Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

One Gingerbread House at a Time

You sure do learn a lot about a person’s personality and temperament when you assemble a gingerbread house. And even more when you make 14 of them. I’m thinking about patenting this activity as a tool for diagnosing the different kinds of mental illness–obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, and bipolar disorder–because all of them reared their ugly heads yesterday in my panic to produce the stupid things for my son David’s Christmas party, which I (in a very weak moment) volunteered to organize.

As my husband Eric, the Zen Buddhist and architect he is, precisely sawed graham cracker pieces to fit perfectly together, I frantically slapped on some vanilla icing to David’s scraps.


“The bloody things keep cracking!” I yelled in frustration. “We’re not going to have enough!”

Eric tuned me out. He was grounded in the moment, thoroughly enjoying the art of creating something out of nothing, and anticipating the joy his houses would bring to a roomful of preschoolers who got to decorate them with gummies and M&Ms.

Standing beside this wise man of mine, I learned more than how to design a cookie house. I learned how to concentrate on one thing at a time and to enjoy the present moment–even with my disordered brain.

  • Candice Silsby

    I have had the holiday blues every year for a very long time- especially since my father died. I have never attempted a Gingerbread house. This year is different. I am actually singing Holiday Carols! These are the 3 things that have turned things around 1) My new seasonal clothing line, very popular where I live 2) I am a Discovery Toys Educational Consultant and I get to play Santa’ Helper! I even have a red sled. 3) Candles, Candles, Candles

  • http://HASH(0xd0affac) trulyalarmed

    INVOLVEMENT, participation, reckless abandon… For the past 8 years I performed during the Holidays to make money and distract myself from being around my family. This year, I got involved in my church and found myself assisting with costumes for the Children’s Pageant, decorating the tree in the sanctuary, and making 200 stars all cut, glittered and glued and tomorrow I will hang them. Who has time to be blue when you are helping others, donating gifts to people who have needs, trimming trees and making new traditions or reinventing old ones? NOT ME!

  • Brian Flanagan

    Speaking of wise men… Journey of the Magicians It is late, and I am sitting alone by the window, watching the snow fall on a midnight shift at the Children’s Home. The kids are all in bed and sleeping. The other night I dreamed I taught one of them how to hold fire in his hand. Winter and darkness bring solitude, strange thoughts. The psalmist writes that night with night shares its knowledge. Above the obscuring clouds and the drifting snow the stars might appear to turn in hand with wandering travelers of long ago. At night we still wonder, what can it mean? What signify, the half-heard music above the hillside? To what destination might the lights make their way in the sky? Winter’s darkness has fallen again. The earth on its axis is turned. In the fastness of night we remember the magi, imagine them murmuring to themselves while they poke about in their dens, kneeling at the hearthside, stirring the embers and smiling in memory of another time when, on a foreign plain and in the company of shepherds, expending much enchantment, they drew themselves together before the child.The obscurities of prophecy had been made plain then in the skies breathing auroras over them, the air beat with wings on fire. And the stillness of it, the unearthly calm that had given voice to the question, so that we said aloud to one another, what have we done? What are we that we should be taken notice of so? Snow is falling, fluttering on the air, a bright nimbus falling through darkness and silence to layer down over trees, fields, houses and lawns, framing halos for street lights, the choir on the church porch singing holy, holy, holy, lifting up the night in a drifting veil of white. I sit alone by the window, grateful for a moment’s peace, listening for the sounds of those in my care. Some of the children have nowhere to go for the holidays. I wish I could tell them, in words they would understand, that we are their family, that we could not love them more and that, come what may, there is nothing of which they should be afraid. But they are all in bed and sleeping and so we are free to go through night and the mind’s darkness toward Bethlehem and the one who waits for us there, nearer than breath yet far from the centers of power as mankind understands power. We must weave a path within the reach of fearsome sentinels who stand watch within the forest of dreams unconscionable chimerae, they take no heed of us but gape at the air like bewildered things, compelled in their distraction by insubstantial images conjured for our benefit by the sorcerers in our midst.

  • Dici Perigo

    I read your blog from time to time. I want to say to you: There are more people out there who pray for you and for angels to walk with you every step you take in the journey you are upon. I am continually touched and inspired by your words. Recently, I made a decision to stop battling that part of myself I viewed as “completly insane”, figuring if I let “her” merge with me, I might actually stop thinking dark, dark thoughts. And now I realize, that part of me I buried and supressed during the tramatic events that led to the breaking of my spirit was the part that made me laugh and smile. It was also the part that couldn’t cope with what happened, and I had a small child to care for alone and couldn’t allow myself to go catatonic then. Of course, that didn’t stop the inevitable breakdown. However, I want to say to you: God never leaves us alone. He is with us every step of the way. Some journies are more painful than others. But, the victories are everyday. Gingerbread houses, friends/family who love and support us through the battles, unexpected signs like a spectacular sunrise/sunset and those little moments, like your child running up to hug and kiss you enthusiastically for no reason at all, like coming across the blog of a complete stranger and realizing that, wow, there are others out there who are also battling the darkness of depression and mental illness. It kinda makes you catch your second wind, square your shoulders and get ready to take that next step forward that you didn’t think you were going to be able to manage. *HUGS* Dici

  • Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

    Obsessive compulsive personality disorder is characterized by the need for intense orderliness, perfectionism and the control, this is achieved at the expense of the flexibility, efficiency and the openness. It is important that obsessive compulsive personality disorder is differentiated very clearly from the obsessive compulsive disorder. The obsessive compulsive personality disorder is also known as the anal character.

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.