Saturday, November 22, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Notice

Every year it sneaks up on me. Every year I promise myself I'll do a better job. Every year it happens again.

Pre-holiday depression. It's not like it used to be. I can get up and get moving, but there is less order and little joy in the things I'm doing. Then come the recriminations. The negative self-talk. Listing my failures. Berating myself for not being HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY all the time.

This year I caught it a bit earlier. This year I acknowledged it, and called it what it is. This year I said, "I remember who I was when walked into your office all those years ago, and I have come so far. I am so much better." I took credit for the growth and healing of the past years.

Yesterday I wrote about taking care of myself. I made a list and put it out in the blog-o-sphere for a bit of accountability. I can preach it all really well, but putting it into practice can be very difficult. 

This year I noticed much earlier, and I've made a plan. Maybe with a plan I can notice other things this holiday season, and in the noticing find a bit a more joy.


linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year . . .

But is it really? Let's be clear I enjoy the holidays. I especially like Thanksgiving because it's all about being appreciative and grateful for our families, friends, homes, and food. We actually have one day each year set aside to stop and really think about how blessed we are. And there is FABULOUS stuff to eat!



But, but. The holidays bring out a lot of other feelings besides gratitude. A lot of those other feelings are the result of societal expectations, but others are experiential. The commercials tells us to feel one way, but our memories remind us of past holidays and how we felt let down.

I'm attempting to write something with depth and meaning and the reality is I'm depressed. Not as depressed as I was a few days ago, but I know it will be a see-saw from now until after the new year. Because it's hard not to feel bummed when my holidays won't look like the TV commercials, and I'll be reminded of family dissension. Reminded of family I don't interact with (by my own choosing and for my own good), but I miss the idea of a family filled holiday.



I have this little voice in my head that reminds me over and over again that it's all my fault that I don't have a TV family. It's all my fault that I'm not over the top happy for 2 straight months of the year. It's all my fault that I'm tired and headachy, and would rather sleep and watch TV than decorate my house, bake cookies, and shop. So I wind up feeling like the Grinch. And I'm not the Grinch. I'm a basically happy, upbeat person. Yes, parts of the holidays are difficult because they aren't the way I want them to be. But I have family and friends that I share the holidays with -- I am not alone. I have more stuff than I will ever be able to appreciate, let alone use. 

I sat in my therapist's office on Tuesday and felt relief wash over me as tears squeezed from my eyes. She reminded me that PTSD from childhood abuse is one of the most difficult diagnoses to deal with, because these traumatic events happened during my formative years. In my case throughout my formative years. The negative patterns are imprinted on me. It's not that I am unwilling to let go of the past, but rather that it is imprinted on my brain. So, yes, it's going to crop up. There are going to be triggers. Getting over it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Just like getting over the flu doesn't mean you don't remember how sick you felt when you had it. 

I read a quote this morning -- 

“If you believe you deserve nurturing only when you’re extremely upset, you’re like the majority of survivors who feel they have to be totally falling apart before they slow down and take care of themselves. But taking care of yourself should not be confined to times of crisis. Nurturing and taking care of your needs should become a daily habit, not something special to be pulled out in an emergency.” The Courage to Heal Workbook by Laura Davis

and it reminded me to take care of me. So that's what I'm doing. I drinking lots of water, paying attention to what I eat (but not too much!), resting when I'm tired, getting some exercise, doing yoga, seeing the chiropractor, talking with my therapist, and planning some fun things just for me. 

When I dream about the episodes of abuse, it is as if I am reliving them. The key is to remind myself when I awaken that I didn't cause the dreams to come anymore than I caused the abuse to happen. I'm learning to see the return of the dreams as my subconscious telling me to slow down and take care of me. It's not my fault, but I can do some things to help myself.

With those ideas in my head (and in writing) I can enjoy lots of things and people and food this holiday season, hopefully release some those expectations, and just be in the moments to come. 


linking up with Just Write




Haiku

Write a haiku about what you see out your window.

Warm sun streams through my window
Leaves barely hang on
Blown afar by freezing wind



linking up with Writer's Workshop


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Simple Woman

FOR TODAY . . . November 18, 2014

Outside my window . . . the sky is a brilliant blue. My neighbor's sugar maple is still holding onto a few orange leaves. It is 18 degrees!

I am thinking . . . about this quote my bestie sent me --


I am thankful . . . a warm home and lots of hot tea!

In the kitchen . . . I'm enjoying the return to warming food -- breakfast casserole, hot fruit compote, chili, grits and tomatoes

I am wearing . . . my homemade cotton gown, flannel robe, and a shawl.

I am creating . . . a new afghan, just because! I'm using this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft.


I am going . . . to therapy, then lunch, and home to do home-y things all afternoon.

I am wondering . . . if there is something to be done about my winter sinus headaches. I seem to wake each day with a pounding headache. I run a humidifier, drink lots of water, and follow the allergist's instructions, but I'm still getting daily headaches. Arrrgghh!

I am reading . . . Wicked Autumn (Max Tudor #1) by  G.M. Malliet. I was hoping for another good mystery series, but I'm not really enjoying this one too much. I'll finish it up, but then move on to something else.

I am looking forward to . . . a warming trend toward the end of the week. We don't usually have these kind of temperatures until January or February, so it's been difficult adjusting from 50s and 60s to 20s and 30s.

I am hearing . . . the hum of electricity and the wheezing of the dog. 

Around the house . . . I'm trying to get into a better routine with day to day cleaning. I never would have imagined that after 29 years of marriage, I'd be struggling with finding a good, consistent routine for housework.

I am praying . . . for peaceful holidays for everyone. 

One of my favorite things . . . is colorful yarn. I'm loving this new project because it is all about the color.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy today, yoga class tomorrow, and Bible study on Thursday (if I can get myself there!). The weekend is pretty clear except for shopping for annual Thanksgiving food drive at church. Don't want to forget to fill those bags!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
today my father in law would have been 82.
Happy birthday, Byron!

and Squeaker turns 15!




linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cheese Grits and Roasted Tomatoes

I haven't posted a recipe in a good long while. Recently I was cleaning out on of those baskets where you throw everything in a fit of cleaning -- what? You don't have those around your house? -- Anyway, at the bottom of the basket was a slightly crumpled page torn from Southern Living (May 2014). I glanced over it, wondering why I'd saved it. Cheese Grits and Roasted Tomatoes. That's why I'd saved it.

I never met a grit I didn't like. Seriously, grits and cheese and cold autumn go together just fine. Of course I didn't have the exact ingredients on hand, but I had enough to make it work just fine.

Roasted Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a pan a 7 x 11 baking dish. Slice 1 lb. (or however many you have) Compari tomatoes in half. Arrange in pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil. Bake 20-30 minutes, until tender. 

Now these are fabulous just as they are, but wait until you pair them with the cheese grits. Heaven!

Cheese Grits

1/2 cup milk
3 cups water
1 t. salt
2 T. salted butter
1 cup stoneground yellow grits
2 oz. Laughing Cow cheese (I used the light, but any would work)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring milk through butter to a boil in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in grits, reduce heat to medium low, and cover pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until grits are tender. Fold in both cheeses until melted. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Top with tomatoes and serve.

So yummy! So filling! So comforting!



linking up with Made by You Monday