Friday, January 30, 2015

Belly of a fish

Those familiar with the Bible know the story of Jonas being swallowed by a big fish and later being spewed out to go do what he was supposed to do in the first place.  I pondered on the story and it could have happened exactly like that.  However, what if the being swallowed by a big fish is a metaphor for describing deep depression or maybe a coma.  I often felt that being inside a belly of fish an excellent description of deep depression.  I would feel totally cut off, unable to sleep, eat, or function in any way.  Breathing would seem pointless.  Jonas woes began when he refused to do what he was commanded to do.  He compounded the issue by running away.  Poor Jonas just kept digging himself deeper and deeper.  I learned to have a lot of compassion for Jonas.  Describing depression or PTSD to someone that has not experienced these things is difficult to convey the depth and darkness of these emotions.  I wonder how other people would describe depression to someone that has not experienced it. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Do the work

Vic Magary is my email personal trainer.  He shares exercise programs and eating Paleo...I don't eat Paleo but I am changing how I eat.  I do exercise.  I love getting his emails.  This weeks email struck me because I am struggling with moving forward in counseling.  I am tackling a major trigger.  His haiku seems appropriate for both mental and physical work:

Suspend disbelief.
Release all expectations.
Just do the damned work.

For improving physical health he emphasizes that there is no magi pixie dust, no incantations, no short cuts to improving physical body.  Same is true for mental health.  No easy street, no short cuts, just straight through.  The work is hard.  Trying to move forward is like wading through thigh high mud.  I've done that.  5K obstacle course with mud pits, walls to climb, and other junk getting in the way.  I proved to myself several years ago I could push beyond what I dreamed I could do physically. I am pushing forward mentally. 

Better Man Project shared a poem that I believe goes along with this:

Me - sliding down

In the pits

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I read this on Facebook.  If you click on the Cowboys-4-Christ link it will take them to your Facebook page if you have one.  The link is for this page but I don't actually have access to your Facebook account.  Computers are getting more 'helpful' but I am not sure I appreciate all the 'help' it gives.  I loved the story.  Just wanted to share something that touched my heart. 

~ Best Friend

Once in a small farming town in Oklahoma, there lived a poor fourth grade boy named Andy who would follow this route to school everyday: He had to cross the rugged plains and a dangerous highway where vehicles recklessly drove to and fro. Once past this highway, the boy would take a short cut by passing by the Church every morning just to say hi to Jesus, and faithfully say his morning prayers. He was being watched by the pastor who always found the boy's sincerity and innocence so uplifting in the morning.

"Hello Andy, How are you today", he would say greeting the child.
"I'm fine Pastor Thompson, How are you" he would say flashing his innocent grin.

Seeing the way that Andy went to school the pastor was so concerned one day he talked to him. "From school...", he advised "do not cross the highway alone, you can pass through the Church and then I will accompany you to the other side of the road that way I can see that you get home safe...."

"Thank you Pastor..."

"Why don't you go straight home ... why do you stay in this church right after school?" Andy replied, "I just want to say "Hi" to my friend, Jesus,"

So the pastor would leave the boy to spend time praying by himself beside the altar, but one day out of curiosity he hid behind the altar to listen to what this boy had to say.

~ "You know my math exam was pretty bad today, but I did not cheat-although my seat mate was bullying me for notes ... you know, Dad's had a bad farming season so far this year so we don't have much food but I ate some bread and drank my water. Thank you for this! I saw a poor kitten who was hungry and I know how he feels so I gave some of my bread to him... funny but I am not that hungry... Look, this is my last pair of shoes... I may have to walk barefoot next week... you see this is about to be broken... but it is okay... at least I am still able to go to school... some say we will have a hard season this month, and some of my classmates have had to stop going to school to help with the farms ... please help them get to school again, please Jesus?... Oh, you know, Dad hit me again, it is painful, but I know this pain will pass away, at least I still have a Dad ... you want to see my bruises? I know you can heal them ... here... here and....oh ...blood. I guess you knew about this one, huh? Please don't be mad at Dad, he is just tired and worries about putting food on our table and my schooling that is why he hits me... Oh, I think I am in love... there's this pretty girl in my class, her name is Anita... do you think she will like me? Anyway, at least I know you will always like me, I don't have to be anybody just to please you, you are my very best friend! Hey your birthday is just one week from now!!! Aren't you excited? I am! Wait till you see, I have a gift for you....
but it is a surprise! I hope you will like it! Oooops, I have to go..."

Then he stood up and calls out, "Pastor, I am finished talking to my friend... can you accompany me to the other side of the road now"?
This routine happened everyday. Andy never failed to visit the church. Pastor Thompson shared this every Sunday to the people in his church because he had never before seen such pure faith and trust in God, and such a very positive outlook in such negative circumstances.

The day before Christmas, Pastor Thompson became very ill and was sent to the hospital. The Church was left to a substitute Pastor who had little patience for children or for any interruptions in his work. He would not smile and could always find fault in what other people were doing. On Christmas Day he was in the Pastor's Study when Andy,coming from his Christmas party, playfully dashed into the church calling, "Hi Jesus!!!!!"

"Who are you child and what are you doing in here", the pastor yelled out angrily. Poor Andy was so terrified. "Where's Pastor Thompson? He always helps me cross the street.... and not only that, I have to greet Jesus--it's His birthday, I have a gift right here...."

Just as he was about to get the gift out of his shirt, the pastor grabbed Andy by the shoulder and pushed him out the door of the church.
"I cannot be bothered right now I am preparing my sermon for the Christmas service tonight. Also, next time be more reverent when you come into the church", the man yelled as he closed the door behind Andy.

So the boy had no choice but to cross the dangerous side of the road in front of the church by himself. As he crossed a fast moving bus came in. There was a blind curve. The boy was protecting his gift inside his shirt, so he was not looking. There was so little time. Andy died on the spot.

As people crowded around the body of the poor, lifeless, young boy... Suddenly, out of nowhere a tall man appeared in a pure white shirt and pants, a face so mild and gentle, but with eyes full of tears... He came and carried the boy in His arms, He was crying. Curious bystanders nudged the man in white, and asked, "Excuse me sir, are you related to the child? Do you know him?" The man in white, His face mourning and in agony, answered, "He was my best friend” was all he said. He took the badly wrapped gift from the shirt of the lifeless boy, and placed it near his heart. He stood up and carried the boy away and they both disappeared from sight. The crowd was curious...

On New Years Eve, when Pastor Thompson returned home from the hospital he learned of the shocking news. He went to visit Andy's parents, and to ask them about the man in white he had been told about. He consulted the parents of Andy. "How did you first learn of your sons death?"
"A man in white brought him here." Sobbed the mother.

"What did he say?"

The father answered, "He did not say anything. He was mourning. We do not know him and yet he was very lonely at our son's death, as if he knew our son very well. But there was something peaceful and unexplainable about him. He gave me my son, and then he smiled peacefully. He rubbed my son's hair away from his face and kissed him on his forehead, then he whispered something..."

"What did he say?"

"He said to my boy..." the father began, "Thank you for the gift... I will see you soon.. you will be with me..." and the father of the boy continued, "and you know for a while, it felt so wonderful... I cried, but I do not know why.... all I know is I cried tears of joy... I could not explain it, but when that man left, something peaceful came over me, I felt a deep sense of love inside... I could not explain the joy in my heart, I know my boy is in heaven now.. but... tell me, who was this man that my son talked to everyday in your church, you should know because you are always there... except at the time of his death..."

Pastor Thompson suddenly felt the tears welling in his eyes,
with trembling knees, he murmured,
"He was talking to Jesus...."

*God bless and keep sharing the Good News !!! ~ C4C

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Steps to happiness

I like Purposefairy.  Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by her optimism but I am like her.

Here are her comments are in Gray and Green


This is a favorite of mine too.  Feeling gratitude is an awesome, sharing what you are feeling shares it.  Fun to spread good feelings around. 


“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.” – Kahlil Gibran
I left the original quote that goes with the one I hung on my wall in high school from Abraham Lincoln, "You can mourn because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."  Optimism is nurtured and I can add to it at any time.  


  A big 10-4 on this one. Comparisons is one of the tools used to destroy relationships and self-esteem.  Over-thinking is a difficult to control some days.  I do remind myself to KISS it.  Keep it simple sweety. 


  Fun to practice random acts of kindness.  Give a Just-because-it-is-Tuesday gift on any day accept Tuesday.  Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty are good for the heart. 


  Relationships take time. In this day and age of higher and higher productivity, people tend to get lost in the hurry scurry thinking.  Refer to #4 for nurturing relationships. 


  This is what I learned in counseling, coping skills.  There are many ways to cope with any problem and someone is blogging about the solutions or wrote a book on it.  Practice new ways to face life challenges. 


  Tough one for me because I was taught an unhealthy definition.  I am unlearning and relearning about forgiveness, yes there are books on this too, including the Bible.  


  I didn't even know what this was until I was in Photography.  Hyper-vigilance wrecks havoc on getting into the pleasure zone of creativity when space, time and hunger are temporarily suspended.  Creative outlets vary but I highly recommend exploring possibilities.  Never too old to try some new art.  My friend Netty bought and learned to play the organ in her 70's because the doctor said it would help her arthritis.  


  Savor.....I started working at savoring food by taking a single bite and letting it wander around in my mouth for a bit before swallowing.  Stretch a delightful 5 minutes to a radiant 10 minutes.  Recognize pay attention to those joyful moments.  Expressing gratitude, #1, focuses our attention on what we are savoring. 


  First make sure they are your own goals.  I am a people pleaser, many times when I didn't commit to a goal it wasn't my goal in the first place.  My counselor asked me, "What do you want?"  I do believe answering that question opens me up to what my goals actually are.    


  There is more and more research showing that spirituality is essential to a happy soul.  Please note, spirituality is not just sitting in church.  I believe I became a Christian when I allowed Christ's teachings to alter my life.    


  You only get one.  Spare parts are difficult to get.  I am learning that the older I get the more important this is.   

With all my love,

  G  I hope you enjoyed my perspective on Purpose Fairies post.  I do recommend reading her thoughts and come up with your own lists.    

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trust the Lord

DEALING WITH ABUSE: Shortly after a person has been wounded by religious abuse, friends of the victim invariably say, “It will be okay. You just have to trust the Lord; that’s all.” With this, they are finished with the issue. No further practical help is offered. After a while, the victim doesn’t even receive a word of comfort from their fellow congregants because people tend to withdraw from someone who has been pushed aside. They simply don’t want to deal with all of the negativity. Who can blame them?
To the victim, however, such advice is meaningless. Instead of helping, platitudes like the one above tend to make a difficult situation even worse. As people withdraw, the abused person is left to deal with the problem by himself or herself. This is when many turn to self-defeating behavior. It provides relief from the pain—a one-day reprieve from reality. It’s also how people become “hooked” on alcohol, prescriptions, or inappropriate relationships—none of which work long-term.
When a person reaches his or her bottom, and there are no other options, that’s when they are finally willing to take the advise of their friends and “trust the Lord.” By this point, their emotional isolation has taken a substantial toll, and the person doubts that their life will ever be worthwhile again. When a person reaches this point, that’s when God’s presence and help become more real than ever. It’s when He touches the places that hurt, providing illumination, insight, understanding, and healing.
All that’s necessary for this to happen is one thing: the person must realize that the responsibility for getting back on tract is theirs and no one else’s. When they reach this point, when they become willing to admit this, their lives can begin to change for the better.
"Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:25-26)

If you had enough faith.....all would be well.  Does the reciprocal mean since all is not well I don't have enough faith? One wonders at time.  I had a clearer understanding as I studied the New Testament when Christ reminded his apostles that the people killed the prophets.  The apostles came to a similar end.  If the all is well thing applies, did that mean the apostles and prophets did not have enough faith?  I believe the error comes in what "all would be well" means.  I remember vividly the moment in time I hit rock bottom and I had nothing left except my faith in Christ.  I believe in Christ.  I also believe that I am expected to strive, look for, and seek for answers.  I am expected to study things out in my mind and when I get stuck ask humbly in faith.  He will send his angels to rescue me, those angels sometimes have PhDs.  Religious abuse is particularly vicious in that not only does the abuser try to make their victim believe God does not loves them, they attack the person themselves until the victim loses trust in their own faith.  In that moment that I hit rock bottom, some particle of faith assured me that Christ would not abandon me in my darkest hour.  I took that particle faith and fanned the flames until I understood several things.  My belief of what is safe and Heavenly Father's meaning is not the same.  Heavenly Father allowed His Son to be crucified.  My discomfort is acceptable to God.  I accepted that Heavenly Father sent His Son to bring me peace by God's definition not mine.  I also learned that the church goers that shunned me were not my problem.  My own understanding of Heavenly Father and my relationship to Christ became my focus. 

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Psalms 23
 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (My spiritual hunger is always fed.)
 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (He leads me but doesn't force me to recognize His blessings.  Gratitude opens my eyes to the green pastures and still waters.)
 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (He leads another reminder that He will lead, I choose to follow or not.  He will patiently wait for me as I stumble.  His patience is Eternal, however He leads me down the path of righteousness, not always where I want to go.)
 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (He knows all there is to know about death and evil because He over came both.  When I am with Christ, I know evil must flee.  His correction and guidance bring me comfort knowing He is watching over me. Loving me.)
 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  (He prepares nourishment for me where I am at, not just in the after life, but right in front of my enemies. He anointed me and I have an abundance of His love.)
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (As I follow His lead down the path of righteousness, others will be blessed by my service for I will leave goodness and mercy where ever I go.  He prepares a place for me to live with him forever in the life to come.)

The green words are my attempt to understand this passage.  Personalizing the scriptures binds them to my heart.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pity Party or Not?

I am following several PTSD web pages on Facebook.  I appreciate the information they share and I wish to do my part to encourage others.  One comment told all other readers and commenters to stop the Pity Party and get on with living.  I've held my own pity party on more than one occasion.  My counselor offered to bring a little whine to the party.  The one thing KavinCoach did for me was to clarify a significant difference between acknowledging challenges and wallowing in a pity party.  Urban dictionary has a fascinating description of a pity party

Difference is what you do with the information.  Both acknowledging my challenges and a pity party require that I survey the damage in my life.  However, a pity party is lay around in my pj's with zero intention of doing one single thing differently.  If I had chosen this route, my counselor would have dumped me off at the next therapist.  What astounded him was my unwavering determination to change my life against all odds.  Yes, I needed to survey the damage.  I did it for the purpose of seeing what needed to be torn out, what needed to be modified, and what by sheer dumb luck I did fairly well.  Pity party involves no goals, no future plans, and certainly no inclination to change.  I think I was anty-pity parties when I saw one person that appeared to be a goal setter in public, actually wallowed in self pity in private.  The 'poor-me' syndrome tends to grate on my nerves like fingernails scratching down a chalkboard.  I did recognize the value and need for surveying damage to find out what could use the work.

There is another time when pity parties seem imminent, when supporting others.  Encouraging others often involves acknowledging similarities in problems.  Again the significant difference is intent.  Joining in a pity party has the intent of wailing 'my problem is worse than yours and I can prove it.'  Where as supporting another person is 'this is my experience, I understand your challenges, we can work together to get out of this pit.'  Although the two may look similar, I ask myself what is the main purpose in sharing experiences.  I also learned that I can get mixed up with someone determined to have a full blown pity party when I intend to support.  I learned the fastest way to get booted from the pity party is to suggest the possibility they can change their life.  Pity Party hosts do not want anyone to bring silver linings, hope, and encouragement.  They are in the toilet and are quite comfortable thank you very much.  I don't mind being asked to leave a pity fact, once I realize they have no intention of improving, I'm usually looking for the door anyway.  I do recognize that some progress makes a snail look speedy.  I get that.  The differences are attitude and direction. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015


There are advantages to hyper-vigilance.

Often in the list of negative symptoms for PTSD and other trauma survivor responses is hyper-vigilance or sometimes called hyper-awareness.  You walk into a room and know where all the doors for escape are located.  You count the number of people in the room.  You assess the tension level in the room.  You consider options just in case.  Many therapist try to 'cure' this type of behavior.  I one time asked one of my daughters what she thought about on her trip to the store.  She told me she was thinking about what was on sale and did she have the right coupons to get the best deal......really?  People think about those things?  I am scouring the road scene, where are the cars? bikes? Pedestrians? Idiot Jay walkers?  I am super aware of all the possible reward, I spot and avoid the bicyclist riding the wrong way on the sidewalk.  My hyper-vigilance is rewarded.  Today, the teacher I work with her face changed from the first time I saw her this morning.  Two hours later I could tell that her back problem was significantly worse.  She needed me to drive her home.  My mind jumped into warp speed in a split second since I am already hyper-vigilant.  I dealt with all the changes of taking the teacher home, coping with keeping the class going, and assisting the childcare with a fire drill.  I felt burned out when I got home but again, my hyper-vigilance and ability to survive emergencies paid off in a positive way.  I appreciate the fact that I sometimes need to tone it down a bit because I get tired but the bottom line is I don't want anyone to 'cure' something that has proved useful again and again and again.  I do want to learn to give myself a break when I know I am in a safe place.  I do want to learn to recognize what a safe place feels like to me.  I want to relax a little but for me, there are advantages to hyper-vigilance. 

Recognizing a safe place


Checking out the home front

Protecting babies

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bully video

One of my daughters shared an amazing video online....the kid is genius in solving a problem in a way that no one expected.  I believe it is worth your time to view.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Break Through

Some days I feel like a fly bouncing on a window, knowing where I want to go but some barrier is keeping from getting there.  Monday I had a break through.  I struggle with eliminating unneeded still useable stuff.  I gave some away and through some away and can actually see real progress.  I'm so excited.  My work room is one of those places if the police ever went in they would think someone trashed the room on purpose.  Nope.....just me not knowing what to do with something I want to keep but not use right away.  Usually, I start hyperventilating within 5 minutes of a cleaning attempt.  I actually worked an entire hour.  I'm so excited.  No pictures yet.  Waiting to get A LOT more progress. 

Monday, January 19, 2015


A turbulent year.  John F Kennedy was assassinated.  Martin Luther King gave his stirring "I have a Dream" speech.  He was also assassinated 5 years later.  Standing by my desk to morn the death of President Kennedy is one of my memories that survived my own turbulent childhood.  I grew up with the debate and bigotry surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr.  In my own personal quest for understanding I read Black Like Me, Nigger, and To Sir- With Love.  I wanted to understand.  I lived in a predominantly white area in Arizona.  The black section of town in South Phoenix was to be avoided.  My quest for understanding left me with more questions than answers.  However, I learned to admire Martin Luther King, Jr.  I am thankful that there is a day to honor him.  He wanted to change the world and by standing up and speaking out he did.  The World is not perfect.  There is still plenty of hate, but he offered a solution and attempted to share his views.  

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
Martin Luther King Jr.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
Martin Luther King Jr.
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
~Martin Luther King

I was looking up quotes from Martin Luther King for the students.  I wanted his main line from "I Have A Dream" speech.  I stumbled on to this one also.   What caught my attention was the line "...causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful..."  I often describe some of the events from my childhood as a topsy-turvy being taught black as white and white as black.  Part of what the pedophile did to me was to inspire in me a self-hatred so deep that 3 counselors trying to uproot this malevolent cancer out of my soul.  In light of the hope I am studying, I believe part of the damage was the hammering into my soul that my situation was hopeless.  The pedophile twisted scriptures until I believed God could not love me.  I didn't blame God, I blamed myself and absorbed the self-hatred into my soul and it grew like the cancer that it is.  My world rocked the day my counselor told me I could not love anyone more than I loved myself.  He referred to the scripture to love my neighbor as myself.  In order for me to love my neighbor, my children, my sister, my husband or anyone else, I need to love myself.  I am hoping to scour out this soul cancer called self-hatred.  I don't deserve to be hated especially not by me. 

Sometimes my soul feels like this saguaro

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Rest in Hope....

Psalms 16:1, 7-9

 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

 I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

Trust and hope allows for resting.   I have hoped not to have nightmares only to have them again and again.  Perhaps I need to change my hope and rest in hope.  Trust in God where lays my hope.  

Trust is a challenge for me.  I hadn't connected hope and trust as the dictionary did.  (See an earlier post Here in Psalms 16 Trust is again aligned with Hope.  King David's reference to reins implies guidance.  The Lord's counsel guide King David.  The Psalm refers to David being teachable, putting his trust in God, placing God on his right hand meaning the important position in life, and he expresses his steadfastness.  He then concludes because of these things his heart is glad and he rests in hope.  I have a lot to ponder on these thoughts. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hope is stubborn

Sometimes people compare hope to a fragile flower easily trampled and destroyed.  I learned that hope is like a flower but more like a desert bloom.  The blooms tolerate scorching sun, scant rain, and can split rocks with their roots.  Their tenacity for surviving is outstanding.  Hope against hope.....against the odds.....logic has nothing to do with hope.  Hope exists when outside circumstances a person might believe would make feeling hope impossible.  Here's the deal, in my opinion......Hope convinces me that I'm possible.  In the dark of night all hope seems to fade and diminish but dawn would come as surely as the World turns.  Hope is there persuading me to wake up after turning off 2 alarms.  Hope is there when I went into surgery for cancer 13 years ago.  Hope is there when I started counseling.  Hope is there hidden in the darkest crevices of my life.  I would sometimes get discouraged but that stubborn hope would encourage me to get up again and again and again.  I believe that as long as my heart is beating if I search....hope is always there.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thanking my daughter

Thanking my daughter for sharing a website that teaches crocheting basics free with a video.  I crocheted years ago but only learned one stitch.  It got boring and I quit.  Now, I am looking for something to do while watching TV with DH.  I love the little cute projects I have seen.  I thought by starting from the beginning I might be bored.  I learned something new in the first video.  I am quickly remembering and feeling kind of excited about this revisiting something I didn't believe I liked.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I heard the story of Pandora's box years ago.  I'm not even sure how old I was when I first heard the story.  For those not familiar with the tale you can find it at
The version I heard was that hope was captured inside the box for a time but pleaded to be let out too.  I used this in my show for cancer.  Symbolizing no matter how scary and rotten cancer was there is always hope.  Since then I learned the power of hope with many troubles.

A search of quotes on the internet netted millions of hits.  Brainy quotes is a favorite of mine:

I think Desmond Tutu says it best....

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
Too often when I focus on solving a problem that seems overwhelming I tend to lose sight of hope.  I think this year my word to study is hope.  Start with a definition from Mirriam and Webster:
intransitive verb
1 to cherish a desire with anticipation <hopes for a promotion>
2 archaic :  trust
transitive verb
1  to desire with expectation of obtainment
2  to expect with confidence :  trust
 — hope against hope
  to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment 
Wow the word trust jumped out at me.   I'll need to explore that some more.  
I believe that that hope I have felt is the hope against logical reason to hope for something but hope any way.  For me, being in total darkness and believing the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train.  

  • Romans 12:12

    12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Understanding disconnect

Talked to the Fashion students today that are learning to model.  They are learning to walk 'the walk.'  I shared with them the photographer's point of view.  I told them that what they were thinking would be picked up by the camera.  If there face is smiling but there were thinking how nervous they felt or how they hate having their picture taken, the other emotion will be picked up by the camera.  I finally understood why my first counselor realized I was so messed up.  I would sit in his office with no emotional expression except tension.  Once I was comfortable that disappeared too.  He would ask me how I felt about something and I would look at him blankly.  On one occasion, I even asked him what he wanted me to feel.  I was totally disconnected from my own emotion.  I could not comprehend what he expected from me when he would ask me how I felt about some issue.  The other emotions didn't show up in a camera either.  I had thought I was a happy girl growing up.  My mother finally let me have my baby book that she added some pictures when I was older.  I smiled for class pictures but snap shots, I couldn't determine what the look was.  When I was first in counseling, before I understood my parents part in my problems, I tried to explain to them what was wrong with me.  My mother discounted anything I said.  She declared you were just a normal teenager, accept when you got upset it was like a wall went up and you stopped responding.  My mother watched the change to nothingness I didn't consider there was a need for concern.  She felt annoyed that I could wall her out.  Took many years of counseling to understand that inside my subconscious I knew she was dangerous so she was the one I emotionally walled out.  In the process, I walled apart of myself in.  Disconnect is a complete break from the logical thinking mind and emotions.  It is a symptom of several mental illnesses.  PTSD is one of them.  Reconnecting to my emotions was a long and painful process.  Part of the time I didn't see the value since I felt more and more of the fear, hurt, and frustration long buried.  Uncovering these forgotten emotions they were just as raw and unhealed as the day I buried them.  This is the part of counseling that many are afraid of.  Processing unhealed events and emotions attached to those times is like condensing a years worth of pain into a few months.  Without careful pacing, I easily became overwhelmed while I reconnected.  The emotions wanted to flood back in....tough years of counseling and processing and feeling and working and finally getting through to the hope at the bottom of Pandora's box.  It is worth learning to connect.  Hope is a beautiful thing. 

Monday, January 12, 2015


Uplifting thought from this morning's Facebook....

When you lose sight of your value, you may be tempted to turn to other people for approval and validation—a parent, boss or loved one. While we all need encouragement and should receive it from the people around us, we can’t let that be our sole source of validation. We have to know that because God validates us, we can validate ourselves! We can’t live our lives waiting for the people around us to applaud us; sometimes we have to applaud ourselves. During those times when life seems to be dragging you down, instead of looking to others to encourage you, make the decision to encourage yourself in the Lord!
A while back, I was at the gym on the treadmill speaking with a woman who had just been diagnosed with cancer. She asked me to pray for her and I said, “Yes, I will pray for you, but I have to tell you something first.” I looked her straight in the eyes and said, “You know, you ought to be so proud of yourself. Look at you! You got up today and came to the gym. You could have pulled the covers over your head and stayed in bed, but you didn’t. Instead, you are facing this with great hope and faith. I admire you, and you should applaud yourself!”
When this woman was reminded of her strength and tenacity, her whole face lit up! She had a great big smile and held her shoulders back. She recognized the importance of affirming herself and giving herself the proper credit.
If we are going to live in victory, our main encouragement has to come from the inside, stemming from the affirmation God has given us. Don’t be afraid to applaud yourself today. You may be going through some difficult situations, but you have strength to make it through. Encourage yourself, applaud yourself and move forward in the strength and victory God has in store for you!
…David encouraged and strengthened himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6, AMP) ‪#‎blog‬

Sunday, January 11, 2015


When you can't see a way out, remember God will make a way through.  There's always an option you can't see: The God Option.

My sister and I walk and talk every Saturday, we call it sister therapy.  The advantage is we know share history.  I've known her all of my life but unfortunately my mother did the best she could to divide us, compared us, and pitted us against each other.  Finally when I moved away, she wouldn't let me talk with her on the phone.  I am a terrible letter writer so we drifted farther and farther apart.  Then DH moved our family back into the area where my sister and parents lived.  She was furious with me for acting as if nothing forward 10 years.  I entered counseling and talked for the first time about not remembering anything before high school and not much of high school either.  She realized I acted as if nothing happened because I didn't know.  There are some cute let meme's on facebook that people lament that they wished they could just forget.  The mind can but the body and emotions remember without having any context as to why I felt the way I did.  I felt depressed and hurting and no understanding as to why so I felt guilty for feeling awful.  Counseling helped me piece together enough of my childhood to know my life was really messed up.  Now my sister and I share current events, validate each other, and remind each other that we are moving forward and changing our lives to become healthier.  Finding my sister again was one of the God Options in my life.

Integrating was another God Option.  Once I understood how I functioned in pieces, I didn't know how I could bring all my pieces together again.  I could see what I wanted but didn't know how to do it.  My counselor encouraged me to keep trying and learning and choosing boundaries and getting healthier and keep trying and learning.....for seven years.  I integrated.  I look back at what I accomplished and have no idea how I did it.  It was a God Option.

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

This is the God Option.

Christ walked on water and Peter got out of the boat and walked towards him.  With God all things are possible.

Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is! 

~ Author unknown

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Another consequence to living with a closed heart is alienation from others. We think that we can shut down our emotions & still achieve real intimacy with others, but that's not possible, To truly connect with another being; to have deep mutual understanding, we have to be open-hearted. If not, we experience painful existential loneliness. Furthermore, when we have a closed heart, we lack empathy, so it's much much easier to sit by & do nothing in the face of others' hardship. Being closed-hearted makes us cold-hearted. Not only are we capable of witnessing suffering in other living beings, it's also that much easier for us to hurt others. When many people are living with a closed heart, it becomes part of the fabric of our society. Our culture becomes one of coldness, where unfeeling responses to others are the norm. So, for the sake of our own relationships with others as well as the sake of our survival as a society, we must open our hearts & reconnect to others, empathize with them & feel, once again, moved to act on their behalf.
This touched a part of me that felt I needed to share this. It is posted on Facebook. If you follow the link it will take you to your Facebook page because that is way the link is designed. I do not know anyone's Facebook information except my own.

Several years ago my husband gave me a beautiful necklace with two open hearts. He watches me struggle through the quagmire of PTSD.  He encourages and stands by me through thick or thin.  He also has healthy boundaries and goes to sleep when I can't.  Occasionally, I feel jealous.  Sleep can be elusive.  Close-heart seems safe if you call self inflicted prison safe.  Opening my heart to myself is an ongoing process of accepting who I am and where I am going.  Open-hearted is scary and awesomely powerful.  Open-hearted allows me to connect with others that at one time in my life, I didn't believe was possible.  Warming hearts and creating an environment that encourages open-hearted choices takes effort and time but so worth it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

After Hardship

After hardship, what do you do?  When life knocks you down?  What do you do?  This article gave me some food for thought.  I certainly felt knocked down again this summer.  I worked so hard and once again felt like one of those cartoon characters that gets run over by a steam roller.  They are scraped up off the road and look like a piece of paper.  Until they finally pop back into shape.  Wiley Coyote squished with just his feet sticking out and eyes on top of the flat pancake as he toddles off.  I appreciated Evan Sanders reminding me that I Have a Choice.  I'm not a little kid any more that had big size people dictating my world.  I'm an adult.  I may get knocked down that is part of living.  I don't need to stay down.  Getting back up is my responsibility.  I can do it too.  KavinCoach was amazed at how many times I walked into his office all beaten down looking for some measure of relief from counseling.  I would pour out my frustration.  He would suggest some changes in my behavior and I would head back into the next week trying again and again and again.  10 years ago I would have never believed there was anything worse than cancer.  Now I know that there are quite a few things worse than cancer.  I am an expert at getting knocked down.  I keep choosing to get back up.  One day at a time, five minutes at a time, baby steps, inching forward, determined to choose to survive and learning to thrive.  After hardship, take a rest if you must, but don't quit. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wasting time

We waste so many days waiting for the weekend.  So many nights wanting morning. Our lust for future comfort is our biggest thief of life.  Joshua Glenn Clark

Hope for the Broken Hearted shared this on Facebook this morning.  There is also I'll be happy when....  Yea, I'll be happy when I get a job, I'll be happy when I am accepted, I'll be happy when I have X amount of money, I'll be happy name it....I got tired of waiting.  Even on a dark day I can find a speck of happiness lurking somewhere.  Sometimes I need to look for it.  Sometimes like a butterfly it lights on my shoulder when I am busy helping someone else. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

No pit so deep.....

"There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still."
-Corrie ten Boom Please pass along!

Mine deep you could lose the Empire State building down the hole.
 It was during some of my darkest hours that I felt reassured that God was only a prayer away. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Years ago, when I first started counseling, the counselor said that as I talked about stuff I would feel relief.  It didn't happen.  Over and over and over.  I felt discouraged and that I was doing something wrong.  After 10 years of counseling, I know the program.  I jabber about what seems to be tormenting me.  Counselor makes some observations or relates back to me to check in if she understood.  Then the last 10 to 15 minutes she makes suggestions of possible changes in my thoughts or actions.  Today, I felt that relief.  That feeling of "I can do this now."  I see where my thinking was running in circles.  Gave me a new perspective.  I realize now that this feeling happened before, I just didn't know what it meant.  One of the big things about counseling for me was pointing out what I was feeling and validating that emotion.  I am thankful for a counselor that makes a difference for me. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Risk Dread....spells Lack of sleep

 Rough day......If you don't want to read a bummer post.....checking tomorrow after my counseling session....should be doing better then, I hope.

One of the parts of counseling rarely discussed is the massive feeling of vulnerability I experience.  I am opening myself up to a relative stranger that may or may not except what I say.  They may or may not have a suggestion that will be helpful.  Sometimes it has nothing to do with the counselor.  Sometimes it is saying out loud those things I promised to keep quiet f o r e v e r.  True that promise was made with threat of bodily harm but it still feels binding.  Not logical.  Emotions riding high.  Knowing that I am walking into a mine field and I am choosing to go forward knowing full well I could get emotionally blown to bits.  I suppressed memories for a reason.  I have no desire whatsoever to poke around in them.  My body remembers and responds to triggers.  I know that the only way to remove some mines out of my mine field is to blow them up.  My body knows it.  My body refuses to sleep.  My body shuts off basic functions like swallowing and hearing.  Tension is screaming in my body to be released but I wait.  I know the process.  I know what has to be done.  I know that the only way is through.  I deleted a web page when I reread the article I originally intended to share.  It was an article that stated they knew what cause PTSD they boiled it down to the body not releasing tension from an experience.  By the end of the paragraph I knew their perspective did not match my experience.  I didn't have one trauma.  I had day after day after day.  My abusers told me they loved me then told me they loved my brother more and I had to go hungry so he could have seconds.  Not one day, not two days, but day after day after day.  The trauma doesn't end so when do you stop being prepared for more trauma.  The body goes back to rest when there is a place to rest.  When home is the nightmare, there is no place to rest.  They concluded that people with PTSD needed quiet, healing peaceful environment.  My trauma is inside my head head comes with me where ever I go.  There is no peaceful place that I can go when the turmoil comes with me.  It follows me into sleep....or play.....or doesn't matter where I go.  I have hidden away in a dark room with curtains closed and the memories haunted me.  Busy, wild ride roller coaster living keeps me just ahead of the worse for awhile, but my body can't keep up the wild race.  Calm unleashes the nightmares within.  This week PTSD reminded me that I may be controlling more of my life but it can still kick my butt.  It sucks. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015


What Would Jesus Do? is a popular question.  However, the thing I noticed about people that use this question is they severely limit the things Jesus would do.  He fed the hungry and rebuked the Hippocrates. He walked in humility and he walked on water.  He made the blind to see and turned over the tables of moneychangers. He taught the beatitudes and made a whip to chase the animals out of the temple.  He healed the sick and lift up the hands that hung down.  Ultimately, He did what no man can ever do He was crucified for the World and He said, "Come Follow Me."  In any given situation I think about what would Jesus do and I am in awe all over again about His kindness, gentleness, love, and majesty.  I shared today in church that one of the first books I ever bought was a Bible.  By the time I was 12 years old, I read the New Testament.  No easy task for a poor reader.  By the time I was 12 years old, I knew the depths of Hell.  Though my tender mind repressed most of my memories that feeling of darkness persisted.  In my darkest hour is when Christ taught me that I was not forgotten that He suffered Gethsemane so I might follow His light out of that deep hole.  Reading the New Testament I understood that my abuser lied to me.  Christ did not forget me.  Christ did not turn His back on me.  Christ knew exactly where I was and what I experienced.  He also knew that I needed to come to Him on my own path.  He searched for me and dragged me up out of the depths of despair and is my advocate cheering me on towards His path to follow Him.  He also lets me make my own mistakes encouraging me to grow.  No growth.  He wants me to grow into the woman He believes me to be.  How cool is that?  Yup, Jesus does amazing things.  In my stumbling way I try to follow Him. 

He Knows where to find me

His Light breaks through the darkest clouds

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pattern of learning

To succeed in 2015, we'll have to learn faster. Here's how:
1. You have to know what you want of your life before you become a master learner. If you don’t know what your goals are or dream life should look like, you don’t know WHAT to learn and, worse, you won’t be COMMITTED to truly learning it. Advanced learning requires clear focus and a definitive WHY for learning - without these you won’t stay disciplined enough to learn anything with real depth.
2. Avoid starting from scratch. With no model to begin from - no example or strategy you are following - you’re reinventing the wheel and doomed to waste time. So, what proven framework, person, strategy, or step-by-step instruction are you following in order to learn this new area?
3. Make a PRACTICE of mastering skillsets. A practice is a recurring habit or routine that deepens your skill in any given area. The important thing here is to make a daily practice of anything you truly want to learn. Without daily exposure and immersion in the area you are trying to learn you will never achieve mastery. Learning must be an everyday discipline.
4. Get feedback. As you begin something new, all leaps forward, all major advancement, rests on getting immediate feedback and direction. Learning is a social process, so ask other people for suggestions and direction as you move forward so you can adjust your approach. Don't listen to the haters, but never forget their can be valuable feedback from others even if you don't like how they delivered it.
5. Have a deadline. Without a timeline for developing your competencies, you’ll never act or you’ll fall off track. No deadline means guaranteed distraction. So, WHEN do you need to learn this new topic or reach the next level of skill? What’s the consequence if you don’t learn it by then? Knowing the answer to these two questions will accelerate your learning.
Watch the video and get the mp3/transcript here:
High performance coach and bestselling author of The Motivation Manifesto reveals 5 simple strategies for learning faster. These are common sense ideas but NOT common practice. You start with...
I am fascinated by ways people break down the steps to learning.  A how-to get information processed and used.  I am going to break these down to my own words.
1. Know your WHY?  I wrote a while back about knowing why you do what you do.  Then be committed to that WHY... without commitment it is easy to wander off on tangents that mean little to the central why.
2.  Learn from others.  We can't live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself.  This to me includes reading, taking classes, and listening to others.  

3.  Practice what you learn.  Learning means nothing if it is not put into practice.  

4. Get feedback.  This is the step that I feel a teacher, counselor or someone that has already gone before is helpful.  It is too easy to exchange ignorance.  The value is having someone to give healthy, informed feedback.  I was blessed with a professor that taught me the value of a good critique.  

5. A deadline is a goal with a date attached.  I agree with this one because without a deadline people tend to zig and zag or spin their wheels with minute details.  Deadlines keep me moving.  

The cool thing about this pattern is it can be used for learning anything.  I've used this myself many times.  I just have to remind myself that deadlines sometimes need to be fluid.  Moved back if needed or recognize that the task is larger than expected.  I believe in being a life long learner.  There is so much to learn in this world.  I would add one prerequisite....curiosity.

A story that I heard years ago illustrates the value of learning:

An older woman approached Dr. Louis Agassiz, a distinguished American
naturalist, after a lecture he gave in London. She complained that she had
never really had a chance to learn because of her lot in life. She and her
sister ran a boardinghouse and she simply didn't have time for anything
else. After listening to the woman's story, Dr. Agassiz responded, "Do you
say, madam, you never had a chance? What do you do?" She replied, "I skin
potatoes and chop onions." He then inquired, "Madam, where do you sit
during these interesting but homely duties?"

"On the bottom step of the kitchen stairs."
"Where do your feet rest?"
"On the glazed brick."
"What is glazed brick?"
"I don't know, sir."
"How long have you been sitting there?"
"Fifteen years."

Dr. Agassiz then handed her his business card saying, "Madam, here is my
personal card. Would you kindly write me a letter concerning the nature of
a glazed brick?"

An odd request indeed, especially from someone so highly esteemed in the
scientific world. The woman took the request seriously. She looked up
"brick" in the dictionary, which stated that it was a piece of baked clay.
This definition was far too simple to send to a famous scientist, so she
continued her search moving on to the encyclopedia. As she read about
bricks, she came to words that were unfamiliar to her, so she looked them
up in the dictionary. She became more and more intrigued. She studied
geology to understand how clay beds were created. She visited museums and
libraries to obtain more in-depth articles. She even visited a local
brickyard. When she felt her studies were complete on the matter, she sat
down and wrote Dr. Agassiz a 36-page letter on the subject of glazed brick
and tile.

In time, a reply came from Dr. Agassiz in which he informed her that it
was the best article he had ever seen on the subject and then asked, "If
you will kindly change the three words marked with asterisks, I will have
it published and pay you for it." Soon a letter was received by the old
spinster containing $250, quite a large sum in that day. Accompanying the
payment was another question, "What is under those bricks?"

She looked under the bricks and discovered ants. Thus she began an
in-depth study of ants. She found there were as many as 2,500 different
kinds. In order to understand the ant family she needed to study other
subjects as well. After extensive reading and careful study, she wrote 360
pages on the subject to Dr. Agassiz. This time he published it as a book
and sent her a large sum of money which she used to travel and visit all
the lands of her dreams. 

Graduation is not the end of learning. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Each day new again

"....but when that glorious sun began to climb the horizon life was new to me again. It shone as the bearer of renewed hope and infinite possibilities. So, placing one foot in front of the other, I pressed on."
-- Sir Edmund Hillary
Michael Provost, an amazing photographer on Facebook that shares beautiful pictures with quotes that match the beauty of his photographs.  I don't share his pictures on my blog so you will need to checkout his work on Facebook. 

Beginning of a new year is a time to review and set new goals.  I learned long ago that big changes usually result in failure within a few months.  I learned the value of breaking up those big changes into smaller increments that are more manageable.  Mix in a big dose of determination and I can accomplish those big ideas a little at a time. 

Improve my health
        sleep enough
        eat right
        take my medication

Improve relationships
        quantities of quality time
        listen with intent of understanding
        consider situation from the other person's point of view

Improve spirituality
         study scriptures
         pray and listen for answers
         keep my heart open to promptings

Each day is a new beginning.  Each year gives me an opportunity to look back to enjoy my achievements and continue on in the direction of my main goals.  I also like to decide on adjustments that need to be made.  One adjustment from this past year was that my boundaries were put in place for a reason.  Return lessons for not protecting my boundaries does not need to be a time to beat myself up.  Take a breath, lick my wounds, reset boundaries, and move forward is an acceptable sequence of renewal.  I learned this past year I am hurt enough by mistakes without beating myself.  Choosing to go back into counseling is not a sign of failure.  For me, it means I am strong enough to move forward again.  Pressing on is a day to day commitment.  Placing one foot in front of another even in baby steps is still progress.