Friday, August 30, 2013

Learning from a photographer

I love to learn new things.  I also enjoy finding the connections between one issue and another.  I want to question everything and see how it relates to other subjects.  Lately I haven't picked up my camera very often.  Several things happened simultaneously that took a while to sort out what was wrong.  First, I was spending too much time looking at other photographers.  I became so enthralled with the beauty of their photographs that I lost the feeling of awe of my own work.  Second, I have a large project that is pulling my creative resources and attention away from photography.  Third, I realized that I don't want to make my living from photography.  In the process, I loss direction for where I want to go with my photographic skills.  I am reusing the same photographs rather than exploring the vast number of photographs tucked away on my computer.  So what does this have to do with my blog?  I get a photography blog notices in my email.  This way one of the articles was 7 ways to create authentic portraits.   This concept interested me years ago when I was studying photography in college.  I read about Gertrude Kasebeir I admired her technique of getting the personality of the person in her prints during a time when photographers didn't worry about doing that.  I realized that the 7 steps apply to living an authentic life as well as the pictures. 

1. Stop second guessing yourself...constantly checking your progress, slows down and interrupts living.

2. Explore it is easy to get into a rut.  Explore new ways to handle a situation.  Step out side of my normal way of doing things. 

3.  Lose the Fat lens...remove barriers that keep me from living an engaged life.

4.  Get to know my subject...I can't tell someone's story if I don't know what it is.  Get to know the people in my life. 

5.  Put the camera down...stop rushing to the finish line and spend the time connecting to the people that are in my life.

6. Control my life purpose...where am I going with my life.   Is what I am doing keeping me in touch with my elemental purpose in living?

7. Meditate/Pray...I believe meditation and prayer are slightly different.  Meditation is a chance to get in touch with my spiritual self.  Prayer is checking in with God and letting Him know my needs and desires.  Also an opportunity to thank Him for so many wonderful blessings that are already in my life.  I believe both are essential to living an authentic vital life. 

Deep breathes begin again.  Correct some of my thinking.  Enjoy living.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Failure is good?

"Yesterday's failures are today's seeds that must be diligently planted to be able to abundantly harvest tomorrow's successes."
- Author Unknown

I read this then reread it then posted it in my drafts so I could think about it some more.  I always believed that I learned more when things went wrong.  In the computer lab, I would spend hours and hours fixing my own and other people's mistakes.  My job centered around the computers failing to do what the artist wanted.  In essence my job was built around failures.  I experienced the same thing with sewing.  I spent years making mistakes until one day I made an entire dress without needing to rip out anything.  I reread the directions to see what I missed. where in there did it say rip out seams.  I sometimes joked that there were no errors just new designs.  Nice joke but doesn't fly when I put a sleeve in backwards.  Bottom line is in the learning process I failed a lot.  But I didn't make a big deal about it because I cut myself some slack for learning.  I told people that I learned to sew by trial and error, my errors were a real trial. 

I sat here thinking about this and I thought about our garden in Washington state.  We happened to live south of Spokane in a tiny little town that is one of the coldest spots in the continental United States.  Hard freezes in every month of the year.  (Yes, we often wore coats to watch fire works for the 4th of July.)  We had a double lot so there was room for a huge garden.  The first year I planted like crazy and watch the frost kill most of it.  Then we planted potatoes that could take the cold weather.  When we dug them up we ended up with about as many as we planted.  We failed year after year.  We were determined.  DH took a soil sample to the county and asked them what we needed to change our garden from fail to success.  We added a bunch of manure, peat moss by the bails, and a bunch of other stuff that was depleted from the ground in the area.  We planted 20 lbs of seed potatoes.  A few years before we planted 10 lbs and dug up 10 pounds.  I weeded, watered, pulled ugly bugs off the plants (I tried to avoid using pesticides therefore plucking bugs did the job) and generally had faith that what we did would make a difference.  Harvest time finally arrived.  DH went out to dig up the first potato plant.  He came back in filthy and told me to call our friends that lived out in the country.  He asked him to bring his shovel and help dig potatoes.  Our friend asked us how many potatoes we planted.  We told him 20 lbs.  His response, "Well, that is all your going to dig up."  We bribed him with dinner for his family if he would come and help.  DH and his friend dug potatoes all afternoon.  When all were dug up, we weighed just the uncut potatoes, over 600 lbs (about 275 kg).  We had another couple of hundred pounds of potatoes that were cut from the shovels.  We fed our family, their family and we gave away a couple of hundred lbs of potatoes.  Some of the potatoes were the size of footballs.  It took only one potato to feed a family of 8.  We ate them all winter long.  I made our own french fries, baked, mashed, raw (from the ground they are pretty tasty) you name it and I cooked it.  Some of the things I learned from this experience.  We asked experts.  We listened to advice.  We followed through and actually did what was suggested.  We accepted limitations of our area, planting potatoes that could take the cold instead of tomatoes that froze up and died.  We accepted correction.  We were persistent.  We put in a lot of crap.  The work was intensive at first.  But the work paid off.  Failure is good when I allowed it to change me and seek better answers.  Failure is good when I use it as a stepping stone to success.  Failure is good when I don't let failure defeat me. 

Pictures from my first week of Digital photography:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


"The only limit to our realization of 
tomorrow will be our doubts of today." 
- Franklin D. Roosevelt  

I hit my reset button. Tuesday night I fell asleep long before my normal bed time. I slept more hours in one night than I usually do in what's up with that? I think back over the past several weeks, I ran myself to empty.  Nothing more to give.  When I get like this, negative tapes of self doubt scream in my head.  My sister's suggestion of counteracting it with "I am belong to God" stays unsaid.  Swamped with feelings of inadequacy.  I am totally overwhelmed at my work.  We are 3 weeks into school and I feel like I am two weeks behind already.  I am forgetting important things I am supposed to do.  I am stressing over what I should write.  I am so tired I can't seem to put my thoughts together.  I have over a 100 drafts that I could polish up and post but I sat and played a word game.  Beat some levels.  Then I sat down to catch up on some posts I haven't read and there is Joel....nagging me about Drafts unpublished just don't count because nobody can read them.  You can check it out yourself

I am amused by the picture he posted with the article.  Sometimes we need to draw ourselves a pair of legs and get moving.  One of the challenges I had with counseling was how often my reaction to stress was to freeze, lockup, not move, blank out, bury my get the picture.  When I feel unsure of where I am going, I arrive nowhere fast.  I have projects out my ears to do.  I set one project aside and everything else is following it into my bog of inaction.  I was supposed to set one project aside, not all of them.  But there it is, the constant challenge of keep moving.  The knowledge that on the move I am more likely to splat on my face but immobile I may not splat but I don't do anything else either.  I am going to remind myself in the morning that just like giving me a new allotment of calories tomorrow morning, I also get a new allotment of minutes in the morning, too.  I need to get to sleep before morning comes with its new minutes before I get some sleep.  Good night.  :)

Monday, August 26, 2013


Joel cracks me up sometimes....

He writes a reminder that to keep doing when you don't feel like doing anything.  He gives an example:
Instead of not working out at all, at the very least you’re doing 100 pushups.
Can I just say right here that I couldn't do 100 pushups on a great day? That being said he does have a point.  When I realize that I am drifting back into old ways of dealing with life that are ineffective or self destructive, I need to hit a reset button.  For years I worked with computers, the first thing I would do with a problematic computer was restart it.  One person asked why this was helpful.  I told them that the computer goes through all sorts of self checks and puts everything away to restart.  I believe there is revalue of restarting to hitting a reset button for myself.  I am seeing MyCounselor only once a month now and I realized this last time that he didn't teach me anything new.  He was a reset for me to see if I am doing what I should be doing to take care of myself, improve my relationships with loved ones, and I was making healthy choices for the challenges I am facing. 

The line that jumped out at me in Joel's post is:
If you find yourself stuck, stop thinking you need to do everything. You just need to do something. Anything.
Inaction, zoning out watching TV or video games are all behaviors that decrease my ability to solve why I am stuck.  Like a computer that locks up, I need to hit my restart button.  Decide something that I do daily to get my thinking back where it belongs, unstuck and making healthy choices again.  Sometimes writing these posts are self reminders of what I need to be doing or insight as to why I am not doing what I need to be doing.  Reading other people's blogs sometimes gives me suggestions of things I can do or reassurance that I am not alone in this struggle called life. 

Sometimes I am staring at a problem right in my face but I feel stuck as to how to solve it.  Hit the reset button.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Sister's Motto

My sister and I go walking on Saturday mornings.  I jokingly call our time 'Sisters Therapy.'  We talk about everything and anything.  My sister and I worked hard to develop this kind of relationship.  When I started counseling, I talked about how I had no memories of my childhood.  My sister started talking to me...she had been angry with me, wondering how I could behave as if nothing happened.  She didn't know until then that my memories were gone.  We started slowly talking about things that I could remember.  We worked at not allowing what our parents said to compare us to come between us we made it a non-issue.  I admire my sister and the work she put in to become healthier.  One of the things she worked on this year was to develop a motto to live by.  A short sentence that is easy to remember, she decided on "I belong to God."  I listened to her as she developed the idea and the power it has to over come her negative tape.  Recently, she shared the whole concept on her blog.  Tears came to my eyes as I saw the completed picture.  She posted it on her author's blog of Laurel Hawkes:

The part the impressed me so much is her clear understanding that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we belong to him...already paid for.  His sacrifice paid the ransom...up to us if we accept Him as our Savior and Master.  His love for us he gave all that he is for us.  I believe that I belong to God. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I do not have too many books

I love books...I didn't start out this way.  I struggled with reading.  It was hard for me.  Mildly dyslexic letters don't stay put.  Spelling is a nightmare for me and I often can't tell if something is spelled incorrectly without the little red dots under the word.  My seventh grade teacher gave me a bad speller's dictionary with psychology in the 's' section.  I was blessed with a lovely librarian that introduced me to such books as The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  I was encourage by the librarian to get permission to help after school.  In junior high, I continued to help in the library.  I would re-shelve books that were checked in.  The school had a program where kids could buy books.  I used my allowance to buy a few each year.  Also in our city was a yearly used book sale at the fair grounds where a barn size building was filled with books.  My friend persuaded me to read The Lord Of the Rings. I loved the book but I still hated reading.  I read the New Testament in junior high too.  In high school, I tackled my reluctance to read and signed up for a free reading class.  I was required to read any book I wanted then write a book report. I started by reading books my mother suggested...our taste in reading is not similar.  I struggled with Men to Match my Mountains.  My teacher encouraged me to switch to something I would actually enjoy.  I read The Little Prince, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Bellevue a State of Mind, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, to name a few.  My teacher knew that if I became engrossed in reading I would over come my fear and become enthralled in the book.  Practice makes a difference.  I also learned tricks like the word bed so I would know which was a b or a d because the word bed looks like a bed when you spell it right.  College was another world of increasing dependency on books.  I had a small collection of my own books and I started adding more to the collection.  My books were much bigger in college.  Then after I was married, I was unable to attend college.  My DH challenged me to learn as much on my own as I did at college.  I discovered the nonfiction section of the library.  I became a life long student with books as my mentors.  I continued to collect books.  I bought books at used books stores like a collection of Shakespeare that I have never read but I felt should have in the house.  I packed my books where ever we moved to.  Long before I entered counseling I learned to use books to explore almost anything.  Two things I found I couldn't learn from a to cook and how to interact with people.  I didn't know that both were glitches buried in my forgotten past.  (Yes, I read cookbooks but if you forget you are cooking something you will still burn it.)  I tackled many problems by reading books.  Someone once asked me how I knew so much about computers I quipped back, "You know the book that says read me first, I did."  I was already in the habit of reading when KavinCoach used books with me to try to tap into what was in my past.  I remember in high school feeling very surprised that anyone could remember their childhood.  I didn't know how unusual it was for me to have almost no childhood memories.  KavinCoach started probing my mind by having me read a book and for me to tell him my reaction to the book.  Each book I brought back and asked him what he wanted me to learn from it.  The books were increasingly more severe child abuse cases.  I didn't react.  I started buying my own copy of books.  I started writing in my books having a chat on the page with the author.  I believe that the world expands beyond time and borders.  J.K. Rawling can write her wonderful books in England and I can be enthralled with her stories in the US.  The books of the Bible are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.  I love books I have multiple book shelves and two deep on many of those shelves.  :)  Facebook I became introduces to the group of 'I do not have too many books' and I enjoy the pictures of other people's collections.  Here is a link to one of the delightful pages:


Friday, August 23, 2013

Take every step

Fair warning minirant ahead.....
Daily Dose - "It's over when it's over. No matter how much you want the process to be over, the end occurs when every single step has been taken. Each step has relevance. Each step has meaning. Each step potentially has pain. Each step is one step closer to your goal. Remember the only way to reach your dream is to take every step. No more, no less. Moving? OOUUTT"
PTSD once was called 'a soldier's problem.'  Soldier's that suffered were ignored at best and ridiculed at worst...finally it was recognized as real response to horrifying events.  I get a lot of connects to military web pages and information.  Only, I was never in the military.  I respect those that choose that route.  I joked that I was raised in America's war zone.  My son lived in Washington DC for a few years.  I did the research and the death rate per capita is  higher there than in Iraq.  People post cutesy little posts about all the stuff they did when they were kids and they don't have any problems.  Great dandy....I know plenty of kids that didn't survive the 'boys will be boys' beat the hell out of each other, unchecked bullying, hiding under the desk for air raid practice.  I fully understand why we need to worry less about teaching the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic and require things like art, non-violent communication, how to negotiate, and human rights.  Kids in the United States and other 'free' countries know exactly what the term 'human trafficing' means.  There are people in 'free' countries that are treated as slaves by their parents or others that should protect them.  Do a little research and you will learn the horrors of modern day slave trade, sweat houses, and brothels.  Some dream to have enough to eat....Some dream to feel safe....some dream to feel they belong....some dream to walk in the sunshine unafraid.  The process of escaping from the underbelly of ugliness trying to crush a person is one step after another.  Too many sit back waiting to be saved.  Too many give up.  Too many become one of the ones that they hate the most.  Too many use drugs/alcohol as an escape hatch to another hell.  A hell that is recognized for what it is.  I was told how lucky I was to have such an easy childhood....I trade my nightmares for theirs any day.  Stepping away from ugliness, walking away from horror is done one baby step at a time.  Every step away makes that much more of a difference.  Struggling upwards takes tremendous effort.  Some days just trying not to sink lower is a good day.  I still remember the substitute teacher bursting into the teacher's lounge saying he was still breathing.  I smiled and agreed, "Breathing is good."  He stopped as if a chained held him.  He looked at me and replied...."Breathing is good." Breathing, moving, each step counts.  To dream, believe in a future that is better than the past, to hope for a place to grow....a common thread to human living.   Move OUT....head for a dream....even if it is in itsy bitsy baby steps.  

For the caterpillar, the cocoon was the end of his world.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I crashed out sleeping on the couch with the light on.  I am so tired but not resting easily.  My good intentions are falling apart at the seams. 

All stressed out and no where to go.  Relieved to realize that today I see MyCounselor. 

I am thankful to amazing friends and pages that post really marvelous quotes, pictures and reminders that I am not the only one struggling.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My life comes in Themes

The theme this week is about giving up or not.....

thanks to my daughter for posting this on Facebook.
There are things that are good to give up and there are things that are just temporary stumbling blogs. Lately my path seems to be loaded with stumbling blocks....trying to not slash the other three tires. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sharing a letter

I am working at loosing weight with the help of my doctor, counselor and Myfitnesspal. I am not doing it to be more beautiful or to attract attention or anything except that my body was sick and getting sicker by what I was eating. I am not dieting, I am changing my life style. I am not trying to meet the demands of someone outside myself; I am trying to listen to what my body was begging for, to be taken care of. I read this article and felt it was worth sharing. I lived with a person telling me I was fat when I weighed only 125 lbs. I saw how fad dieting and yo-yo weight loss and gain can be destructive and addictive. I am changing my life and loving myself because I deserve it.

This is the letter that prompted me to post the above on Facebook.  I was talking with DH this evening that at 55 I can do more than I dreamed of ever doing at 32.  I was so sick then both body and spirit.  I appreciate Iris Higgins writing this letter.

How many times did I try to change myself to meet someone else's expectations?  Learning to love myself involved accepting myself exactly as I am.  Loving myself I choose to become my best self by my standards.  At the dance studio I go to are reminders on every wall that I am beautiful. I am not defined by a number on a scale.  When I started 3 years ago I wouldn't look at the mirrors.  Now, I can see myself growing stronger every day.  My spiritual strength and my physical strength are growing together.  As I strengthen myself physically, I am lifted spiritually.  As I grow spiritual my strength increases physically.  Body and spirit make a powerful team.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Provoke Not Your Children

Ephesians 6

King James Version (KJV)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

One of the struggles a survivor has that believes in the Bible is the commandment Exodus 20:12. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.  How does one honor a person that lied to me, manipulated me, hurt me, neglected me?  How does one honor a dishonorable person?  The verses in Ephesians I believe holds the key....parents don't piss off your kids.  Parents have a responsibility in how they raise their children. 

I also learned that honor was more about me then about them.  I view the role of parents of great worth and value.  Unfortunately, not everyone taking on these roles choose to make healthy choices.  I learned that when a person uses the commandment to bully me into doing something I don't agree with, I recognize that it is their problem and I am not required to follow through on what they believe I should do.  I decide what is honorable.  Sometimes the honorable thing to do is walk away from the parent that is trying to harm me.  Counseling opened my eyes to how I was treated.  I learned that I had rights.  I learned that second class citizens were treated better than I was.  I learned by observation that my mother would make sure I was alone before saying really cruel things to me.   I make sure that I am never alone with her.  I honor the role of mother by doing the best I can to be a different kind of mother than the example I received.  I do not claim to be perfect.  I do my best to honor my role as a mother. 

There is a test before a person can get a drivers license.  There is no test for becoming a parent.  There are classes in reading, writing and arithmetic but no required classes on being a healthy caring parent.  There is recognition for high grades, high IQs, sports and other accomplishments but many parents can assure you that other than mother's day and father's day there is very little recognition for being a good parent.  Parenting is a tough role.  A child does not get to choose their parents.  This combination can lead to widely varying results.  No one knows what happens in a parent child relationship accept the parent and the child.  Siblings may not know what one child had to endure.  Sometimes it is perspective and sometimes it really is poor choices on the part of the parent.  Dead beat dad's hit the news more often, unfortunately plenty of mothers left their children's lives in shambles.  Too often the people reciting the commandment about honoring parents are trying to cover their own short comings by bullying compliance out of the child instead of honoring their role as a parent. 

Found on FB

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I am Christian and I learned a few things about and from abusers.  Abusers use the knowledge that I am Christian to their advantage.  They tell me I am being unforgiving when I place boundaries to protect myself from their cruelty.   They say that being Christian means I turn the other cheek and the other one and the other one.  Parent abusers say to Honor your parents without behaving honorably.  Abusers are knowledgable of religious beliefs and use them to their own advantage to keep down their victims.  I understand Bible bashing from another perspective by those that use the Bible to manipulate and hurt others.  For a time, I stopped reading scriptures because I saw how they were used negatively.  Christ knew of my experience and prompted me to keep reading and studying and opening my heart to all He had to say.  One of those passages is where He counsels to put on the Whole Armor of God.....He wants me to wear Armor....He is not expecting me to be defenseless.

Ephesians 6:10-18

King James Version (KJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

To protect the very core of ourselves, there is Truth.  Over and over again as I read the blogs of others Truth is the clarion call to recognize the behavior of abusers.  Meeting their lies with truth reveals them for what they are and protects who we are.  Breastplate protects our hearts and vital organs.  Righteousness is on going behavior of choosing God's path of righteousness....I learned a long time ago that Righteousness forms a protection that abusers can't penetrate because it is about me making choices to follow Heavenly Father's son Jesus Christ.  An abuser pales compared to Christ.  Protecting your feet in battle is vital.  The gospel of peace is Christ's teachings.  He is not a milk toast Christ.  He is strong and powerful but choose kindness and righteousness as his attributes to encourage us to follow Him.  A shield in Biblical times was huge.  When placed before a person they can literally stand behind it.  The question I sometimes ask myself, do I stand behind my faith?  The helmet protects my head, my brain-box, the essence of my thoughts and salvation protects this vital part of me.  What I learn is the only thing that goes with me after I die.  Salvation protects that knowledge for when I am resurrected.  The sword is the Spirit or another name is the Holy Ghost.  Through this power I have studied and been inspired to cut to the truth of a situation.  But like any sword I must grasp it and learn to use it to become effective in battles.  If I 'yield my sword' I am giving up to my enemy...the abuser.  That is not expected of me.  I am instructed to protect myself.  Prayer is always available....anytime.....anywhere......any reason.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Last night I knew I needed to write a blog and my mind just refused to cooperate.  I played mindless computer games and spent some time visiting with my daughter.  Today, I sat down to write an wandered over to facebook and viola, inspiration of the very best kind.  I want to share a link to a page that brought smiles to my face and waves of self-acceptance...

Wil Weathon Explains Why Being a Nerd is Awesome.  I hope the page is left up for a very long time so many other nerds can read it.

I discovered I was a nerd years ago.  I was hired by a junior high school (middle school) to take care of their computers.  I felt overwhelmed so read computer books. (Yes, I read the book that says read me first and the licenses that everybody says yes to....did you know that you can't take your computer to some countries?  Weird stuff in those.) In one of the books I found a page on how to take care of your nerd.  By the end of the page, I realized I was a nerd.  I bought a t-shirt that had a computer with children around it.  On the computer screen I wrote, Resident Nerd.  A student asked me why I would want to be known as a nerd.  At the time I received an email that I thought he would understand.

Michael Jordan having 'retired,' with $40 million in
endorsements, makes $178,100 a day, working or not.

If he sleeps 7 hours a night, he makes $52,000 every
night while visions of sugarplums dance in his head.

If he goes to see a movie, it'll cost him $7.00, but
he'll make $18,550 while he's there.

If he decides to have a 5-minute egg, he'll make
$618 while boiling it.

He makes $7,415/hour more than minimum wage.

If he wanted to save up for a new Acura NSX
($90,000) it would take him a whole 12 hours.

If someone were to hand him his salary and
endorsement money, they would have to do it
at the rate of $2.00 every second.

He'll probably pay around $200 for a nice round
of golf, but will be reimbursed $33,390 for
that round.

He'll make about $19.60 while watching the 100- meter dash in the
Olympics, and about
$15,600 during the Boston Marathon .

This year, he'll make more than twice as much
as all U.S. Past presidents for all of their
terms combined.

Amazing isn't it?

If Jordan saves 100% of his income for the next
500 years, he'll still have less than Bill Gates has
at this very moment.

Game over. Nerd wins .....  

Today's article reminded me the difference is I really love fixing computers....I love weird stuff.  It is fun for me to read about science....English is my second language, math is my first.....and that is OK!!!!!!  

Friday, August 16, 2013


Miracles: You do not have to look for them. They are there, 24-7, beaming like radio waves all around you. Put up the antenna, turn up the volume - snap... crackle... this just in, every person you talk to is a chance to change the world.
― Hugh Elliott

The sunrises daily and starts your day out with a miracle whether you accept it or not.  When it is cloudy outside, the sun is just on the other side.  Clouds are a miracle themselves.  Millions of tiny water droplets clustered together.  Showering nourishing water on concrete or bushes, dirt or grass, fences or flowers.  All are equally blessed.  Some places, like Seattle, happen to get a lot more of it than a desert location of Phoenix.  The variety of rainforest to desert are all blessed by varying amounts of rain.  Each place glories in its element.  Cactus do not do well in a rain forest.  Moss and ferns are blistered by the sun.  I believe that sometimes I am looking for someone else's blessing in my life.  The wonderful thing about gratitude is I recognize my blessings piling up all around me.  I am blessed.

My sister and I often talk about the little miracles we see in our lives every day.  Timing of things that fall into place so perfectly.  We were chatting back and forth about this yesterday.  But the really big problems in our lives seem to linger on.  Waiting for some miracle.  I through out the idea that some of those problems are behavior of other people and the recognition that God doesn't make anyone be good.  The miracle is that He does give me a way to arm myself and protect myself from their behavior.  Miracles all around.

People totally miss seeing these at the zoo. Miracles are there, sometimes we just don't see them.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

In knots....

Don't get your knickers in a knot; it solves nothing and makes you walk funny.

Every so often I need this reminder.  I was getting myself in a knot over someone else's problem.  I was raised to fulfill the roll of fixer in the family.  If a problem was discussed, the assumption was that either I was part of the solution or part of the problem.  I tried desperately over and over to solve massive problems that weren't mine in the first place.  I took a step back last night and realized the massive problem I worked on isn't really my problem.  Yes, I was asked to do it but the final results are not my responsibility.  People try to get someone else to do their unpleasant jobs.  Narcissistic personalities have honed their skills to a fine art.  Their victim will often volunteer their services and feel privileged to do their bidding.  Sometimes called flying monkeys but often just bystanders being fooled by the act put on for outsiders.  But the thing is others besides narcissitics will try to get me to do their job.  Lines get especially blurry when it is a boss or a lead coworker asking me to do the job.  The difference lies in the feeling of responsibility.  I like to do my job well, however if I am set up to fail it is not my responsibility to pull the rabbit out of the hat and solve everything.  Getting upset and worried doesn't help me solve anything especially when it isn't really my job in the first place.  3 deep breathes...the project is going forward this week.  I've been thanked for my efforts.  Now, I need to just remind myself over and over and over....I did my part.  If it fails, it is not my responsibility, if it succeeds it is not my doing.  A large project takes many pieces coming together to succeed.  I also know that this is a first time for the project so it is an experiment.  Sometimes experiments have unexpected results.  Plus actual results won't be known until next spring.  Now that my part is completed I step up to catch up all the other things that needed to be done.  This is the cool thing about counseling, in learning to deal with large problems and set boundaries with unhealthy people, I also learned how to set boundaries with healthy people.  I am feeling much better now.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Success isn't how far you got, but the 
distance you traveled from 
where you started.
- Proverb 

 I am out of sorts, frustrated, and hiding answers from myself.  I hate this feeling and it has lingered for weeks. I now understand why preparing to stop counseling is so difficult.  Weekly counseling I have someone to talk to that will help me sift through my thoughts without feeling offended or trying to 'fix' me.  I was fortunate to have two great counselors that focused on teaching me to be an independent healthy adult.  However, I am still trying to learn to sort out chaotic thoughts when they come form multiple sources.  I am going to try to write about the things that seem to be pressing on my mind....I am employed at a school.  I worked on a huge project for the first two weeks.  In the process, I am now behind on getting everything else done.  I am struggling knowing that by this time I should have other stuff done already.  Instead, I don't even have them started.  I am frustrated and anxious every time I am asked to do something else.  Also back at school I am watching other people eat, a lot more food than I am.  I am feeling picked on.  I keep reminding myself I am choosing to loose weight so that requires different choices than I made in the past.  To loose weight, I had to change my eating habits.  Over the summer, I didn't compare my choices to anybody else.  It was easier.  Now, I see what other people are eating for lunch. I brought a book to read and I may start using lunch time as a catch up on my reading time.  If I don't see what they are eating I won't feel like I am deprived.  (Easy to say after eating two lovely pieces of pizza, thank goodness for the elliptical to burn some of those calories.)  There is stumbling block loosing weight.  I knew it would be stressful.  What I didn't expect was how much I would enjoy taking on harder physical challenges.  About this time last year I was introduced to Joel's impossible blog.  He challenged me to 10 minutes of different types of exercises that  really pushed me.  Last February, I did my first mud run with about 5 K with 15 challenges including mud puddles, net climbing and over/under barricades.  My daughter did it with me and I finished.   Now, I bought some DVD's by Bob Harper, one of the trainers from the biggest looser.  Oh my goodness.  I stepped up to activities that I never been able to do and some of my muscles are really whining.  (No, I cannot have cheese with my whine, too many calories.)  With all the crap of not getting stuff done at school I was feeling a bit like a failure, I am not keeping up.  Writing this I am reminding myself of how far I have come.  Wow.  I am doing better than I thought.  Deep breathes. Time to play on Facebook.

Under this one over the next one.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Possible reactions

I am feeling really out of sorts.  Today's post is from Battle Buddy Facebook post.  If you click on the link above, it will take you to your facebook page.  No, I do not have access to your facebook account, it is just the way facebook works.  Follow a facebook link and it will assume you want to log in. 

I tend to not talk about my PTSD when I meet people to begin with for the simple reason that I get a wide variety of reactions.  What I didn't think about is how my PTSD affected my family.  It has and does affect them.  PTSD touches every aspect of my life in one way or another...for several years it ruled my life.  I am thankful for counselors, family and friends (including internet friends) that have helped me in my struggle with PTSD and making it a much smaller part of my life.   

Common reactions of family members
Family members of a person with PTSD may experience the following:

You may feel sorry for your loved one's suffering. This may help your loved one know that you sympathize with him or her. However, be careful that you are not treating him or her like a permanently disabled person. With help, he or she can feel better.

Negative feelings
PTSD can make someone seem like a different person. If you believe your family member no longer has the traits you loved, it may be hard to feel good about them. The best way to avoid negative feelings is to educate yourself about PTSD. Even if your loved one refuses treatment, you will probably benefit from some support. If you care for a family member with PTSD also see Partners of Veterans with PTSD.

Avoidance is one of the symptoms of PTSD. Those with PTSD avoid situations and reminders of their trauma. As a family member, you may be avoiding the same things as your loved one. Or, you may be afraid of his or her reaction to certain cues. One possible solution is to do some social activities, but let your family member stay home if he or she wishes. However, he or she might be so afraid for your safety that you also can't go out. If so, seek professional help.

This is common among family members when the person with PTSD causes feelings of pain or loss. When PTSD lasts for a long time, you may begin to lose hope that your family will ever "get back to normal."

Anger and guilt
If you feel responsible for your family member's happiness, you might feel guilty when you can't make a difference. You could also be angry if he or she can't keep a job or drinks too much, or because he or she is angry or irritable. You and your loved one must get past this anger and guilt by understanding that the feelings are no one's fault.

Health problems
Everyone's bad habits, such as drinking, smoking, and not exercising, can get worse when trying to cope with their family member's PTSD symptoms. You may also develop other health problems when you're constantly worried, angry, or depressed.

Family members may feel hurt, alienated, or discouraged because your loved one has not been able to overcome the effects of the trauma. Family members frequently devote themselves totally to those they care for and, in the process, neglect their own needs.

Social support is extremely important for preventing and helping with PTSD. It is important for family members to take care of themselves; both for their own good and to help the person dealing with PTSD.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Abuse, Guilt and Shame

People who were sexually abused as children grow up feeling a lot of fear, guilt & shame. What they need to understand is that all these emotions more rightly belong to the perpetrator of the abuse, as opposed to the one who experienced it. Those who lived through childhood sexual abuse also feel concerned that they'll hurt people if they bring to light what happened. Again, if anyone is hurt by the revelations, it's the fault of the perpetrator. It's tragic that because of the natural tendency of children to take what happens to them personally, they absorb the negativity of those who abused them. It's time for all of those who went through such abuse to see that they are guiltless & should feel no shame or sense of responsibility for anything having to do with the tragic events that they experienced.
I decided to write my book and start this blog and I made the commitment to share openly that I was sexually abused as young as 5 years old.  A lot of soul searching and discussion with KavinCoach and then I took my decision to the Lord in prayer.  I felt strongly that I needed to speak up.  No more secrets.  I tested out my choices with a few people.  I was stunned when someone told me that I should feel shame for what happened.  I was 5 years old, why should I feel shame?  I don't know what happened in my mind but there was a sudden shift like an internal earthquake then boiling hot rage erupted in my mind.  How dare this person suggest that I have something to be ashamed of?  How dare they imply that a five year old child wanted to be used as a thing with no understanding of what was happening.  But these feelings of guilt and shame surfaced over and over and over.  It was like the perpetrator sunk these hooks deep into my soul to continue to torture me long after he was dead.  Though I had a moment of crystallized understanding, I needed to remind myself over and over and over again that these feelings of guilt, shame, dirtiness, responsibility for what happened were false feelings projected on to me from the perpetrator.  Not only did he abuse my body, he also abused my mind and soul.  I read somewhere that sexual abuse is also called 'soul murder.'  I survived by splitting off the horrors to a separate part.  There was the part of me that continued to grow up and there was a part that stayed frozen in time sealing off the secrets.  Splitting was how I survived.  Integration required releasing my secrets.  Learning to love myself is helping to totally release the shame that never belonged to me in the first place.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Two of my Heros

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.
Corrie Ten Boom 

Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie endured the horrors of the concentration camps not because they were Jewish but because they were Christians helping Jews and anyone else drying to escape Nazi persecution.  The two sisters were kept together and Corrie wrote a book about their experiences.  Sadly her sister Betsie died in the concentration camp.  One of my favorite passages in the book was when they were holding an evening prayer circle.  Betsie asked Corrie to say the prayer and remember to bless the fleas.  Their entire barracks was infested with biting nasty little fleas.  Corrie protested thanking God for the fleas.  Betsie gently reminded that God blessed their lives so the fleas must be a blessing.  Corrie thank the Lord for the fleas.  At a later date, Corrie found out that the guards in the concentration camp refused to enter their barracks because of the fleas.  The nasty biting bugs protected the women in that barracks from the guard while sleeping.  Corrie went on to Tramp for The Lord.  Each of these women endured the deprivation that few can imagine let alone experience.  They didn't waiver in their belief in God or the choices to do good to others no matter what.  They are heroes to me because no matter what others choose to do, they chose to do good and believe in God no matter what.  This kind of courage is just amazing to me. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ways to deal with Negative people

I love Purpose Fairy's no-nonsense take responsibility for yourself perspective.  The article is great.  What I got me thinking is what do I do when I am the 'negative people.'  Will the steps work for dealing with my own negativity?

1. Ownership

 I do not need to be a victim of my own negativity.  To change it, I need to own it.  If it is my negativity then I can decide what to do about. 

2. LIKE attracts LIKE

I noticed that the more negative I feel, the more negative things happen in my life.
"A man entered a village and went to the monastery on the edge of town, where he was welcomed by an old monk, the wise man of the village. The visitor said, “I am deciding whether I should move here or not. I’m wondering what kind of neighborhood this is. Can you tell me about the people here?
"The old monk said, “Tell me what kind of people lived where you came from.” The visitor said, “Oh, they were highway robbers, cheats and liars.” The monk said, “You know, those are exactly the same kinds of people who live here.” The visitor left the village and never came back.
Half an hour later, another man entered the village. He sought out the wise old man and said, “I’m thinking of moving here. Can you tell me what kind of people live here?” Again the monk said, “Tell me what kind of people lived where you came from.” The visitor said, “Oh, they were the kindest, gentlest, most compassionate, most loving people. I shall miss them terribly. The old monk said, “Those are exactly the kinds of people who live here, too.”

3. Don’t take your thoughts too seriously

Reminding myself that my negativity is a reaction and not who I am is a very important remember.  Asking myself a few questions can help me zero in on the source:
What is about my thoughts that are triggering me? 
Do I have unmet needs that are pressuring me, like how much sleep am I getting and when did I last eat?
Is there events that I am feeling over whelmed or angry and I am using negativity to suppress what I am feeling?  

4. Shift your focus

How can I view what I am feeling differently?  Do I need a new perspective?  One of the powerful things I discovered in counseling was both my counselors have very different perspectives from me and each other.  Getting a different perspective changes my out look. 

5. Don’t make their problems your problems

If I am feeling negative, did I take on someone else's problem?  Am what I am dealing with right now something I actually care about or is someone trying to get me to solve their problem which depresses me? 

6. Let go of your need to complain

Am I complaining just to join a bunch of other people that are also complaining?  Am I getting caught up in mob mentality of lets complain together?  Refer back to 1 to make sure I am taking responsibility for how I feel.

7. Raise your positive energy

What activities are helpful to me to raise my feelings of positive energy, prayer, a break, reading for enjoyment, a few minutes on a computer game, do something about what is depressing me, make choices that I know work to move me closer to the positive end of the mood continuum. 

8. Be the change you want to see in your world

Don't expect someone else to come to the rescue to fix my world.  If I want my world to change then I am responsible for changing it.  Waiting for rescue only increases feelings of depression when no one comes. 

9. Simultaneous Awareness

Fancy way of saying "Shit happens."  In everyone's life, and that is a very big group, both good and bad things happen.  After good days, there are bad days.  After happy times there are sad times.  MyCounselor is teaching me the value of sitting with my emotions whatever I am feeling.  This doesn't mean that I let that emotion control my actions but it does mean I acknowledge and own how I feel.  That acknowledgment that my emotions have value and worth taught me to  allow myself to feel them.  It is interesting that emotions can behave like toddlers.  If I ignore them when they are good, then they will behave badly until I pay attention.  One way or another my emotions want my attention. 

Yup, her steps work for how to deal with negative people when that person is me. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

How to make Major Changes....

"Success is not to be pursued;
it is to be attracted by
the person we become."
- Jim Rohn

I was asked recently how I changed my eating habits.  I told them about using however, that isn't the main thing.  25 years ago, I discovered the vital piece that creates change.  For over a year, I could be up only about 20 minutes a day.  Raising a family of 6 children this is like a living nightmare, or half-dead nightmare depends on your perspective.  I felt like a total burden to my family.  I felt less than useless.  I lay there one night begging Heavenly Father to remove this problem or let me die.  I was assured in my heart and mind that I was NOT going to die.  I was devastated.  I begged that I can't live this Heavenly Father prompted...."What are you going to do about it?" In that darkened room, a tiny bit of heavenly light peeked through.  I didn't know what I could do about it.  So I started the odyssey of reclaiming my life.  No short cuts. No pixie dust. No magical button.  No rabbit out of the hat.  Progress was in teeny tiny baby steps with plenty of falling flat on my face.  In the process, I learned what I needed to create great change in my life.  I had and continue to have little miracles but the big portion of work towards change was me getting up every morning, thanking my Heavenly Father for another day to do the best or worse I can.  I make the choices.  Sometimes a wild card is thrown at me.  Sometimes like Chutes and Ladders, I hit a long slide down.  I splat at the bottom look around for a ladder and if I can't find one I start scrambling up the sides again.  Whatever it takes I keep moving.  I had many, many bad days in a row with an occasional good day knowing that another bad day was just a dawn away.  But it also meant if I struggled through enough dawns there would be another good day.  After 25 years that is reversed.  I have many, many good days in a row.  When I have a bad day now, I know, that a good day is just a dawn away.  The miracle I believed in - every morning the sun comes up.  Ever noticed how miraculous that is?

Thursday, August 8, 2013


"For every failure, there's an alternative
course of action. You just have to find it.
When you come to a roadblock,
a detour."
- Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash believes the opposite of how I was taught. Mary Kay created solutions.  I became fascinated with her when my daughters started selling Mary Kay products.  Her attitude is totally opposite of what I was taught.  Every sore throat was a life threatening illness, every tiny error was a major drama that steps must be taken for them to NEVER happen again, drama and catastrophes were daily occurrences when I was growing up.  It was my job to fix and smooth over and make everything all better.  I was in counseling before I learned to recognize and counteract catastrophizing thinking.  A quick look on Google I found this article:

What is Catastrophizing?

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
Catastrophizing is an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it actually is.

This article gives generally about the same information I learned from KavinCoach.  Plus KavinCoach taught me a few more steps to help me see past this type of thinking.  I stop and ask myself a few questions:

1. Is this problem as actually as bad as I think it is?  Sometimes a problem really is at catastrophic levels, a loss of a loved one, a fire in the home, a car accident, cancer, plus many other things actually do fit in the category of being catastrophic.

2.  Have I encountered the problem before?  Yup, I noticed in my lessons in life that the same problem keeps coming back, like the movie Groundhog Day.  I believe they keep coming back until I learn what I need to know to move on.

3.  If the problem has occurred before, did I find a successful answer or do I need to look for new in put?

4.  Who do I know that might be able to help me understand the problem?  I often go to the library or internet because I did learn from my mother that somebody else usually had the same problem and wrote a book about it.  Now, people blog about the problems they face.  What other people have written has made a huge difference in my life.  I appreciate my fellow bloggers.

  5.  Can I define the problem in such away that I can explain it to someone else?  KavinCoach reminded me regularly that defining a problem gets you more than half way to the solution.

6.  For me, if my reaction to the problem is extreme compared to the actual event, is there a trigger hidden at the center of the problem?  I am learning that the events I tend to Catastrophize are usually powder-kegs from past that just blew up in my face.  Those problems are real too.  I need to address them and I am thankful I have an awesome counselor that can help me do this. 

7.  Brainstorm solutions and decide one small step toward that solution.   I don't need the entire solution...just one small piece to get me started.  I figure that God can't guide me if I don't move.

8. Yes, I do pray over my problems.  Even when I worked with computers I had more than one pray start with, "OK God you know better than anyone how these things work..."  I also learned if I invited Heavenly Father to my problem solving I would get answers at the weirdest times like driving home from work when the problem is at work.  I smile say a prayer of thanks and plan how to implement the solution the next day.

Catastrophizing still creeps into my life but I now think of the book "If you give a Mouse a Cookie."  I smile and try to find the first step to a solution.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Observing People

Also when they mess up on a big project.  I spent over a week on a big project for school.  I checked and rechecked before printing 400+ pages.  I forgot to double check room numbers and printed all of these with an incorrect room number.  I watched TV and made corrections for hours last night.  I am tired but relieved this morning.  I remember the hysterics my NM would go through over the slightest error then the never ending lectures on NEVER making that mistake again.  When I started counseling over 10 years ago I remember the melt downs over the slightest mistake.  I have made progress.  No melt down, no hysterics, no anger, just acceptance that I made a mistake that would take a few hours to correct but it was not a big issue to me.  I like the person I am becoming.  I like that my only thought was how do I correct this.  I like that I felt so calm.  Such a change from what I was taught to do.  Enjoy your day. :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The only easy day was yesterday

The only easy day was yesterday. ~ SEAL motto
My sister shared this motto with me. A while back, I apologize for not remembering who, someone wrote an interesting post saying that life is like playing Candy Crush with each level getting harder.  I had really mixed feelings about this.  When your life starts out screwed up, it is hard to figure out how things can get worse.  Many years ago, I came across a children's book called "It could always be worse."  Then I was blessed with encountering about 5 more versions of the same thing.  What is coming together with all this is I live in a country and society that is looking for 'easy' problems....constant is just not happening.  I believe we came to Earth to learn.  Learnin' ain't always easy.  My weird theory is if I am taking it easy I am either recovering from a rough round or it is the calm before the storm.   After I had cancer surgery, my husband bought me a membership to a gym.  I figured he was going to finish me off.  I went to the gym and this punk kid younger than my children told me to hop on the scales.  I said, "No."  I told him I wanted to rebuild my strength so I could take a gallon of milk out of the refrigerator without dropping it.  When I could do that, I quit going to the gym.  A couple of years ago, my daughter suggested that the kids get together and pay for Zumba classes for me.  I laughed and said I would be able to do about half.  That was how it started.  Two years later, I can do the entire class including jumping and dropping it low.  Exercising I am gaining in strength and ability that I couldn't do in the first place.  I can do planks, pushups, jumping-jacks, and all sorts of things that I couldn't do 5 - 10 - or 15 years ago. I am learning from exercise the the greatest strength I have is determination to keep going.  

I've been at rock bottom time and time again.   My counselor once asked me the advantage of hitting bottom again...I shot right back, "It's familiar territory."  A few years ago, I was laid off.  At the time, I was needing a time to heal and figure things out without all the pressure from work.  I took the time to finish my photography degree, help my family, and take time to get my feet under me.  I am going to take the SEAL motto as mine too.  The only easy day was yesterday...I have things to do, places to go and people to meet....I want to learn and grow and strengthen who I am... that means there are challenges ahead that I will push my way through because I believe I can do what I set my mind to do. When I take on challenges, the only easy day was yesterday.   

Monday, August 5, 2013


Thought of the day...

“It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally.” ― Maya Angelou,

Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.” ― Cynthia Kersey

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Does everyone feel this way? When I was young, I was perpetually overconfident or insecure. Either I felt completely useless, unattractive, and worthless, or that I was pretty much a success, and everything I did was bound to succeed. When I was confident, I could overcome the hardest challenges. But all it took was the smallest setback for me to be sure that I was utterly worthless. Regaining my self-confidence had nothing to do with success...whether I experienced it as a failure or triumph was utterly dependent on my mood.” ― Bernhard Schlink

WHO we are today is not who we were five years ago orwho we will be five years from now.. its from daily habits and experience thay we evolve, knowing that perspective changes, tomorrow is a new day emotions change and that living means we have tp indure good and bad. Don't fear feeling ..embrace it, how can you appreciate happiness if you lnow no sadness?
Be thankful for those who inspire you and reawaken your passion.
As always shannon posting wishing the harem a great day!
I am fascinated when quotes are strung together and a new picture forms. I noticed this over and over. Several bits of information will come together to form a pattern in my thinking. I always wonder did my thinking make me notice the quotes or did the quotes influence my thinking?  I am reminded of tapestry.  When we look at the back it is hard to see the design.  Plus the design would loose its interest without the dark threads. 

PS. I have photographed Jimmy Thomas.  He is a lovely man on the inside and the outside.  He also graces the cover over 5000 romance novel covers.  :)