Saturday, November 28, 2015

New traditions but....

Don't reinvent the wheel.

This Thanksgiving was a joy and delicious food flowed.  Our refrigerator is still stuffed with food.  I'll freeze some and eat others in new ways.  One of the things I tried was making my own stuffing.  I also bought a box of Stove Top stuffing because I love it.  My sister pointed out that it didn't make sense for me to struggle with making my own stuffing if I already like the Stove Top stuffing.  I thought about it and that makes sense.  I also tried draping the turkey breast with bacon.  I discovered that I don't like my turkey tasting like bacon.  However, the same trick with the ham tasted wonderful.  Learning to cook I am exploring new flavors and ideas.

My daughters and I enjoy gathering for Black Friday sales early in the morning.  The new part of the tradition is instead of going to a restaurant for breakfast, one of my daughters makes these fantastic cinnamon rolls to share.  So yummy.  I found a few items but mostly searched the shelves for items they are looking for the kids.  I am thankful I no longer need to decide what someone else would enjoy.  Sometimes I would get it right but I would feel really sad if I missed and gave them a gift the kids didn't really want.  I love using my phone for Internet searches.  We were looking for Polly Pocket dolls...none to be found for a reason.  Matel bought out the company that made them, changed it to try to copy Barbie, then people stopped buying them.  So they are no longer made.  Any dolls are now collectors items with price tags to match.  I am learning a great deal about keeping in my life the things that I enjoy.  Letting go of the things and changing the things I don't enjoy.  Life is good. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Morning....

Slept right through my alarm.  Met everyone at Joann's.  I already purchased most of the things I wanted on the Tuesday before.  Left me to browse and find more projects....yea just what I need.  I spent a wonderful morning shopping with daughters then part of the day watching cartoons with grandkids.  Helped fluff an artificial tree.  Worked on cleaning up from Thanksgiving.  Ready to sleep again.  Hugs to all.  Remember recovery is a vital part of Thanksgiving weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Had a Happy Thanksgiving

A day to celebrate family, friendship and survival.  I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  It wasn't perfect.  It didn't need to be.  Wonderful food wonderful family. With a wonderful day behind me I need to remind myself that recovery time is crucial.  Either I do this voluntarily or my body decides for me.  Good night. 

Tranquil moment

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Changing how I viewed myself

The one of the most difficult things I did during counseling was change how I viewed myself.  Setting boundaries I had to learn that I deserved to have healthy boundaries.  Holidays I had to learn to I deserved to have a joyful holiday.  Early in my counseling I told KavinCoach that I felt like I had a target on my back that said 'kick here.'  He replied, 'You do.'  He then went on to explain that how I walked, how I responded to people, how I viewed myself all shouted to every predator "Here's a sitting duck waiting to be abused."  I had to changed everything about myself. He started with teaching me how I viewed myself and all the rest followed.  Karate is helping me with the transformation.  I'm thankful for teachers that showed me how to take off the 'kick here' sign.

Nobody likes it when the boundaries change. “They” didn’t like it when I started asking for mutual respect~ why would they?? I had always put up with mal treatment before. I wasn’t asking for the moon, I was just asking for mutual relationship. Everyone was accustomed to me jumping through ALL the hoops, everyone saw my mother and my in-laws push me around, saw me cater to my husband, saw me put myself last and without my realizing it I showed everyone what I would accept. It is understandable that it took a while for me to change the way that I had communicated all those years. But it has paid off. Darlene Ouimet ~Author ~Emerging from Broken the Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Sunday, November 22, 2015


 *****Warning this may be triggering for some people.  If you don't want to hear a lot of heavy stuff, read something else today.  *****

I love meme's.  They are like the posters on my wall when I was a kid growing up.  Short thoughts that can pack a lot of meaning into a few words.  One of the ones that hits the top of my list as memorable and funny in a twisted way:

I can't please everyone but pissing them all off is easy.

I noticed a few months back an increase of criticism of those that expressed their religious views.  I noticed that I backed off on some of the things I was writing.  I lost some readers.  I wondered if I wanted to continue.  Then I realized I was in a spiraling down depression.  I was overwhelmed and sad.  I saw people suffering around me but I don't have enough resources to help them all.  I see homeless people on the corners on my drive to work.  I hear on the news the plight of thousands of Syrians which is a drop in the bucket of the millions that are displaced.  Yet not a peep on the news about the Christians that are being brutalized and murdered. The world seems to be racing towards the insanity that gripped the world for two world wars.  It would be wonderful that the whole world got along.  It doesn't.  One person posted that there would be no terrorist if people were educated.   I know from first hand experienced that there are those that are bright, intelligent, well educated that chose to hurt and destroy others.  Terrorist are not stupid or uneducated.  They choose to insight fear, create chaos, and hurt as many people as possible.  Their destruction does not consider anyone innocent....all are in the cross-hairs of violent people bent on forwarding their agenda of hatred.  Then my sister reminds me that we turn the problems over to God.  That we do what we can with the resources we have.  We are prepared for this moment in time for our purpose.  She reminded me that God is with us.  I reminded her that God does the impossible.  On God's team you are asked to walk in the bottom of the sea while the water is towering above.  He asks you to stand in your place with 300 others while the fight rages around you.  In the dark of the storm, He asks you to walk on water.  I keep that picture in my sewing room of Peter walking towards Christ and he starts to sink.  Am I prepared to get out of the comfort of the boat?  Will I take on the challenge of changing impossible to I'm possible?  I don't know the answers.  Tomorrow I pack two lunches, one for me and one to give away where ever it might be needed. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanks Judy

My sister is a blessing to me.  I forget how far I've come she reminds me.  I feel isolated and she reminds me I'm not alone.  I feel frustrated with things that are hard to explain, with her, I only need to say the minimum because she gets the rest.  I am thankful my sister was sent to our family because I doubt we would have met any other way.  She is amazing example to me.  She finishes books, prays, and gets me out exercising.  I'm thankful for my sister.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The "Season"

It comes every year.  The irony is I love the holidays.  But along with the joy and fun comes a dark encompassing gloom.  A daily struggle to see the world in its bright beautiful colors.  Sorrow weeps at the edges of the days.  Every day I promise that this year I won't sink into depression and every day I fail a little.  Seasonal depression isn't just not enough sunshine.  It is the time when every group and organization wants to do something.  One year a group asked me what they should do for a December meeting.  I answered, "Tell everyone you love them and stay home."  That was not the answer they wanted to hear.  I look forward to the fun stuff but I feel tired and constantly battling the demons that suck the joy out of cool stuff.  My counselor noticed how year after year come October my struggles were a little steeper.  My sessions more intense.  My life more muddled.  I truly wish I could be different.  Maybe I will, someday. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

All in

This week I had an interesting learning experience during my karate class.  I am learning a ground defense where I do a somersault kind of over my shoulder then stand back up.  It's kind of like falling with so much momentum that you go over top over tail and stand up again.  A bit scary for me.  When I just go ALL IN, I can do it over and over.  However, if I hesitate, I slow down just enough that instead of tumbling over I land hard with my elbow under my ribs.  My body is still not happy with me today.  A sharp elbow in the ribs leaves a lasting impression.  There are some things that to get through you need to go ALL IN.  I remind myself if there is no fear then there can be no courage.  I feel fear but my courage is bigger than my fear.  I didn't start out this way.  I let fear win for a long time.  My childhood was ruled by fear and manipulation.  Anger is the easiest emotion for someone else to manipulate.  I believe this is the reason I was cautioned by my counselor to recognize that anger is a secondary emotion, hurt, fear or frustration came first.  Sometimes all three come and anger covers these other emotions.  The ALL IN method was how I approached counseling.  If I was going to change my life I was going to do it ALL IN.  I did.  I totally changed the way I function.  For most of my life, I was 5 different people in one body trying to tag team my way through life.  I am now one person that can see 5 different ways to tackle a problem.  I left none of myself behind.  I went ALL IN.  In my experience, this takes Faith that some how I will get ahead.  More than once I reminded myself that falling flat on my face was still moving forward.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Coming out of the shadows

Learning to live.  I spent my childhood squashing myself into the mold my parents wished for me.  I tried desperately to fit in, be 'normal', stop standing out, find my place in the universe that seemed hostile and confusing.  I gave up.  My health deteriorated. I slip deeper and deeper into nothingness.  I didn't belong.  I didn't fit in.  I wasn't like everyone else.  I felt left out.  I felt nothing.  I was becoming nothing.  I felt like I was a burden.  I felt my family would be better off without me.  I was harming them.  I didn't want to.  I started self destructing a bit at a time.  I didn't want to hurt anyone else so I isolated, disappeared.  I was alive, yet rapidly dying.  Then came counseling.  A life line that felt more like barred wire.  Or imagine a rope thrown down with glass embedded.  To grasp it was painful, letting go was slipping further and further into nothingness.

Whoever told me that counseling was for weaklings, never went through counseling.  Counseling, you face your worse fears, your nightmares find their voice, the false images you hold dear to your heart are ripped away and held up to harsh light that reveals the sham, the lies, the distortions.  Counseling stripped away all the lies, what did I have left?  Mere ashes?  Distorted memories?  Fears that never end?  Or is that a lie too?  Cleanse the wounds.  Learn about and set boundaries.  Confess my fears.  Accept my past.  Refuse to let my past define who I am now.  Explore who I am. 

This article gave me a new way to look at my life.  Sit outside where I do belong, that doesn't stop me from listening to the music.  Create my own place.  Be myself.  Those that want me to fit into some other mold will go away.  They lose interest in that which they cannot control.  I don't need to walk away because they will do the walking.  I am not who they thought I should be.  They are missing out.  It is just the opposite of what I thought.  I will not hide. 

The link has a beautiful poem that I enjoyed reading.  I hope you enjoy it too.

 Be my own kind of wonderful. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Thanksgiving....I had an interesting conversation with a student.  She believed that once Halloween is over it is a straight shot to Christmas.  No turkey, no thanksgiving.  I learned that without Thanksgiving I have no appreciation for Christmas.  If I do not recognize the gifts I am given, I am not going to recognize new gifts either.  One year I made lists of things I was grateful for one a day until Thanksgiving.  Eventually I realized giving thanks is an on going process.  Everyday the sun rises, a new day is a gift.  I go to work, employment is a gift.  I have to wash dishes, enough food to eat is a gift.  My aches and pains remind me I have a body, my body is a precious gift.  I observed in the actions of others, without thanksgiving for a gift, the gift might as well not be given.  The funny thing is, if you stop giving the gifts, that is noticed.  I believe an integral part of thriving is thanksgiving.  I don't believe giving thanks makes problems go away, I do believe that gratitude puts them in perspective.  I am thankful for so many things, events, and people.  I can not possibly lists them in one day, so every day I express a bit of gratitude.  A daily dose of gratitude changes my attitude. 

Friday, November 6, 2015


Woohoo, I'm sleeping.  Down side, I'm not writing in my blogs.  At night is when I do most of my writing.  Today, I am going to school late so I can stay late for the fashion show.  I'll be taking pictures and documenting the event for the students.  I'm enjoying school again.  The new teacher we were waiting for arrived.  She is a lovely lady and I am giving a big sigh of relief that many of my struggles at school are now over.  I can focus on one class instead of trying to juggle two different curriculum.  I realize I am an assistant but I still need to know the content.  Fortunately with Fashion, sewing professionally for years, photography degree, and personal interest in interior design makes my job much easier.  This week I also talked to the students about surviving abuse.  My emphasis is that abuse influences my life but doesn't define my life.  I shared with them a definition for thriving that goes something like this, "Thriving is waking up in the morning excited about what you will be doing that day.  Looking forward to learning new things."  By this definition I am thriving.  I love it. 

I remember not all that long ago, I would wake up, move, feel pain, damn I'm not dead I have to get up.  Another grueling day, knowing, yes I said knowing, I would pass out sometime during the day.  I am thankful I didn't give up then.  I kept struggling forward even if it was inch by inch in an army crawl through emotional sludge.  I was determined not to stay where I was.  I am thankful for the counselor that taught me what I needed to do to build boundaries.  He believed me and believed in me.  He taught me about relationships.  He taught me that not everyone wants to hurt me.  He challenged me to grab hold of my prickly life and hang on no matter what.  I did.  Now, I am thriving, just liked he told me at the beginning of counseling. He told me, "I don't want you to just survive, I want you to thrive."  He saw a vision for my life long before I knew what thriving was.  I am thankful for his encouragement to get where I am today.  I AM THRIVING. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

So what can you say?

What you say and when depends on where the person is at when in crisis.  I like the phrase I heard, "First observe then Serve," Linda K. Burton.  Too often I am tempted to go for the quick fix.  What can I say or do for this to be over quickly.  Discomfort, mine or someone else, is difficult.  The modern culture of instant everything almost demands an instant fix to big problems.  Kissing a child's 'boo-boo' is such an example.  Not much effort doesn't take long.  Here's the problem.  I tend to want to do the same thing with bigger problems too. 

The article I shared on what not to say uses the last half of the article comparing being in crisis to treating a burn victim.  They give specific examples for each stage.
I believe it is worth taking the time to read through their example. 

What is the best thing to say?  I believe my first counselor was a wonderful example.  My sister and I both saw him.  We compared notes.  What he told my sister is not what he told me.  His words of encouragement for her were quite different than the words he used with me.  Gaining understanding of others and what words bring comfort ti them is very individual.  Even with the greatest of care, words sometimes hurt when they were meant to comfort.  A raw wound is harmed by the softest cloth.  'What can you say' has no easy-quick-fix-one-size-fits-all doesn't.  I remember when I was working in a fabric store.  I was required to great every customer and say something nice to them.  My main go to was "Have a nice day."  Seems safe enough until the day a customer erupted and shouted at me, "Don't tell me what kind of day to have!!!"  Wow.  I calmly replied, "Sir, I am required to say something nice to every customer. So, Have a day." 

My first counselor described talking to me was like running through a mine field.  Explosions at almost every step.  Healing took years.  I am still loaded with pesky land minds.  I have two challenges, how to say words that are soothing and calming, the other is how not to be offended when the other person is attempting to say something kind but should have their mouth stapled shut.  Perhaps one of the reasons I withdraw when I am hitting deep crisis is to relieve me from not getting pissed off over the smallest slight.  No easy answer for this one.

Monday, November 2, 2015

I'm reminded...

I am continuing a critique of a series of statements dubbed Stupid phrases for people to say to someone in crisis.  This is the original article

When I think of your situation, I’m reminded how blessed I am.

I am thankful I have not ever said this to anyone.  If you want to think it fine but please, do not say this statement to anyone in crisis.  If I had the energy, I would want to punch you out. Crisis and troubles in one life does not make anyone else more blessed.  Blessing are not a contest to see who gets the most.  I like the authors take on this. "The beatitudes heap blessing on those that mourn, on those who are meek, on those who are poor in spirit — not on those who are safe, secure, financially stable, and proud."  My view, life is not a comparison contest.  What happens to me does not make your life better.  What happens to you does not make my life worse.  When someone tells me, "My abuse isn't as bad as your abuse" or "Your abuse isn't as bad as my abuse", I want to shout, "abuse is abuse."  On the same idea, "Blessings are blessings."  Some of my most amazing blessing experiences were when I was in the bottom of the deepest pits of despair.  Blessings are showered out on everyone, gratitude helps me recognize my blessings.