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....

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.

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  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.

Monday, March 2, 2020


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?