Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I Find Joy in . . .

Connecting with people on a deeper level.

I know, right? Sounds a bit odd for an introverted survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but it's true. The introverted part of me has to take it in small steps. A few people at time, for a relatively short period of time.

This past weekend I did a retreat and it was fabulous, but by the time I got home Sunday night I was way over my people interaction, talk, and share quota, so I had to settle down in quiet with my eye bag and some rest to fend off a migraine. But it was so worth it!

I got to talk, share, and listen to like minded women about life's hurts, how we deal with them, and what we do with the lessons we learn. To be surrounded by 15 other women who've had their own hurts and are willing to embrace them, talk about them, and learn from them is so fulfilling and validating. And to have the opportunity to give back to others who understand pain and brokenness not as the end of something, but rather as the beginning of everything brought so much joy to my spirit.

I don't do chitchat well. I can't stay superficial for very long -- it's one of the good news/bad news aspects of my life experiences. These women didn't dwell in chitchat either! I've done spiritual retreats before, but most of them were more inwardly focused, and that's been a very good, very healing experience for me. But this one was more about others and how I can use my pain and hurt to connect with and love others. It's something I try to do here in this space, and something I want to get better at. 

I trusted in the safety of that space and those people. In God's love and protection. That he guided me to this event because he knew it was the right time and space for me. I told the participants and leaders at the the end of it all my biggest take away was that I NEVER got scared, panicked, or felt the need to run away and hide. I received words of validation, support, and praise without pushing them away. And hugs. Oh the hugs and loving touch. No desire to run. Open receptive arms from all of them and toward all of them. 

The blessing of realizing that it doesn't diminish or minimize my history to be able to talk about it and survive the sharing of it was remarkable. I am filled with hope and love from the weekend. And joy. Lots of joy.

(KarenBeth over at Finding the Grace Within offers a weekly link called Tuesday at Ten, so today I'm linking up with her.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 30, 2015

Outside my window . . . it's overcast and muggy. We had rain last night and more is expected today. I'd like to think I might sneak a swim in between storms.

I am thinking . . . about this verse that was shared with me this weekend --
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
    you saw my pain,
    you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches
    but gave me room to breathe.
Ps. 31:7-8 (The Message)

I am thankful . . . for the weekend retreat I attended. I was so blessed and it is staying with me and serving me well already.

In the kitchen . . . I made up a new recipe tonight so dh could have something different than a sandwich to take for lunch tomorrow (even though no one was here for dinner tonight!)

I am creating . . . well really completing a summer-weight shawl I started last summer. I stopped when I realized I didn't have enough yarn to complete it. I sat down to frog it a few weeks ago, and my dh told me to just pick another color to add to it. So for now I'm finishing up the yarn I have and then will find another color to finish with.

I am going . . . to keep rereading my notes from the retreat to help the information really sink into my soul.

I am wondering . . . about waiting on God. It seems that I do have faith and trust in God, it is just difficult to stay the course when others doubt.

I am reading . . . Hysterical: Anna Freud's Story by Rebecca Coffey. It's an interesting approach. Rather than being a strict biography, it is written as a fictional memoir. Very intriguing.

I am looking forward to . . . my next spiritual retreat! I've signed up for another one at the Scarritt Bennett Center in July. I love the name: “The Rule of Saint Whatever-Your-Name-Is"! Isn't that fabulous? 

I am hearing . . . silence!

Around the house . . . I'm continuing with my new routine. Tweaking it here and there. I'm also giving myself more grace, regardless of what anyone else says.

I am praying . . . For Wink's family and friends. Also prayers of gratitude for the organizers, presenters, and participants from the retreat.

One of my favorite things . . . is my new deck. We've strung lights on it and I've put out some potted plants. Just enough plants to putter with and no weeding!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . a relatively quiet week until July 4th celebrations this weekend.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
part of The Scarritt Bennett Center

linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, June 29, 2015


I am a huge fan of mandalas and began crocheting them after finding Wink's page, a creative being. I am so saddened to hear of this loss. Please pray for her family and do something in her memory if you feel called.


linking up with Made by You Monday

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Unexpected Blessings

I don't blog on Sundays. I haven't blogged for almost 2 weeks. But I'm so excited I have to write this down RIGHT now.

I just came home from a retreat called "Healing Life's Hurts" with Fr. Matt Linn and it was awe inspiring. Hosted at Scarritt Bennett Center in conjunction with Dovehouse Ministries and AmberNest Spiritual Direction, the retreat title spoke to me in my continuing path of healing from childhood sexual abuse. My expectations going in were that there would be reliving of pain and trauma. Crying and mourning, followed by a sense of healing and recovery. It was so much more! 

Father Linn (Matt) led us in understanding the need to embrace God's love with gratitude, and how gratitude can be found in all of our experiences. Through a process of feeling our emotions we came to understand our experiences, forgive ourselves, understand forgiving others, and learned to be God's conduit to share His love with others.

I was strengthened to see my healing path, how far I have come, and inspired to continue sharing my life experiences to help others feel God's love while realizing they are not alone in their suffering. I see ways to serve God by serving others that will help them heal right along with me.

What a blessing! 

To all of the organizers and participants I want to say a huge THANK YOU! I'm sure this will become recurring fodder for more posts in the future, but for now I wanted to you all to know about this wonderful weekend while it was fresh on my mind.

Blessings to all!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 16, 2015

Outside my window . . . it is sunny with blue skies, but already muggy and 86 degrees. We are under a heat/air watch for the 2nd day and it's not even officially summer!

I am thinking . . . about my purpose in this 2nd part of my life (empty nest).

I am thankful . . . for lessons I am continuing to learn about God's love.

In the kitchen . . . we had the first of the Pampered Chef Freezer Meals I made on Friday. Chili Lime Chicken. We gave it a 6.5/10 and discussed a few tweaks for next time. All in all I was pleased with it though.

I am creating . . . still in a bit of a slump creatively. I've got too much else going on right now to focus well.

I am going . . . to therapy and to run a few errands. Then home to do a bit of housework and clean off my sewing table and desk.

I am wondering . . . what happened to one of my favorite cookbook, Saving Dinner. I've lost it and can't find it anywhere! I guess I'll order a new copy from Amazon.

I am reading . . . The House of Stairs by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell). I've started reading Rendell's Barbara Vine novels in sequence since her death. 

I finished Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller. I highly recommend it, although it was one of those novels that I wanted just a bit more from at the end.

I am looking forward to . . . more bike riding now that I have my new 21 speed bike! I rode it Sunday and love it.
I am hearing . . . Squeaker wandering around the house and a plane flying over my house. I always think of an old Larry Gatlin song when I hear planes.

Around the house . . . my routine is becoming more routine for me. As usual the problem is my schedule tends to shift more than I realize, which requires adjustments and tweaking.

I am praying . . . for continuing perseverance.

One of my favorite things . . . is learning. I'm working on realizing that time spent investigating things that interest me aren't a waste of time.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . Alan and I are headed to Apostle Island, WI this weekend for the inline skate marathon he is participating in. Please pray for safe travels and for good weather and safety on the day of the race.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .

linking up with The Simple Woman

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 9, 2015

Outside my window . . . after heavy rains yesterday, it is 73 and clear this morning. 

I am thinking . . . about feeling better emotionally after tackling something potentially stressful yesterday.

I am thankful . . . for my bestie who always has my back.

In the kitchen . . . last night was sweet and spicy pork chops and mac & cheese. Tonight I'm not so sure as I've got to sit down and make my menu list later today.

I am creating . . . specific creativity has been on hold lately. Not sure what will jumpstart it.

I am going . . . to therapy and then to swap out my new bike for a happier color. 

I am wondering . . . about the future possibility of going back to work.

I am reading . . . Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller. It is unexpectedly good. I thought it sounded intriguing, but I can barely put it down to get anything else done.

I am looking forward to . . . figuring out some things about the future.

I am hearing . . . Squeaker snoring at my feet. The clock ticking. A plane flying over my house.

Around the house . . . I'm working on another new routine. This one is the best I've found in a while. I don't think it's the routines or even me that are the problem. I think it's the constantly shifting stress that plays havoc with my routines.

I am praying . . . for more improvements around the home front. Things are getting better. I'm focusing on being less reactive to everyone else's stress and moods.

One of my favorite things . . . is reading fiction. For some reason, I tend to feel guilty about reading for pleasure lately. I'm really working on allowing myself time and space to enjoy the experience again.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . coffee with a friend tomorrow. Driving dh to an out town meeting on Thursday. An afternoon of cooking freezer meals on Friday, and then no big plans for the weekend.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
dressed up and heading out to the Art Crawl

linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, June 8, 2015

Not Red Cabbage Salad

Last night I was supposed to take Red Cabbage Salad to our small group meeting last night. Of course I couldn't find red cabbage at the store, so I made up a salad from what I had on hand instead. And it was good.

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (I used a blended mix I got at Costco and a few Comparis I had on hand), cut in half or quarters

1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced

1 green onion, sliced on the diagonal

3-4 baby Portabello mushrooms, sliced

1 medium carrot, peeled and diced

2 Tablespoons Paul Newman Tuscan Italian dressing

Mix all ingredients and chill well. Serves 4-6

This was so yummy and easy-peasy.

linking up with Made by You Monday