conditions I actually have and what is wrong with me…because I need an outside force (be it a doctor or diagnosis) to TELL me who I am. I know this kind of feeling is normal when you are a teenager and just figuring out who you are, but I’m 35 freakin’ years old! Shouldn’t I know by now?

I even find myself questioning my blogging efforts. I wonder if anyone really likes the stuff I am into (particularly the toys and puzzles and stuff like that), or am I just boring everyone? But if I talked about nothing on the blog but my mental and physical problems, wouldn’t that get boring in itself? See, I am doing far too much overthinking and that always leads to picking out flaws and beating myself up. It wouldn’t matter WHAT I did on here, I would feel like it isn’t worthwhile sometimes and like I am a burden to others.

I know in my heart, that these feelings of inadequacy are not something that anyone else can clear away for me. It wouldn’t matter how much praise or reassurance I received from others as long as I am still doubting myself inside. I guess at least I recognize that. I appreciate all you guys sticking with me through all the ups and downs. Having a place to open up like this makes a huge difference.

 

Puzzles! Snowgies, Belle’s Books, and Jojo Siwa!

Lately I’ve been really into doing jigsaw puzzles. I normally do smaller ones because bending over something for too long tends to irritate my degenerative disc disease and bulging discs in my neck. I even recently bought a lap-desk so that I could do puzzles while laying in the recliner.

My favorite puzzles to do are vintage ones that I pick up at thrift stores, especially ones that remind me of my childhood. But I do buy newer ones occasionally if I see some I can’t resist. The other day I found a few at Dollar Tree and thought I would share the finished pictures:

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This first one is obviously from Disney’s movie “Frozen”, and the main reason I got it was the adorable snowgies! I love those little guys!

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This second one I loved because I have always admired Belle’s bookishness. It is something I can definitely relate to! It is funny to see her loading down the beast with books too.

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Ok, to be honest, I find Jojo Siwa a little bit annoying, but there is still a part of me that is happy to see her succeeding since I watched her from the beginning in Lifetime’s “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” and later on “Dance Moms”. Now she is obviously quite famous and working closely with Nickelodeon. I try to support all the girls off “Dance Moms”, and while Jojo is far from my favorite, I am still happy to see her doing so well.

I’m Super Grumpy and Annoyed Today

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I am in a mood today. Seriously grumpy and feeling like crap both mentally and physically. I was supposed to go to a support group meeting today, but the absolute last thing I want to do when I feel like this is socialize or go anywhere. Instead, I just want to cocoon on the recliner or in bed, watching tv or YouTube and letting my grumpy butt get over this particular mood swing.

I could feel this irritability building and creeping up on me the last few days. Even when my husband and I took a walk in the park and I posted those pictures of snakes, turtles and frogs in my last blog post, I was starting to feel more and more off kilter. Every time a couple or family crept up behind us on the trail and made noise, I just wanted to throttle them, which isn’t like me. I normally love kids and adore having them around, but that day I just wanted to ship them all off to Siberia. I felt somehow personally offended that other people were simply sharing my space…and even though I knew how irrational that was, I still felt that way.

Last night I noticed that I was falling into one of those moods where I wanted to spit and hiss like a cat at anyone who dared touch me or even looked at me wrong. I’m still feeling that way today, so it is probably a good thing that I’m home alone right now lol. Hopefully this feeling will pass soon and I will get back to my more humane self.