Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Start where you are....

“Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.” - Bernice Johnson Reagon

I fell asleep last night before writing today's blog.  I woke up this morning with ideas swirling through my head.  It is the last day of 2013.  Other bloggers expressed their opinions of the ending of the year, some are happy to see it go and others are looking eagerly forward to next year.  As I worked out, I thought how 20 years ago there was no way I could have done this workout routine.  I still can't do the whole video; I need to modify it a bit.  A few months ago, I tried to keep up with the exercise guru and ended up injuring my arm.  It took months to heal completely.  My effort to keep up on someone else's agenda did nothing for them and I only hurt myself in the process.  It was a none too gentle reminder to start where I am.  20 years ago, a good day....I got up.  A fantastic day, I got up and got dressed.  I started where I was at and determined to improve myself.  Where I am now is way different than where I was then.

I have a wonderful friend that I admire.  We share some similar challenges.  The last time we visited she was lamenting that she was not where I am today.  I don't think I succeeded in explaining to her that I was never where she was.  I am where I am because though we are similar in many ways our paths are still quite different. I admire her progress.  I admire her determination.  I admire her kindness.  In her desire to improve herself she missed how awesome she is.  I hope every reader can take a moment sometime today and celebrate where they are right now.  Recognize their amazing strength.  Recognize their own worth.  Recognize that a desire to improve does not mean they are not amazing right now, moving from a position of power and strength to greater power and strength.  For so long, I only saw myself as a useless slug that couldn't pull my weight.  I didn't see the tons of rocks in my backpack that I was carrying everyday.  I didn't know I was fighting my past without even knowing what it was.  I used to call it my 'shadow warrior.' It could knock me out but I didn't know what it was.  The 'shadow warrior' has a name PTSD.  The rocks were unpacked with the help of my counselors.  I am recognizing I was not a slug not carrying my weight but a mighty ant carrying 10 times my weight.  Putting the load down frees up time and energy to move in a new direction.  Today, right now, I am amazing.  I thought of the little girl in the video:


I wonder where she is today? Does she still have that attitude of she is amazing, living an amazing life?  Life can really beat us up.  Feeling down and out makes it really difficult to look in the mirror and say, "I love myself."  I am the best one to play me.  I don't do well playing someone else.  I remembered one of my favorite Einstein Quotes:
Albert Einstein — 'Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.'
Today I am going to think about how far I have come and I am in a place of power and strength that I have never known before.

Happy New Year everyone.  

Monday, December 30, 2013


The most sacred place dwells within our heart, where dreams are born and secrets sleep, a mystical refuge of darkness and light, fear and conquest, adventure and discovery, challenge and transformation. Our heart speaks for our soul every moment while we are alive. Listen... as the whispering beat repeats: be...gin, be...gin, be...gin. It's really that simple.  Just begin... again.
Royce Addington
I Googled Royce because I liked her quote.  In her profile she wrote, “Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics, changed the direction of my life when he said, ‘What makes your heart flutter?  Do only that.  There is not enough time for anything else.’”  I’ll be Googling Richard and share with you what strikes my heart.  I’m impressed someone in Physics would have such a spiritual take on life.

Please visit our websites at www.innerkiddies.com

Around the time KavinCoach moved he asked me to create a picture of my hopes and dreams.  I never created it.  I didn't know.  I gave up on my dreams so many years ago.  My hopes morphed and changed and now my future seems vague. I met several major goals.  I graduated from college.  All our children are married with families of their own.  I worked my way through 10 years of counseling and now meet with MyCounselor once a month when I am doing well.  I am gaining strength.  I am learning confidence.  I am healing.  I am starting to dream.  I am learning about plans that combined with hope create those dreams of what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I am encountering possible challenges that I am rolling over in my mind.  I am reading books on recognizing my own strengths.  I am studying how I can grow.  Growing is thriving.  Along with studying I am praying and learning how to be closer to my Savior.  I know from past experience if I tackle impossible on my own, I fail.  However, I seek Christ and listen to the whisperings of the Spirit...impossible things become possible.  Dreams become reality.  What was impossible yesterday become my new reality.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Five minutes or next year?

"Never loan money to a geologist; we think 100,000 years is a short time." Beth Stevenson

 One of the tough things for a person that is depressed is goal setting.  What is the point of setting a goal for the next year if getting through the next 5 minutes is a monumental task?  I remember the encouraging words someone gave me during my darkest days. "Just take it one day at a time."  I grumbled back, "If I had to think about an entire day, I would have committed suicide a long time ago."  That is when I learned to live 5 minutes at a time.  My goal was to make it through the next 5 minutes.  Those dark days are less a part of my life.  More days are filled with sunshine and brightness.  I am realizing that as I battle back the depression, my view is lifted to other possibilities.  Goals seem possible.

I joked for years that I didn't make resolutions on January 1 because I hated the sound they made when they shattered on January 2.  Today I looked up the word resolution.  This is what I learned:
a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organizationalegislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolutionjoint resolution.
a decision or determination; a resolveto make a firm resolution to do something. Her resolution to clear herparents' name allowed her no other focus in life.
the act determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.; the act ofresolving.
firmness of purpose; the mental state or quality of being resolved or resoluteShe showed herresolution by not attending the meeting.
the act or process of separating into constituent or elementary parts or resolving.

The one the leaped out at me was number 4...Firmness of purpose.  I can have a firmness of purpose without breaking.  Since May, I determined to improve my health through exercise, changing my eating habits, and losing weight.  I wavered on some days but that firmness of purpose would bring me back to what I wanted to do.  I realize now that my belief about resolutions was distorted by the black & white thinking I was raised with.  I was raised with the idea that resolutions were rigid and the first mistake I made destroyed my resolve.  How silly is that?  A resolution sounds very much like a boundary.  I can select healthy boundaries and set my goals within those boundaries.  Last May, I resolved to improve my health.  I have done that.  Years ago when I started counseling, I resolved to improve my relationships.  I have done that.  More years ago, I resolved to understand and take back my life from a shadow warrior that I learned was depression...it is a work in progress but I am doing that, too.  Whether I call it a resolution, a goal, or just a vague idea I want to improve myself, the purpose is to get me moving and out of the rut of just putting one foot in front of the other.  Vic is one of my fitness gurus that I get his emails as reminders to exercise and pay attention to what I am eating. (www.vicmagary.com/blog/naughty-nice-fitness-fat-loss/)  He reminded me in the last email that small changes can accomplish greater things than larger radical changes since I am more likely to stick with a small adjustment.   It reminded me of a paper I wrote years ago on 7 simple changes.  I chose changes in three areas: physical, emotional, and spiritual.  This principle helped me to make some great strides to reclaiming my life.  I haven't done it as consciously as I worked through 10 years of counseling since I seemed to have more than enough on my plate from counseling assignments.  Now, I check in with my counselor about once a month with an occasional extra session when life is rough, you know like Christmas time. This year I progressed to the point of me deciding in what direction I need to move my life.  I am very excited about the possibilities.  I am looking at continuing to resolve to improve my physical health.  I plan to expand that resolve to improve my emotional and spiritual health.  I plan to revisit the 7 simple changes I learned to use over 20 years ago.  This year, the best is yet to come.

I am blessed with knowing that there is more to life than putting one foot in front of the other.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wish this were true for everyone

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!
Hamilton Wright Mabie
Pam here: Keep the conspiracy going! www.innerkiddies.com

I think one of the hard things and a big bubble as to why holiday depression occurs is that a sharp contrast of love and not loved is more obvious at this time of year.  When traditions swirl around a loving family it can heighten and emphasize the love shared; however, when family is neglectful or a war zone, the harsh light of contrast emphasizes the dysfunction.  Barbs are painful any time but when there is an expectation of Joy of the Christmas the barbs seem to sink just a little deeper.  I was happy for Roots to Blossom when she wrote, "words are just words, and no longer hold power over me."  She celebrates with her own family now and feels joy in seeing her children reap the success she made in breaking the chain of abuse.  Her life is different now.  The holidays are coming to an end with the New Year next week.  I am envisioning what next year will hold for me.  I am teaching myself to dream and then turning my dreams into my new reality.  A hallmark of thriving is the belief that the best is yet to come.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Year end inventory

Whenever you find yourself doubting if you can go on, just remember how far you’ve come. REMEMBER everything you have faced, all the battles you have won and all the fears you have overcome. Then RAISE your head high and forge ahead, knowing YOU GOT THIS! — Unknown


Facebook quote....know one knows where it originated:
 I have survived 100% of my bad days.

After Christmas and before New Year's Day, I try to assess the past year.  I evaluate my progress, what changes I made, what worked, what didn't, to prepare to go into the New Year.  I don't set New Year's Resolutions because I hate that shattering sound that happens somewhere in the first few weeks of the year.  I do set goals sort of but not the kind that says....I will read X number of books before next year.  Most of my life came in fragmented pieces with no sense of continuity. Survival didn't have me looking much farther than the next few minutes.  Things like long term goals were too overwhelming.  However, last May I set a huge goal to loose 50 lbs  by next May.  I already lost 40 lbs.  I changed the way I eat and my exercises.  I am also changing my perspective of myself.  I decided that long term goals are deliberate changes in my life to improve.  Thriving is growing dynamic adventure, that 10 years ago I didn't even know what it was.  Now, it is an every day occurrence. I like it...a lot.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Snow Art


Abundant Boxing Day  - http://www.factmonster.com/spot/boxingday1.html

An interesting tradition that is part of England's holidays.  Believed to be a time when servants were thanked by giving them boxes of food.  I suspect that the Ladies didn't want to have to eat Christmas left overs and sent them home with the servants.  :)

Now, it is a day to return unwanted gifts and snatch up bargain prices for Christmas decorations and wrapping paper. 

Abundant is a word often foreign to victims and survivors.  The main crux of being a victim or survivor is to be without the things needed...being without food, without safety, without protection, without connection, without... I could name all sorts of different withouts.  Abundance is synonymous with plentiful.  Enough for yourself and plenty to share I believe is the essence of abundance.  I also learned that it is a state of mind.  When we lived in Washington State, we moved there with no job but a hope for a future.  We had an uninsured baby, no medical insurance due to no job.  We were worried about how to cover this cost.  At this time, the first group of Boat People landed in Seattle.  A baby was born on board and they had nothing for the baby.  From my supply of baby clothes for my baby I was able to pull an entire bag of baby clothes and blankets to give away that still kept me with plenty for our own daughter.  As I study thriving and abundant living, I am learning that when I look at what others have and what I think I should have, I see what I am without.  When I take an inventory of what I do have and the resources available to me...I start to see what I do have.  I have a home, food on the table, friends and family that I just spent a lovely day with or emailing or texting or Facebooking.  I use Boxing Day as a year end inventory and consider, "If I needed to give some of what I have to someone else, what do I have to share?"  Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, Boxing Day is a day to appreciate the abundance I am now blessed with.  I am learning that the pathway from victim to survivor does not end in thriving but actually takes me into abundance.  My prayer is for each person to recognize the abundance in their life.  I am thinking about all the changes I made this past year and how thriving is now part of my everyday life instead of just a now and again thing. Happy Boxing day.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Packages are opened...gift paper is trashed...celebrating is happening...food is eaten...I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable day. 

Merry Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas stories I found online:

Why the Chimes Rang
by Raymond Macdonald Alden
There was once in a faraway country where few people have ever traveled, a wonderful church. It stood on a high hill in the midst of a great city; and every Sunday, as well as on sacred days like Christmas, thousands of people climbed the hill to its great archways, looking like lines of ants all moving in the same direction. 
When you came to the building itself, you found stone columns and dark passages, and a grand entrance leading to the main room of the church. This room was so long that one standing at the doorway could scarcely see to the other end, where the choir stood by the marble altar. In the farthest corner was the organ; and this organ was so loud, that sometimes when it played, the people for miles around would close their shutters and prepare for a great thunderstorm. Altogether, no such church as this was ever seen before, especially when it was lighted up for some festival, and crowded with people, young and old. But the strangest thing about the whole building was the wonderful chime of bells. 
At one corner of the church was a great gray tower, with ivy growing over it as far up as one could see. I say as far as one could see, because the tower was quite great enough to fit the great church, and it rose so far into the sky that it was only in very fair weather that any one claimed to be able to see the top. Even then one could not be certain that it was in sight. Up, and up, and up climbed the stones and the ivy; and as the men who built the church had been dead for hundreds of years, every one had forgotten how high the tower was supposed to be. 
Now all the people knew that at the top of the tower was a chime of Christmas bells. They had hung there ever since the church had been built, and were the most beautiful bells in the world. Some thought it was because a great musician had cast them and arranged them in their place; others said it was because of the great height, which reached up where the air was clearest and purest; however that might be no one who had ever heard the chimes denied that they were the sweetest in the world. Some described them as sounding like angels far up in the sky; others as sounding like strange winds singing through the trees. 
But the fact was that no one had heard them for years and years. There was an old man living not far from the church who said that his mother had spoken of hearing them when she was a little girl, and he was the only one who was sure of as much as that. They were Christmas chimes, you see, and were not meant to be played by men or on common days. It was the custom on Christmas Eve for all the people to bring to the church their offerings to the Christ-Child; and when the greatest and best offering was laid on the altar there used to come sounding through the music of the choir the Christmas chimes far up in the tower. Some said that the wind rang them, and others, that they were so high that the angels could set them swinging. But for many long years they had never been heard. It was said that people had been growing less careful of their gifts for the Christ-Child, and that no offering was brought great enough to deserve the music of the chimes. 
Every Christmas Eve the rich people still crowded to the altar, each one trying to bring some better gift than any other, without giving anything that he wanted for himself, and the church was crowded with those who thought that perhaps the wonderful bells might be heard again. But although the service was splendid, and the offerings plenty, only the roar of the wind could be heard, far up in the stone tower. 
Now, a number of miles from the city, in a little country village, where nothing could be seen of the great church but glimpses of the tower when the weather was fine, lived a boy named Pedro, and his little brother. They knew very little about the Christmas chimes, but they had heard of the service in the church on Christmas Eve, and had a secret plan which they had often talked over when by themselves, to go to see the beautiful celebration. 
"Nobody can guess, Little Brother," Pedro would say; "all the fine things there are to see and hear; and I have even heard it said that the Christ-Child sometimes comes down to bless the service. What if we could see Him?" 
The day before Christmas was bitterly cold, with a few lonely snowflakes flying in the air, and a hard white crust on the ground. Sure enough Pedro and Little Brother were able to slip quietly away early in the afternoon; and although the walking was hard in the frosty air, before nightfall they had trudged so far, hand in hand, that they saw the lights of the big city just ahead of them. Indeed they were about to enter one of the great gates in the wall that surrounded it, when they saw something dark on the snow near their path, and stepped aside to look at it. 
It was a poor woman, who had fallen just outside the city, too sick and tired to get in where she might have found shelter. The soft snow made of a drift a sort of pillow for her, and she would soon be so sound asleep, in the wintry air, that no one could ever waken her again. All this Pedro saw in a moment and he knelt down beside her and tried to rouse her, even tugging at her arm a little, as though he would have tried to carry her away. He turned her face toward him, so that he could rub some of the snow on it, and when he had looked at her silently a moment he stood up again, and said:
"It's no use, Little Brother. You will have to go on alone." 
"Alone?" cried Little Brother. "And you not see the Christmas festival?" 
"No," said Pedro, and he could not keep back a bit of a choking sound in his throat. "See this poor woman. Her face looks like the Madonna in the chapel window, and she will freeze to death if nobody cares for her. Every one has gone to the church now, but when you come back you can bring some one to help her. I will rub her to keep her from freezing, and perhaps get her to eat the bun that is left in my pocket." 
"But I cannot bear to leave you, and go on alone," said Little Brother. 
"Both of us need not miss the service," said Pedro. "and it had better be I than you. You can easily find your way to church; and you must see and hear everything twice, Little Brother--once for you and once for me. I am sure the Christ-Child must know how I should love to come with you and worship Him; and oh! if you get a chance, Little Brother, to slip up to the altar without getting in any one's way, take this little silver piece of mine, and lay it down for my offering, when no one is looking. Do not forget where you have left me, and forgive me for not going with you."
In this way he hurried Little Brother off to the city and winked hard to keep back the tears, as he heard the crunching footsteps sounding farther and farther away in the twilight. It was pretty hard to lose the music and splendor of the Christmas celebration that he had been planning for so long, and spend the time instead in that lonely place in the snow. 
The great church was a wonderful place that night. Every one said that it had never looked so bright and beautiful before. When the organ played and the thousands of people sang, the walls shook with the sound, and little Pedro, away outside the city wall, felt the earth tremble around them.
At the close of the service came the procession with the offerings to be laid on the altar. Rich men and great men marched proudly up to lay down their gifts to the Christ-Child. Some brought wonderful jewels, some baskets of gold so heavy that they could scarcely carry them down the aisle. A great writer laid down a book that he had been making for years and years. And last of all walked the king of the country, hoping with all the rest to win for himself the chime of the Christmas bells. There went a great murmur through the church as the people saw the king take from his head the royal crown, all set with precious stones, and lay it gleaming on the altar, as his offering to the Holy Child. "Surely," every one said, "we shall hear the bells now, for nothing like this has ever happened before." 
But still only the cold old wind was heard in the tower and the people shook their heads; and some of them said, as they had before, that they never really believed the story of the chimes, and doubted if they ever rang at all. 
The procession was over, and the choir began the closing hymn. Suddenly the organist stopped playing; and every one looked at the old minister, who was standing by the altar, holding up his hand for silence. Not a sound could be heard from any one in the church, but as all the people strained their ears to listen, there came softly, but distinctly, swinging through the air, the sound of the chimes in the tower. So far away, and yet so clear the music seemed--so much sweeter were the notes than anything that had been heard before, rising and falling away up there in the sky, that the people in the church sat for a moment as still as though something held each of them by the shoulders. Then they all stood up together and stared straight at the altar, to see what great gift had awakened the long silent bells.

But all that the nearest of them saw was the childish figure of Little Brother, who had crept softly down the aisle when no one was looking, and had laid Pedro's little piece of silver on the altar.

The gift Christ ask of us is our broken hearts...he enjoys fixing them.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Preparing to be with Family


TR wrote a wonderful post with ideas on things to pack for family visits.  Whether overnight or a few hours advance preparation can make the difference between another disaster and a visit to remember happily.  I am going to add a few more suggestions that I remember from other blogs but can't give credit since I am not exactly sure who made the suggestions.

* Have an exit plan-  Decide in advance how long you plan to stay, also decide under what circumstances to leave early.  You can always revise your plan if the visit turns out enjoyable.

*Prepare statements in advance to questions you know will come - It is always amazing to me that family think it is ok to ask incredibly rude questions, a suitable comeback planned in advance can help you navigate rough waters. This one is one of my favorites from KavinCoach: "Let me get back to you with that answer."  Most people rarely get back with you.

*Remember that "No" is a complete sentence, no explanation is required.

*I remind myself that I am worth protecting.  I am no longer the person that can be bullied.

Those that go no contact are not exempt from packing for the Holiday burst of family time....sometime they need to unpack.  You know leave guilt, fear and regret behind.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year when we maintain our boundaries and treat ourselves with the same kindness that we treat others.

If you have other suggestions please add them in comments and I will include them with this post.

Judy's post http://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/happy-christmas-eve/ added this link about giving and receiving words:

May this be a beautiful and blessed Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Social Gatherings

I like that I read my sister's comment before reading the article.

Scott zeroed in on to a sensitive place for me.

I don't fit in....wait...don't fit in to where?

I was born to parents that wanted only boys for children.  I was born a girl.  I was weird by their standard and wishes.  However, being a girl is very normal to 50% of the worlds population.  Not weird at all.  It was the company I keep.

I used to function with multiple personalities.  Hollywood presents multiples as really weird people...but wait...doesn't everybody act a little different in different situations.  Most people behave differently around their friends than around their boss. After integration, I discovered that I did many of the same things as before integration, I just remember doing them.

I attended a class where they talked about Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars....I realized during their discussion that I thought more like a man and I felt weird.  I took another class on colorizing personality categories by gold, blue, orange and green.  I took a quick quiz that put me in a green group of women and discovered a group of women that thought in ways very similar to me.  http://truecolorsintl.com/

Scott pointed out that during the holidays people are expected to socialize, attend parties, and it may not be with people that we fit in with but that doesn't mean that we are the ones that are weird or wrong or whatever it is that we feel.  Introverts don't enjoy socializing the same way as extroverts.  Engineers socialize much differently than counselors.  Change who I am socializing with, changes how much a fit in or don't.  Some groups I don't want to fit in.  I remember watching the toys on Misfit Island and felt that all they needed to do was change to fit in.  Rudolph showed that all he needed was for Santa Claus to recognize the value of his uniqueness. I believe in self-improvement and change and I am much happier after integration but I am still best at playing myself.  I want to be my own best self, not the best self someone else wishes I would be.

I am unique, just like everyone else. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Raw vs tender

This time of year is super tough for me.  From Thanksgiving through New Years are a billion triggers. (OK a billion may be exaggerating, maybe only a million.)  For the last 3 weeks I cried about something almost every day.  A little over a week ago, I was crying so hard I couldn't drive to work and called in sick.  I sent two emails to my counselor and he came across as super busy so I didn't feel like I could contact him.  Finally, talked with him last Thursday.  Again I was crying during the session.  He asked me what it was all about; I didn't know.  He asked me a series of questions trying to help me figure out why I was crying.  He asked me if I was in despair or hopeless; no to both of those.  Did I feel far away from my Heavenly Father?  No, I actually experienced several things where I feel particularly close to Him and my Savior Jesus Christ.  I feel like I am being watched over and loved from above.  I am still crying.  I explain that the crying feels different than what I experienced before.  MyCounselor pointed out that I may be grieving which is very important process and I need to go through.  I couldn't quite wrap my mind around what he was trying to say to me.  So I focused on the crying itself.  How do I feel when I am crying?  I realized what was new about the crying is my heart doesn't feel raw.  To me, feeling raw is feeling like your heart and soul has taken a beating emotionally.  Despair, hopelessness, fear, anger are all part of this raw feeling.  The crying now feels sad but hopeful, confused but not despairing, the only word I could come up with is tender.  I feel tenderhearted.  From the online dictionary I found this definition:  
easily moved to love, pity, or sorrow :  compassionate, impressionable  
I spent many years protecting my heart and often refused to expose myself emotionally.  I avoided tenderhearted... it scared me because I felt I was so vulnerable when I am tenderhearted.  MyCounselor suggested that I am able to feel what I am feeling because I am healing and allowing myself to soften my heart.  He said a lot more stuff that I am trying to process and wrap my mind around.  I'll write more as a process what I am feeling.  


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas at a Gas Station

My friend sent me this story....enjoy. 

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.
Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger.
"I see you're busy, I'll just go."
"Not without something hot in your belly." George said.
He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty.  Stew ... Made it myself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front.. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead.

"You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.

"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good."

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new ones .." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it.  "Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought.  
George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered that the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on.
"Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Please help me."
George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

"Something for pain," George thought.  All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you an ambulance."

The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.
He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."
George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is.  Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain."

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked.
"None for me," said the officer..
"Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.
"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!"

The cop reached for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to him, "we got 1 too many in here now."

He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pea shooter away."

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time.  The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry.  "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week."
George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."

The young man stopped crying, and looked at the cop "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer." he said.
Shut up and drink your coffee " the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer.
"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"
"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other. "That guy work here?" the wounded cop continued.

"Yep," George said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."
The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered,  "Why?"
Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a  break there. That ought to solve some of your problems."

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."
The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you."

"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.
"And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too," George said. "Now git home to your family."
The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."
George turned around & found the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you'd left?"

"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby."
The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man."

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man.

"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again."

The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned."

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

"You see, George ... it's My birthday.  Merry Christmas."
George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus"

This story is better than any greeting card.  MERRY CHRISTMAS AND GOD BLESS!
Now clear the lump from your throat, blow your nose, and send this along to a friend of yours or someone who may need a reminder as to why we celebrate Christmas.
Tomorrow is not promised, - Cherish today!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Copy and Pasting

Following Facebook instructions of Copy and Pasting:

I don't usually do this, but it hits close to home. Sobering thoughts as we enter the holiday season...It is important to remember that not everyone is surrounded by large wonderful families. Some of us have problems during the holidays and sometimes are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring, loving thoughts right now. If I don't see your name, I'll understand. May I ask my friend...s wherever you might be, to kindly copy, paste, and share this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. I hope to see this on the walls of all my friends just for moral support. I know some will! I did it for a friend and you can too! (You have to copy & paste this one, NO sharing please.) God bless.

The paradox of Christmas is it is supposed to be a happy time that we drive ourselves to the brink of insanity and sometimes over the edge trying to make it "Perfect."  My tree has lights on it but not decorated.  I bought chocolates from the story instead of making fudge.  I am going to have many presents late....maybe into next year.  And I'm ok with that.  My mother was the first one to share this poem with our family when I was a teenager....it was a bit scary considering the source.

See Mother, Funny Funny Mother

See Mother. See Mother laugh. Mother is happy.

Mother is happy about Christmas.
Mother has many plans. Mother has many plans for Christmas.
Mother is organized. Mother smiles all the time.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother smile. Mother is happy.
The shopping is all done. See the children watch TV.
Watch, children watch.
See the children change their minds.
See them ask for different toys.
Look, look, Mother is not smiling.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother sew.
Mother will make dresses.
Mother will make robes.
Mother will make shirts.

See Mother put the zipper in wrong.
See Mother sew the dress on the wrong side.
See Mother cut the skirt too short.
See Mother put the material away until January.
Look. Look. See Mother take a tranquilizer.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother buy raisins and nuts.
See Mother buy candied pineapple and powdered sugar.
See Mother buy flour, and dates, and pecans, and brown sugar, and bananas, and spices, and vanilla.
Look. Look. Mother is mixing everything together.
See the children press out cookies.
See the flour on their elbows.
See the cookies burn. See the cake fall.
See the children pull taffy. See mother pull her hair.
See mother clean the kitchen with the garden hose.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother wrap presents. See Mother look for the end on the scotch tape roll. See Mother bite her finger nails. See Mother go.
See Mother go to the store 12 times in one hour.
Go Mother go. See Mother go faster. Run Mother run.
See Mother trim the tree.
See Mother have a party.
See Mother make popcorn.
See Mother wash the walls.
See Mother scrub the rug.
See Mother tear up the organized plan.
See Mother forget gift for Uncle Harold.
See Mother get hives.
Go Mother go. See the far away look in Mother's eyes.
Mother has become disorganized. Mother has become disoriented.
Funny, funny Mother.

It is finally Christmas morning. See the happy family.
See Father smile. Father is happy.
Smile Father smile.
Father loves fruit cake.
Father loves Christmas pudding.
Father loves all the new neckties.
Look, look. See the happy children. See the children's toys.
Santa was very good to the children.
The children will remember this Christmas.

See Mother. Mother is slumped in a chair.
Mother is crying uncontrollably.
Mother does not look well.
Mother has ugly dark circles under her blood shot eyes.
Everyone helps mother to her bed.
See Mother sleep quietly under heavy sedation.
See Mother smile.
Funny, funny Mother.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

PTSD crunches Christmas

Guilt on top of all the other stresses makes Christmas one of the most dreaded times of the year for some people.  The Facebook page encourages sharing their information.  PTSD effects many people.  Holiday parties and end of the year changes, even happy ones, can totally disrupt routines and other defenses built by PTSD survivors.  Expectations, real or imagined, pours on the pressure sometimes to breaking point.  If you love someone with PTSD, reassure them often, even over things that were discussed and supposedly resolved.

PTSD and Seasonal Stress: Just the mention of the holidays and winter can send chills up our spines. Along with guilt because this should be the most wonderful time of the year… or so they say. Unfortunately, those who deal with the relentless demands of PTSD are especially vulnerable this time of year. Stormy weather, darkness, cold, threatening power outages, holiday hooplahs, excessive special events, family stresses, increased financial pressures, trauma anniversaries, overloaded schedules, lack of exercise, more crowds, less space, emotional upheavals, etc…. None of which are helpful to PTSD survivors and their loved ones. So since we cannot fast-forward to spring, how do we best make it through these colder, darker, difficult days? The following are some tips that have helped both me and my husband, a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD, during times of seasonal stress. Keep in mind that although secondarily impacted, we as loved ones are just as vulnerable to the triggers and effects as those with the PTSD. 
1. Be aware of your triggers. What circumstances (and people) cause your PTSD symptoms to increase? Learn to recognize your symptoms as well as what triggers them. Some typical signs of triggering are flashbacks, avoidance, numbing, putting up walls, withdrawing, hyper-vigilance, irritability, easily startled, memory blocks, sudden bursts of anger or other emotions, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, fear, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other additive behaviors, difficulty holding a job, relationship problems, and suicidal thoughts. 
2. Stay tuned to your body’s warning signals. Listen to your body. Learn to trust it. Does that headache, or indigestion, or grinding teeth mean anything? 
3. Do all you can to stay safe and healthy. Each of us is a choice maker. Although PTSD can be tyrannical at times, ultimately we have the power to choose what is best for us in the long run. Keeping our bodies feeling safe is crucial to surviving the PTSD onslaughts. And not giving in to destructive behaviors will pay off, not only for us but for those we love. 
4. Surround yourself with good support. Who are the people who are helpful (not the leech type)? Reach out to others who are supportive. No one needs to be alone! If you have no support, please check out website for options of local groups and online support. LoveOurVets.org 
5. Remember you can’t keep everyone happy. Surprise! (I’m just now learning this!) Plan to disappoint a few people if necessary in order to save your own sanity. Do try, however, to be polite if possible. Learning to say “No, thank you” graciously comes with practice. 
6. Be good to you. Take time to do what you need and want. This is no longer a luxury but a necessity. In the book LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD, the entire middle section is devoted to caring for our own needs. Do you even know what you really NEED? Perhaps a light box to perk up the dark days, your favorite music, a new winter activity/sport, tastier cuisine, afternoon naps, indoor exercise, a canine companion, etc. And don’t forget to pause during the chaos to give thanks for all the blessings you DO have. You are worth it!<3 
7. Call for extra support if needed. The courage to reach out for help when needed is truly admirable. The alternative is not the answer. There are people waiting to talk with you 24/7 any time. No one can do this alone. Chaplain John Prater (641) 275-0390 or (515) 699-5463 1-800-273-8255 Veteran’s Crisis Hotline There is no need to dread the days ahead. Stay connected with those who are good for you, and take care of YOU. One day, one moment at a time. It will be spring before you know it! (And then we will be probably be moaning about pulling weeds, mowing grass, and sunburn!)  Welby From my blog on LoveOurVets.org 
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