Sunday, May 31, 2015

More and more choices...

I am back on the Maladaptive schema and the things that my counselor taught me to counter act each one.  There isn't one of them that I can't change when I understand that I have choices.  I need to learn more and work hard but not impossible.

Judy's 13 - 18  

13. SELF-SACRIFICE  –      Excessive focus on voluntarily meeting the needs of others in daily situations, at the expense of one’s own gratification.  The most common reasons are:  to prevent causing pain to others;  to avoid guilt from feeling selfish;  or to maintain the connection with others perceived as needy.  Often results from an acute sensitivity to the pain of others. 

This gets complex when you add religion.  Sacrificing for others 'should' be a good thing unfortunately like all human things we tend to distort, misplace, and mess up this concept.  Sadly, I've seen people turn their lives over to someone that could careless about them.  They self-sacrifice for nothing.  Again this is another situation where setting appropriate boundaries help both the survivor and the recipient of the sacrificial behavior.  There are times when one will choose to put their lives on hold to help someone else.  The key to making this healthy is choosing to serve from a position of abundance.  I don't mean monetary.  Abundance is a way of thinking.  Sharing with others can have very positive experience.  Setting appropriate boundaries and choosing healthy ways to serve others enriches both the giver and the recipient.  I've seen it work.  I've seen amazing acts of kinds and self sacrifice that enrich and make a difference to all those involved.  I believe this is something that takes time and practice to set the right balance. 

14.  APPROVAL-SEEKING  /  RECOGNITION-SEEKING  –      Excessive emphasis on gaining approval, recognition, or attention from other people, or fitting in, at the expense of developing a secure and true sense of self. 

 I did this, I can testify that deny your true self does nothing to help the other person and self-destructive on spiritual and emotional levels.  The first steps in counseling was recognizing who I was and understand what I was giving up for the peace at-all-cost training I received.  Peace at-all-cost does cost everything including peace of mind.  I needed to understand who I was.  I needed to explore my wants, needs, rights and responsibilities as a human being.  I needed to understand that some people will not give their approval no matter what I do because their approval/disapproval is not about me.  This is when my first counselor introduced me to my rights as a human being.  Powerful stuff knowing that I had rights by virtue of the fact that I was born.  These are God given not man given rights and responsibilities to go with them.  One might ask why a discussion of my rights has anything to do with approval seeking....I realized I was seeking from other what I needed to get from myself.  I needed my approval.   I needed to recognize my own value.    Powerful stuff when you learn to love yourself and you don't need outside approval to feel like a worthwhile person.  

More to be continued.....

Friday, May 29, 2015

In a blink of an eye.....

Our family world was turned upside down.  A phone call and the shattering news that our oldest daughter has a brain tumor that needed to be removed immediately.  The 6 hour surgery seemed like an eternity.  My husband went to be with her while I stay home nursing myself back to good health.  I ignored the coughing and sneezing thinking it was an allergic reaction.  It isn't getting better.  Bummer....plant a garden as a summer activity is having an unpleasant side affect.  I'm getting great reports as to her progress.  I am thankful that she has a wonderful medical team and family close to her.  I am thankful for the power of prayer.  It brings comfort at the scariest of times. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Choices are more than change

I am continuing on with the Maladaptive schema and the things that my counselor taught me to counter act each one.  There isn't one of them that I can't change when I understand that I have choices.  I need to learn more and work hard but not impossible.

10.  ENTITLEMENT / GRANDIOSITY  –      The belief that one is superior to other people; entitled to special rights and privileges; or not bound by the rules of reciprocity that guide normal social interaction.

This is the one that I needed to take a reality check.  Very disappointed when my reality check bounced.  I am teaching myself to look again at my plans and opinions.  I am not entitled to good health, I am not entitled to my mother's love, I am not entitled to many things that I thought I could have.  My counselor spent more than one session bringing my head out of the clouds of "what I wish I could be" and planted them solidly in this is your reality.  Embrace it.  Change it.  But you are not entitled to some of the things I thought I was.  I work hard at making my goals more realistic without loosing my dreams of a better tomorrow.  I think this was the hardest and the easiest to master.  Hardest because I didn't want to let go of the illusion that my mother should love me in a healthy way.  The easiest was once I accepted I was able to shuffle priorities very quickly.  If I start to feel too grand I remember the Dr. Banks tape.  He shared the story of a man that stood in the mental health ward very grand with one hand inside his robe.  He asked the man who he was.   "I, sir, am Napoleon." 
"Who told you were Napoleon?"
"God told me."
From another bunk he heard, "I did not."
There is always someone that thinks they are grander than I am.  I also believe this is where humility steps in and helps out us mere mortals.  I like the quote my daughter in law has at her house.  Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, it is about thinking of yourself less.  

11. INSUFFICIENT SELF-CONTROL / SELF-DISCIPLINE –     Pervasive difficulty or refusal to exercise sufficient self-control and frustration tolerance to achieve one’s personal goals, or to restrain the excessive expression of one’s emotions and impulses.  In its milder form,  patient presents with an exaggerated emphasis on discomfort-avoidance:  avoiding pain, conflict, confrontation, responsibility, or overexertion—at the expense of personal fulfillment, commitment,  or integrity.

I felt I had no control of my actions.  I was steeped in 'have-to', should, 'they-make-me.'  I had to first accept that I did have control of my life before I could learn the self-discipline in other areas of my life.  I believe karate is one of the many things that are teaching my self-discipline.  I grew up with so much discipline I didn't know how to do it for myself.  I believe this is one of the important rolls of a parent is to move from giving orders to giving suggestions to cheering on my children.  I felt they needed to learn these steps a bit at a time.  I am also learning from Team Froglogic to embrace the suck.
As I accepted responsibility of my life I learned that the only was to stop feeling out of control is to take control of things myself.  I also learned that avoidance at all cost would cost me everything.  Embracing integrity goes a long way to sorting out the self-control and the self-discipline. 

12.  SUBJUGATION  –    Excessive surrendering of control to others because one feels coerced – – usually to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment.
This is what made number 11 so difficult.  I didn't think I had control in my life.  I surrendered all my control to someone else.  Taking back my power and learning my rights and responsibilities as a human being went a long ways toward changing this.  When I took back my power, I stopped feeling a need to let others control me.  The left off one of the steps of subjugation to avoid physical beatings, sometimes the implied threat of a beating.  Once I understood my power, I started looking at the people in my life that were putting me in my place and decided I was going to stay put.  It was a process.  My counselor guided me as I stumbled through my taking back my power and decisions I was making.  It didn't happen all at once and every so often I have to check in with myself that I am not giving up too much power again.  I learned that even with my employment I have a certain amount of control and that I function better if I feel I have choices.  In case I haven't mentioned before, I love choices. 

I was a prisoner in my own mind. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I don't watch the show

I don't watch the show 19 children and counting.  I never cared for it.  Too complicated to explain...just bugged me on so many levels.  Now, the news comes out the older brother was molesting the younger sisters....I felt no surprise by the information.  Two bloggers very adequately covered some of my concerns.

The only thing I find I could add to their comments is how often people will accuse victims for being unforgiving because they no longer want to be around the people that harm them.  I am thankful to my counselor that corrected my thinking.  I do not have to love my abusers.  I do not have to associate with my abusers.  I can choose a healthy distance and healthy boundaries because the other person shows repeatedly that they are not healthy.  I believe firmly that forgiveness does not remove consequences.  The neighbor pedophile was sent to prison.  I am glad someone had the courage to stand up to him.  Sadly that person was murdered.  Terrible things happened.  Putting the man in prison stemmed the flow of filth and degradation.  I understand that Heavenly Father will deal justly with that man's after life.  I am still paying the consequences of his actions.  Forgiveness eased my burden but does not lessen his responsibility for his behavior.  I realize this is a hot topic.  I feel it is tragic when a victim is put down or ignored or criticized for wanting to put as much distance as possible between themselves and their abuser.  To me, forgiveness is a gift I give to myself.  Consequences are long reaching and not wished away.  I believe in Christ and His fairness.  There are times when one pays consequences here and now.  Part of repentance is restitution. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Continuing with choices

 Judy's 7- 12

7.  VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS –     Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it.

I still struggle with this one.  When my husband is late for work I imagine he's been in a terrible accident.  Or when I saw a car wreck close to where I knew my daughter-in-law was shopping I was afraid it was her.  This catastrophizing wrecks havoc on my peace of mind.  Fortunately, my counselor had several suggestions to help minimize the harm.  He first taught me to recognize that terrible things have happened in my life and I was unable to stop it.  I am afraid that terrible things will happen again.  He encouraged me to recognize the fear, ask myself a series of questions:
Is this a reasonable fear?
Is this something I can do anything about? 
Is it really the worse thing that ever happened to me? 
The last question is fairly safe for me since really horrible things already happened and I survived those.  He encouraged me to have the attitude toward life, "Bring it on."  I am not quite there but I am starting to reduce some of my anxiety.  I give my husband at least an hour beyond the time he said he would be home before worrying....I call this resetting my 'worrinometer.'   After I was parked, I texted my daughter-in-law about the accident.  She thanked me for letting her know to avoid the traffic jam.  I learned there are many positive things I can do to counter this fear.  My favorite 'go to' solution is prayer.  I might not be able to do anything about a problem but God can. 

8.  ENMESHMENT  /  UNDEVELOPED SELF –      Excessive emotional involvement and closeness with one or more significant others (often parents), at the expense of full individuation or normal social development.  Often experienced as a feeling of emptiness and floundering, having no direction, or in extreme cases questioning one’s existence.

My counselor spent a ton of sessions on teaching me individuation.  He recognized the enmeshment I had with my mother and worked and teaching me to set boundaries so that I knew where she ended and I began.  Needy parents unfortunately will expect their children to fulfill their needs.  My mother wanted to be me and didn't want me to make any of my own decisions.  She said differently but should I foolishly have an independent thought she would squish it immediately.  Counseling was the key for me in understanding and learning new skills.  These are skills that can be learned at anytime in life.  My counselor wanted me to be my own person and when I attempted to shift my enmeshment from my mother to him, he brought me up short and corrected my misconception.  He did not want me dependent on him either.  These lessons were numerous what is a boundary, how to set a boundary, how to protect my boundaries, what rights I have as an individual, and the list goes on and on.  In the process, he was teaching me about how to live my own life.  His most stunning question, "What do you want?" 

9.  FAILURE TO ACHIEVE –      The belief that one has failed,  will inevitably fail, or is fundamentally inadequate relative to one’s peers, in areas of achievement (school, career, sports, etc.). 

Hard to unlearn what was hammered into me.  I graduated in the top 5% of my class but I was told that was no big deal.  I did achieve success but I was told it didn't matter.  What I did wasn't important.  I keep evidence.  I keep my diploma on my dresser.  I keep reminders that I succeed many times.  One of the big lessons in individuation was recognizing my successes.  The fish climbing trees quote also applies here.  

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”


I didn't fail to achieve, I failed to give credit where credit was due...with myself.  I am also learning a new acronym for FAIL

If you never fail, then you haven't tried anything new.  I love Froglogic encouragement to get out there and fail at something.  Embrace the suck.  Live life. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

More Choices

Continuing to review the list of Early Maladaptive Schemas.  I am exploring and learning how to take back my power, believe in myself, and embrace the future.  

Change your thinking; Change your life is a popular meme. I add more parts....

Change your thinking.
Change your attitude.
Change your actions.
Change your life.
If I think differently but don't do differently I will remain the same place.   

 4.  DEFECTIVENESS / SHAME –     The feeling that one is defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or invalid in important respects; or that one would be unlovable to significant others if exposed.
For this one, my counselor encouraged me to do random acts of kindness with the 5/50 rule.  The kindness can't take more than 5 minutes or cost more than 50 cents.  I was to write down each one I did and the feeling I had afterwards.  Adding one kind action daily started a shift in my thinking.  It took more than a week....but now I try to do that everyday for several years.  Kindness to others does wonders for me.  I also use reframing.  For a more detailed explanation follow the link below:
Change my perspective and my whole outlook has changed. 

5.  SOCIAL ISOLATION / ALIENATION –     The feeling that one is isolated from the rest of the world, different from other people, and/or not part of any group or community.
This required a different approach. I changed my job and my friends. I also changed my level of contact with certain people.  I was looking for my 'tribe' in all the wrong places.  I worked hard to feel some level of comfort with other people.  I learned to reach out to others with the guidance of my counselor.  He worked to get me to see that my isolation was my choosing.  I changed.  I learned that I could share my burdens.  I learned that I didn't have to protect the whole world from my past.  During the summer months when I am off work, I choose times to visit family and friends.  I also enjoy my friends online.  I thought at one time that the only way I could function was being a hermit.  I've since learned that I can interact with people by maintaining healthy boundaries.  It is a cool slow process. 

6.  DEPENDENCE / INCOMPETENCE –      Belief that one is unable to handle one’s everyday responsibilities in a competent manner, without considerable help from others.
I was told as a child often how incompetent and stupid I was.  In high school I set out to prove them wrong.  My mother told me after I graduated in the top 5% of my class that I wasn't as smart I just worked harder.  The worked harder sounded like some sort of dirty trick.  Then in my 30's I passed out everyday.  Doctors had no idea what was wrong with me.  It was before PTSD was a diagnosis.  Since I didn't pass out in their office, most doctors didn't believe me.  It is hard to feel competent when you spend most your life on a couch.  I still pass out but not nearly as often.  It reminds me that I have a certain amount of dependency exists but I am not incompetent.  I can do things.  I am really good at some things.  I appreciate this quote:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

I took my life back one moment at a time.  It is possible.

Friday, May 22, 2015

What are my choices?

If you read yesterday's post of Maladaptive Schema and find yourself saying, "That is so me." By the end of the list, I felt very discouraged.  I felt like some research wrinkled gnome just wrote out the worst part of my life for the whole world to see.  But that is just it, I can paint on a face and most people don't see anything else.  I felt like I was dying inside and people described me as a happy person.  I groused in counseling as we looked at different cases with this is bad, this is worse and this is about as bad as it gets.  I kept landing in the realm of this is about as bad as it gets.  It just sucks.  I wanted to be special some other way.  My counselor let me grouse and then told me I had options........REALLY?  Can I say I was doubtful?  Huge understatement.  I looked at him like he was the one living in LALA land.  He first asked me who I could change?  Simple answer, myself.  Can you change your past?  Another simple answer, no.  Can you change tomorrow?  It isn't here yet.  He left a long pause.... Then   what    are    you    going   to   do    today?  I don't know.  He then took several years to teach me the options and possibilities open to me.  I figured out they are open to anybody....I thought I would give a few things I learned about each one.  I'll probably stress this over a few days.
From the blog

1.  ABANDONMENT /  INSTABILITY –  The perceived instability or unreliability of those available for support and connection.
I can't change my mother did neglect me and my father did leave me to her less than tender mercies.  I first had to stop looking at these to rotting beams for support.  If they didn't support me in the past they are certainly not help me in my future.  I cleared out the foundation in my life and allowed my self to look for more reliable support.  I found it in my counselor, my husband, new friends, my sister once we cleared out a lot of misunderstandings, I rebuilt my life on a different support system.  I have a job that is supportive.  I also found out that when I am in the darkest of holes hitting rock bottom, I found Christ is the rock at the bottom.  I do have a more stable foundation.  I have family and friends that are supportive.  I changed who I was looking for support.  After 10 years of counseling, I am still seeing a counselor.  Making this choice for me is a stabilizing influence.  Do I still expect I am going to be abandoned?  Yes, then I mentally review all those that are supportive of me and remind myself that I have a new perception.  Do I still feel unstable? Sometimes but I know what I need to do, if I can't stand it, try my knees.  God is just a prayer away.  I can also contact my counselor.  Now that I am stronger I am more likely call my husband or sister.  I have a more stable foundation than ever before.  I remind myself, I am a work in progress.

2.  MISTRUST / ABUSE – The expectation that others will hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie, manipulate, or take advantage.
Change my foundation, change my support people and remove my abusers out of my life.  My counselor also spent many sessions helping me sort out when people are being intentionally abusive and those that are just human and do dumb stuff that hurt my feeling....all one of them....naw I have more than one feeling....I still encounter people that are hurtfully, abusive, enjoy humiliating others, will cheat, lie, manipulate or take advantage of me.  I am learning to recognize these people and remind myself that I can protect myself from their behavior.  I have a whole tool box of choices on how to respond to these people.  I still remember the day I was in a session fretting about how I "had" to do something.  I put had in quotes for a reason.  My counselor started looking all around the room, what was he looking for?  He finally had my 100% attention then he stated, "I don't see anyone holding a gun to your head?"  Wow.  Took a bit of thinking to sink in.  Even my nasty boss that was making my life miserable hadn't resorted to holding a gun to my head.  I had death threats as a child.  I am not a child any more.  I am learning a number of skills to protect myself from unpleasant people.

3.  EMOTIONAL DEPRIVATION - Expectation that one’s desire for a normal degree of emotional support will not be adequately met by others
I was emotionally starved as a child. I was in the habit of emotionally starving myself. I am no longer a child.  My counselors all worked at teaching me how to nurture and emotionally feed myself.  I learned to clearly state what I needed emotionally.  I learned to ask someone from my new support system.  I learned that many of my emotional needs I can meet myself.  I learned to reach out to others without expecting them to fix me.  I learned to recognize the feelings behind the feelings.  (That is probably a blog post all by itself.)  I am no longer emotionally deprived.  In fact, many days I feel awesome.  I feel so awesome that feeling can flow out to others.  I am no longer and emotionally starved child.  I grew up into an emotional adult that is learning to meet my emotional needs.  

I'll continue these thoughts tomorrow.  Maladaptive Schema sucks but it is not the end of my story.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Maladaptive Schemas

Roots2Blossom is one of the women of courage that I like following her blog.  This post grabbed my attention for several reasons.  One she was diagnosed similar to me. Second, this listed many of the symptoms and thought processes that are part of her challenge, my challenge and my sister commented on the same challenge.  I will add my sister's links since she broke it up into 3 parts.  I will be adding my comments in Pink.  This is to show anyone that wants to take on the list the approaches each of us have to the same information.  I am attempting to emphasize the importance of finding your own path through the labyrinth.  Too many articles start with the heading 'this is the way to heal.'  It is my belief that if we don't look at the problem the same way we are not going to solve it the same way either.  Sharing ideas, theories, possible solutions, gives each person an opportunity to find what works for them.

This is the link to the original article on the Early Maladaptive Schemas

Early Maladaptive Schemas
1.  ABANDONMENT /  INSTABILITY –  The perceived instability or unreliability of those available for support and connection. I expect people to abandon me and unfortunately my behavior sometimes makes it a self fulfilling prophecy.  I am learning that some relations are relatively stable. 
2.  MISTRUST / ABUSE – The expectation that others will hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie, manipulate, or take advantage.  This one is huge for me and I don’t see how this can be overcome.  I spent most of my childhood living with abuse hard to believe it won't continue. I still feel startled when someone is kind to me.  Especially if I didn't do anything to 'earn it.'  How sad is that that I feel I have to 'earn' love.    
3.  EMOTIONAL DEPRIVATION –    Expectation that one’s desire for a normal degree of emotional support will not be adequately met by others. I was totally puzzled that I should have any expectation to emotional support.  I didn't understand that this is a basic in any healthy relationship. 
 4.  DEFECTIVENESS / SHAME –     The feeling that one is defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or invalid in important respects; or that one would be unlovable to significant others if exposed. I used to have this one, but not so much any more.  Like Roots2blossom, I'm improving but I still have a long way to go.  One of the main behaviors of predators is to shift their guilt to their victims.  It is the victims fault they made them angry and they had to beat them. 
5.  SOCIAL ISOLATION / ALIENATION –     The feeling that one is isolated from the rest of the world, different from other people, and/or not part of any group or community.  I have lived my life next to people, not with people. I don’t see how this can be overcome.   One of the first emotional reactions I talked to my counselor about was that I felt like I was on the outside looking in at life.  I felt like I didn't belong anywhere.  On occasion I still struggle with this feeling. 
6.  DEPENDENCE / INCOMPETENCE –      Belief that one is unable to handle one’s everyday responsibilities in a competent manner, without considerable help from others. I don’t believe I could ever live alone, I keep losing jobs, can’t work full time, due to medical or mental illness.  I thought dependeny was how I showed love.  I didn't understand that it was even possible for two independent people to stand together to form a strong and loving bond.  Work in progress on this one.   
 Judy's 7- 12
7.  VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS –     Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it. I always think the worst. In fact I see the worst played out in my mind like a horror movie. I’ve been aware of this and do what I can to counteract it, but nothing has stopped it from happening in the first place.  If DH is home late from work, in my mind I see him mangled on the freeway.  I was raised in the fear that the worst might happen at any moment.  My parents watched the news the plastered the worse from all over the world.  My mother pointed out every disaster and constructed these weird connections until I was quite convinced if I ventured from home horrible things would happen.  Horrible things did happen.  The fear and terror I faced as a child was real.  For me, the terror I live with is it will all happen again.  Hard to shake loose that nagging constant fear.  Counseling helped me to put many of these fears back into perspective of more everyday living.  I am relieved to begin to grasp that my childhood was the exception not the rule. 
8.  ENMESHMENT  /  UNDEVELOPED SELF –      Excessive emotional involvement and closeness with one or more significant others (often parents), at the expense of full individuation or normal social development.  Often experienced as a feeling of emptiness and floundering, having no direction, or in extreme cases questioning one’s existence.  AF raised me as part of him, it was incredibly painful to separate from him. And when I finally did, I found out I was empty inside.  This was so true.  I had no concept of where I ended and my mother began. Fortunately, I can say this in the past tense.  I am still a work in progress but the separation was scary and painful it also gave me the room to grow.  I learned about the value of individuation.  This separateness was something I wanted for my children.  I enjoy them and like to be with them but I am happy to see that they have beautiful complete lives without me, as it should be.    
9.  FAILURE TO ACHIEVE –      The belief that one has failed,  will inevitably fail, or is fundamentally inadequate relative to one’s peers, in areas of achievement (school, career, sports, etc.).  I did fail in school.  I struggled with reading and spelling and yea...junior high was a bit of a disaster.  But between junior high and high school I decided to fight back.  I learned to do well in school.  I worked hard.  I still struggle with feeling like a failure but I have learned to work and work hard with a determination that helped me survive against the odds.   
10.  ENTITLEMENT / GRANDIOSITY  –      The belief that one is superior to other people; entitled to special rights and privileges; or not bound by the rules of reciprocity that guide normal social interaction.  I didn't think this was me.  I thought this is one I missed.  Then there was this little nudge in my mind as I prayed about this post.....'don't you feel entitled to your mother's love?  Didn't you at the grand age of 17 have the grandiose idea that you could win her love if you just did something big enough and important enough?  Didn't you tear into college on a scholarship she arranged to prove how magnificent your are?  What about all the grandiose plans made that would take several life times to accomplish?' ...well sh**** Damn is there not one of these I can skip? Fortunately, my counselor helped me understand that my mother's fears and insecurities are not about me.  I was just a target not the cause.  I am accepting she can not be a mother to me and embrace her fears at the same time.  I am sad for what is lost but I can't fix it.  I don't need to. 
11. INSUFFICIENT SELF-CONTROL / SELF-DISCIPLINE –     Pervasive difficulty or refusal to exercise sufficient self-control and frustration tolerance to achieve one’s personal goals, or to restrain the excessive expression of one’s emotions and impulses.  In its milder form,  patient presents with an exaggerated emphasis on discomfort-avoidance:  avoiding pain, conflict, confrontation, responsibility, or overexertion—at the expense of personal fulfillment, commitment,  or integrity. I would avoid everything if possible  I can resist anything except temptation.  Yea...I hear that chocolate calling my name.  I also learned the habit of avoiding conflict at all cost.  I learned the hard way that the mind set will cost me everything.  I think part of what I like about karate is the emphasis on self control.  I am also learning from Froglogic to embrace the suck.  If I am not uncomfortable I must not be working hard enough. This I am seeing a lot of changes....but I'll still have another piece of chocolate.  :)
12.  SUBJUGATION  –    Excessive surrendering of control to others because one feels coerced – – usually to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment. I learned to give up, that I didn’t matter, that nothing really mattered  This was drilled into me both at home and the pedophile.  My counselor chewed me out numerous times for giving away my power.  I was totally stunned; I didn't even know I had any.  Spent many counseling sessions on what rights and responsibilities I had as a human being with power.  It is kind of cool actually.   
13. SELF-SACRIFICE  –      Excessive focus on voluntarily meeting the needs of others in daily situations, at the expense of one’s own gratification.  The most common reasons are:  to prevent causing pain to others;  to avoid guilt from feeling selfish;  or to maintain the connection with others perceived as needy .  Often results from an acute sensitivity to the pain of others.  I was expected as a child to give up everything to meet the needs of my parents.  Then I was taught to give up everything for my children, including my health.  Bad plan.  I believe in self-sacrifice having value but, this is a very big but, it is not always healthy for the other person.  Adding martyr attitude to self-sacrifice is down right scary.  I am learning to choose when I say yes and choose when I say no.  Making myself ill to help someone else just doesn't make sense.  Learning a bit of balance takes time and experience.  I also noticed that human leaches just move on to the next victim if you refuse to hand your life over to them. 
14.  APPROVAL-SEEKING  /  RECOGNITION-SEEKING  –      Excessive emphasis on gaining approval, recognition, or attention from other people, or fitting in, at the expense of developing a secure and true sense of self.  Yes and yes, that is where the self-sacrificing thing comes into lethal play.....sacrificing self to please others is a dangerous road and can be easily twisted out of all proportion. 
15. NEGATIVITY  /  PESSIMISM  –      A pervasive, lifelong focus on the negative aspects of life (pain, death, loss, disappointment, conflict, guilt, resentment, unsolved problems, potential mistakes, betrayal, things that could go wrong, etc.) while minimizing or neglecting the positive or optimistic aspects. Usually includes an exaggerated expectation– in a wide range of work, financial, or interpersonal situations — that things will eventually go seriously wrong, or that aspects of one’s life that seem to be going well will ultimately fall apart. I also apply this to the world at large, that humanity itself is a terrible mistake of nature and that nothing can be done. I can’t save the world, I don’t even want to try any more.  One of the hazards of really bad stuff happening is you see the bad stuff happening everywhere.  I've worked hard to notice the good things in life.  I found gratitude a great antidote, but I need to apply daily to keep me from drowning in negativity.  I am noticing I am getting much better at the gratitude part.  I am starting to recognize the value of fleas in my life.  
16.  EMOTIONAL INHIBITION  –      The excessive inhibition of spontaneous action, feeling, or communication — usually to avoid disapproval by others, feelings of shame, or losing control of one’s impulses. I’m not sure I’ve ever had much of a spontaneous feeling. My feelings were never my own and had to be controlled. I think before I feel. And usually I don’t ever feel.   Feelings....what feelings?  Teaching me to feel was the pet project of my first counselor, he started with anger because it is the easiest to illicit....yea, he had a tough time some sessions.  I could make any emotion disappear.  I still tend to hide my feelings...I'm working on it.  I can usually feel my feelings but I don't always know why they are there.  I learned that is kind of a human thing, feelings are sometimes just there.  Now that I am feeling them I am working at how to express them appropriately.  Not an easy task to learn as an adult when others expect you to act like an adult and I feel more like a 2 year old with an intense desire to lay down and kick my feet and scream....I love art, I can express these outrageous feelings and call it art.  Yea.  More work to do here. 
17.  UNRELENTING STANDARDS /  HYPERCRITICALNESS   –     The underlying belief that one must strive to meet very high internalized standards of behavior and performance, usually to avoid criticism. Typically results in feelings of pressure or difficulty slowing down; and in hypercriticalness toward oneself and others.  Unrelenting standards typically present as:  (a) perfectionism, inordinate attention to detail, or an underestimate of how good one’s own performance is relative to the norm;  (b) rigid rulesand “shoulds” in many areas of life, including unrealistically high moral, ethical, cultural, or religious precepts; or (c) preoccupation with time and efficiency, so that more can be accomplished. This one is huge for me. Goes along with unrealistic expectations and leads to pessimism, reinforces that the world is crap when no one, including myself, measures up to my impossible standards.  Yes, yes, and hell yes.....this stuff was hammered into me. Heavy sigh, I am my own worse first counselor talked to me about firing my mean boss the one that expects me to get to work 15 minutes early, stay a half hour late, skip my breaks so I can keep working, I thought about my boss at work and was puzzled, he wasn't like this.  Then my counselor pointed out that I am my own mean boss.  Fire her.  Show myself the same compassion I would show my children or a friend. 
18.  PUNITIVENESS   –    The belief that people should be harshly punished for making mistakes.  Involves the tendency to be angry, intolerant,  punitive, and impatient with those people (including oneself) who do not meet one’s expectations or standards.  Usually includes difficulty forgiving mistakes in oneself or others, because of a reluctance to consider extenuating circumstances, allow for human imperfection, or empathize with feelings. Goes right along with 17. I judge everyone harshly, not humanly.   Clean sweep, I've got them all. The interesting thing about counseling, I learned things about myself that I didn't realize I was doing.  I learned I could override this tendency.  I have to work hard at it but it is possible.  All these are a part of my life.  All these are changeable.  As I learn new ways of living and apply principles of kindness, compassion, understanding, self-control, individuation and the healthy forms of these, I am liking the person I am becoming.  I'm not perfect; I'm human and enjoying it. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Unfold the Rose

~ Unfold the Rose

A new young pastor was walking with an older, more seasoned pastor in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older pastor for some advice.
The older pastor walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.
The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older pastor and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do
with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry.
But because of his great respect for the older pastor, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact.
It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do.
Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older pastor began to recite
the following poem...
"It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine."
"The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die."
"If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?"
"So I'll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step of the way."
"The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord knows.
I'll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose."
~ Please share this poem with a friend if you enjoyed
being reminded to let go and let God unfold your life ~ C4C

Sunday, May 17, 2015


I had this awesome post all planned out, I just needed to write it down.  I didn't, now, I don't remember any of it other than thinking it was really good. 

The lost is found.  DH helped me find something that I put in a 'safe place.'  Well it never made it to the 'safe place.'  He found it stacked with a bunch of other stuff.  Heavy sigh.  Thanks DH. 

I know part of this is End-of-School stress.  5 more days until summer.  Stress and memory or lack of is an unpleasant combination. 

This joke comes to mind at times like these......

Two missionaries were walking down a country lane.  One carried a sign, "The End is Near."  A driver saw them and their sign, flipped them off, then sped on down the road.  Shortly there was an all mighty splash.  The missionary without the sign suggested that maybe they should change the sign to "Bridge OUT." 

Teachers and staff count the days as carefully as the students. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Change your thinking

Change your quoted by Zig Ziglar.  But in my opinion he left out a step.....

Change your thinking
Change your actions
Change your life....

If you always do what you always done, than you always get what you always got.

Insanity....doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I am nearing the end of the school year.  I am surveying my progress.  I am also evaluating what I plan to do next year.  Kind of a mid year New Year resolution type pondering.  I am also rapidly filling my summer with friends and family.  I am also planning on what I am doing this summer for my continued education.  One of the Chefs at school gave me a book to help me with my continued efforts in learning to cook something beside fast-cheap-easy food.  Eating healthy takes time and effort.  My garden is rejoicing because AZ is getting rain in May.....we almost never get rain in May.  I almost posted on Facebook an all caps......emergency, emergency, the World is in an Ice age.  62 degrees F in May.....(for my Celsius friends 17 degrees. Usually this time of year it is closer to 38 degrees C which is triple digits to my Fahrenheit  friends.)* I even wore a light jacket to go walking. My sister and I nattered over croissants from PCroissant.  We don't solve the world problems but we enjoy discussing them. 

*By the way, I love that I have friends all over the world and need to have both temperature systems. 

Friday, May 15, 2015


High stress these past two weeks.  Major projects completed at school; I thought I was doing fairly good.  Heavy sigh.  Yesterdays post was supposed to be posted on my photoblog.  I posted it here, realized my mistake and reposted it where I was supposed to post it in the first place.  I came back here and saw that someone had already viewed the picture post so, I left it up.  I love going to the zoo and I take lots of pictures there.  I noticed however, I don't enjoy going to the zoo without the grandkids.  I am inspired with my photographs when I look at things through the eyes of a child. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Learning to dream

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

No easy task. I spent most of my life with nightmares.  As far back as I can remember I've had them.  My counselor over 5 years ago was trying to get me to have a dream that I could grab on to, embrace pursue.  I looked at him blankly.  I could not imagine what he was talking about.  I felt less than clueless.  (Is that even possible?) 

Abuse steals dreams.  PTSD bars the way.  Taking back the control of my life wresting the reigns of my life from PTSD's clutches is a work in progress.  I lived with PTSD from the time I was 5 years old.  I didn't have a name for it until I was 45 years old.  I remember in 8th grade writing a report that I wanted to be an interior designer.  My glimmer of a dream was stomped out completely.  I knew that dreams get destroyed....what could I dream of that wouldn't turn to dust?  What could my passion be? I love photography but too much pressure and I cave completely...I'm terrible at being a business woman so no photography career.  I watched the high school students share their dream job....did any one squash their dreams?  Did the reality and hardships of achieving their dreams cause them to give up on their dreams? 

One of the symptoms of PTSD is the sense and feeling of doom.  I didn't believe I would live long enough to graduate.  I'm a grandmother.  I am starting to dream small.  This summer...I am learning to cook.  Yes, I raised 6 children but cooking was always fast, cheap and easy.  Perhaps just a little dream of a beautiful chocolate cake not made by Betty Crocker but by me.

Thriving is having dreams.  

Hopefully the link will work for you.  Be from Jonathan Livingston Seagull sung by Neil Diamond.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mind blip

I thought I was doing great after the weekend.  Then I arrived home from school and realized I hadn't done something the teacher asked me to do at the end of the day.  I couldn't remember a simple request for 10 minutes.  When my mind blips like this, it is a symptom of the level of stress I am actually experiencing.  I was taught to ignore my emotions.  But they don't want to stay ignored.  It is stressful to attempt to ignore them.  Emotions tend to let themselves be known in several ways.  Stress eating.....I first read this diet in an email when email was for fun instead of advertising.

- ½ grapefruit
- 1 slice whole wheat toast
- 8 oz. skim milk
- 4 oz. lean broiled chicken breast
- 1 cup steamed spinach
- 1 cup herb tea
- 1 Oreo cookie
Mid-Afternoon snack:
- The rest of Oreos in the package
- 2 pints Rocky Road ice cream nuts, cherries and whipped cream 1
- jar hot fudge sauce
- 2 loaves garlic bread
- 4 cans or 1 large pitcher Coke
- 1 large sausage, mushroom and cheese pizza
- 3 Snickers bars
Late Evening News:
- Entire frozen Sara Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from freezer)

1. If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are cancelled out by the diet soda.
3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you do not eat more than they do.
4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER count, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake.
5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
6. Movie related foods do not have additional calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel. Examples: Milk Duds, buttered popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots and Tootsie Rolls.
7. Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
8. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something.
9. Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and mashed potatoes.
10. Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color.
11. Anything consumed while standing has no calories. This due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.
12. Anything consumed from someone else's plate has no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to his/her plate. (We ALL know how calories like to cling!)
Stress from emotions also shows up in accidents.....the more stressed I am the more likely I will do something to hurt myself, usually by accident.

Stress from emotions tangles my sleep and disrupts the night with nightmares.  These suck.

Stress from emotions sometimes shows up as illness....the list of stress illnesses is fairly lengthy.

Emotions may get buried but I guarantee you that they won't stay that way.  They may get misnamed, misunderstood, or misplaced but they are there because emotions is what makes humans so human.  Robots don't need emotions.  Just my opinion.   

Monday, May 11, 2015

Beautiful weekend

My weekend unfolded in ways I didn't expect.  Walk and croissants with my sister, piano recital for grandkids, shopping for items to teach at fashion, hearing from all of our children, lovely gifts that were so thoughtful, time with DH to connect with him and a wonderful dinner.  It was an awesome day.  Yes, I stayed home from church.  I didn't see any point in risking falling into an emotional hole should someone inadvertently hit on a trigger.  I can't expect the whole world to tiptoe around my emotions.  I know what triggers me so I take care of myself.  I look forward to going back to church next week because I love celebrating my Savior and reflecting on His gospel.  I hope your Monday is lovely.  Our weather gave us a brief reprieve with a bit of rain.  My garden is looking lovely.  Tall and green.  The heat will beat it up soon.  Lots of water and perhaps I can figure out a way to give it a bit of shade. 

Water - Critical to life in the desert. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Troubled in my heart

Isaiah 43:1-2

 But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Why write about Christ on Mother's day?  At age 17, I planned to never marry and never have children.  Because of my religious beliefs I prayed about the decision.  A series of events encouraged me to reconsider my choice.  I met my husband and my world was toppled over and over.  I chose to embark on the most amazing journey marriage and children.  For us, 6 joined our family.  They didn't ask to come to us.  I often felt that in pre-life Heavenly Father asked for volunteers for a difficult task, a mother that had no idea how badly damaged she was.  They had no idea what they were getting into.

Why do I write of Christ on Mother's day? Because I sought Him out so often as I struggled to raise our dynamic, wonderful, amazing children that I was clueless what to do.  Some ideas I took from the Bible....teach the children and eye-for-an-eye before they are ready to learn the law of Christ.  I also figured Heavenly Father knew these children best so what should I do with them?  I feel deeply the mistakes I made in the process of raising my children.  I wasn't diagnosed with PTSD until after they all left home.  All of my children show signs and behaviors that show they were raised by a mother with PTSD.  Much of the damage caused to me was done by my mother.  I call it generational abuse.  We treat the next generation better than we were treated but there is so much damage to heal that the children still suffer.  Occasionally, I wished I had known before I had children.  But if I had, it would have reinforced my belief never to have children.  A took a shot in the dark and helped bring 6 amazing people into this world.  I made plenty of mistakes I sought Christ for redemption.  I can't fix all the things I messed up.  He can. 

Take this scripture and personalize it a little.....try your own version.  This is my attempt....
1. But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, Ruth, and he formed thee, Ruth, Fear not: (whoa, he is telling me not to be afraid)  for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine.  (There it is I belong to Christ.) 
2. When you pass through waters of trouble, I will be with you; when you are daunted by your responsibilities, they will not totally overwhelm you; when you walk through fires of abuse you will not be consumed and burned by them; neither shall the flame of destruction light upon you.  

I know this.  I laid in my darkened room alone and overwhelmed and distraught that I could not do the task of being mother to 6 dynamic, wonderful, amazing children.  I figured out that I was missing vital skills.  I prayed for release from my chosen responsibility of mother....I wanted oblivion. I was reminded I belonged to Christ.  He gave me the impression that I would live a long time.  I begged with Him.  I told Him I couldn't go on.  I've heard others talk about doing all the right things to feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  I bare witness that day in the depths of my despair I felt the nudge, "What are you going to do about it?  I will lead you by the hand but you need to get up and move."  I crawled, inched, struggled forward at the same time trying to be the mother to 6 dynamic, wonderful, amazing children.  The children are raised into 6 dynamic, wonderful, amazing adults with 6 dynamic, wonderful, amazing spouses.  I am still married to the same guy that toppled my world over 38 years ago.  I see my flaws and believe with all my heart that Christ can making something good come out of the mess I made.  He fixes things.  He is in the process of healing me.  I know some people are healed instantly others like the apostle Paul struggle with a thorn in their side. I understand having a thorn in your side.  The women with the issue after 12 long years...yes I count my progress in years.  If I check my progress day by day, I get so discouraged.  I back up, take a look at the long haul.  I am making progress.  Along next to me every step of the way is my Savior.  He left the 99 and looked for me caught in a deep abyss that none could see the bottom but Christ could find me.  He blesses me with angels that look a lot like people, including my adult children and their spouses and grandchildren and sister and husband and many others too numerous to list.  I am encouraged, comforted, challenged because He wants me to be the best me I can be.  So on Mother's Day I write of Christ because I couldn't have done the job without Him. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What a week

I have been working at full speed all week.  I am thankful for the opportunity to work at a high school that emphasizes life skills not just grades at the end of the semester.  Unfortunately, it meant working over time at school.  The first was a presentation by sophomore students getting ready to enter specialized training.  Our school has 18 programs to choose from automotive, banking, culinary, nursing, construction, and education are just a few.  About 400 students dressed prepared for a job interviews presented what their chosen career is going to be.  One of the students interested in culinary had trays of hors-d'oeuvres.  Others had other creative ways to share their interest.  A nursing student brought one of the practice dummies from nursing in a wheel chair.  The variety and quality was amazing.  I don't mind giving up some of my time when I see how hard they have worked. 

The second big project was taking pictures for the student presented fashion show.  The teacher did tremendous amount of work coaching and supporting the students in their chosen parts of the program.  Fashion show is like a play with a lot of costume changes.  I will now make a slide show of all the pictures to give to the students as part of their portfolio.  Not many high school students can say that they played a part in a major production that was presented to about 200 people.  I feel like I poured all my thought and energy into this week.

Culinary is also winding down.  I am delighted that they are selling off my favorite dessert.   I bought several magic cookie bars. I cut them up into smaller pieces then freeze them to ration them out through the summer time.  I am thankful for a job working with amazing staff and students.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


I love bubbles.....this video has some awesome ideas.  Thanks Facebook and Wendy for sharing the link

Monday, May 4, 2015


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

Click Here For Success Tip # 016

Doubts plague me, have done for years.  Often I hear that I can't have faith and doubt at the same time.  I am a photographer an image wouldn't exist without light areas and dark areas in the picture.  For me doubt is there but it doesn't totally shut out the faith.  Faith that the sun will rise.  Faith that life can get better.  Faith that I can increase my strength.  Faith is so little some days.  Then I remind myself that if I had the faith of a mustard seed I could move mountains.  I don't need much faith to keep going.  Doubt tries to cloud my mind and take over my life.  Then rain comes with the freshest smell... yes, there is a scientific explanation.  Doesn't matter the smell of rain renews my faith.  Life improves with effort.  Miracles happen.  

Occasionally, I get above the clouds of doubt.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

In a week

is Mother's day.  Tough day for me all around.  My children are aware of my short comings as a mother.  My one daughter gets after me for criticizing myself.  I described to my sister about the woman that sprinkled sugar on the dirty spots on the floor so the dog would lick them up, usually some food on the kitchen floor.  She exclaimed that was awful.  I replied that was me.  At the time, I didn't have the strength to sweep or mop the floor.  I know my short comings

On the other hand, I am not a person that believes my children owe me anything for giving them life.  It was my choice not theirs.  I feel privileged to be their parent but feel really annoyed when commercials or speakers declare we 'owe' our mothers.  Perhaps because I don't feel I owe my mother anything.  Yes, she kept me alive.  Unfortunately, her own insecurities caused her to harm me socially, emotionally and spiritually.  My counselor likened her behavior to the widows mite from the New Testament.  She give all she had, she didn't have much to give.  I feel sad, for her, for me, for my father not interfering. 

Another mother's day will be over in 8 days.  I am thankful I was able to be a mother.  I have deep sympathy for my children.  I have compassion for my mother.  However, my children don't owe me anything and I don't owe my mother.  If we continue to interact with each other it is because we choose to or not. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Contrast to People Pleasing

One essential aspect of a healthy relationship is generosity of spirit. This has to be distinguished from being a pleaser & a care-taker, however. The person who's generous of spirit is happy to give to others b/c it brings them joy to do so. It's an important way that they express love. The pleaser or care-taker gives to others b/c consciously or unconsciously, they believe that this is what they must do in order to be loved. People who are generous of spirit may appear, on the surface, to be the same as a pleaser or care-taker, but their motivations are different. They truly take pleasure in giving to others. This is the way of an empowered adult whose heart is full & whose loving kindness overflows to others. The person on the receiving end experiences pleasing & care-taking quite differently than they experience generosity of spirit. The former cause them to feel somewhat uncomfortable, while the latter makes them feel warm & happy inside. Pleasing & care-taking will often engender feelings of discomfort, misunderstandings or conflicts, whereas generosity of spirit most often leads to feelings of contentment & deepened connections.
I think this comment goes along with the article from the other day.
I believe that when I get the same information from multiple sources, I am blessed with an opportunity to look at the same information from different angles. 

Interesting how Ruthless Compassion points out the most people feel warm and happy on the receiving end of generosity of spirit.  I'm not most people.  I used to drive myself crazy trying to figure out what a generous person wanted.  I was familiar with pleasing & care-taking.  I understood that if you helped me you expected something in return.  When I encountered a person with a generous spirit I exhausted myself trying to understand that they truly expected nothing in return for their help.  I finally was able to wrap my warped mind around the concept when I saw the movie, "Pay it Forward."  Nothing in return, a gift with no strings attached, a kindness for no other reason than I existed and needed help.  Wow.  What is this strangeness.  Took me many encounters before I started feeling comfortable and ultimately awe and admiration for people that give from a place of abundance.  I don't mean abundance in the form of money.  Some of the least generous people have great health.  Those with the feeling of abundance can be in the worse possible conditions.  Betsy and Corrie Ten Boom are women that I admire in there generosity of spirit in the concentration camps.  Mother Theresa is another person that gave from a spirit of generosity.  These women are big examples.  Sometimes a little hard for me to grasp or see myself being able to follow their foot steps.  The stranger that smiles at me when I am down.  A driver that allows me to move in front of them.  A lady that lets me go ahead in the grocery store when she noticed how tired I was.  I remember a few years back (maybe more than a few since the event happened when we lived in Washington state more than 20 years ago) a disillusioned stock broker quit his 6 figure job in New York City and vowed to walk across America.  I remember listening to his tale when he arrived in Seattle Washington.  I went hunting for information and he wrote a book about it.
What he discovered was a richness and generosity of spirit that restored his soul. I now enjoy being on the receiving end of generosity of spirit.  I am also working at developing this attribute. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Didn't Buy the whole cake....

Which is a good thing...I would have ate it tonight.  I did buy a piece of chocolate cake with German chocolate frosting.  Instead of eating half of it like I usually do, I ate the whoooolllllleeee thing.  Yup.  Every last crumb.  I planned to eat half the piece.  They had a whole chocolate cake for half price.  Good thing I didn't buy it, I would have eaten all of it.