Friday, December 28, 2018

Learn from Others

I discovered that I can learn from others and their challenges....

Sometimes there is less than friendly rivalry between those with PTSD from combat experiences and those that live with CPTSD from long term repeated trauma.  However, the thing is we can learn a lot from each other.  I am thankful for the article that encouraged me to try martial arts.  I blew it off as something for the military.  The Lord kindly nudged me and reminded me He sent an answer why not try it?  I did.  Karate with our city parks and recreation.  I was unprepared for being asked why I was taking the class.  I answered totally honestly that I had PTSD and it was recommended to try some form of martial arts.  I am now 4 years doing martial arts and love it.  I am a purple stripe in Chinese Kempo and signed up again for next year.  I learned from karate that I can control my body and I can do really hard stuff.  I also learned that in this environment this is no failure, only do it again.  Keep on doing it until I can.  Exploring and learning what works for me takes me to places I never been doing things I've never done before.  Karate, pour painting, photography, crocheting, and a bunch of other stuff.  My theory is if life is easy, I haven't tried anything new lately.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Whew!!!!! Made it

I made it through Christmas now only 363 days before I do it again. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Tis' the season

To feeling overwhelmed:  Be kind to myself cut the To Do list up into little pieces and throw away....right after I make this next Christmas present. 

First heard this read to me by my mother.  I saw the author on one page and now I can't find it again. 


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

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

See mother. See mother sew.
Mother will make dresses.
Mother will make robes.
Mother will make shirts.
See mother put the zipper in wrong.
See mother sew the dress on the wrong side.
See mother cut the skirt to short.
See mother put the material away until January.
Look. Look, see mother take a tranqualizer.
Funny, funny mother.

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

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

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

See mother. Mother is slumped in a chair. Mother is crying
Mother does not look well. Mother has ugly dark circles under her blood
shot eyes.

Everyone helps mother to her bed.
See mother sleep quietly under her heavy medication.
See mother smile.
Funny, funny mother.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Santa Secret

I found this on idea who posted it originally. 

Image may contain: text

The first version like this that I heard was a Grandma being asked by her grandson about Santa Claus. Her grandson asked if Santa was real this was her answer:

"Yes, Santa is real and you are joining his team.  Think of a child in your class that could really use something."  After a moment he answered that one of the children in class didn't go outside for recess because he had no coat for cold weather.  Grandma then took the boy to the store and had him pick out a coat.  They wrapped it carefully.  Then left it on the door step and ran and hid behind some plants.  The child opened the door and found the gift.  Out of breath from running to hide Grandma whispered, "You are now on the Santa team."

What I learned that many are too proud to accept a hand out but a gift from Santa is some how acceptable.  I discovered that hiding behind Santa allows a wealth of good to happen without people feeling guilty.  I've also seen it go terribly wrong.  I gave a Santa gift to some children and their mother was terribly offended and got rid of that junk.  I felt sad that I hurt instead of helped someone.  Santa is a sticky subject and more than a few are traumatized by he old elf.  Bottom line is Santa is what you make of him.  We didn't teach our kids the Santa until much later.  Our oldest son actually through his one and only screaming kick your feet on the floor tantrum when we saw him.  Some of my other children were not a great fan either.  I watched my mother stay up endless ours creating the Santa illusion then feeling resentful that we didn't thank her adequately.  My belief is Santa is way to help others, sometimes.  I enjoy giving anonymously and Santa helps me do that. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Pour painting

I am trying this new to me art form....actually been around for a fairly long time.  I found this video that explains what it means by how thick the paint needs to be, why use a torch and what distance, and other basics that I wondered about.

Enjoy a break from thinking about the holidays and look up something for fun that interests you. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

So It Begins....

I am a mixture of Elf and the doom and gloom of So it begins.....

I love the holidays but overwhelmed by expectations real and imagined.  I am ace at making myself miserable do to what I think I should do verses what I can actually do. 

I post every year about how to cope with the holidays and every year I struggle to get through them. 

Here are a few that might be helpful to you:

I learned a few things about myself.  I put the most pressure on me.  I can say No to others that want to add 'chores' that are not of my choosing.  Just because I changed doesn't mean anyone else did.  Accept them where they are at or put distance between us.  A break in the middle of a busy event is helpful.  Playing with grandkids is a great break time for me.  Most importantly plan ahead, have an exit plan, say NO and mean it, reduce other activities.  Choose fun things to do.  For me, if I center my joy in Christ, the rest is just extra to be enjoyed as I wish. 

Pep talk over... I think it is more for me than it is for you.  Events started happening for me in October and are not letting up or slowing down until February.  I can do this a bit at a time. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Intense video

I am glad I took the time to watch it.

Little Girls Don't Stay Little Forever

This is not for those easily upset about talk about girls being abused.  This is not for those that are offended by swear words.  This is not for those that want abused little girls to grow up to be compliant silent victims.  This is a battle cry from the depths of injustice perpetuated on little girls.  I am a big believer in change and I chose not to use my power to destroy.  However, my counselor made it very clear to me that I had that power.  I needed to decide how I would direct it.  The man that abused me was sent to jail.  Not on my testimony but by the testimony of others that were also abused.  He went to prison in the 1980's when proving child abuse was extremely difficult.  There was sufficient evidence to convict him.  He is dead now but the culture that protected evil doers like him persists.  The young woman in the video talks about the list girls are given a list of things that they cannot do.  I worked at destroying that list.  I worked cleaning and caring for a city park.  I worked as a computer tech for 10 years.  I am good at it.  But I didn't fit the mold of what they expected.  I grew up.  I recognize the fierce rage from being told that what happened to me by cruel boys was "Boys will be boys."  Some how that made it all right to have my hair pulled, hit, purposely frightened for their entertainment.  I recognize the boiling rage that builds from years of staying quiet.  I chose another route.  I work at a school where I have the opportunity to show teenage girls that they can be A+  computer certified.  I talk to the classes about surviving abuse and there is life after an abuser is through with you.  I never confronted the man that went to jail.  But I work to live as if he never existed. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Trouble tree

I love this story and someone kindly posted it on FB.

I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.
When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation.. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
'Oh, that's my trouble tree,' he replied 'I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children.. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again.' 'Funny thing is,' he smiled,' when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. We all need a Tree!

(I didn't create this story, but loved it when I read it and wanted to share)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Pennies new version

Emily BerkmanFollow
You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something to think about.
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband.
He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment..
Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny.
He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.
A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
'Look at it.' He said. 'Read what it says.' She read the words ' United States of America '
'No, not that; read further.'
'One cent?' 'No, keep reading.'
'In God we Trust?' 'Yes!' 'And?'
'And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin, I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!
When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, 'In God We Trust,' and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message.
It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And, God is patient..

Sunday, October 28, 2018

I didn't

I was going to get back in the habit of writing here and I didn't.  Life happens.  I wondered today why I was reluctant to write.  I realized that the reasons are many, excuses are numberless but the bottom line is I am ashamed of how far down I fallen again.  Every year I promise myself with self care and creative problem solving I'll do better - I didn't.  My daughter posting a picture of my mother on Facebook to celebrate her birthday hurt so much.  I feel like she chose my mother over me.  I use depression to stop the anger that hides the hurt.  A powerful chain reaction that has me spiraling out of control again.  Stop the boat now. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.) 

It doesn't matter who any one chooses.  I am choosing to be with people that want to be with me.  I am choosing to take a break when I need one.  I am choosing humble acceptance that sometimes you are rejected by those you want to love.  I figured it out that I spent half my life with people that don't want me in their life.  I feel jealous when someone writes about their mother being their best friend.  My mother isn't and I'm not my children's best friend either.  Sometimes I wish I didn't reconnect my emotions in counseling.  Sometimes the sadness hurts so much.  Then I get blamed and shamed and told that if I was different then it would all be different.  Well, I'm not different.  Now what? 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Getting back in stride

I noticed something about myself.  I get into a routine I tend to cope better than breaking up my schedule and taking breaks.  However, when I break my routine and ask myself why am I doing what I am doing, if the answer is because I always did it, I need to reexamine my priorities.  I miss writing daily blogs.  I missed reading many of the other posts.  I missed not feeling connected.  I struggle with people to people communication.  I learned this is more about being an introvert than anything to do with PTSD.  How I connect with people is through my computer.  I can post about ideas and events and I decide if I want to respond to others that are also sharing.  Sometimes my best choice is to scroll on by.  I am working on the issue that not everything I am asked to do is the best use of my time or my job to carry out.  Sometimes it pays off to speak up for myself when I know that something is not the way it is supposed to be.  Lots is happening that I am struggling with keeping up. 

Thought for the week: Comes from Digital Photo Academy....I like their group and the ideas they share.  Enjoy being an artist.....create your life....

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Took a long break

What did I learn?  I felt I was neglecting my responsibility to share what I know.  I fought long and hard and learned a few things that I think are helpful to others.  I miss sharing my progress.  (Very narcissistic of me.)  But the deal is, I don't know everything.  Sharing then others add their two bits or what they learn and I grow from the experience.  I felt like I was spinning my wheels but I actually made some awesome progress. 

At my job, I watched it morph over the last few years until I didn't feel like I was doing my job any more.  This has happened in other jobs I had.  The jobs morphed so much I would never apply for what they were having me do later.  The catch, each semester I sign a document saying I am doing my original job.  Kind of tough when people higher up try to change things without the OK of those overseeing the funding.  I made an appointment.  Appropriately shared my concerns then let them come up with a solution.  I pointed out that the wrestling match going on was way above my pay grade.  I learned today that they are going to have me going back to what I was hired to do.  I am so impressed it worked. 

This week I took a class on using circle discussions for a group.  It is fairly formal but I was astounded at what we ended up sharing.  Let me rephrase that, I was astounded at what I ended up sharing.  I opened up to a group of people that normally they are doing good if I say hi to them.  The whole peopling thing can be exhausting for me.  I was impressed.  I believe this would be a great way to discuss issues in families, classroom or work places.  I don't believe it would be easy but I do think it would be worth it to open channels of communication over time.  It is not a once and done project. A bit formal but with healthy boundaries and creating a feeling of safety sharing becomes fairly open. 

How are you all doing?  Baby steps and cha-cha's both make progress.  Falling flat on our face moves you forward too.  Hugs and cheers and glad to be back. 

   Inching along

Monday, October 8, 2018

Call of the Void

I was shocked to find out there is an actual name for these random weird thoughts that I have ZERO desire to act on but traipse through my brain uninvited and quickly escorted out.  I call the deep dark depression that ruled my life for many years, "The Void."  It makes sense to me now that someone posted that it exists as a description for others.  
I can't give credit to where this came from because the person posting it is in a by invitation only group.  Looking up the information on Call of the void, French brought up several links sharing the same information.  Random bits of information that may or may not be helpful.  

Have a good day.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Pointed in the right direction

Today was a good day.  Sometimes I just need to be pointed in the right direction. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Current events

******Rant ahead - Proceed with caution. ******

I don't often respond to controversial current events because I learned long ago that my perspective is out of step with most and ridiculed by others.  I haven't written for awhile because this post is just boiling my brain and I was trying to avoid writing anything about it.  My thoughts popped up in a comment and a flood of rage followed.  Containing that rage was my first mission.  I think I am ready to say what I want to say.

A few years ago, an individual, my boss, hated me and his response was a smear campaign accusing me of things that never happened with zero evidence.  In defending myself I looked unreasonable and the more I denied the allegations the more they implied my denial was proof that I did what he said I did.  The smear campaign worked, I lost my job because of a vindictive person with no proof.  In the current events, statutes of limitations are long past.  Who he is now is totally lost in the cesspool of accusations.  I don't know who is lying and who is telling the truth.  I know how it feels to have my named smeared with no proof.  It is devastating on so many levels. Anger rages and people point out that so much denial must mean there was some truth in all the mess.  I feel deep sympathy for the gentleman.  My feelings about the lady are negative, extremely negative.  Her purposes are quite clear to smear his name and reputation.  I actually am terrified that someone from my past will come forward with accusations and swearing I did wrong.  I am so far from what I was it would be painful to have my past used to hurt me again.

Humans screw up.  Sometimes badly.  However, to me, it is more important what they learned and who they became.  Focusing only on the past does not allow a person to be who they have become.  I'm sad that such tactics were used.  It hurts more people than it helps.  Imperfect people run this Nation and every other nation because we are imperfect.  I dread election years because it seems to bring out the very worse then we have to vote for one.  Heavy sigh.  I pray for all involved especially his children.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


I love my friends on Facebook that share cool stuff.  It is a post about judging others with a short video.

I work at a school where it is real easy to slip into the mode of thinking I am better.... These kids are amazing.  They are working against tough odds.  My goal this year is to make my presence a positive event.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


I did not grow up with the feeling of peace.  Tension oozed from the woodwork.  Any peace attempt to enter in was exited out within moments.  So if I am seeking peace and I have no idea what it looks or feels like, how will I know if I found it?

Michael is an amazing poet and art photographer.  He blends amazing pictures with beautiful words.  Somedays he shares beautiful words and the pictures created in my mind from his inspiration are amazing.  He agreed that I could share his perspective of peace....

As I sit here dealing with my sprained knee, I came across some old writings of mine from back in the day. This one caused quite a stir online and offline about 12 years ago. CNN had an "arts corner" that it was featured on, and it was recited on a number of other television and radio programs. The resultant storm of recognition caused me to retreat even further into the woods.......
I am the warm gentle breeze
To cleanse ravaged land,
Where foe is now friend
That walk hand in hand.
I am the glory of dawn
O'er bloody red fields.
I am the force that descends
To bring all wars to heel.
I am the rest of the warrior
The calmer of rage.
I am the carillon call of the
Strong and the Brave.
I am the song of cathedral bells
Heard clear 'cross the land.
I am the tears of the mother
In clutch of son's hand.
I am the prayer of the child
For God safe to keep.
I am the sweetness of rest
For the weary to sleep.
I am the light from the darkness
The path through the fire.
I am the glorious wind
Of all earthly desire.
I am the steadfast resolve
Flag proudly unfurled.
I am the heart lit afire
The hope of the world.
I am the covenant foretold
To the lost and the weak.
I am the strength of salvation
In the solace they seek.
I am the voice of the millions
Whom liberty calls.
I am the trumpets lament
Of the last man to fall.
I am the yearn of the haunted
The white dove serene.
I am relief from the madness
The maker of dreams.
I am the promised tomorrow.
The tears of relief.
As she runs to your arms,
Behold....I Am Peace.

Thank you Michael. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Destruct to construct

This is an on going process.  Right now I am totally destroy my sewing room with the purpose in mind of having shelves for my projects that will fit the containers that I have.  First I am pulling everything out to make room for the building project.  This means there is stuff every where in our living room.  Almost finished one set of shelves then realized if I complete them as they are, I will not be able to reach the pull chains for the fan and light in the middle of the room.  Bummer.  I allowed myself to put it on hold until Monday.  I am feeling anxious but I remind myself that I am setting the due dates to have things done.  They are mine to change as needed.  I am so excited to go through things.  Some haven't been touched in years.  I also took courage in my hands and give a few things away.  Please understand, this is a huge success and I am so excited about it.  DH offered several times to help but I want to be able to say I DID IT! Step by step I am making choices to control my life.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Inside Job

I felt sad today when someone criticized Elizabeth Smart for sharing her video on choosing happy after her ordeal of being kidnapped.  It was an awesome video that she shared but the person making the complaint expressed that it was 'easy' for her since she had support from family and friends.  The reply I wish I had written but didn't because I pointed out the uselessness of comparison instead,

Dear complainer,

Happiness is an inside job.  A person can have no trauma, family and community support and still be unhappy.  Happiness is not about circumstances or the people around you.  Those things influence but I learned from reading both Viktor Frankl Man's Search for Meaning
And Corrie Ten Boom The Hiding Place

that even in the most wretched places people found hope, happiness, and a reason to live.

Begrudging Elizabeth her happiness will do nothing to improve your own and does not diminish her progress.  Like crabs in a pot, pulling others down does nothing to rescue you out of your mess.

I am not going to say the journey to happiness is an easy one.  I don't believe that it can be turned off and on like a light switch or if you can you might be dealing with severe dissociation.  What I do believe it is something we learn to see, create and share.  If pursued exclusive to all else, it is never found.  Happiness to me is a byproduct of living a life filled with sharing, caring, creating, and serving.  It is built on resolving past hurts.  It can be accomplished in the most wretched places.  Betsy, Corrie Ten Boom's sister, asked her to thank God for the fleas.  Corrie was dismayed but grudgingly thanked God for the fleas.  At a later time, Corrie learned that the guards for the most part left their barracks alone because of the fleas. Betsy had a gift for finding happiness in the most unlikely places.  I'm not an expert on happiness, depression dogs me most days.  What I learned painfully and thoroughly, happiness does not come from someone or something else.  It is not a thing to be found tucked under a rock.  It is not required for living.  It is not what many people expect it to be.  It is sometimes fun but many times linked with sadness and grief.  The light shining through the clouds is my best description of happiness to me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hearts still hurt

Today I visited the Field of Healing.  A flag flying for every person that lost their lives during the attack on September 11, 2001.  It is a day I always remember.  I take pictures and cry.  I feel the pain of thousands of loved ones missing those that they loved.  I feel the pain of thousands of dreams ended in just a few hours time.

I write about this every year.  It was a turning point for me.  I will never be the same again.  That is why it is called a life changing experience.

Today I am sharing another person's perspective of that infamous day.

Again I am crying.  I believe that crying is a sign of healing.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sometimes the answer is not right now

I am over my head and taking in water fast.  Last night I dreamt that a dam was blown up.  Yea you get in over your head very fast in that situation.  It is hard for me to back down and say, "This is too much for me right now."  I noticed that some of the same problems come back into my life.  I want to be able to conquer all challenges.  I went on a mud run with my daughter several years ago.  There was a muddy obstacle course.  I climbed nets, scrambled under barriers, and slogged through mud.  But when I got to a wall my whole body started shaking.  I couldn't do this one.  I would say I did 95% of the course but not that one obstacle that day.  It is still difficult for me to call "Uncle" and give up on a task.  However, sometimes that is something I need to do.  Not this challenge not today.  Maybe another day as I grow and strengthen but not today.

I could give you many quotes about quitters.  You know them, "Quitters never win and winners never quit."  However, painfully I learned that sometimes I need to say, "Not this challenge, not today."  Many times I didn't have an opt out choice.  When I found out I had cancer it was about this time of year 17 years ago.  I was devastated.  There was no back out and not do this option.  The only way I had was through.  But there are times when I can say,  "No."  What comes to mind is the song The Gambler.

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

I realized I am a situation where I made progress, a lot of progress, but the situation is still much bigger than me.  I am allowing someone else to help me.  I am making plans of approaching things differently.  I am not sticking with the status quo because the status quo isn't working for me.  Be creative, be courageous, and be willing to say, "No."  I don't know how things will pan out.  I will encounter these challenges again I am creating a plan to shore up and strengthen me and accept that we all need a healthy team working together to succeed.  I learned team building from counseling and Team Froglogic.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Spiraling down

The advantage I have now is I know the symptoms.  I understand the causes, most importantly I know how to find the solutions.  I noticed a trend in my blogs of things aren't fun.  I'm not happy.  I'm stressed out.  I was exhausted driving to work this morning.

STOP THE BOAT!!!!!!!!!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a scene in a boat where things get more and more intense until Willy Wonka shouts, "STOP THE BOAT."  Everything stops.  When my counselor first told me I could do the same thing, I didn't believe him.  I felt so out of control and so baffled where all the anxiety was coming from.  STOP is a powerful word.  Sometimes I use distractions like computer games or art to help my mind slow down and finally come to a stop.  Why stop?  During stop I can sit with my emotions the hurt ones, the scared ones, the frustrated ones, the angry ones, all clamoring for attention.  When I stop I take the time to pay attention.  My emotions no longer need to scream to get my attention.  Some people call this paying attention to the inner child.  In some ways that spiraling down frantic feeling is my inner child throwing a temper tantrum trying to get what she needs because I ignored her for too long.  Stop.  Listen. Stop spinning all the problems together and breathe...take apart all the separate pieces.  Stop trying to solve all the different problems at once.

Part of my spiraling down is a reaction to too many problems coming at me at once.  I need to stop and sort things out.....

1.  Which problems are actually my problems? Part of my past behavior was taking on my abuser's problems trying to please them by 'fixing' things for them.  Of course, I can't fix someone else's problem so I failed and felt more frustrated.  Learning to recognize a problem not being mine to solve is a big help.
2.  Which problems are bigger than I am?  These kind of problems I turn over to Heavenly Father, big problems are His department.
3.  Which problems need more information?  Sometimes I need more information to solve a problem. Or maybe a new perspective will resolve the issue.
4.  Which problems need to be broken down into smaller problems?  No one eats an elephant in one meal.  Break down problems into more manageable pieces.  SMART goals come in handy for this.  I wrote about SMART goals in this post
5. Accepting that I am not going to solve all my problems in one night.  Be kind to myself as I tackle different problems one or two at a time.

STOP my downward spiral. STOP my spinning thoughts.  Use my self-care tools, art tools, and planning/creativity tools.  I have options.  Thriving is not a problem free life.  Thriving is tackling problems and finding a way through each challenge.

Rocky Theme song played here.

I found my fight song.

Plants can split rocks to survive and thrive. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Brain Fog

Whining, complaining, and thinking about fun or lack of it got me to realize when brain fog sets in nothing is fun.  Brain fog can come from several sources emotional distress, illness, sin, tiredness, depression, trauma, and many other sources.  I am starting to learn that when brain fog sets in I need to pay attention to what is happening in my life.  Something is off.  It is like running a temperature when sick, it is a general alert to the body that I'm not feeling well.  Not feeling well can mean body, mind, emotions or spirit.

A quick search on the Internet machine and this popped up:

Brain fog, also commonly known as brain fatigue, can be a mild to severe episode of mental confusion that can strike without warning. When this occurs, it is common to experience a lack of focus, poor memory recall and reduced mental acuity.

That is a fairly good description in my estimation. The article added a few more things that can cause brain fog.  It listed several solutions more sleep (I wish), better nutrition, quit smoking/drinking, less stress and increased antioxidants mentioning one of the products they sell.  Generally brain fog is an early warning sign that I am neglecting myself.  Need to get back on track with self-care.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Sharing Fun

Today I shared my joy of pour painting with someone else.  Her ideas are way ahead of mine.  She plans to use the pour painting as a background to other paintings.  It is a beautiful idea.  We had a great time exploring pour painting.  Different colors and techniques led to a total of 5 different paintings.  It was fun sharing what I enjoyed.  I realized that fun for me is sharing something beautiful.

My sister reminded me to stop being so hard on myself.  The other thing I learned that some of the games I play are not about having fun.  They are either distractions or road hazards to slow down my racing mind.  Life is too much, 5 minutes playing a mindless computer game puts a check on my thoughts and brings them back into a more reasonable pace.  How do I know this?  A meme online shared the joke and it struck a cord with me.

I spent 5 minutes alone with my thoughts, remind me to never do that again....very scary.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

My talent

I can make a chore out of fun.  Yup.  I try to have fun and it ends up becoming a competition with myself or another thing I "have" to do or I have to do X amount of work before having fun then I am too tired to do the fun thing.  I did a mystery crocheting project for fun.  Now I am at the last to weeks instructions and it is big and the instructions are confusing.  It is not fun.  I fall asleep working on it.  I dread trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing and how I am going to make it look like the picture.  Crumbs I feel like I am the only person that can mess up having fun.

Then my sister writes about her struggle with having fun.  My friend talks about her struggle with taking time to relax and have fun. I read the post on the 2 Facebook groups for PTSD and guess what my talent is not special.  Many survivors struggle with fun, relaxing, vacations, free time, and all sorts of things that are supposed to help reduce stress actually add to the stress.  How mixed up is that?

So now I added the drawing to my relax/fun struggle.  I am fascinated with what I am learning.  Yes I did day 2 four times because it wasn't looking right.  Stop - just Stop.  This is supposed to be fun and I don't need to produce a museum worthy can even look like a Picasso for that matter.  It is supposed to help me regroup and realign my thinking in a more positive way.

Heavy does one cope with failing to have fun?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


This is one of the powerful tools I used when trying to cope with tough stuff.  I am not a  "born" drawer.....

I found this on Facebook and thought I would share....I hope the original author doesn't mind and I am including the links if you want to give it a whirl.

Have any of these myths kept you from realizing your dream of drawing?
---> MYTH #1 — “Artists are born, not made”
Bull honky! Just like no one is born walking, talking, or riding a bike—no one emerges from the womb with miraculous artistic abilities.
Sure, some folks may have an easier time picking it up, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have to work to develop their skills.
Learning how to draw is about learning how to see… it’s developing an “eye” for visualizing the shapes, angles, and subtle details hidden within the world around us. If you can open your eyes to these “visual secrets” — you’ll never see the world the same way again!
So, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and feeling like you “don’t have the gift.” Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone moves at a different pace.
Find a process that works for you, set your own pace, and enjoy the journey 🚀🚢
---> MYTH #2 — “Freehanding is the only real way to draw”
Nope, it’s not. Imagine this scenario with me…
You want to learn how to snow ski. You’ve never worn a pair of skis in your life and your most extreme activity as of late was a brisk stroll through the mall…
BUT, you’re bound and determined to throw yourself down a mountain (for some reason).
You show up at the slopes, rent some gear, take the chairlift to the very tippy top of the highest slope the resort has to offer…
You’re off! Down the mountain at blistering speeds!
Trees blurring as you flawlessly carve your way down the slope on your very first attempt…
That’s just not how it works, right? THE REALITY is that learning how to ski takes time and practice.
And that practice doesn’t happen in a classroom or in a simulator…
...It starts on flat ground or the “bunny slopes” where you can experience the thrill of skiing and make your mistakes without bone-shattering falls down an entire mountain
In a similar way, freehand drawing is a great goal…
… but if you start there, struggle, get frustrated, and give up on drawing altogether because you couldn’t freehand a project—how can you expect to improve?
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive to be your best—not at all.
I just want to encourage you to start on the “bunny slopes” — use whatever method you need to get started — so you can jump in and actually experience the joy of drawing for yourself!
---> MYTH #3 — “Draw from your head”
I regularly hear aspiring artists say things like “I love to draw, but I can’t draw from my head.” Or “I can only draw when I’m looking at my subject or a reference image—not from memory.”
I’m not sure where the idea that we need to draw from memory comes from, but I do know that most artists (even the masters) regularly turn to reference images or live models when drawing.
Learning to draw is as much about *seeing* as it is the act of putting something down on paper…
I think Frederick Franck summed it up well when he said:
"I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle."
There is no shame in drawing from a reference image or from life! In fact, the more we can study what we want to draw, the more likely we are to hear things like “wow, you really captured her personality” or “I can almost feel the breeze blowing in that field when I look at your drawing.”
Keep on drawing what you see!
---> MYTH #4 — “I could never draw like that…”
Well, not with that attitude!
It’s so discouraging to hear people say things like this…
The reality is that they could draw better than they ever imagined possible if they would let go of this mentality.
There is power in the words we speak! When we tell ourselves we can’t do something, we essentially ensure that we never will.
But I get it…
I know this line of thinking doesn’t just materialize out of thin air…
I’m convinced that folks start thinking this way because they have believed the previous three drawing myths!
When you’ve been told that “artists are born, not made,” it’s easy to interpret struggle and failure to accomplish unrealistic drawing goals as simply “not having the gift.”
When you see a master artist quickly and skillfully drawing a portrait freehand, it’s easy to imagine that he or she’s been drawing that way forever (the 15 years of intense practice couldn’t have anything to do with it 😉) and that using any sort of drawing aid or alternate method must be “cheating.”
When you watch reruns of Bob Ross effortlessly pulling beautiful scenes from nature, seemingly from his head, and laying them quickly down on a canvas, it’s easy to believe that’s how we should all operate as well.
But, what you don’t see are the 2-3 drafts of the painting that Bob would paint before taping each show...
My point?
There’s a whole lot of misinformation out there and drawing can feel a bit like a magic, or something meant for a “chosen few”...
But I want to invite you to give learning how to draw another chance…
… let go of what you think you are capable of…
… forget the myths that you may have accepted as truth…
… and try my FREE Napkin-Doodle Challenge!
✒️It’s a 7-day, GUIDED drawing adventure (if you will)🖌
I’ve picked seven, everyday, achievable subjects and broken them down with step-by-step instructions that you can follow and complete in 10 minutes or less a day!
An easy to draw subject is provided (so you don’t spend precious time fretting over what to draw)…
Each step is broken down and explained (so you have a clear path forward)…
Every project introduces you to concepts and principles that will help you understand how to draw just about anything (because that’s what we’re all after, right?)…
I’ve hand-picked these seven specific subjects and I’m going to show you how to see them through the “eyes of an artist.”
We’ll look past what we think we know about the subject and focus only on what’s actually there…
… the shapes, angles, and subtle variations in line width or placement that all work together to create the illusion of three dimensions on a two dimensional piece of paper!
We’re not trying to draw realistic masterpieces…
These won’t take hours, days, or weeks to draw…
You don’t have to have to a degree from an art school… 🎨
All you need to bring is yourself, something to draw with, something to draw on, and a positive, can-do attitude — I’ll email you a link to a new project every day for seven days
The whole process is tightly structured on purpose — you can think of it as training wheels:
There to help you get started quickly so you can actually enjoy the ride and not get discouraged and give up prematurely!
It’s fun, it’s good for your health, and it doesn’t take much time!
Will you join me? --->
Access is instant. And you’ll get a new project in your inbox every day.
See you there,
Ben Makin