Sunday, August 31, 2014

Seeking Spiritual Experiences

Sometimes I have spiritual experiences at random.  Seeing a glorious sunrise or sunset, a rainbow reminder of God's promise, a moment in time that I feel truth testified to me in my heart as well as my head are all random moments that my spirit is touched and engaged with living.  Usually, I need to go looking for spiritual experiences.  Everyday living of put your shoulder to the wheel, your nose to the grind stone with my back against the wall is an awkward position to work in with little room for spiritual communion.  Yoga has meditating, Buddhism has chanting, Christianity has prayer all avenues to seek for and experience stirrings of the spirit.  Much of the time I tend to ignore spiritual needs.  Occasionally I get down right cynical about where was God when I was having such and such problem.  I am quick to remind myself that He is right there if I will seek Him.  Sometimes I just need to open my eyes.  Sometimes I need to add fasting to prayer to let God know I am really serious about needing help and not just sloughing off.  I use many poems and saying to help me seek spiritual experiences:

Footprints In The Sand is one of my favorites.

I Sought My Soul

I sought my soul,
But my soul I could not see
I sought my God,
But my god eluded me.
I sought my brother,
And I found all three.

I use scriptures:

Psalm 23

1 (A Psalm of David.) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I read the New Testament when I was in Junior High.  My first book I bought was a 10 cent Bible.  

But I stopped reading for a long time when people in my life used the scriptures to manipulate me.  I am returning to the sacred text and remind myself that Heavenly Father loves me and sent many examples of life's challenges.  Ester, Ruth, Joseph sold into Egypt, Job, and many others are becoming my heroes.  Life shook them up and threw them down but they sought the Lord.  They felt fear and prayed.  They faced challenges and prevailed.  When I feel a need to seek spiritual experiences, I know where to turn.  

I use photography:  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Anxiety suggestions

 One of the things I encountered in my 10+ years of counseling is the concept of parenting myself.  The inner child is not a another word for a split multiple. It is the center core of ourselves that at some point was neglected, overly chastised, abused, or an other of a variety of traumas.  My daughter posted this link and I wanted to share it hear.
 It shares ideas to help nurture a child.  I found several were very relevant to me.  The very first one grabbed my attention right away because it is so counter intuitive to what I have always done:

1. Stop Reassuring Your Child

What??????  I read this one paragraph several times.  I also watched with children when they are distressed they are so not hearing anything I have to say.  Then they have some great suggestions as to what to do instead:

Try something I call the FEEL method:
Freeze -- pause and take some deep breaths with your child. Deep breathing can help reverse the nervous system response.
Empathize -- anxiety is scary. Your child wants to know that you get it.
Evaluate -- once your child is calm, it's time to figure out possible solutions.
Let Go - Let go of your guilt; you are an amazing parent giving your child the tools to manage their worry.

My inner child is not afraid of what might happen inner child is afraid the nightmare that I lived through before could happen again so simply reassuring just doesn't cut it.  I usually change the Freeze to pause because the connotation that a pause is a considered choice but the acronym PEEL is less appealing.  (Pun intended...I know....awful puns are only slightly amusing.)

I am going to reword this for myself:

Pause and take a couple of cleansing breathes....breathing gets me into the moment.  I can't worry about yesterday or tomorrow when I am focused on breathing.  This works for small children too. 

Acknowledge that I feel what I feel and I have the right to feel what I feel.  Part of my past was steeped in being told I didn't feel how I felt.  Repetive use of the word is focusing that I feel an emotion that I need to acknowledge giving myself permission to feel it.  Let a child feel what they feel even if it doesn't make sense. 

Evaluate the it really what I think is going on?  Is my emotional surge about the moment or are past issues blasting me?  Am I in immediate danger?  Is there something that I can do to change the situation?  Is it something that I need to allow myself to accept?  Look for Who? What? Where? and Why? questions that may unlock the confusion and help me see the situation from another perspective. 

Letting go of that is a biggy.  Letting go of the guilt that I can make life problem free. I am not responsible for everything around me.  Letting go the guilty feeling that I can't fix everything. I just can't.  Let go of the burden of guilt.  Guilt has one purpose only to get the person to change behavior.  If I didn't do anything wrong and I can't fix it, all guilt will do is add a greater burden to me.  Sometimes a situation is NOT about me or something I can do or should do. 

I think I am going to reread this article again.  
More tomorrow.....Enjoy the day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Not nice

The saga continues.  However, now I have an administrator dealing with the district people.  I gave them the information and I am stepping back.  I am relinquishing control.  I am allowing another person step up for me.  This is an amazing feeling.  I listened to someone trying to understand the person that is giving me a rough time.  She told me that this woman is nice person.  The thought came to mind, "If you are out with someone and they are not nice to the waiter then they are not a nice person."  I decided the person does not respect me.  She created a hostile work environment while claiming she was trying to empower me.  First off, if she is trying to empower me, she believes she is the one with the power.  A nice person doesn't say, "Do things my way or you won't have a job."  A nice person would have found ways to encourage instead adding frustration and contention.  I am seeing a big contrast between the two people over me.  Neither one of them know me except my work position. One person I walked away from the meeting feeling respected, heard and my suggestion was part of the solution.  The other person, I felt threatened, unsure, and cried after the meeting.  It became obvious to me that she is not a nice person.   The skills I learned from my other unpleasant boss are coming in handy.  Save all emails.  Don't answer any emails unless I have someone else approve the letter.  Pass all information to the administrator that is treating me with respect.   I can do this.  I can feel confident at work.  I am making a difference.  I love how I feel helping at school.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

So Cool

The meeting was awesome.  The administrator listed the areas that help was needed then asked those working which areas they felt they could help.  We each checked off the areas and they realized that every area was covered by two people.  The people in the meeting were reasonable, treated each other with respect, and I felt heard.  I will now be working in areas of my greatest strength instead of pushing me into areas that I would battle to stay a float.  What....what...what?  Can this be?  Yup, it is so cool to be treated with respect and consideration.  The work will get done and now they have an idea what is needed from the person that they are hiring needs strengths.  It feels good. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stress is stress

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

Bad stress.....bad bad stress.... Every where I read articles about bad stress....don't be stressed it is bad for you.  Always when talking about stress they talk about bad stress and how bad it is.  I've had my fair share of stress.  One of the things that puzzle people is when I react badly to good or even great events.  People tend to forget the big events that we want to happen still cause stress reactions.  Blood pressure goes up, adrenalin pumps into my body, and heart rate accelerates and the body reacts to the Good stress about the same way as the bad stress.  So stress is in my life.  My mother studied Hans Selye, the guy that named stress as it is used today. I listened to her talk about his writing so much, I haven't bothered to read his book myself.   However, I do read articles and other information.  One of the side lights I learned is you can't live without stress.  Some people will purposely create stress if things get too quiet. (You know the ones that create drama where ever they go.)  The world revolves around stress, literally.  The spinning of our planet is in a constant tug of war with the sun's gravitational pull.  Too much and we would be sucked into the sun, not enough we would fly out into space and never have to worry about global warming.  So we hurtle through space revolving around the sun, enjoying different seasons, and blessed with stress because we are still stuck to the planet.  Yup, a certain amount of stress is essential.  Unfortunately, I'm in the unhealthy habit of being determined to do everything I am asked to do to my detriment.  I realize that my present stress at work is being caught between people that I have no control over each asking and expecting me to do something different.  I have a meeting tomorrow with one of the administrators.  I hope to be able to convey that I am willing to do what I can to help the students succeed.  I just don't want to get caught in a turf war between district, school, and grant funding requirements.  I feel the tension and resentment from both sides and my reaction is a desire to crawl under my bed and wait for the storm to blow over.  That option would leave me without a job.  I feel a bit like a kid going in front of the principal because somebody else told them I was being bad when I didn't know the rules.  Triggers galore. 

Goals for tomorrow:
1. Calmly explain my perspective. 
2. Reassert my willingness to help where needed. 
3. Gently remind them it is not my responsibility to solve their turf war. 

I am looking forward to an opportunity to say what I am concerned about.  This is a good stress but I'm still stressed.  Brownies in chocolate pudding is lovely self medication for this type of stress and yes I will be exercising extra.  Please, send prayers and good vibes my way as I tackle the goal to communicate peacefully my desire to be helpful without saying the wrong thing.  (No, I may not refer to a person as a 'dumb ass.')

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


My sister reposted this link ( and I realized that I really want to have it super bookmarked by putting it in my blog.  Yes, I actually search my own blog since several things come back to haunt me on a regular basis.  What I worked out before often helps again.

Yup, I need this right now.  I am reading several books about our thoughts making us who we are.  I find the books fairly disturbing since my head is still trying to take out all the trashed dumped on me from childhood.  I feel aggravated, no pissed off, when people declare that what happens to you as a child doesn't make any difference as an adult.  I tend to agree if it were a single event but if a child is habitually abused the after affects can last a life time.  Sometimes the effect is the person fighting not to be like their past.  I like Poppy's ideas about turning ANTs into ARTs and her idea of HABITS gives me something to review. 


 Thanks Poppy.

I had a shake up at work and a reality check bounce this weekend.  I decided to pull back and regroup.  I came home exhausted tonight but worked out anyone.  Bless sweet DH he cooked dinner tonight.  I felt loved.  I am going to turn my thoughts to finding healthy HABITS that will build me up instead of tearing me down.  I am choosing to take what I learned in counseling and implement a campaign to be kind to myself.  I realized that I do think about what I need now I need to put into action my good thoughts.  I can change.....I've done a lot of changing and more is in my future. 

Looking for a new beat to march to.......

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wrapping my mind around Judgements

Robin Williams suicide sparked a firestorm of individuals condemning, pounding their chest and declaring that God will do this or that to him.  I am religious.  I believe that Christ put His arms around Him and counseled with I know God's mind? NO, but neither does anyone else.  No more than does anyone know RW's mind and heart.  No one will disagree that he suffered through out his life.  Invisible Shadow shared a compassionate perspective that not all will agree with.  I admire her compassion.  I believe Christ is compassionate....makes you think doesn't it?

I realize that I keep coming back to this over and over again.  If I was still in counseling, I would be devoting many sessions trying to process through what I am feeling.  It is a subject that has pounced on me at night when I am at my lowest.  It haunts my nightmares.  I also keep a death count.  People will say that 'emotional abuse' doesn't kill you but I know that at this time there are 3 murders and 7 suicides in the wake of the pedophile that terrorized me.  Those are just the ones I know about.  There are hundreds of others that simply disappeared or I didn't try to keep track of them.  Occasionally, I am tempted to minimize or play down the severity of what happened.  Then I remind myself, I will not forget, I will remember those that suffered.  I will not turn my back on the seriousness of mental anguish caused by 'emotional abuse.'  I call emotional abuse cancer of the soul and in my opinion every bit as lethal.   When I had cancer, I encountered a poem in my oncologists office.

"What Cancer Cannot Do"

Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.
Author: Unknown
This is what emotional abuse can do
It cripples love.
It shatters hope.
It corrodes faith.
It eats away peace.
It destroys confidence
It damages and often kills friendships.
It shuts out memories.
It silences courage
However It cannot reduce eternal life.  
Incredibly it doesn't always quench the Spirit......
If I can stay alive long enough to figure out how to beat back the darkest enemy....
A lethal killer that turns the person against them-self.  

Emotional abuse can be healed.  
It is not the end, until you die.   
I grieve for those that didn't see that the power of emotional abuse is smoke and mirrors lie.  

Please, don't let the abusers win.  
Each survivor I hope will fight to restore.....
Restore their love of themselves and others.
Restore their hope out of the ashes like a Phoenix.
Restore their faith in humanity and God.
Restore their peace when a storm rages around them.
Restore their confidence.
Restore their ability to have friends.
Restore their memories especially the good ones.
Restore their courage.  Go beyond survival and embrace the courage to thrive.
Believe again that Eternal Life is worth it.
Restore and heal their Spirit.
All this takes time.  I hope survivors can live long enough to find the Joy in Thriving.  
Takes time to get out of a deep pit.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Do you really trust God?

An old cowboy was riding his horse along a high mountain pass.  The way was perilous and he was very aware of the danger of the cliff on one side and towering mountain on the other.  Suddenly a terrible wind knocked the cowboy of his horse and sent him plummeting over the edge.  As he fell, he hit a small tree which he grabbed and held onto with both hands.  He hung their dangling from this scary height.  He prayed for help. 

From the Heavens the old cowboy heard a voice, "Do you believe?"

 Old cowboy hollered back, "Yes Lord, I believe."

Again from the Heavens he heard the Lord ask, "Do you believe I created the wind that blew you off the cliff?"

Old cowboy confirmed, "Yes Lord, I believe."

The voice from Heaven inquired, "Do you believe I created the tree you are hanging on to?"

Old cowboy again yelled, "Yes Lord, I believe."

Again the voice asked, "Do you believe I can create another wind to blow you back up on to the top of the cliff?"

Old cowboy screamed, "Yes Lord, I believe."

Rumbling from the Heavens, "Then let go."

Often, I hold tenaciously to where I am afraid to "let go" and see if I might fall or fly.  I am not one of those that believe that Heavenly Father will only keep us in the area of what we can handle.  I fully believe He will push us over the edge to see if we will fall or fly.  This world is designed to push us over the edge tsunami, earth quakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are just one section of extreme stressors.  Suffering may happen for a short season.  I also learned that the Lord's short season is much longer than my idea of a short time.  In the story of Joseph sold into Egypt, Joseph was kept in prison for YEARS, then Pharaoh knew exactly where to find him when he was needed.

 Psalms 34:18
18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Being broken hearted is not a comfortable process.  Easy stuff doesn't break your heart.  Life guarantees, Death and taxes.  I believe heart break could be added to that list of guaranteed life events.  It is not a question of what do you do when your heart is broken, the question is when your heart breaks what are you going to do?

Tough things happen to everyone and how we react is our greatest challenge.  Too often horrible things happen when we are very young without any understanding of events or any coping strategies.  I lived this.  The glib sounding, "God won't give you anything you can't handle.."  causes an extreme desire for me to smack the speaker.  My counselor helped me wrap my mind around the fact that events of my childhood most adults couldn't cope with.  I do believe that there is no wound, no hurt, no error, no sin so severe that Christ atonement can take care of it.  Pious arguments abound when people try to put a limit on Christ redemptive powers.  I feel irritated by these pious souls.  I pray that each of us will receive more compassion than we deserve.  I am thankful for my faith in Christ and my understanding that He is with me, always.

I am sharing a link to one of my favorite poems.  May you feel peace and happiness sometime today. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Slow Dance

Thanks to Snopes I was given the name of the author of this poem.
Slow Dance
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask "How are you?", do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

Ever told your child, we'll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
'cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it's like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn't a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

I first read this in an email that was supposed to be written by a girl dying from cancer. Snopes reported it was false and gave the name of the correct author. It was worth the hunt. I don't think the poem is any less beautiful or thought provoking now that I know the true author.  His web pages has several more poems.  Enjoy browsing through his poems and thoughts.  Slow down, relax, enjoy the moment for in the moments is the magic. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Heavy topics

I tried to balance the difficult posts on suicide with 25 ways to talk nicely to yourself.  However, the over all feeling of doom and gloom is lingering.  Yesterday, I walked the botanical gardens in my photographs. I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I did. Snippets of time collected and shared help me balance emotionally.  I know recent events played a heavy hand in my moods.  My days are like roller coasters up and down and jerked around.  This week I felt that one of the people at school jerked me around and created a hostile environment.  I realized that up to this point I settled in nicely into a niche that felt comfortable and serviceable.  I felt what I did every day makes a difference.  I believed that my opinion makes a difference.  That my job made a difference.  In one hour, a person let me know very clearly that I could be pushed around because I am an X on someone's spread sheet.  I informed the woman how I felt.  My counselor would have been proud of my use of I statements and expressing clearly and concisely how I felt.  I am meeting with an administrator to get clarifications on boundaries and how I can once again create a feeling that what I am doing makes a difference and my opinion counts.  I also have the option of walking away from the craziness.  I would rather not.  Unfortunately, my mind is shaking around these ideas like a terrier shaking an old shoe.  Interesting that giving me a difficult job to do is helpful in clearing out the rats nests and seeing what is really going on.  I tackle a problem and set aside unsettling feelings.  But the feelings are still there.  I have the right to feel the way I do.  I am using the skills my counselors taught me to identify what I am feeling, recognize when past experiences are blowing my reactions out of proportion, sorting what I would like to accomplish, and I feel ready to present several ideas to the administrator.  I hope I get to say what I want to say and just not more lectures on duty and meeting grant requirements.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


All this in the heart of Phoenix Botanical of my favorite places. 

AZ Pineapples

Golden podium

Bzzzz Bzzzzz

Dancing Shadows

I'm so vein...

Red and yellow make orange......nope makes flower.

Yellow Carpet

Busy troopers

Waiting for wishes


Buds in Waiting

Fairy Duster

What's up doc?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Saved for last

 I need to think about this some more.......

  I deserve to be treated with respect.

If I don't respect myself, how can I expect others to respect me?

18. I can learn to trust myself.

This is a tough one.

Wow, I saved these for last since I needed time to really think them through.  My thoughts swirl around these concepts dodging and weaving and just a little bit afraid.  Do I actually feel that I deserve to be treated with respect?  Today I can give a resounding, yes.   An event at work gave me an opportunity to test myself out.  I felt disrespected by a person and I carefully wrote an email to share how I felt.  The double whammy was I needed to trust my perception of the situation.  I questioned myself.  Was I over reacting to the situation?  What evidence did I have?  Was it a matter of personal attack or just not seeing me as a person? I decided the person didn't respect me enough to see me as a person that deserved consideration.  I wrote the email carefully and had someone else read it to make sure I was specific, used I statements, and clearly let the other person know that how they treated me was not OK.  I deserve to be treated with respect. 

Years of being told I was wrong.  I was exaggerating.  I don't feel what I feel left me really unsure of myself, my perception, or my point of view.  Yes, I believe these are 3 different things.  Myself is my own self concept.  My perception is how I see the world.  My point of view is what I share with others about what I perceive the world to be.  I used to be very unsure of myself.  Someone could insult me and I would feel I was deserving of the put down.  I didn't trust myself to believe I deserve respect from my peers, my bosses, and others that I encounter every day.  I did not realize until I wrote this how interwoven trust myself and feeling that I deserve respect.  One relies on the other.  I think this is the interesting thing about writing a blog.  By sharing my ideas and thoughts on an article I get so much more out of it than when I simply read through a great article.  The value for me is to respond with an open heart and mind to see where I can be led.  I trust myself and I deserve to be treated with respect.  After an unpleasant morning, this feels really good.

Patterns of life

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

If you would just.....

If you would just

Mini rant-

Have you ever been struggling along trying to do the best you can and some one comes along with a glib, "If you would just........?" Followed by some simplistic answer that either was already tried or wouldn't work in the actual circumstances.  I have.  I felt judged and found wanting.  If I would just follow their totally impractical or useless suggestions my life would be so much better.  I am working at recognizing that I know myself and my circumstances best.  I may stumble and make mistakes but they are my mistakes to make.  Answers are rarely easy, if they were everyone would find them and use them.

Current challenge sleeping more without increasing nightmares.  So far....epic fail.  Heavy sigh.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Disturbing deep waters

Robin Williams choice to end his life disturbed deep waters.  Every horror movie seems to have a deep lake in which a ripple bodes ill for whoever is on the shore.  Drum beating in the Mines of Moria.  The reverberations out of the darkness that send all parties fleeing.  I read articles and posts until I stopped reading them while my family is visiting.  Three lovely days of boisterous chatter and patter of grandchildren's feet.  A sharp contrast from the place of darkness that sucked me deeper and deeper into the darkness of depression.  Sucking light and life until I felt I was only barely alive.  I woke up, I felt pain, damn I was still alive.  I no longer feel that way but reading of the 20+ suicides of soldiers and the plastering of posts over Robin Williams caused a deep shuddering ripple from my own past.  Thoughts of suicide are part of the symptoms of PTSD along with hopelessness, severe depression, nightmares, and the list goes on.  PTSD is lethal when you take into account suicide deaths.  People do die of a shattered heart. 

I avoided all articles that condemned Robin Williams.  I knew that he condemned himself more than any pious poster could ever hope to say.  I was troubled by those that were disappointed by Williams because he was their hero and he let them down.  Williams let himself down more.  I was troubled by my own feelings of disquiet in response to all the negative post and comments showered on his family.  Didn't they have enough grief to deal with?  Did all these angry people afraid of suicide need to throw up on the family that was already grieving their husband, father, friend?  Are people really so callous that they feel venting anger on them will help anything or anyone?  I have more questions than answers. 

I was inspired by Robin Williams when he played the lead role in Patch Adams.  I cheered when he helped shoot imaginary squirrels so his mental institution room mate could run to the bathroom.  I would recommend the movie to anyone suffering depression to watch and feel inspired to move forward in the midst of discouragement.  Patch Adams is an example of finding purpose and hope where none existed before.  Robin Williams played the lead role.....he understood depression, did he not feel the inspiration?  Did he say the words without them penetrating his darkness?  Or did he feel that his story was different?  He played the role so well it was hard for me to remember that Robin Williams was not Patch Adams. 

No one knows what went through Robin Williams mind in his last days, though every tabloid screams the headline that they have the scoop on his last moments.  Some lament that he couldn't take the pain?  From my own experience I realize not being able to take pain may not be the reason.  Another article declared that suicide is not a selfish act.  I read the article from a child of a parent that committed suicide.  As I pondered each contradicting opinion I felt that suicide like any other choice the why lies with in the person.  A selfish person will commit suicide of selfish reasons.  A caring loving person will rationalize the choice couched in caring loving reasons.  "I don't want to hurt my loved ones because of what I am or may become."  Sadly death is touted as an ultimate solution.  The final dark sleep that shields a person from the world and the world from them.  Few recognize the lie that death is an ending.  The hurt for those that live ripples for years to come.  The questions by loved ones that wonder why they weren't important enough for the person to live for them.  The why behind the act is buried with the person that committed suicide.

My counselor worked with me as I discussed my own suicidal thoughts.  I felt baffled and confused as he tried to reassure me that I could take the pain and suffering.  I replied that I knew I could.  He stopped, looked hard at me, then slowly clarified, "You are not trying to escape a painful life, you are committing an execution.  You don't feel like you deserve to live."  My counselor said out loud the words I was afraid to utter.  The crushing feelings of being a burden, bad, destroying other's happiness because I exists.  The oft heard words that the world would be better off with me out of the way.  The bitter out pourings of those disappointed that I couldn't be what they wanted me to be.  The crushing burden of my life became the topic of many discussions with KavinCoach as he taught me the warped perspective of other people did not define me.  I wish I could say this was easy for me to grasp.  It wasn't.  Years of conditioning is difficult to overcome.  I can finally say, "I deserve to live. The world is a better place because I breathe."

I believe that open discussions about suicide can benefit survivors, loved ones, and those contemplating suicide.  Open discussions of feelings and thoughts would be wonderful.  Unfortunately, suicide is steeped in dark frightening myths and lies.  Clarifying what is real and what isn't would be as difficult as filling in the Grand Canyon one shovel full at a time.  I pray for those that suffering from loss of loved ones to suicide.  I pray for those that are struggling with suicides lethal pull.  I pray in thankfulness for a counselor that helped me struggle out of the ugly quicksand of suicide.  My heart is filled with gratitude that I learned that I deserve to live.   

Judy's perspective:

Another perspective from Light and Sound:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fear vs Faith

I am aware of only two ways of living...Fear based and Faith based.  Some people will argue that there are other choices, I'm not aware of them.  I also believe that Faith can be in science, self, or God.  Another way of writing this is negative based or positive based living.  In Fear based life everything is centered around, "Do this or else......."  Be good or else you will get no presents of Christmas.  Obey the speed limit or else you'll get a ticket.  Do your homework or else you will flunk the class.  I do believe that understanding consequences is part of living either way but let me rephrase each of these as Faith based or positive statements.  Be good to return to your Heavenly Father.  Be good because it feels good.  Follow the speed limit because I want myself and fellow drivers to enjoy the experience of sharing the roadway.  Do my homework because what I am learning is so interesting I can't wait to learn more.  Whenever I find a list of things not to do, I turn it around to make it a list of things to do.  When I taught swimming I learned that if I hollered "Don't Run."  The only message the runner heard was "RUN."  However, if I hollered "WALK" they knew exactly what I expected them to do.  I debated with someone one as to why the 10 commandments mostly lead with "thou shalt not."  My argument is it was a shorter list.  There are many many things to do right so the Lord gave the shorter list.  Later the positives are given "Love the lord your God and Love thy neighbor as thyself."  Positive messages to live by.  In the Old Testament long before Christ was born is the following scripture:
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.   
Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Christ knew the Old Testament very well.  He taught what was important.  

I am also combing this with what I am learning from Froglogic.  The popular 'feel good' positive thinking preaches "no fear exists."  Froglogic encourages anyone to embrace their fear and use it to power their determination to over come any challenge.  I am fascinated by this concept.  I'll probably have a few more post on embracing your fear to use it to improve life. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

They're here

Hi All,
I'm going to be a little scarce.....son and family arrived last night.....spending lots of time with family for the weekend. 
Have a beautiful day.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I decide

23. I’d love for my days to include …

 a nap.  Yup....I don't sleep well at night so a nap is just lovely. 

24. Today, honestly, I feel … terribly sad but also excited. 
Robin Williams taking his own life is hitting me harder than I expected.  It is bringing me face to face with my own dark feelings and suicidal ideation.  I am also very excited.  My son is bringing his family home after being in China for 3 years.  I am so excited to see them.  I am learning a lot about feeling multiple feelings at the same time.  I am working on a much longer post about suicide but I am not ready to write it just yet.  I am still processing what I am feeling. 

25. Whatever I’m feeling is valid and OK. I can sit with this feeling, breathing in and out. 
My first counselor taught me to feel.  The second counselor taught me how to sit with an emotion, feeling, validating and processing what and why I feel the way I do.  Sometimes it is not an easy task.

"Late Lament"

Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day's useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Best interest at heart

20. I’m grateful for my body, because … 
It gives me warning when it is going to quit.  I was able to pull off the freeway and walk around a store to get my body moving again.  My body quits on me, however it does give me warning.  I bought a few things I needed and drove the rest of the way home.  I didn't get to exercise or anything else but I did get home safely.  Good body. 

21. I’m allowed to surround myself with people who truly support me and have my best interest at heart (and to avoid and let go of the people that don’t).
 One of the more outstanding counseling sessions I had was the day I was grousing about my mother and babbled the tired old, "That's just the way my mother is, I got to love her?"  KavinCoach responded, "No you don't."  HEAD CRASH......   I almost got whiplash from the tilt and turn of my world.  For years, I believed that I had to not only tolerate but love my abuser and I was inadequate if I didn't.  Please, don't preach to me about love the sinner but not the sin.....that doesn't wash.  That was the year that I gave myself the gift of not seeing or speaking to my mother on Thanksgiving Day.  I started walking away from the drama.  I stopped trying to be a mythical "perfect daughter."  So not what I was expecting from my counselor.  Instead of teaching me to tolerate everyone, as I expected.  My counselor recommended that I walk away and never look back.  Except my sister was there and I refused to let my mother force me to stay away from my sister any more.  I learned that I can avoid a person while being in the same room with them.

Surround myself with people that truly support me.  I am learning about this.  Team building as mentioned numerous times by David Rutherford at TeamFroglogic. I first stated doing this with UPSI and those following her blog.  Unfortunately, things feel apart, feelings were hurt, trust were broken and I felt afraid.  But David Rutherford pointed out I am doing this with my family of choice, my sister, several friends, and others that I am building a team that has each other's back.  We each bring our special talents to the group and we help each other.  People are designed to work together.  I am becoming a believer. 

22.This aging body of mine — with its sagging skin, softness and so-called imperfections — is still here. Gloriously.  

I appreciate this one today.  I am feeling a bit worse for wear.  Sleeping badly.  Insides in rebellion.  I love the bumper sticker that says, "Growing old is not for sissies." My body reminded me today of how badly I used to feel every day, all day.  Depression, PTSD, chronic fatigue and many other hidden illnesses can really kick your butt....add aging and sometimes I just feel lousy.  But it is my body.  It gets me to work in the morning.  Stumbles slowly home at night.  I even get to do some stuff in between.

This past week of writing about my appreciation for my body is timely teaching for me.

Keeping one step ahead. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Change a little Dream a Lot

15. Just for today, I will speak kindly to my body.

 When working on change I try to do too much at one go.  I tore out my entire foundation with the help of my counselor.  He helped me rebuild a new one.  Now I am working on finishing touches.  When we were first married, my husband and I bought a house that wasn't built yet.  We took pictures of the foundation going in, walls going up roof added and all the various stages.  When we first started, we saw huge rapid changes, but once the walls and roof were up the changes were still important just not as noticeable.  Flylady at talks about taking baby steps.  Small incremental changes that add up over time.  I can choose to speak kindly to my body for one day.  First day, I might make it until lunch time when I chastise myself for something at lunch.  Half a day is a start.  'Just for today,' keeps me from beating myself up about not making the change permanent right away.  My sister reminded me that sometimes it takes years to make a habit.  One day is a start in a new direction.

16. I deserve to feel good.  

My counselor spent a lot of time trying to convince me that I deserved good things like feeling good.  He had me practice feeling good or at least doing the things that lead up to feeling good. During my darkest hours, I didn't feel I deserved happiness.  Post a sign, recite a mantra, repeat to yourself, "I deserve to feel good."  Might not believe it at first but just maybe you can end up where this little girl did: Go Jessica. One of the early steps of climbing out of depression is believing there is something better.  Sometimes that is hard to believe. 

17. My dreams are …

The first time KavinCoach asked me what my dreams were, I told him about my nightmares.  He corrected me and asked me what did my dream-magical future look like?  I stared at him blankly.  My dreams were lost by the way side years and years ago.  I am working at rebuilding my dreams.  I wanted to help people all those years ago before my dreams disintegrated..... I can still do that.  I am building new dreams.  When was the last time you sat down and thought about what your dreams are?

19. I worked hard today. I’m acknowledging my efforts (which is an important thing to do).

At the end of the day, do I take the time to acknowledge what I did today?  I like it when I get to the end of the day and feel exhausted because I got so much done.  Doing nothing all day and feeling exhausted just sucks.  As I build in strength, I start to take for granted the things that I do right, well, finish, like today I made awesome buttermilk biscuits.  I tend to hyper-focus on what I didn't do instead of acknowledging what I did do.  As a mom I noticed that no one pays attention to what I do until I don't do it.  I think I will add review my day and bask in the warmth of accomplishment.  I know what it is like to do one thing in a day.  A good day....I got up.  I do so much more than that now.  I am truly blessed.  I also worked hard to get where I am today. 

Step by step

Monday, August 11, 2014

Needs, Not alone, Embrace life

The list continues...... remember 11 was posted the other day:

10. My needs are important.
First, I have to know what my needs are....yea that can be kind of tough.  Maybe a place to start is considering myself as worth taking care of.   I need proper nutrition.  I need time to eat.  I need time to exercise, I need to pay for my health care, and many basic things that most people assume as their rights.  My counselor had me read the book Men that hate women and the women that love them. This book is where I learned about I have the right....  The book totally changed how I viewed myself.  It takes time and effort to go from a person that believes they are not worthy to be fed to knowing that medical care and basic needs can be met.  I am still working on understanding what I need and believing that I am important enough to have those needs met.

12. I am ready to embrace whatever comes next.
Living with I just listened to Froglogic on this subject.  Raised with fear as my motivator I always tried to avoid it.  First my counselors and now Froglogic encourage me to embrace my fears.  Courage isn't needed when no fear exists.  I also came across a meme that I am hoping to find again.
To combat Flight, Freeze, or Fight:

Pause - Take a deep breath to allow time to observe.
Think - Keep your reaction out of the amygdala, or reptilian brain.  Use the rest of the brain to look for a variety of solutions
Choose to act - Choose a solution by acting on circumstances instead of knee-jerk reaction.
Adjust - After choosing a course of action sometimes an adjustment needs to be made as things may or may not work as planned. 

Stepping forward with courage allows embracing whatever comes next possible.

13. While I might feel like it, I am not alone. There are many resources I can turn to — loved ones, therapy, support groups (online and off), self-help books, memoirs, myself.
For me I added to this list, belief in Christ assures me I am never alone.  The internet connected me to others facing similar struggles, articles, facebook memes, videos, words of encouragement all depends on what I go looking for.  Self-help books were a cornerstone to my therapy.  I had homework.  I gave myself more homework.  I read book after book after book on my challenges.  I didn't sit around waiting for someone one to spoon feed me.  One of the greatest books I find on how to deal with abuse is scriptures.  God's dealing with man has shown repeatedly how one person abuses, betrays, hurts another.  One of my favorites is Joseph sold into Egypt. Powerful resources exist all around me.

There are ways to connect to others.   If I feel alone what am I doing that I am isolating myself.  Have I called a friend or one of my kids? Have I said hello to my Facebook friends?  Or is my aloneness self inflicted because depression is getting an upper hand?  Even a person on a deserted island without electricity is not alone if they believe in Christ.  New neighbors are moving in.  Will I greet them?  People at the grocery store, will I smile?  We are awash in people.  My challenge is to feel connected.  I know the feeling of being alone in a crowd.  The lack of connection had more to do with me than it ever had to do with them.  Accepting my responsibility to reach out and connect to others led to writing this blog and starting my PTSD blog  I am reaching out to those that feel like no one could possibly understand what it is like to live in/through hell.  There is life after victimhood.  There is more than mere survival.  I believe firmly in accepting where I am, coping with now and learning to thrive in the future.  Thriving is becoming my now and connecting to others is part of thriving.

14. Right now I really need …
There it is the optimal question to ask to accept where I am right now in my life.  Right now what do I really need.... sometimes that answer is I really need to go to work. Why?  I have bills to pay and things that take money.  It is ok to need that.  Right now I really need ....information, then look it up, find someone who knows, get a counselor to help lead.  Right now I really need....  Acceptance of what I really need is the first step to getting what I need.  I was raised by a martyr that always put everyone's else's needs first.  She filled up with bitterness instead of filling her needs.  That bitterness poured out on my sister and I.  I am learning that I don't do anyone any favors by daily denying my needs.  I know that sometimes there is an occasion to put someone else first but you can't give water from an empty bucket.  The airlines recognize that you put the oxygen mask on the parent first and then help the child.  My kids know the hard way that mother passed out on the floor doesn't do much towards getting dinner cooked.  I relearned....tore out years of training and behavior and installed a new operating system.... can you tell I fixed computer for 15 years?


Sunday, August 10, 2014


The list continues......

7. I forgive myself. I am open to forgiving myself. Or I am willing to work on forgiving myself.
Forgiving myself...fortunately KavinCoach understood this far better than I did.  He taught me about Stockholm Syndrome
and about survivor's guilt  This is the advantage of a good counselor, they already know about some of the struggles that abuse survivors will experience.  He realized how severe my guilt was when I talked of suicide and he finally understood that for me suicide would be an execution not running from pain.  I felt so guilty about what happened to some of the others that were caught up in the same nightmare I was that I felt I deserved to die.  A child is easy to convince that it is their fault that horrible things happened to them.  Adults struggle with understanding this as well.  Often I heard about forgiving others and I worked hard at doing this.  I was in counseling before the concept and necessity of forgiving myself became a topic of discussion.  It is also far more difficult for me than forgiving others.  I know what is in my own mind and condemning myself is a habit. Part of "Love thy neighbor, AS THYSELF," is to give myself the same opportunity to be forgiven.  It is not easy for me.  It is key to allowing myself to feel joy.  

Guilt feels liked I am chained to my past.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shake it

Skipped a couple to the one that related to yesterday's post:

11. My favorite way to move my body is …

I love to dance.  I stopped when I was so sick I could barely stand.  About 5 years ago my daughter bought me Zumba lessons at a dance studio.  It got me dancing.  I loved working out with my daughter.  Sadly she moved and my interest changed.  Now I work out with video's by Bob, the trainer from Biggest looser.
I also started Karate last year.  I am fascinated by how much I love the karate moves.  I am still struggling with purposefully falling but I am progressing in ways I never expected. 

I love hiking.  I love hiking in the dessert, on a beach, in the forest, you name it I love hiking.  Even more fun to bring my camera and capture tiny miracles that most people walk right past.  A delicate flower, a basking lizard, an interesting rock capture my gaze so I capture that image. 

I love photographing.  For me, photography is a whole body activity.  Standing, crouching, move to get a different perspective or change the angle of light.  Walk around to get the framing just so.  I love moving while shooting pictures.

I love stretching.  You know that big kind of stretch when muscles are whiny and stretching just seems to set the world right again.  Big arm wide arch my back stretching feels wonderful.

I love cuddling....grand kids are tolerant.  They let me cuddle them. 

I love to move my body....I even learned to love my elliptical machine.  It is especially handy when the temperatures hit over 110 degrees F (over 40 degrees C)  outside and it is too freaking hot to go hiking. 

I love walking at the zoo especially with the grandkids.  They look at things with new eyes and share my wonder at the amazing creatures.  I took a bunch of pictures of one of them feeding a goat.  The sheer delight of having the soft goat lips nibble a piece of compressed hay out of his little fingers. 

I love running up stairs.  A few years ago my knees hurt so badly I took the elevator up one story.  I changed my diet by adding coconut water.  The knees are improving and skipping up the stairs is delightful. 

I love breathing.  Feeling my lungs fill with air then slowly releasing.  I love being able to breath.