Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Planning or Not?

After reviewing my year, I start making plans for next year.  Recently popular memes are all about letting God set the path.  I am struggling with this concept.  If you are not interested in a personal religious debate, you may want to skip this post. 

I did a search for images of purple minions....way fun.

Ok...This is a self debate in laying out why I believe God expects me to make a plan for my life.  He might chuckle at my near sightedness and tendency to way underestimate my own ability to waste time but I believe God expects me to make plans.  Here's why....

The monarch butterfly travels to a place it has never seen dictated by migrating plan that seems to be encoded in its DNA. Every year without fail they make their migration. 

Cows moo the same in Brazil, Australia, or the United States of America.  It is imprinted on their DNA.  Not learned.  Not studied.  Cows are cows. 

However, a child is born to any country in the world and the baby can learn that language or several languages.  If they are born deaf they can learn sign language.  Humans tend to live within 10 miles of where they are born.  They usually don't move unless they are persuaded in one way or another.  Babies don't come with instructions printed on their butts.  As a parent, I felt like raising a child was an elaborate guessing game as to what each child needed beyond basic food, shelter and clothing.  I am very bad at guessing.  I didn't have anything printed on my DNA that told me what to say, do, or where I traveled.  DH and I lived in many different places but there were no internal instructions printed out for us.  We made plans.  We carried them out.  We don't have any reason to say, "What if we had....?"  We tried all sorts of places to live.  We planned.  We did.  Yes, we prayed about it.  Sometimes I felt like the answer back to us was, "Well, what do you want to do?" 

Joshua 24:15

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

I looked up how many references I could find of choose in the Bible. I found more than 30 scriptures with the word choose.  This doesn't count the invitation from Christ to "Come Follow Me," which implies a choice.  So if there is a choice, in my opinion, I need to make one.  I also learned over the years that I need to be willing to change my plans, often.  I also accept the someone else's plan may collide with mine totally disrupting my plans.....sometimes life happens, illness, accident, weather can all change my plans.  I believe I have a responsibility to make plans, set goals, have a clue where I am going and preferably not in a hand basket.  I also learned a few things on how to carry them out.

Recently, I received an email from one of the physical trainers I follow and this is what he shared with his email list....

 I have been setting written goals at the beginning of the year for the last 9 years in four areas of my life:

-- Personal
-- Business / Financial
-- Adventure / Toys
-- Contribution

And I have a written record of all of it.

It's AMAZING how the goals I have set each year have almost ALL come true!

A few I am still working on ... but I am WAY, way, way ahead of where I'd be if I didn't go through this process on an annual basis.

I will say that the past three or four years though, I've started accomplishing a lot more and have "accelerated my life" if you will in ALL areas ... and a big part of this is using the S.M.A.R.T. system for goal setting.

Here's how it works:

"S" stands for specific.  A general goal would be "get in shape".  A specific goal would say "pick a training plan to follow and do it 3x per week".

"M" stands for measurable.  Ask questions like - how much? how many? how will I know when it's accomplished?

"A" stands for attainable.  When you set out to accomplish something and put your mind to it, to begin to figure out ways to make it happen.  I think we are capable of FAR more than we think we are!

"R" stands for realistic.  To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective that you are both willing and able to work towards.

"T" stands for timely.  A goal must be grounded with a time frame.  Without this, there is no urgency ... and this makes it a lot tougher to accomplish what you've set out to do.

For each goal you set, make sure to go through this process ... you'll be AMAZED at the difference it makes.

Now you have a way to set SMARTer goals for the New Year.

Take some time or yourself over this week to figure out what you want to accomplish in 2015.

And let's have the best year ever!

- Forest Vance, MS, RKC II

This is a neat and tidy starting point.  I learned that I need to break bigger goals into smaller goals....That whole eating the elephant is easier in bite size pieces.  Computer thinking is breaking information and instructions into byte size pieces.  

There is one more type of goal that I like to set that is in the area of becoming.....can't measure, can't see it, can't take a picture of it, I like to take on projects of becoming.  This past year was "I choose the truth, no matter how hard." This year I want to choose an attribute that I want to work on.  I remember reading somewhere to choose one attribute each month to work on improving.  Becoming a better person is more than just meeting goals.  Meeting goals should help me become the person I believe God desires me to be.  Lofty hopes and I need to work out some mundane goals to get me going in the right direction. 

I chuckle at the similarity of posts that my sister and I write without consulting with each other about our posts.  Judy posted a list of questions to consider when setting goals:

Up to me to decide where I am going.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Different suggestions for change

I've worked on improving myself for years.  I tried and failed many ways of learning to live.  I recognized very early in my teens that there was something odd about me but I was always the way I was, I didn't know where to start.  In counseling, I started a focused concentrated healing.  I learned a lot in 10 years.  I learned that many different approaches work.  I get suspicions when someone says there is a one and only way.  People are not one size fits all.  I came across another blog post that suggests 12 steps.  AA also has 12 steps.  Here are the 2 may want go to the web pages for more insight on each step. I also added my own 12 steps.

How To Begin Rebuilding Your Life And Make It Ridiculously Amazing 

1. Make a commitment to yourself
2. Forgive, release and let go of past hurts and resentments
3. Embrace with grace all that you face
4. Visualize your achievements and create your destiny
5. Dreams won’t work unless you do
6. Take one step at a time
7. Develop a deep trust in life
8. Give yourself permission to “fail”
9. Be good to yourself
10. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations
11. Discipline your mind to stay present in the NOW
12. Surround yourself with loving and supportive people


 AA list
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This is what I learned from my experience.
1. Recognize something is lacking or out of step in my life.
2. Survey the damage.
3. Commit to doing something to change myself.
4. Get new information from counselor, books, scriptures, prayer, talking to other people.....I need new information to do something different.  Sometimes it is old information from a new perspective.
5. Make a plan.  (Personally I pray about the plan and ask Heavenly Father if I am headed in the right direction.)
6. Break the plan down into small pieces.
7. Take baby steps.  (I learned I could do anything for 5 minutes.  A lot of 5 minutes together can get me through a day.) 
8. As time passes, review progress.
9.  Make course corrections as needed.
10. Recognize and acknowledge my own progress.
11.  Connect with people.  I can learn something from everyone....either a good example of what to do or an example of what doesn't work.  Life is too short to make all possible mistakes myself...learn from others.
12. Share what I learn.  

I suggest making your own 12 steps to move from where you are now to where you would like to be. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Review the year

I am focusing on reviewing my year.  One person reviewed their year by spiritual events in their lives.  There are hundreds of list of top songs, top movies, top shows, name it and someone has listed something that can be listed....what if I evaluated things that can't be put in a list and quantified? 
How is my integrity doing? 
Am I forgiving myself? 
Am I more accepting of myself and others? 
Do I choose Christ when I make my choices? 
Am I more loving? 
Do I listen better? 
How is my compassion doing?
None of these can be quantified.  But I believe these are the things that are essential in becoming the person I believe God thinks I am capable of being.  My vision is so finite.  I can count how many times I went to work.  I am aware of how often I go to work late.  I can tell you how much weight I lost and how much crept right back on to my hips.  God doesn't look on the outward parts. 
How is my emotional heart doing? 
Am I letting go of long term grudges? 
Am I addressing or avoiding my fears? 
Do I hold life in reverence? 
Do I lift those that have their hands hang down? 

Matthew 25:31-40
 31 ¶When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Hebrew 12:12-13
 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pet peeve

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortunes, most of which have never happened.”
What a great quote by Mark Twain. It humorously summarizes something that is so true, so important, and so often ignored.
Our minds are constantly bombarded with negative thoughts, visions of horrible things that may happen to us, and terrifying reasons not to do the things we want to do.
And yet in the end, these horrible things rarely happen. The thoughts cause pain by twisting yourself into thinking that things are not “kol beseder” (everything is ok, or s’all good, in Hebrew).
The worst part is that these thoughts disturb us for so long and we never do anything about them!
Well, that’s about to change.
Luckily, we have a very powerful technique available to us called “reframing”. Reframing involves identifying our unhelpful thoughts and replacing them with more positive or adaptive ones.

I used this link yesterday because it had a great explanation of reframing techniques.  However, their opening statement is one of my pet peeves. 

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortunes, most of which have never happened.”

This statement implies that most bad things don't happen.  Yes it is true but my version goes more like this:

My life has been filled with terrible misfortunes, that I pray never happen again.

Do you see the subtle difference between the two?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Yearly Review

by Positive Outlooks
Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true FAILURE.
— George Edward Woodberry

For me, this time between Christmas and New Year is a time to review the year.  One of the important things I learned to do in counseling is reframing* circumstances.  I was trained to view anything that wasn't 100% perfect as failure.  I learned from that ok is good enough.  Some things, like sweeping the floor, do not need to be done to perfection.  Playing horse shoes 'almost' still gets a score.  I learned to relax my standards.  I also learned that changing how I define failure.  It is not a failure to burn a batch of brownies....just throw them away and enjoy the cookies I cooked or bake another batch and turn the temperature down.  One mistake does not make a disaster.  Keeping all this in mind I look at the past year's events.  I had some great times, visiting children and grandchildren, feeding family and friends, learning to cook some delicious meals, and riding roller coasters with my son-in-law.  I also had challenges.  My Dad had a pacemaker put in, I interacted with my mother, expectations at my school were changed, and changing counselors are a few of the harder things that happened this year.  I am learning to recognize the growth I experience from the tough challenges.  I am better at not awfulizing events, looking at the silver linings and not so much at the cloud.  Or not making mountains out of molehills.  DH getting home late from work does not mean he was in a car wreck.  I believe trying new things sums up a lot of what happened this year. 

This web page has specific ideas on how to use reframing techniques for taking negative thoughts and replacing them more positive or healthier thoughts.

Anyways, here are some valuable tactics to help you replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.
  1. Use milder wording. This one is really easy, and you should start doing it immediately. Words do matter, and if your thought is worded with a more mild negative, you won’t feel as bad. For example, if you were to think “I really hate that guy”, you would feel worse than if you thought “I’m not a fan of that guy”. So go with the second one.
  2. Ask yourself: “What is the best way for me to accomplish this?” When you are facing a challenge or fear, you can ask yourself this question to help you focus on the solution rather than the problem. The phrase “best way” implies that there are multiple ways around the problem and focuses on the positive.
  3. Ask yourself: “What can I learn from this?” Now, instead of having a problem, you have a way to improve yourself. Every challenge is also an opportunity to learn, so take advantage of it.
  4. Challenge your assumptions. Try to figure out what the frame behind your thought is. Chances are you have a limiting belief that is encouraging you to think negatively about your situation. This limiting belief is based on assumptions you have made that probably are not true. Find reasons why they aren’t true, and you chip away at the beliefs causing the negative thoughts. This is the most powerful long term reframing technique, and it is far more effective if you’ve been keeping a thought journal.
These techniques are like rules of thumb that you should have available for when negative thoughts rear their ugly head. They will help you come up with “band-aid” reframes in a pinch.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Aftermath

Merry Christmas... made it through.  I had a wonderful happy day.....woke up this morning day after Christmas with that all mighty feeling of dread.  Deep slow breathing............

One of the not fun, horrible, things about happiness for a survivor of childhood abuse was the predictable hell you pay for being happy.  That's right.  Abusers do not like their victims to be happy and if they should dare to be so, there will be hell to pay.  The abuser will increase finding ways to hurt and make sure their victim knows that their happiness is the cause for bad things to happen.  This is not true for every survivor....I'm talking about those that were under the thumb of cruel people that enjoy watching others suffer.  They actually will point out to their victims that their happiness is the cause of suffering.  Every person recognizes that there are ups and downs in life.  Sadness often will follow happiness but the two events are usually separate and random.  I am referring to the diabolical delight taken by some to make those that dare to be happy to suffer.  A good example of this type of behavior is in the Devil Wears Paradas. (By the way, that book really creeped me out reading it.)  The abusers intent is to destroy what possible happiness might exist.  When a survivor feels happy, the feeling of dread is like a dark shadow right beside, especially the day after a happy event.

What to do about it?

A.  Recognize your own pattern of anxiety when happy.
B.  Plan enjoyable events after a big happy event to reaffirm you deserve happy.
C.  When sad events occur acknowledge that they are separate events not tied to the happy ones.  For example, if you get sick after Christmas it is not because you were being too happy.  It is because you were run down, over tired and germs got the upper hand.  Break the connection that happiness brought on illness or other upsetting events.
D.  Be kind to yourself. 
E.  Increase nurturing by not looking for possible mistakes that occurred during happy times.
F.  Remember time passing softens all things and think in 10, 20, and 30 year increments not  days and weeks. 

Looking forward to a Happy New Year. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas Eve Day

I had a great day filled with grandkids, cookies, family, movies cuddled with DH...AWESOME Day...filled with Christmas blessings.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Stories abound all surrounding the magic, the miracle, and the mystical of Christmas.  Today I am sharing a few of the stories that I have found over the years....

Christmas With Louise

As a joke, my brother used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking his list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay's kids' stockings were overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.

One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on my sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Walmart! I had to go to an adult book store downtown. WARNING......If
you've never been in a X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like "What does this do?", "You're kidding me!", and "Who would buy that?"

Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck, so I
could use the carpool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry.

I settled on 'Lovable Louise." She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a "doll" took a huge leap of imagination. On Christmas Eve, with the
help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan, and let me into her home during the wee morning hours, long after Santa
Claus had come and gone. I filled the dangling panty hose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of
milk on a nearby tray. Then, I went home, and giggled for a several hours. 

The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his
house, and left a present that had made him VERY happy. But it had left the dog rather confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and
bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the
traditional Christmas dinner .

My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the
hell is that?" she asked. My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll." "Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped.  I had several candidates in mind, but quickly decided to keep my mouth shut. 

"Where are her clothes?" Granny continued. "Boy, that turkey sure smells good,
Granny," Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room. But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I?

It was Christmas, and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny, Hang on!"

My grandfather, a delightful old man with very poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, "Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?" I told him she was Jay's
friend A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting with her.  It was then that we all realized
this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died (or was dying), and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom every morning. Then she lurched right out of the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa.

The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth to mouth
resuscitation to the limp doll. My brother fell backwards over his chair and wet his pants, and Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and
went to sit in the car.

It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember. Later in my mother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health.

Louise went on to star in several bachelor party movies. And, I think Grandpa still calls her whenever he can get out of the home.


Check Your List Twice

She had been waiting for this moment for weeks now.  All the
other kids in her class had already told Santa what they wanted
for Christmas.  Her mom had been urging her to make her list to
give to Santa, but she just couldn't make up her mind.

"Why is it so difficult for you to decide?" mom asked her.
"I have so many things to do and I can't keep asking you for
your list."

"I know what I want but I don't know how to write it," she replied.

"Your brother made his list up weeks ago.  Of course he wants
the entire toy store, but at least he has a list."

"He's just a child mother!" she replied.

"Oh, and you're so mature at the age of nine?"

"I'll be a teenager soon!" she replied.

Although she had four years to get ready for it, that was
something mom didn't want to think about these days.  Time was
always a precious thing to her.  Even more so now that she lost
her husband last year in a work related accident.  Bills have
been piling up and work difficult to find.  On top of that, her
own mother was seriously ill requiring her to visit her daily.

The holidays are normally quite hectic, but this one was
particularly difficult.

Finally, one day while mom was visiting grandma, the young girl
sat down to make her list.

She neatly folded the paper and placed it inside the special green
and red envelope, sealed it and left it on the table for Santa.

Just before bed time that day she told her mom that she did
indeed make her Christmas wish list.

Her and her brother would place their lists together on the
kitchen table and "magically" the list would disappear by morning
reaching Santa through what they called "North Pole airmail."

Just before heading to bed herself, mom sat down to read her
daughter's list.

Quietly and carefully opening it, she unfolded the paper.

It was blank.

"This has never happened before," she thought.

But how could she even ask her daughter about it.  This was a
letter to Santa and parents never see those things.

Lying in bed that night mom came up with the answer.  They were
planning on attending the church Christmas party the next night.
Every year Santa would make a visit and give each child in
attendance a small gift.  Since Mom knew Santa personally, so
she would ask him to make a point to speak to her daughter about
the blank letter.

The party was festive and filled with holiday goodies.  Music
and laughter filled the small church basement as Santa made his

Mom stood by her children waiting eagerly for him to speak to
her daughter.

"Well, Jessica.  How are you?  I got your list this year but,
I'm a bit confused.  It was blank.  I even checked it twice.
Don't you want any presents this year?" Santa asked.

Jessica motioned for Santa to come closer.

"What I want this year you can't bring," she said.

"Oh, but Santa has lots of things for good little girls and
boys," the old gentleman assured her.

"I don't want things," she said.
"What I want only God can give me."

It suddenly became very quiet in the room.

"But you can help me, Santa," Jessica said.

"Anything, Jessica," Santa said in his real voice and quite out
of character.

"Will you pray with me?" she asked.

"Of course, what do you need?"

"All I want this year is for my Mom to be happy and my grandma well,"
Jessica said.

There wasn't a dry eye in the room.

Santa stood tall, clasped the hands of the little girl and began
to pray.

"Oh, Heavenly Father, God of all that is good,  please hear my
prayer.  Jessica has requested a very special gift this year.
One that only You can provide.  I am just the provider of things
of this world.  Things that have no real value.  But you Oh, God,
are the Provider of life and the Giver of everlasting love.

This young child, with wisdom far beyond her years, asks
nothing for herself, but for her mom to be happy and her
grandmother well.  Please hear the prayer of this child and bless
her for her generous spirit all the days of her life."

And the people gathered there said "Amen!"

"Jessica," her mom said.

"Look, it happened already!  I've never been happier in my life."

And so it will be for you, too, my friends.
If you have made your list for Santa already,
I urge you to "check it twice."

For things bring only temporary happiness and God's Love eternal joy.


Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.

Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year.

It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production.

Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row - center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: "CHRISTWAS LOVE" And,
I believe, He still is........

manger mistake

      About a week before Christmas, Mom bought a new nativity scene. When she unpacked it, she found two figures of the Baby Jesus. "Someone must have packed this wrong," mother said, counting out the figures. "We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel, and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have two."
     "You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats, it's freezing cold out there." The manager of the store copied down mother's message, and the next time we were in the store, we saw the cardboard sign that read, "If you're missing Baby Jesus, call 7126." All week long we waited for someone to call. Surely, we thought, someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang, mother would say, "I'll bet that's about Jesus." But it never was. Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country, and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested that she just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it. "Put Baby Jesus back in the box?! What a terrible thing to do," said mother. "Surely someone will call. We'll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone does." When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father "just run down to the store" to see if there were any sets left. "You can see them right through the window, over on the counter," she said. "If they are all gone, I'll know someone is bound to call tonight."
     "Run down to the store?" father thundered. "It's 15 below zero out there!"
     "Oh, Daddy, we'll go with you!" We began to put on our coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered. We ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Tommy got to the store first and pressed his nose up to the store window. "They're all gone, Daddy," he shouted. "Every set must be sold. Hooray! The mystery will be solved tonight!"
     Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When we got back into the house, we noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. "Someone must have called, and she went out to deliver the figurine," father reasoned, pulling off his boots. "You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother's present." Then the phone rang. Father yelled, "answer the phone and tell 'em we found a home for Jesus." But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk...
     "Now what has she gotten us into?" father groaned as we bundled up again. "205 Chestnut. Why that's across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets, or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can't we all just get on with Christmas? It's probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this." When we got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street, it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room, and the moment we set foot on the porch steps, mother opened the door and shouted, "They're here! Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I'll take the milk and cookies."
     "Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?" father asked. "We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way."
       "Never mind all that now," mother interrupted. "There is no heat in this house, and this young mother is so upset, she doesn't know what to do.  Her husband walked out on her, and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don't you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy. My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children's mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down. "I been doin' washin' an ironin' for people and cleanin' the five and dime," she said. "I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept goin' through my mind. 7162 "Said on the box that if a person was missin' Jesus, they should call you. That's how I knew you were good Christian people, willin' to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight, and I called your missus. I'm not missin' Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin' heat. I have no money to fix that furnace."
      "Okay, okay," said father. "You've come to the right place. Now let's see. You've got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn't be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I'll look it over, see what it needs."
      Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them. Father finally got the oil burner working but said, "You need more oil. I'll make a few calls tonight and get some oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place." Father grinned. On the way home, father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. "Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed? Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you've got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?" By this time the rest of the family was pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after our bedtime when we were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, father let us ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn't a packing mistake at all. Jesus saves, that's what He does.
     Author Unknown

Monday, December 22, 2014

Spike in emotions

Happy Holidays
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year

Happy Merry Happy merry happy miserable...........

Tis' the season of unreasonable expectations, feelings of loss, grieving for those that are no longer around, wishing Heavenly loved ones could be here and recognizing that the tears on my face are not tears of joy but instead deep feelings of sadness seeping out at the corners of my eyes.  One blogger described it as the curse of looking happy.
Dani describes her frustration of other people expecting her to be happy on the inside because she is smiling on the outside.

Part of emotional abuse is teaching a person that what they must show on the outside has nothing to do with how they feel on the inside.  This emotional disconnect from my own emotions was one of the biggest hurdles to over come.  I noticed today, I still tend to lie about how I actually feel.  I was taught at a very young age that any emotion accept 'perfectly pleasant' was unacceptable.  I learned to bury my own emotions so deep I could no longer recognize what I felt.  I was clueless about my emotions.  Reconnecting is an uncomfortable process.  I am aware that the happy holiday season makes owning less happy feelings difficult and for some people impossible.  Last night we had a lovely evening with family celebrating Christmas earlier to avoid conflicts on Christmas day.  The tree was beautiful and I realized my mother-in-law would have loved it.  She died many years ago.  Last night I really missed her.  I would have enjoyed seeing her reaction to this lovely tree.  Amongst all the happy I felt sad for a few minutes.  I learned in counseling the importance of feeling what I feel.  I also remember the Christmas that I didn't celebrate.  No tree. No singing. No cookies. No baking.  I was angry at Heavenly Father and not feeling like celebrating Jesus at all.  I needed to feel what I felt.  I believed with all my heart that Heavenly Father understood and appreciated my honesty.  He then lovingly over the next year helped me with opportunities to work through what I felt.  I am back to loving Christmas.  I enjoy the time and appreciate how difficult this time of year can be for myself and others.  If you are not feeling merry for Christmas I hope that someone is close by that can give you a hug and accept how you feel. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Eve 1962

Mommy came home and presented me with a doll that was to be mine....I took her at her word, after all I was only 5.  My sister was mine to care for, love, watch over.  I remember singing to her and sharing our room.  We were 5 years apart and mother felt she could hand over her care to me and I believed it was possible.  Many years, many experiences, our paths diverged.  When I moved back close to my parents, we barely knew each other any more.  She couldn't understand my behavior of acting as if nothing was wrong in our family.  Then came counseling and I talked about having no memories.  She realized I wasn't acting.  I didn't know anything was wrong with what happened in our shared childhood.  She remembered so vividly and I had only the vaguest clues and those were unreliable.  She tried to talk to me but I nearly passed out from the stress of attempting to remember.  She reached out to me and gave me all that love I gave to her right back to me.  She encouraged me, she had my back, she scolded me when I needed it, she shared her light when the darkness nearly engulfed me.  I don't know why God sent her to our family but I am so thankful He did.  My sister, my friend Happy Birthday to you.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I do deserve this

I checked all the links from last year's Christmas Carols post and they all work. 
How awesome is that?

I spent a wonderful evening with our children and grandchildren that live in the area.  It was great to have only fudge and rolls to bring.  Delicious goodies for kids and adults.  Savor the moments of joy and happiness.  Grandbaby 13 was born this week and grandie 14 was announced.  Joy multiplies when there is love.  I was impressed with the cookies to decorate, special coloring pages, and fun things for the kids to do.  Visiting flowed and groups changed and regrouped.  I am thankful and miss those that could not attend due to distance.  Did I mention how important it is to savor the moments?  Too often when struggling with depression, PTSD, or other mental illnesses savoring now is difficult to maintain.  Intrusive thoughts, triggered fears, or other stray thoughts attempt to hijack the evening.  One of the reoccurring themes of negative thoughts is 'you don't deserve this.'  My first counselor described this as 'poop in the punch bowl' thinking.  Ask yourself, do you deserve 'poop in the punch bowl'? If your answer is a fast no, I was amazed how quickly I answered no, then I deserve to be happy for an evening.  To watch the children playing and decorating cookies with no fighting was delightful.  Listening to the flow of conversation a beautiful evening.  They deserve a lovely evening and so do I. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Show him your badge

Someone kindly reshared this.  Oldy and a favorite of mine.

A DEA Agent stopped at a ranch in Texas and talked to an old rancher. He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs." The rancher said, "okay, but don't go into that field over there...", as he pointed out the location. The DEA Agent verbally exploded and said, "look mister, I have the authority of the federal government with me!" Reaching into his rear back pocket, the arrogant officer removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher. "See this badge?! This badge means I can go wherever I want... On any land! No questions asked, no answers given! Do you understand old man?!"
The rancher kindly nodded, apologized, and went about his chores. Moments later the rancher heard loud screams, he looked up and saw the DEA agent running for his life, being chased by the ranchers big Santa Gertrudis Bull...... With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it was likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified. The old rancher threw down his tools, ran as fast as he could to the fence, and yelled at the top of his lungs......


Wrapped in delicious thoughts and memories.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Set Aside

Dissociation is a powerful survival tool but can really interfere with living.  I am learning to use it on a temporary basis.  Last month I was working on a series of questions.  I realized the introspection was difficult when I had so much going on.  Family gathering from the western half of the United States requires planning, preparations, and focus.  Turning inward was not a good choice.  I decided to set the questions aside for a bit.  I also realized that in my effort to work on my PTSD web page I was pulling more and more of the research into my Facebook.  I am not defined by PTSD.  So I am using a diluted version of dissociation to set aside certain parts of things that I will work on later.  Some people call this compartmentalizing.  It is a useful tool.  Living in the moment and setting reflections and worry off to the side, temporarily.  I emphasize the temporary part because if I just bury things then I am sliding backwards into burying my feelings.  Now I am telling them, I will give you center stage at a later date, I'm busy right now.   If I follow through on my promise, I notice that my feelings are willing to wait.  I am aware that compartmentalization at an extreme level can be as unhealthy as extreme dissociation.  But like many tools remember to use the small hammer instead of the 10 lb sledge.  January is a time to evaluate as I plan for the New Year.  I will revisit the questions and continue my research on PTSD later. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Plan to be late

I've learned that when I pray in the morning to serve the Lord by helping someone in need, I better prepare to be late for something.  I noticed that the Lord doesn't ask me to help others when I have nothing to do.  It is at a moment when I feel I need to be somewhere else then there is this emotional tug to stop, pay attention, observe those around me, and serve where needed.  I remember a story I got in the internet years ago....I've seen multiple versions now. 

I looked up on Snopes and found the back ground of the story:

Claim:   Students at a religious institute enrolled in a class on the life of Jesus arrive at their classroom to take the final exam and find a notice informing them that the test will be given in another building on the other side of the campus. As the students rush across campus to the new room, each is accosted by a forlorn beggar who entreats their help. None of the students stops for him, however — they all rush by, anxious to arrive on time for the exam.

The instructor is waiting for the students when they finally reach the classroom. He explains to them that the beggar was an actor, planted by him to test their reactions. Because the students did not demonstrate that they had acquired any compassion while studying the life of Jesus, they all failed the exam.

Today I prayed to serve others, I was late for work, late for an appointment, late getting home.  I was late.  I'm OK with being late.  I noticed too a feeling of peace when I was starting to be anxious about the end of school wrap up of assignments.  I would think once again that I prayed to serve others, their demands suddenly seemed less demanding.  Still needed to be done but my attitude shifted. Prayers are sometimes answered in a way that isn't expected.....I think I'll plan to leave earlier so I can serve and not be late.....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rocky Balboa

The Rocky Balboa Speech That Dragged Me Out Of Hell

Rocky Balboa Speech To Son

“You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. (He gestures to the palm of his hand). I’d hold you up to say to your mother, ‘This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.’ And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watchin’ you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started lookin’ for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know.The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!
I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.”
- Rocky Balboa

I needed this speech.  Thank you Evan Sanders from thebettermanproject for posting it.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I didn't believe I could

“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 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 

Walking into counseling I naively thought of it as a summer project, one summer not ten.  I looked at my own past terrified, I called myself a worm, with no back bone or no bones at all.  I saw myself as weak and cowardly.  I had no strength, no courage and certainly no confidence.  My counselor turned me around to take a hard look at my past.  I was terrified.  The past was just as horrific as I remember and a whole lot more. My whole body would shake so badly I couldn't walk on my own after some sessions.  I was thankful my husband was there.  KavinCoach taught me if I lived through it, it won't kill me to remember it.  I debated that from time to time but he was right.  I could face my past.  As I looked at my past, I slowly gained strength to face more and more.  I still don't remember everything.  I also believe that is a kind gift.  With each memory remembered, processed and categorized I was better able to face the next one, then the next one.  Sometimes a mental dam would break and I would be flood with too much too fast.  I was taught how to release the memories slowly so that each one received the attention I needed to put it back into context.  I learned I did have a backbone.  I learned that no matter how horrific a memory is, I can live through remembering.  I learned that my body remembered suffering even when my mind forgot.  About every two or three years I encounter this quote.  I finally agree, "I can do the things I thought I could not do.  I did live through horror.  I stopped and faced my fears."  I am thankful I didn't need to do this alone.  

Friday, December 12, 2014


PTSD Facebook groups are working at sharing information about PTSD.  Most of what I read is fairly accurate from the information I have.  I am passing it along here and on my other blog.  This is one of the best definitions I have read.  I am a big believer that knowledge is power.  Taking back my power is a slow uphill struggle.  I spent many years in counseling and I'm not through yet. 

PTSD is difficult but not impossible.    
PTSD Break The Silence with Exa Marie Jones
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape, such as in cases of:

domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse
childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse
entrapment or kidnapping.
slavery or enforced labor.
long term imprisonment and torture
repeated violations of personal boundaries.
long-term objectification.
exposure to gaslighting & false accusations
long-term exposure to inconsistent, push-pull, splitting or alternating raging & hoovering behaviors.
long-term taking care of mentally ill or chronically sick family members.
long term exposure to crisis conditions.

When people have been trapped in a situation over which they had little or no control at the beginning, middle or end, they can carry an intense sense of dread even after that situation is removed. This is because they know how bad things can possibly be. And they know that it could possibly happen again. And they know that if it ever does happen again, it might be worse than before.

The degree of C-PTSD trauma cannot be defined purely in terms of the trauma that a person has experienced. It is important to understand that each person is different and has a different tolerance level to trauma. Therefore, what one person may be able to shake off, another person may not. Therefore more or less exposure to trauma does not necessarily make the C-PTSD any more or less severe.

C-PTSD sufferers may "stuff" or suppress their emotional reaction to traumatic events without resolution either because they believe each event by itself doesn't seem like such a big deal or because they see no satisfactory resolution opportunity available to them. This suppression of "emotional baggage" can continue for a long time either until a "last straw" event occurs, or a safer emotional environment emerges and the dam begins to break.

The "Complex" in Complex Post Traumatic Disorder describes how one layer after another of trauma can interact with one another. Sometimes, it is mistakenly assumed that the most recent traumatic event in a person's life is the one that brought them to their knees. However, just addressing that single most-recent event may possibly be an invalidating experience for the C-PTSD sufferer. Therefore, it is important to recognize that those who suffer from C-PTSD may be experiencing feelings from all their traumatic exposure, even as they try to address the most recent traumatic event.
This is what differentiates C-PTSD from the classic PTSD diagnosis - which typically describes an emotional response to a single or to a discrete number of traumatic events.

Difference between C-PTSD & PTSD

Although similar, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) differs slightly from the more commonly understood & diagnosed condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in causes and symptoms.

C-PTSD results more from chronic repetitive stress from which there is little chance of escape. PTSD can result from single events, or short term exposure to extreme stress or trauma.
Therefore a soldier returning from intense battle may be likely to show PTSD symptoms, but a kidnapped prisoner of war who was held for several years may show additional symptoms of C-PTSD.

Similarly, a child who witnesses a friend's death in an accident may exhibit some symptoms of PTSD but a child who grows up in an abusive home may exhibit the additional C-PTSD characteristics shown below:

C-PTSD - What it Feels Like:

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel un-centered and shaky, as if they are likely to have an embarrassing emotional breakdown or burst into tears at any moment. They may feel unloved - or that nothing they can accomplish is ever going to be "good enough" for others.

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel compelled to get away from others and be by themselves, so that no-one will witness what may come next. They may feel afraid to form close friendships to prevent possible loss should another catastrophe strike.

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel that everything is just about to go "out the window" and that they will not be able to handle even the simplest task. They may be too distracted by what is going on at home to focus on being successful at school or in the workplace.

C-PTSD Characteristics

How it can manifest in the victim(s) over time:

Rage turned inward: Eating disorders. Depression. Substance Abuse / Alcoholism. Truancy. Dropping out. Promiscuity. Co-dependence. Doormat syndrome (choosing poor partners, trying to please someone who can never be pleased, trying to resolve the primal relationship)

Rage turned outward: Theft. Destruction of property. Violence. Becoming a control freak.

Other: Learned hyper vigilance. Clouded perception or blinders about others (especially romantic partners)

Seeks positions of power and / or control: choosing occupations or recreational outlets which may put oneself in physical danger. Or choosing to become a "fixer" - Therapist, Mediator, etc.

Avoidance - Avoidance is the practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.

Blaming - Blaming is the practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Catastrophizing - Catastrophizing is the habit of automatically assuming a "worst case scenario" and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.

"Control-Me" Syndrome - "Control-Me" Syndrome describes a tendency that some abuse victims and some people who suffer from personality disorders have to nurture relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or "acting-out" nature.

Denial (PD) - Denial is believing or imagining that some factual reality, circumstance, feeling or memory does not exist or did not happen.

Dependency - Dependency is an inappropriate and chronic reliance by one adult individual on another for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well- being.

Depression (Non-PD) -Depression is when you feel sadder than your circumstances dictate, for longer than your circumstances last - but still can't seem to break out of it.

Escape To Fantasy - Escape to Fantasy is sometimes practiced by people who routinely shun transparency with others and present a facade to friends, partners and family members. Their true identity and feelings are commonly expressed privately in an alternate fantasy world.

Fear of Abandonment - Fear of abandonment and irrational jealousy is a phobia, sometimes exhibited by people with personality disorders, that they are in imminent danger of being rejected, discarded or replaced at the whim of a person who is close to them.

Hyper Vigilance - Hyper Vigilance is the practice of maintaining an unhealthy level of interest in the behaviors, comments, thoughts and interests of others.

Identity Disturbance - Identity disturbance is a psychological term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view.

Learned Helplessness- Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe they have no control over a situation, even when they actually do have the power to change their circumstances, leading them into an unneccessary state of depression, where initiative, action or investment is deemed futile.

Low Self-Esteem - Low Self-Esteem is a common name for a negatively-distorted self-view which is inconsistent with reality. People who have low self-esteem often see themselves as unworthy of being successful in personal and professional settings and in social relationships. They may view their successes and their strenghts in a negative light and believe that others see them in the same way. As a result, they may develop an avoidance strategy to protect themselves from criticism.

Panic Attacks - Panic Attacks are short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms.

Perfectionism - Perfectionism is the practice of holding oneself or others to an unrealistic, unsustainable or unattainable standard of organization, order or accomplishment in one particular area of living, while sometimes neglecting common standards of organization, order or accomplishment in others.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia - Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia is the use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.

Self-Loathing - Self Loathing is an extreme self-hatred of one's own self, actions or one's ethnic or demographic background.

Tunnel Vision - Tunnel Vision is the habit or tendency to only see or focus on a single priority while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.

C-PTSD Causes

C-PTSD is caused by a prolonged or sustained exposure to emotional trauma or abuse from which no short-term means of escape is available or apparent to the victim.

The precise neurological damage that exists in C-PTSD victims is not well understood.

C-PTSD Treatment

Little has been done in clinical studies of treatment of C-PTSD. However, in general the following is recommended:

Removal of and protection from the source of the trauma and/or abuse.
Acknowledgement of the trauma as real, important and undeserved.
Acknowledge that the trauma came from something that was stronger than the victim and therefore could not be avoided.
Acknowledgement of the "complex" nature of C-PTSD - that responses to earlier traumas may have led to decisions that brought on additional, undeserved trauma.
Acknowledgement that recovery from the trauma is not trivial and will require significant time and effort.
Separation of residual problems into those that the victim can resolve (such as personal improvement goals) and those that the victim cannot resolve (such as the behavior of a disordered family member)
Mourning for what has been lost and cannot be recovered.
Identification of what has been lost and can be recovered.
Program of recovery with focus on what can be improved in an individuals life that is under their own control.
Placement in a supportive environment where the victim can discover they are not alone and can receive validation for their successes and support through their struggles.
As necessary, personal therapy to promote self discovery.
As required, prescription of antidepressant medications.

What to do about C-PTSD if you've got it:

Remove yourself from the primary or situation or secondary situations stemming from the primary abuse. Seek therapy. Talk about it. Write about it. Meditation. Medication if needed. Physical Exercise. Rewrite the script of your life.

What not to do about it:

Stay. Hold it in. Bottle it up. Act out. Isolate. Self-abuse. Perpetuate the cycle.

What to do about it if you know somebody else who has C-PTSD:

Offer sympathy, support, a shoulder to cry on, lend an ear. Speak from experience. Assist with practical resolution when appropriate (guidance towards escape, therapy, etc.) Be patient.

What not to do about it if you know somebody else who has it:

Do not push your own agenda: proselytize, moralize, speak in absolutes, tell them to "get over it", or try to force reconciliation with the perpetrator or offer "sure fire" cures.

C-PTSD Support Groups & Links:

Thursday, December 11, 2014



Poet: William Arthur Ward

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because
the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing,
does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave
who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free. 

There was a time in my life that I felt like nothingness.  At the time I didn't identify my fear based life as the root of the problem.  I didn't remember my childhood.  I didn't understand what drove me.  I didn't know what was wrong.  I finally hit rock bottom and decided to get out.  It wasn't an overnight process.  I counted progress in years not days and weeks.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Just finished a baking marathon.  Tried a new recipe and read the milk so put in half a cup of milk.  Only it was milk chocolate chips not just milk.  Oh crumbs.....what to do with cream cheese and milk.  Decided to add brownie mix and coconut I have brownie surprise.  It taste good but has the texture of a cake. Learning to cook has some weird side results. 

Enjoy the day.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


10 years studying photography helped me to graduate with a bachelors degree in fine arts, photography.  I took many shots of the bonfire but it is only this one that caught my imagination.  A split second in time.  I couldn't imagine this or create it, I could only capture the rising of the phoenix out of the ashes. 

The phoenix is a legendary bird that burns itself up then rises from its ashes.  Used in Harry Potter it raises with healing in its tears.

I believe every survivor of abuse has a choice, to raise up out of the ashes or wallow in them until they die.  I am choosing to raise up. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Develope these things myself

If I want these things in a relationship then I need to become this way myself.
So, one, as a grown up, must actively seek relationships that seem "abnormal" but are actually normal. 
A relationship without drama. 
A relationship of love. 
A relationship of commitment. 
A relationship of mutual respect. 
A relationship of mutual and separate interests. 
A relationship of communication. 
A relationship of comfort. 
A relationship of openness. 
A relationship of honesty. 
A relationship of closeness. 
A relationship of togetherness. 

I had no intervention until my children were grown.  Doing the research I really get that the timing was what was for the best in a way but my children and marriage suffered from my instability.  I want a relationship like the one described in Silenced-no-longer.  However, I strongly believe that if I want relationships like this then I need to be come like this.  I need to let go of the drama.  I need to love myself and others.  I need to include commitment in a relationship and expect it from others.  I need to respect others.  I need to have my own interests separate from those I love.  I need to communicate I need to comfort others and myself.  I need to be open.  I need to be honest.  I need to allow others to be close to me.  I need to seek togetherness.  Many of these I can set goals for myself.  I already chose honesty.  A truth campaign for myself that I take an honest look at myself.  The truth will make you free but first you will be really miserable....why?  Because the pretty little lies sound nice sometimes.  It can feel harsh to hear, "You are really screwed up."  But those words helped me stop lying to myself and start seeking real answers.  The tough answers.  The ones that I was taught peace at all cost, I learned would cost me everything.  I am searching for the peace rooted in honesty rather than the illusion built on lies.  I want a new normal than I need to make the changes to create it.  I am thankful for counselors that are teaching me new ways to live.  

Phoenix....raising up out of the ashes.