Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . October 21, 2014

Outside my window . . . beautiful blue sky and the temperature is in the 50s. Just doesn't get much better than this.

I am thinking . . . about the impact of physical illness on my mental process. It's amazing how a sinus infection (and meds) can throw my mood into the toilet. So happy to be on the mend, both physically and mentally.

I am thankful . . . that Alan and I had a safe and uneventful day trip to Milan and Dyersburg, TN yesterday. I was a bit concerned about my driving skills considering dizziness it always a sinus infection side effect.

In the kitchen . . . last night was take out from The Chill Spot. There's been a fair amount of takeout lately. I'm hoping to get something actually made for dinner tonight, but schedules are wacky.

I am wearing . . . a giant t-shirt and my flannel robe.

I am creating . . . scarves for Presents with a Purpose. I picked up some clothing patterns yesterday and am going to try my hand at making myself some clothes again.

I am going . . . to therapy and then home to tackle the mess.

I am wondering . . . about metaphysics and the Dreyfus Affair. A sick mind is a wondering mind.

I am reading . . . just finished re-reading Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton. I read this series (or parts of it) when I was working at the Brentwood Library. Last week while I was sick I went back to it as I needed something mindless to read. Now I want to read them all! I just started reading An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris, hence the interest in the Dreyfus Affair.

I am looking forward to . . . a couple of days at home to strike order around the house. Halloween is 10 days away and I have nary a ghost, goblin, or ghoul decorating my house yet.

I am hearing . . . the lovely quiet. Sometimes I think this is the only time each week that I stop and appreciate the quiet. Answering this prompt makes me stop and recognize the gift that quiet is.

Around the house . . . The new Hoosier is here, and at least temporarily placed. I have a little nook that I use as an office and it's filling with furniture. I need to consider arrangement options.

I am praying . . . for a stop to all the fear mongering in the news and social media. Yes, there are things to be concerned about, but as a Christian I am called to trust in God no matter the situation. 

One of my favorite things . . . is having the house back in order. The Lord willing, I will achieve that by the end of the week. It won't be perfect, but it will definitely be better than it currently is!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . a calmer schedule and health to nest around my house. SouleMama has been talking about nesting as summer changes to autumn. I like that imagery, and I think that's the feeling I'm having as well.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
yes, it's that's bad!

linking up with The Simple Woman and 31 Days of Writing

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fear 2.0

I'm traveling today, but here is a repost on Fear (today's word) from 2013.

What's my biggest fear . . . 

This reminds of a post I wrote nearly a year and a half ago. 

What's my biggest fear? It's a ludicrous question to ask a survivor of abuse. I've got a list a mile long. The list shifts and fluctuates, but the one constant is this -- the fear of not being believed. 

It's a deeply rooted fear. Planted by abusers, and tended by those who didn't provide an environment of safety to risk telling. Then reinforced by those, who when told, didn't believe, even offering explanations of why I would make up these atrocities. Explanations that cast aspersions on my character, proving the lies the abusers told me are true.

According to Wikipedia, Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat which causes entities to quickly pull away from it and usually hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. 

It takes a lot of people believing my story to counter the few who don't. 

Maybe that's why I keep telling it.

linking up with 31 Days of Writing and Five Minute Free Writes

Sunday, October 19, 2014


It's one of those words that has shown up repeatedly in therapy. My therapist is always telling me to "honor" my feelings.

According to Webster, honor means "respect and esteem shown to another. Honor may apply to the recognition of one's right to great respect or to any expression of such recognition".

That's a hard word for me to apply to myself. Respect and esteem. That's a double whammy.

It's difficult to learn self-respect and self-esteem when you grown up being hurt and threatened. When you grow up hiding your own reality. When you grow up with a box of secrets tucked away in your head.

Like so much of healing from abuse, learning to honor my feelings has come oh so slowly. I have good days and bad days. I get confused and think I am being overbearing by stating my preferences. I assume anyone else's feelings/needs/wants are more important than my own. 

And I come back time and time again to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31; Lev. 19:18). If I'm going to love my neighbor, I'm going to have to start by loving (respecting, honoring, esteeming) myself.

Another biblical imperative that got lost in my translation. 

linking up with 31 Days of Writing and 31 Days of Five Minute Writing

Saturday, October 18, 2014

House of Mess

It’s Saturday morning about halfway through the 31 day writing challenge.

I have a sinus infection that is making my head swim and the meds are making my stomach queasy.

My house is a disaster with dirty dishes and extra furniture sitting everywhere. I bought a few items from an estate sale. Normally this would be a fun chance to rearrange and reorganize, but with the sinus infection, it’s just one more mess.

The hubs and I had a good conversation last night about the way we communicate. You’d think after 29 years of marriage we’d have this down to a science, but we don’t. We still find ourselves struggling through the same disagreements we have had for all these years. Maybe I’m unrealistic, but I thought by now it wouldn’t be this way.

I’m still learning about me, and he’s still learning about him. We assume the other one is thinking the way we are, but assumptions are a very dangerous endeavor. I assume he thinks the worst of me, and he assumes I think the best of him. I remember in Technicolor detail some slights from the past that he has no memory of, while he remembers exactly where we were standing and his thought process just before he said that incredibly hurtful thing to me.

I’m working on that black and white mentality of mine, and he’s trying to really listen to what I say. I’m trying to let go of the fear I have in speaking my mind, and he’s trying to understand that his reactions have reinforced my fear.

We are a work in progress. We love each other, and we are good together, most of the time. But when sickness, stress, sleep deprivation, and messiness get in the way . . . anyone who’s married knows.

So I’m re-evaluating what I feel like doing and what really needs to be done. I’m looking at messes and reminding myself that this is one day. I’ll feel much better in a few more days and none of this will be nearly as difficult as it is right now.

Blessings from the house of mess this Saturday morning.

linking up with 31 Days of Writing

Friday, October 17, 2014


It's taken a long time. This learning it's okay to say what I want and how I feel. The abuse taught me early on that it didn't matter what I wanted. I didn't matter. Those feelings were reinforced living in an environment with people who didn't recognize the abuse. 

Over the past 14 years I've talked and written. I've cried and cursed. I've prayed and appeased. I've made world's of progress. I'm still not where I want to be or think I should be.

I'm hard on myself. It's taken me a long time to be able to say that. I'm so afraid that someone else will think I'm not doing enough that I don't respect and honor my own wants and wishes. Or talents and skills. I don't see myself as valuable. 

Slowly, I'm developing an appreciation for myself. Negating the idea that everything in the world is an "either/or" proposition. People are different. We all have different likes, dislikes, skills, and talents. I'm not right and you're not wrong. We're just different.

It's taken a long time, but that's okay.

linking up with Five Minute Friday and 31 Days of Writing

Thursday, October 16, 2014


I like routine. I've said it a thousand times.

Routine makes me believe I am safe. There is a plan and I have chosen accordingly. Nothing will go wrong.

Lord, what fools we mortals are!

Just because it's written on a a piece of paper or tapped into my iPhone calendar, doesn't make it so. God wrote commandments in stone, and we all know how well that worked out!

But I continue to think that if I just make a plan and stick with it everything will come up roses.

Let's be clear, I'm not complaining about my life, and these are clearly first world problems. I have a roof, electricity, running water. No one is sick (well, ok I've got a sinus infection, but it's not ebola!), and everyone is still speaking to each other. Things are just a bit disorganized and discombobulated for a variety of pretty good reasons. 

Unfortunately this is when "black and white girl" shows up in my head. Things are either right or wrong -- black or white -- there is no middle ground for this girl. Yet I am the first person to tell anyone else to just "roll with it". I believe that to be true, but I still have a really difficult time applying the concept to myself. I assume everyone else around me is mad and thinking terrible things (usually about me), and I begin to function as if those assumptions are accurate. 

Attempting mind reading is always a dangerous pursuit, but especially so when I'm functioning on minimal sleep filled with steroid induced dreams.

So I'm re-evaluating (again) today. Making that very basic list, and giving myself permission to take it slow and easy until this infection clears up. 

Adjust. Oops this was supposed to be a 5 minute post.

linking up with 31 Days of Writing

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion

A couple of months ago I went out on an artistic limb. I entered a memoir writing contest. The guidelines were pretty simple -- write the opening paragraph of your own memoir, but limit it to 150 words.

The timing on this was interesting because I'd just recently been pondering a personal memoir. I've thought about it for years, and clearly this blog is memoir driven. But the idea of diving into an entire book is intimidating to say the least. The contest felt like a nudge.

I wrote my paragraph and had my husband and a close friend read it. Caroline was wonderfully helpful. It's so nice to be surrounded by smart, talented people. I submitted the entry, and put it out of my mind.

Women's Memoirs, the blog hosting the contest, contacted me to let me know they had received my entry and to ask how I'd found out about them. Apparently they were inundated with entries, so they broke the winners down into groups -- honorable mentions, bronze, silver, gold, and grand prize winners.

Yesterday I received an email telling me I was a gold winner! 

I am truly excited and proud to have been selected. Today I'm sharing my entry with you all, and I hope you'll have a chance to check out some of the other award winning paragraphs at Women's Memoirs.

I’ve been in the sun too long. As I walk into the barn, I am temporarily blinded. The bright sun followed by the sudden shift to the dark barn causes my retinas to temporarily shut down. She is farther back in the barn. Beckoning me. It is cooler in the barn, but stuffy, making it difficult to breathe. I weave my way to the back of the barn where she is waiting for me. She is smiling. I am still unaware of the dangers in that smile. [...Later I will come to understand her smile is maniacal, not friendly.] I cannot know that what is about to happen will alter my life and perceptions for years to come. I cannot know that I will tuck these events deep into the recesses of my mind for more than 30 years.

(Editor's comments -- Melanie’s opening is impressively chilling.  She skillfully weaves palpable details, such as the dim light and stuffiness in the barn, with the mysterious “she” who beckons the narrator.  She might hold back (delete) the italicized sentence below, and let the reader slowly realize that the smile is maniacal, not friendly, which would add to the suspense.)

Thanks to all of you who have been reading, following, and commenting on my blog for over 5 years. You are my compassionate witnesses.

linking up with 31 Days of Writing