Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Last Time

 One of the things I wished with all my heart is that when our kids were growing up;  I worried less and enjoyed more the moments, the heart beats, the days challenges of busy years.  I am working on it now.  

This is the holiday season, a time of challenges, triggers, tough memories, an occasional flashbacks that make this particularly difficult.  I posted on here before survival guides for the holidays.  

http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2013/11/holidays-are-upon-us.html

http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2017/10/didnt-build-in-rain.html

This time I am sharing a poem my daughter shared as she enjoyed the Zoo lights with her sons.  She is right, I am wishing we could have one more time together, one more hug, one more story time,   one more of so many things.  Mostly I wish each of them joy in the celebration of Christ.  

The Last Time (author unknown)
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms you will never be the same
You might long for the person you were before when you had freedom and time and nothing in particular to worry about
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before days will run into days that are exactly the same full of feedings and burping
Nappy changes and crying
Whining and fighting
Naps or a lack of naps
It might seem like a never-ending cycle
But don't forget...
There is a last time for everything
There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time
They will fall asleep on you after a long day and it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down and never pick them up that way again
You will scrub their hair in the bath for one last time and from that day on they will want to bathe alone
They will hold your hand to cross the road
Then will never reach for it again
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles and it will be the last night you ever wake to this
One afternoon you will sing "the wheels on the bus" and do all the actions then never sing them that song again
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.
The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time until there are no more times. And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day


My children made these in 1st grade, now their children are in first grade. Yes, I still have them. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Healing Power of Gratitude


 Gratitude is a powerful thing. I learned of its power when I was sick in bed for about 3 years. I learned to be thankful for things like getting dressed. Gratitude to children that pitched in and helped. Husband that knew how to vacuum. Savior to reassure me I'm not worthless. Prayer to keep me going when things seemed impossible. Grateful that my faith taught me that Jesus takes impossible and turns it into I'm possible.

Too many people blow off simple things like gratitude when looking for healing solutions. There are scientist that actually study the impact of gratitude on the brain. I read a few articles that show that an attitude of gratitude does awesome and cool things to our brains. Scriptures also back this up with many references to give thanks. I know I went through a tough time when I felt like it took all week to find something to be grateful for. Gratitude is a learned skill.

Our church group decided to start keeping a gratitude journal for an entire year. They gave us notebooks to write in, cute pages for every month and encouragement to write daily. I was very skeptical about one more thing to do in my life. However, I was willing to try. After a few months I had to stop not because I didn't feel gratitude but I realized if I wrote down every blessing, way I was helped, everything I was thankful for, all I would do was write all day long. I finally saw a flood of things to be thankful for. I started creating gratitude chains.....Thankful for a car to drive led to gratitude for roads to drive on, gas, money to afford the car and gas, thankful for amazing place to travel to and see...One blessing connects to several others. It felt amazing. Now, gratitude is one of my go to healing tools when I start to feel overwhelmed or like life is picking on me. I am thankful for the internet where I can share my thoughts on a blog and I am thankful for readers willing to spend a few minutes of their day to read my words. I am thankful for those that leave kind comments and help me feel connected. Gratitude is a powerful healing tool.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Run the Dishwasher Twice

 I found this on Facebook and wanted to post it here as a reminder to myself that when something is overwhelming, I need to rethink the rules.  Computer being weird, can't get rid of the black so I changed the font to white. It took some digging but I found the link to the original:

https://www.quora.com/Has-a-therapist-ever-told-you-something-completely-unexpected/answer/Kate-Scott-6?ch=99&share=924eb0ff&srid=P2BN



I really liked the lesson! *original poster (Kate Scott 2020)*:

RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE.

When I was at one of my lowest (mental) points in life, I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I had no energy or motivation and was barely getting by.

I had therapy once per week, and on this particular week I didn’t have much to ‘bring’ to the session. He asked how my week was and I really had nothing to say.

“What are you struggling with?” he asked.

I gestured around me and said “I dunno man. Life.”

Not satisfied with my answer, he said “No, what exactly are you worried about right now? What feels overwhelming? When you go home after this session, what issue will be staring at you?”

I knew the answer, but it was so ridiculous that I didn’t want to say it.

I wanted to have something more substantial.

Something more profound.

But I didn’t.

So I told him, “Honestly? The dishes. It’s stupid, I know, but the more I look at them the more I CAN’T do them because I’ll have to scrub them before I put them in the dishwasher, because the dishwasher sucks, and I just can’t stand and scrub the dishes.”

I felt like an idiot even saying it.

What kind of grown ass woman is undone by a stack of dishes? There are people out there with *actual* problems, and I’m whining to my therapist about dishes?

But my therapist nodded in understanding and then said:

“RUN THE DISHWASHER TWICE.”

I began to tell him that you’re not supposed to, but he stopped me.

“Why the hell aren’t you supposed to? If you don’t want to scrub the dishes and your dishwasher sucks, run it twice. Run it three times, who cares?! Rules do not exist, so stop giving yourself rules.”

It blew my mind in a way that I don’t think I can properly express.

That day, I went home and tossed my smelly dishes haphazardly into the dishwasher and ran it three times.

I felt like I had conquered a dragon.

The next day, I took a shower lying down.

A few days later. I folded my laundry and put them wherever the fuck they fit.

There were no longer arbitrary rules I had to follow, and it gave me the freedom to make accomplishments again.

Now that I’m in a healthier place, I rinse off my dishes and put them in the dishwasher properly. I shower standing up. I sort my laundry.

But at a time when living was a struggle instead of a blessing, I learned an incredibly important lesson:

THERE ARE NO RULES.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Blessing others

 

Tough times and hard times people tend to pull back and stay away and less connection.  I like the example in this story where a bookstore employee shares their memory of a most memorable customer.  

Tough times blessing others is not just one more thing to do but a vital way to connect and encourage yourself that if we can't fix anything we can do something to help one another on something.  


https://timelesslife.info/bookstore-employee-writes-this-on-facebook-after-little-old-lady-shocks-everyone-at-the-register

Sometimes we are just tired and need to rest.  



Sunday, September 6, 2020

Time flies

 I am working from home and this past month flew by with me sitting for hours in front of the computer connecting with teachers and students.  I am struggling with using my computer for work, play and connection.  The computer keeps us connected and keeps us apart.  If there were no computers, they would have to figure out how to teach students....we would probably be in school instead of struggling to make lessons make sense online.  Somethings work ok.  Computer programming classes are done on the computer no matter where you are located.  However, really tough to had at flowers over the internet for students to learn to arrange them.  The visual information does not replace the smell and experience of handling flowers and placing them beautifully in a vase.  No matter how much we talk, it is not the same experience.  I like what the teacher is doing by engaging the students interactively online but that is still not the same as handling the flowers themselves.  I'm ready to go back to work at school when they are willing to open the schools and let us go.  








Thursday, July 23, 2020

Unsolicited Advice

My children let me know that as adults it is no longer ok to give unsolicited advice.  I felt hurt.  I only wanted to help.  A life long habit needed to be examined.  I shied away because I needed to get to a place where I was ready to listen. (aka I needed to be humble.)  An article popped up on Facebook and I saved it for weeks waiting.  Finally this morning I took my courage in both hands and started to read.  Instead of feeling attacked or put down the article gave examples of what it looks like and why it isn't healthy.  I am on the road to healthy so this approach kept me more open to what they were teaching me.  Then it pointed out why it is ineffective and harmful to relationships.  I am also in some groups online where people are looking for advice.  What to do?  The article pointed out that when people are looking for advice presenting information as "This is what I experienced...." or "One possibility is...." or another way "A suggestion you might consider....."  all implying that the listener is capable of making up their own mind and finding their own solution. 

https://sharonmartincounseling.com/unsolicited-advice

After reading the article, I thought what if I had not given unsolicited advice to my children?  What if I encouraged them to find their own solutions?  What if I had done differently?  Well I didn't but that doesn't mean I can't move forward with change in my heart and paying attention to how I share my thoughts and feelings with others.  Learning to listen more, problem solve yes.  My brain is hardwired to problem solve which was really good when my job was fixing computers.  Now I work with helping people, I need to re-access, examine, and consider how to take this information and more fully incorporate it in my life.  I have some thinking to do too. 

My counselor first proposed this concept to me years ago.  He describe raising kids is like playing football.  (Yup, raised my eyebrows at that one.) He went on to explain, when your kids are little you are out there on the field telling them exactly what to do like a quarter back.  When they grow to be teenagers you are the coach with a whistle shouting from the sideline.  Then all my kids became adults with children of their own, I throw away the whistle and I get POMPOMs to cheer them on.  I'm still working at what that looks like.  Sometimes they really do ask for my advice and I am challenged how to present any ideas in a way that is supportive and allowing them to make the final decision. 

Changing me is a life long journey.  I am thankful for advice I received over the years from others.  I want to pass on the good ideas and helps I received like passing the baton in a relay, I realize I need to do it in away that I am not beating them over the head with baton.  I am a work in progress. 


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Getting back on track

June was rough.  No doubt about it.  This past July 4th I felt imprisoned, less free than I felt for years.  I took it badly.  I refuse to live in fear.  Age 42 I had cancer, that is scary.  I lived.  Same week I found out about my cancer, planes flew into buildings and fields.  So many died in a day.  I lived. Counseling taught me a whole new level of emotions that I didn't know existed.  I lived.  I am alive still after months of staying home.  I'm done being afraid.  I am making mask, I'll wear them not out of fear but because it is the law right now.  When it is no longer mandated, I will stop.  Mask wearers threaten me with my life if I don't wear them.  People that I thought were nice people, aren't.  It was an eye opener for me. 

I am sleeping better.  I finished some big projects, pictures below.  I am getting back on track.  I am deciding how I am going to live.  I am working on new projects and relentlessly working on cleaning and sorting over 30 years of paper stuff.  I am letting some things go and hanging onto others.  My children are in their 30's and I have a box marked to throw-away-after-I-die.  Looking at little hand prints and precious learning to write brings me joy.  Report cards were all shredded.  My children did well in school but report cards are just sad and mean nothing to me....so into the shredder they went.  I let go of anything that brought me sadness, most of my mother's letters to me.  Anything that I felt hurt by, went in the trash.  I saved things to prove they happened.  After this past month, I don't need to prove how I feel about anything.  I feel what I feel and if someone else doesn't like it, then I do not need to prove why I feel what I feel.  Break through.  I spent my childhood justifying my existence and that I had feelings. If I couldn't "prove" something with hard evidence then it didn't happen.  Yup, classic gas-lighting.  I filled the shredder several times in two days.  More still needs to be done but I feel like I lifted a burden off my shoulders.  I do not need to prove that how I feel is legitimate.  Wow.  This is something to celebrate. 


Crocheting is therapy for me.  Getting better with each one I complete.  





Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Haunted by past

WARNING Major Rant below.....READ WITH CAUTION.  


I worked hard and long in counseling.  I felt I made a lot of progress.  This year started hopeful and exciting.  Then came COVID panic followed up by natural disasters, fires, earthquakes, run of the mill planet Earth happenings then tolerated riots with bricks appearing in strategic positions to maximize damage hurting those that they were supposed to be for.  Anarchy, fear, and bullying are this new world order they are demanding we accept.  Not just no, but HELL no. 

I lived my childhood with irrational demands and fear mongering.  My mother is dead and here she is multiplied by millions screaming, "Do this or you'll die" "Do that or your family will die" no proof, no studies other than what is presented by a media that is known for changing the "truth" more often than most people change their clothes.  I've lived this, for years.  People, this does not end well.  The emotional, social impact are going to be far reaching and incalculable.  We will recover economically eventually but will the broken homes, broken lives, and broken children care? 

The screams of a few are drowning out those that are trying to say, "This may not be the best way to do this."  The screamers don't care, they want what they want and they will destroy anything and anyone that gets in their way.  But to me the screamers are merely puppets on a much larger stage and few will believe there are puppeteers pulling their strings creating chaos so nobody pays attention to what they are doing.  This will end badly for so many and I do not mean just those that might get COVID, a horrible disease that kills, but the hundreds of thousands and millions that will start to believe this insanity must be their new reality.  I'm not handling this well, at all.  Once again, I feel helpless as my reality is ripped to shreds then I am told I am unreasonable for not complying. 

Nope Nope Nope. 

I am thankful for being Christian and knowing that in the end God wins.  However, things are really messy and don't look like they will get any better any time soon because you see the puppeteers believe they have the power and know the right buttons to push to send everyone scrambling for cover.  A war is on and no one believes it. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Added guilt

Guilt is an important quality to a certain degree and type.  If you hurt someone, you should feel guilty for doing the other person harm.  Some people might call it their "Jiminy Cricket" prompting them to do the right thing.  However, there is another type of guilt that is far more destructive.  It is the guilt passed from abuser to victim that is more like a swarm of locust poised to destroy peace of mind and sometimes the person.  These are the shaming blaming behaviors that the abuser blames the victim for their behavior.  The screams of rage, "You made me do this. If you were good I wouldn't beat you." Or some other variation that implies that the abusers erratic and irrational behavior is the victims fault.  A friend on Facebook shared an article that is helping me wrap my mind around this difficult issue. 

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/childhood-neglect/2018/02/3-guilt-and-shame-messages-of-childhood-emotional-neglect-and-how-to-defeat-them/

I like this article because it breaks down the guilt monster into 3 components...

No one wants to see your feelings.
Your feelings are shameful.
There is something wrong with you.

I learned to hide my feelings so well, I hid them from myself; also known as dissociation. I feel ashamed when I had feelings of anger and most of my other emotions. I got the message loud and clear there was something wrong with me.  I was damaged, faulty, making mistakes, stupid and the list of things that I was went on and on and on.  No doubt in my mind there was something wrong with me.  Then came counseling.  Trying to undo all this brainwashing crap took time and effort, I am a work in progress.  I am still working out that my feelings are important and valid; most importantly I was just a little kid tried to cope in a bizarre situation.  I want this article to go back to and review again how I am doing at recognizing what is my responsibility and what was shoved off to me by my abusers.  Kind of difficult when they feelings feel so similar.  I finally hit on the idea of whose problem is it, and who has control of the out come.  If it is me, then I need to pay attention to those feelings of guilt so I can apologize and work towards better relationships.  If it is their responsibility, time to strength my boundaries and clarify that they can't treat me like that.  It is definitely a work in progress. 




Monday, June 15, 2020

You Tube helper

Ever wish there was someone you could ask Fix it questions without emotional baggage or lectures?  A friend posted an article about this guy that has done that.  Yes, there are Dad jokes.  Its ok.  He has his own You Tube channel and he shares how to do basic fixes around the house, yard and car.  This is information I learned the hard way with a husband that was on the road for his job most of the week.  If the toilet stopped working on Monday, I couldn't wait until Friday for him to fix it.  Yes, I know how to replace the chain on a toilet. 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNepEAWZH0TBu7dkxIbluDw/videos

If this doesn't interest you, no problem.  But I figured for someone out there some where this might be helpful. 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A favorite of mine

Two tissue true story....when it first went around I tracked down the original. 

My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection.
Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.
Where is the natural order of things in my son?'
The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning..'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt.. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
In top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. Athe pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.
Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.
By time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third!

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!




Thursday, June 4, 2020

Blogger will change

Like it or not.  Yup, there is a reason I dislike computers.  They change, constantly, and if there is a problem then it is your fault their software/hardware is faulty.  Follow the directions and it doesn't work the person you call can't tell you anything except the directions you already followed and it didn't work.  They actually don't know the answers.  We created this amazing way to communicate, learn, play and go down numerous and sometimes scary rabbit holes and nobody out there actually knows what is happening.  I worked IT for 15 years.  People wore lucky hats, chanted to their computers, and generally did anything they could think of and sometimes it just doesn't work.  Heavy sigh.  Blogger will change I have a months grace period of using the "old" way but it will change.  Their comment, well start the new one know and get a jump on it and give us feedback.  People please understand, they are using you the readers and bloggers to trouble shoot their problems.  I don't try to jump ahead on technology, I let other people have the problems, give them time to fix it then I will use it.  Not a happy way to start my morning finding out their idea of progress most likely does not match my idea of something wonderful. 

Three wishes.  

Monday, May 25, 2020

Not just another day

Recently with working from home one day blends into the next but today is not just another day.  Today was Memorial Day.  A time when we honor those that gave their lives so we can live ours.  To men and women who died in circumstances that are heart breaking.  We sometimes take too lightly what their sacrifice means.  Sadly, I was a teenager in the 70's and watched the war protests, the vicious way soldiers were treated, man's cruelty and blaming the wrong people for what was happening.  I am thankful to those that felt duty bound or drafted to serve sometimes for things they did not believe in.  Sometimes there are no easy answers.  However, I was raised in hatred and fear, sometimes the only answer left is to fight back.  Not the first choice but there are people through out the World that wish to force their ideals and beliefs on others and have no problem killing to get what they want.  It is somber for me to think about the cruelty soldiers faced when they came home.  Some times the toughest battles are not fought in the battle field but in our own hearts and minds.  Some died and others came home seriously damaged none were unaffected.  I ponder if I am living a life that honors their sacrifice. 


Sunday, May 17, 2020

100 books

I was given a list of 100 books to read about PTSD/CPTSD.  I have not read most of them.  I did read a bunch of books, not all of these, however. 

https://bookauthority.org/books/best-ptsd-books

Many of the books now available were published after I was in counseling, a lot of the information is new.  CPTSD wasn't even used yet. However, I did read many books.  The ones that connected with me I share on my resource page.  http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/p/resources-books.html

I do not recommend all of these books.  Pick and choose.  Many of them are military based.  Much of the information I use is from military PTSD web pages.  I was never in the military but their articles helped me cope with symptoms of PTSD.  It was an article about taking martial arts that got me to try Karate.  The results were amazing.  It also helped that my teacher is trauma aware.  I actually had a complete melt down in class.  The next week I tried to apologize.  He told me I had nothing to apologize for.  I am now in my 5th year....and were are having class on Zoom.  It helped me feel like I can control my body in all situations.  Cool stuff for me.  My confidence grew in leaps and bounds when I mastered ground defense requiring me to do a diving forward roll.  Serious stuff when I am over 60 years old.  The article was right, it helped me gain confidence that I never had before.  I would say this list is simply a suggestion list and one more resource not a to-do list. 

Take care and enjoy your day. 

Crochet-a-longs are another thing that are helping me to build my skills and confidence.  Thanks to Mikey from TheCrochetCrowd.  https://thecrochetcrowd.com/



Friday, May 15, 2020

Now I've done it

I shoved stuff into one room for over 15 years.  My son-in-law is getting me to listen to Bob Proctor which is a way of thinking that I believe but don't do.  As I listened all weekend to the different speeches, I realized the gap between saying I will clean that room and actually doing it was commitment.  I started pulling things out and throwing things a way and discovering I had boxes in front of empty shelves.  Some stuff I actually want to save.  In one box I found hair from several of my kids first hair cuts.  I am designating the box as "You can throw this away when I die" box....but instead of 3 boxes I am consolidating down to one and pitching some of the stuff without names since I don't know who it belongs to anyway.  I spent the week looking at Mother's Day cards with little hand prints from my now adult children.  I actually shared some of the stuff with a couple of grandkids to let them see things when their daddy was small.  My living room is now a mess.  I am looking at it like a can of worms and wondering how on earth I am going to cram that back in.  Key....throw away more stuff.  Keep what really brings me joy.  I found information from doing a play years ago, it was a miserable experience.  I pitched all the stuff from that.  I don't need reminders of pain any more.  The talks during the weekend talked about digging deeper into your behavior and shifting how you think which in turn will change your behavior.  For this room, it is taking a bunch of shifting.

I also accepted that there was a reason I kept stuff that was sad, mad, and ugly.  Growing up these things were not allowed so my mother would rewrite history.  I would keep the sad, mad, and ugly to prove those things happened.  I needed proof to validate the way I felt.  I don't need to have that proof any more.  I know what happened and I don't need to prove it to anyone.  Throw the stuff away.  It is ok.  I still struggle with the idea I have to prove my perspective is valid.  I am taking Flylady's (http://flylady.net/) suggestion to take pictures of some things and throw the object away.  I have a long ways to go in the cleaning process but the first time in 10 years, I am seeing progress and floor space... amazing. 

Some memories are worth keeping.  

Friday, May 8, 2020

Not broken

I worked on cleaning up my files and discovered that I missed a bunch of comments.  Apparently in my day to day living they scrolled on by before I saw them so I am now caught up according to my information.  If I ever miss a comment, please understand it is not you.  I insist on approving each and every one so it becomes dependent on me not having a bad day.  Not so good this year.

I was feeling all wore out and tired from digging through mountains of clutter.  I have a talent for making mountains out of mole hills due to neglect.  Or the cartoon I found was I am not a nit picker but the cartoon stated, "If it weren't for us nit pickers, we would be up to our knees in nits."  The piles are well past my knees.  I took a break and found this posted by my daughter...I love it.

Me: Hey God.
God: Hello.....
Me: I'm falling apart. Can you put me back together?
God: I would rather not.
Me: Why?
God: Because you aren't a puzzle.
Me: What about all of the pieces of my life that are falling down onto the ground?
God: Let them stay there for a while. They fell off for a reason. Take some time and decide if you need any of those pieces back.
Me: You don't understand! I'm breaking down!
God: No - you don't understand. You are breaking through. What you are feeling are just growing pains. You are shedding the things and the people in your life that are holding you back. You aren't falling apart. You are falling into place. Relax. Take some deep breaths and allow those things you don't need anymore to fall off of you. Quit holding onto the pieces that don't fit you anymore. Let them fall off. Let them go.
Me: Once I start doing that, what will be left of me?
God: Only the very best pieces of you.
Me: I'm scared of changing.
God: I keep telling you - YOU AREN'T CHANGING!! YOU ARE BECOMING!
Me: Becoming who?
God: Becoming who I created you to be! A person of light and love and charity and hope and courage and joy and mercy and grace and compassion. I made you for more than the shallow pieces you have decided to adorn yourself with that you cling to with such greed and fear. Let those things fall off of you. I love you! Don't change! ... Become! Become! Become who I made you to be. I'm going to keep telling you this until you remember it.
Me: There goes another piece.
God: Yep. Let it be.
Me: So ... I'm not broken?
God: Of course Not! - but you are breaking like the dawn. It's a new day. Become!!! 

~Author Unknown


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Kissy

During this time of enforced stay at home, I am delving deep into my history and cleaning out my craft/storage room.  I can barely walk in there.  Years of 'shove it in and shut the door' made the room unusable.  At first I simply dabbled at moving the junk around.  I realized the only way to clean it out is to CLEAN IT OUT!!!!  I pulled out half a bed frame.  From the location I am guessing at least 10 to 15 years ago.  No idea where the rest of the bed is located.  Out and gone.  There is easy stuff like that and then there are "Oh Sh%#@!" boxes.  Memories stuffed away raw unprocessed sitting there waiting to rip back carefully healed scars.  One of them was Kissy. 


The saga of Kissy.  Like any little girl watching TV just before Christmas, commercials were vying for attention.  One was a cuddly little Kissy doll and the other Chatty Cathy.  I first fell in love with the little soft Kissy doll then changed my mind.  However, my mother already bought the Kissy doll for my present.  She decided to take the Kissy doll back to the store and wait for me to make up my mind.  Sure enough, Christmas Eve at the top of my Santa letter I wrote I wanted a Kissy doll.  By this time, the stores were closed. (This was well before the all night Christmas eve shopping binges.)  Christmas morning....no Kissy doll.  Plenty of other stuff but not the doll I wanted.  My mother decided to get me a Kissy doll and let me earn it.  When she went back to the store, the half price toy sales were on.  This larger, hard plastic Kissy doll was available for the same price as the smaller doll.  My mother's way of thinking that bigger was better.  She brought it home.  She and my Dad told me the doll would be mine after I worked for it.  But it wasn't soft or cuddly and it was humongous, NOT the doll I wanted at any time.  Since it was a sell item, she couldn't take it back.  I worked what seem liked forever for this doll I did not want.  I kept the doll.  For about 50 years....well actually I left it at home expecting my mother to throw it away like she did everything else.  Nope she saved it.  When we moved back to the area she wanted me to take it off her hands and once again here I was stuck with a doll I never wanted in the first place.  Shove it in the closet and forget about it.  Only I didn't forget about it.  Every time I stumbled across it was this tautening doll that my mother had no idea who I was or what I wanted.  I kept the very thing that caused me pain from the beginning.  Time to let go.  Time to say good-bye to sadness.  I am giving it away outside the family because the hurt and pain need to be cleaned out of the wounds.  I realized as I contemplated this post.  Kissy is the reason I didn't set goals.  If I set a goal, had a wish, or wanted something, that would be taken away and replaced with something I did not want with the expectation that I was lazy, terrible child if I didn't want what they wanted me to want and work to earn it.  Kissy represented all the times in my life I had the taunting, "You want it, you can't have it."  It was less painful not to want anything at all.  If I didn't want anything, then there was nothing for them to take away. 




Monday, May 4, 2020

My morning walk

Good morning.  It is a beautiful and soon to be hot day here in Arizona.  I decided to share my morning walk with you....enjoy....






Sunday, May 3, 2020

Gratitude for all things

I listened to a 3 day seminar about improving my life.  One of the videos shared was one about Gratitude...for those that enjoy meditation I think it is beautifully done. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpkEvBtyL7M&t=

One of the amazing things I learned years ago when at church they gave us the challenge to keep a gratitude journal.  I did for a time.  This is what I learned.  There is a constant flow of blessings.  When I receive all things with gratitude, I find the gifts hidden in the challenges.  One quick example was the day I was laid off from being a computer tech.  My children were worried that I would be terribly upset.  I wasn't.  I felt such gratitude from being released from a miserable job that I felt bond to continue because the people that originally hired me gave me a chance.  Over the years at the job, my position was restructured.  I went from the best job ever to a hostile boss that wanted to find a reason to fire me.  The stress was tremendous.  It was also during the time I was in counseling.  The blessing there, I needed to learn some skills like boundaries and standing up for myself.  My therapist asked me if I liked this negative boss.  Nope.  So the poor boss became my guinea pig to work on developing these skills I needed to learn.  Much better to try things out on this unpleasant boss rather than someone I wanted to still like me after the learning process.  Learning can be messy.  I discovered inadvertently that every unpleasant situation is laced with opportunities and blessings would flow from them. 

Gratitude is an emotion that is a helper emotion.  Helps me through sad times and tough times.  Helps me when I am feeling grief or unappreciated.  Talking to one of my therapist he challenged me to find the blessings it what happened to me in my childhood.  Tough one to think about.  I do not feel gratitude that my mother hated me.  I do feel gratitude that I was able to see her emotion was not about me.  I do not feel gratitude for the cruelty of my neighbor.  I am searching for ways to use what I learned to bless others.  I feel grateful to internet and blogs to be able to share hard learned lessons that others may see their is hope in their situation.  Sometimes seeing the blessings and feeling the gratitude is a challenge but I am blessed when I can do it. 

Enjoy your day. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Pets allowed

My sister posted one of my favorite stories about entering Heaven. Physical distancing continues, I'm still paid, I pray for those that are not.  Yes the illness is slowing sadly for some people at a very high cost and those with loved ones that died, we didn't do enough.  I tell people that planet Earth is a testing ground not a country club and this hardship is advertised more than most.  Lots of hard things are happening but one virus is getting all the attention. 

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.
He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them..
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'
'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.
Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.
Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up'.The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveller asked.
'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'
'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in..'
'How about my friend here?' the traveller gestured to the dog.
There should be a bowl by the pump.'
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.
'What do you call this place?' the traveller asked.
This is Heaven,' he answered.
'Well, that's confusing,' the traveller said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'
'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'
'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'
'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'
~Anonymous Author and Artwork

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Solitude how to connect...

The World is asked to do social distancing.  Some people are struggling.  Interesting thing to me is I am used to spending hours alone.  I don't mind.  I usually go to the store at odd hours so I won't be jostled or approached by other people.  Now, I can go at any hour and people keep their distance, no one considers me rude now.  Here is the weirdness, I really want to be able to go out and hug somebody.  This so unlike me.  I usually prefer at a distance or a simple side hug.  I am beginning to think that the rebellion that my counselor tried to provoke years ago is finally starting to set in.  Great, just when I am supposed to behave is now when I don't want to. 

So today I focused on contacting people on Facebook.  Wrote a few emails and kept my phone by my side so I could answer almost immediately.  I attended a teacher meeting online and by dinner time, I felt better.  I connected without stepping out of my door.  Connections are important.  This is why abusers use our natural need to connect as a way to manipulate, isolate and abuser their victims.  Victims then associate connection with abuse.  Their natural needs become a "bad thing" used to harm them.  It is cruel.  However, as we move away from abusers and find a way to distance ourselves we are better equipped to create an environment where needs can be met and not feel abused.  This process will take practice. Like every behavior, social connection is a skill most people learn as children.  Cool thing, we can learn these same skills as adults.  Cheering for everyone, may you stay safely separated but connected. 


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Do you believe?

I was once asked by a student if I believe in miracles.  I was cautious.  I've experienced religious persecution before and my job was a bit iffy about any type of religious conversation.  I inquired if he actually wanted to know.  He told me in all seriousness, "Yes,"  I looked at him steadily and replied, "I don't just believe in them, I depend on them."  My survival was miracle.  I experienced so many miracles I doubt I could name a fraction of them.  From near misses on the freeway to heavenly intervention with illness I experienced many miracles and continue to do so. 

Tomorrow, or today for those that are already in Sunday, many faiths are asking for a World day of fasting in prayer.  My prayer is for those impacted by the illness or the fear that illness generated.  I pray for those that lost their jobs, closed their business, on the front lines of defense.  I pray for doctors, nurses, ER workers, ambulance drivers, police officers, fire people, grocers, cashiers and any one else with first exposure.  I pray for those that are  so afraid, unprepared, or distressed by the social distancing.  Those that are now in harms way because they needed a place to stay.  I pray for those that have no place to stay and no one that cares what happens to them.  I pray for World and National leaders to set aside their differences and put their energy into solutions instead of manipulation.  I pray for the students that are trying to continue to learn in a totally new environment.  I pray for the students that do not have access to the online resources.  I believe in prayer but I also accept that my solution is not always the best solution. 

I like my daughter's analogy of juicing an orange we expect orange juice to come out of it.  Lemon has lemon juice and grapes have grape juice.  We don't always know what is inside of people.  When the pressure is on what is inside of them comes out whether it is kindness and serenity or fear and bitterness.  I hope that I am sharing kindness and the peace that I am feeling as events unfold. 

I like Mr. Roger's mother's quote, "In the time of crisis, you can always look for the helpers." This kind gentle man was one of those people that not only helped children with his Mr. Roger's neighborhood, he helped children in his life off of the screen.  He became one of those helpers.  I pray for the helpers and we may see them and acknowledge them.  I pray for comfort and peace. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Working from home

For me working from home is just plain weird.  My job description is to assist students and teachers with whatever needs to be done to succeed.  I was stumped for a while.  I reached out to my teachers and I have a few things I can do online, but for the most part I don't have anything I can directly do to help.  I decided to use this time to improve me. 

Yup, I've been stuck for a while and this time is just what I need to focus on making some readjustments.  I am not thankful that there is a World pandemic happening.  I am thankful I still have a job and time to work on self improvement.  Integrating 5 personalities to 1 was a major shift in thinking.  However, for about the last year I felt like I was running in place.  Expending a bunch of energy but not going anywhere.  Treadmills have their place in the gym not my life.  Enter an online opportunity that I've known about for a while but afraid to try.  I decided to sign up for a web seminar specifically about changing my thinking in yet another paradigm shift. 

Paradigms are out habits of thinking our pattern we structured for our lives.  It usually takes a fairly hefty upheaval to get people to even consider changing their patterns of living.  Counseling helped me with my integration of self.  Before I started I wasn't even aware of what patterns of thinking were controlling my life.  I joke that I was in the last to know category for how I was living.  Counseling was hard work.  My therapist described the process as ripping out my entire rotting foundation and starting over.  Therapy is work.  I also gave myself my own homework assignments in addition to what my counselor asked me to do. 

After 10 years of counseling I went on my own,  for about the last 5 years, I continued my self improvement.  This past year I felt stuck.  I know how much work is involved in a paradigm shift, but I think it is time for me to take the next step in embracing thriving.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Where do you find hope?

Times are tough but we are tougher is a mantra I use more than once.  When I was laid off from my job over 10 years ago the following summer my therapist moved.  That Fall I found out I have a brain tumor.  Rocked my World.  I spun around graduated from college, found a new job and learned to live with Brian, my brain tumor.  I started karate and continue to change my thinking and changing my world. 

Now there is this pandemic panic.  It spread like wild fire around the Globe.   People are losing jobs, businesses are closing for good, store shelves are empty and we are only one week into this mess.  The disease has been around for months but this panic is new and spread World wide.  Fanned by fires of politics and greed.  Track who is making money over this and what governments are taking control over their people. 

Where is hope in all this mess?  For me, I pray.  I feel Christ peace.  However, I know that not everyone feels this way.  At a church gathering I shared an experience of feeling Heavenly Father's love and profound feeling of love from my Savior.  During my speech a woman got up and left because the God she knows is a vengeful God and she does not feel any peace. 

Where is hope?  I discovered that within me is an invincible summer.  I had a poster with part of this quote on my wall in high school. 

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within mean invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against mewithin me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ― Albert Camus

Where is hope? My counselor helped me draw back the curtains that hid my childhood memories.  They are horrific.  I trembled, shook, and cried.  On some of my worse sessions, my therapist gently reminded me, "You already survived this, you will survive remembering it, too." 

Our hope is within ourselves.  We lived through hard things.  We will survive this too.  I face this fear calmly and plan to spend my time at home to do things I haven't had time to do.  My projects will last for months.  We will survive. 

For those with a twisted sense of humor enjoy this video.....if you do not have a twisted sense of humor, I recommend skipping it....   https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=eim5jLlEPYI&feature=emb_logo


Monday, March 23, 2020

Rephrasing situations

My friend in Australia shared this on Facebook and I believe it is worth sharing here.  My counselor had me do this a lot and I mean a lot with my mind reset about my childhood. 

https://sumairaz.com/mindset-shift-during-a-pandemic/

The above link is shifting thinking about the pandemic situation gripping the World. 

Take what you are saying and rephrasing. 

My mother couldn't love me, I must be unlovable.

Rephrase:  My mother was filled with fear and unable to love her girls.  Her behavior was about her and does not define me. 

Some people call this putting a spin on events.  I call it changing my perspective to help me see how I can take a difficult situation and by changing how I look at it make it manageable. 





Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hesitate to write

I hesitate to write at this time because how I feel about what is happening in the World is so colored by what I experienced as a child.  I lived a fear based life, it doesn't end well, ever.  I am mostly cynical.  I want to follow the money and who is making a profit by this pandemic.  I want to shake some people and tell them not to panic but I know in my heart that only ups the panic.  I am frustrated with people skewing facts to serve their own purposes.  All these things happen all the time but such a massive combination is unusual.  I did not see this much panic after Mount Saint Helen's blew ash all over Washington state and stores closed instantly for 3 days.  $500 fines for driving on the Freeway.  Terror for about a week, then we were all done and in 3 weeks all was pretty much back to normal and a baby boom 9 months later.  Other illnesses have been far more deadly but no schools were closed.  I believe the economic impact from fear will out weigh the over all impact of the illness itself but only time will tell that one. 

I am mostly calm.  I checked in with myself to make sure my emotions didn't just pack up, but I am feeling a variety of things with an overall calmness that some people question as not caring what is happening.  I care.  I am worried about contract workers and others that will not be paid during this time.  I worry about medical personnel that are being exposed in their daily work.  I worry about how tartgeted this illness seems to be, those that are already sick take it the hardest.  I am worried about education losses by closing all the schools.  I feel all this and then I pray and I feel calm.  Not because I believe the storm will be taken away but because I believe through faith filled choices we will weather this storm.

In weathering this storm, it will change us.  Some for the better, some not so much.  Some will be taken out of the game and die.  I feel deep sorrow for this loss.   I pray when I feel worried.  I count blessings that abound all around.  I am taking this time to learn Spanish which will help me with interacting with students that mostly speak Spanish.  I don't interact with too many people because I am concerned that they will think negatively because I seem so calm about what is happening.  Mostly I am calm, but I also had years of practice of putting on a calm front so no one could use what I am feeling against me.  Over all....I've survived so much, I figure I'll survive this too.  I hope to come out the other side a more caring, compassionate person that can speak a little bit more Spanish. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Scarred Beautiful

Unintentionally, I seem to be having a theme around what is beauty and how I feel about myself.  I am fully aware how much I struggle with my self image.  Sometimes meeting new people is the hardest thing I do because I have this view of myself that I often don't realize that other people don't view me the same way.  I am constantly changing, this is something I accepted during counseling.  For years, I worked at moving away from my past, my upbringing, the shame I feel for being unloved and unwanted as a child.  Now, I am constantly changing to become.  The two processes are quite different.  One I am trying to remove the ugliness I feel in my life.  The other is adding to and enhancing who I believe I want to become. 

Before counseling, I felt stuck and mired in the nightmares that haunt me.  Now the nightmares are still there but they are just back ground noise that motivate me to not quit my upward onward movement.  I am becoming the person I believed all along I am capable of being.  My parents inability to see my value and worth no longer defines me.  I do not need to prove anything to them any more.  I stalled for a while.  With out that fighting against, that quest for simple survival, who am I?  The battle is over.  The scars are still there but who am I?  I was fortunate to have a therapist that did not try to answer that question for me.  He encouraged me to explore and get to know who I am.  It was scary.  I was an ultimate hider.  I was conditioned to do exactly what I was told to do no matter the cost to myself.  I was a perfect door mat.  My therapist got the door mat to stand up.  I felt flat and invisible.  He would get so frustrated with me, my complete lack of understanding of simple things like boundaries and human rights.  Then he would show great compassion, apologize for talking to me like I was a little child, but he recognized and accepted me exactly the way I was a hurt little girl in an adult body with no emotional comprehension how to go on with my life.  His compassion won over his frustration.  He freely admitted if he had realized early on in my counseling how damaged I was, he would have referred me to someone else.  His compassion won, he worked with me for seven years with the end goal of I would believe in what he taught me about living and continue the journey without him.  He wanted me to be independent of my past.  He wanted me to see that I was not an extension of my mother, I was not the ugliness I saw in myself.  He wanted me to find out who I was.  He asked me that question many times.  Trying to help me see that I was not defined by what happened to me.  I learned that what happened to me was tragic and cruel but that wasn't who I was. I am not my trauma.

I continue my journey, exploring and trying things that before counseling I would never have done out of fear.  The fear is not gone but instead I feel the fear and do it anyway.  I keep learning and I am growing which by definition means I am thriving. 

For me, this is my redemptive story.  I shared here before that I believe in Christ and I prayed for answers.  I believe that My Savior kept my counselor in the dark long enough that he felt committed to helping me.  Yes, I believe Christ sent me to this particular counselor  to help me to learn to grow. 

This morning I listened to Andrea Casteel Smith share her redemptive story on her web page Scarred Beautiful  https://scarredbeautiful.com/  Her faith helped her use her lowest point to become her turning point.  I will be exploring her page more.  If you are a person that does not believe in God or still at the stage of your tragedy is God's fault, this page is not for you.  If you are a person that does believe in God and that Christ is the Master Healer than I believe this page will be a powerful new tool to share your story and be inspired.  I am fully aware that God the Father and Jesus Christ can be a real sore spot because sadly abusers will use scriptures and references to religion to justify their abusive behavior.  I know this because it happened to me.  I will testify to you, go to the scriptures yourself, read and pray and ask for what Heavenly Father actually intended for you.  Jesus Christ knows our pain, He desires to bring us comfort.  I pray often.  I share my frustration.  He sends me answers through what I read and other sources.  He knows my personality and works to teach in a way that I understand and expands my understanding from where I was to where He is leading me to become.  He asked me to follow Him, sometimes that is scary, but I feel the fear and do it any way. 





Monday, March 9, 2020

Pretty not required

I am growing older.  I have lumps and bumps where sleek lines used to be.  I no longer need to show ID to get the Senior discount.  It was so refreshing to read this article my daughter posted that I wanted to share it with all of you.  I like feeling pretty but some days feeling like I can get out of bed is the best I can do.  No matter what, I am enough and everything else is extra. 

https://dressaday.com/2006/10/20/you-dont-have-to-be-pretty/


Monday, March 2, 2020

Wowser

Wowser - It's been a while since I've written here.  I am writing more on my PTSD page but even there is a lot less frequently.  I am doing several large projects.  Even when I am not actively working on something for it I feel the weight of the responsibility and more than a little overwhelmed.  I asked DH (darling husband) if I was over reacting to events.  Like Kavin Coach, he put his finger on his nose indicating I was exactly right that I was overreacting.  I wonder if I should tell DH that when my counselor put his finger on his nose like that I had this huge urge to punch him?  Hoping it is a once and will go away if I ignore him.  Or I just won't ask questions like that.  More likely the second one.

I finished another large project at school barely in time to go to the competition.  Two students worked together to write a book addressing how a 7 year old child would react to a baby sister coming two months early.  Illustrated and written in Spanish and English they did an awesome job.  I want to show the book to a couple of the hospitals to see if they would be interested in a kid book written by teenagers that helps them connect with questions they have with what is happening.  I am so proud of the students and teacher bringing the pictures and story together.  My job was to get the pictures scanned and into book formatting.  No easy task when the computer fights you every inch of the way.  I am happy it is done but feeling the let down of, "Now What?"  One of my challenges is feeling unwanted and I associate feeling wanted with having a task to do.  No task then no body wants me.  I totally know this is illogical and wonky thinking but who said PTSD is logical?