Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I am just a vessel

I've been talking with someone lately. Helping out a man I've known for years and years. An acquaintance of sorts. He knows a bit of my history, but we've never discussed it. Honestly I figured he'd just think I was nuts, so why go there. 

Recently he's been going through some stuff himself, and I've had the opportunity to help out a few times. Nothing major or big -- just happened to be the one available to help him take care of some things. And he's begun to talk with me. Prefacing comments with, "I've never told anyone this before" and then sharing what to him feels like a deep dark secret.

And I hear myself in his words. The stress and anxiety. The fear of disaster. Not feeling "good enough", and the fear of his feelings being misconstrued.

At first I wanted to fix it for him. Offer him solutions. "This is what I've been through and how I handled it" platitudes. But a voice in my head (Spirit?) told me just to listen. Nothing I could say would be as helpful (powerful) as the listening. I interjected a few times to point out that he's not crazy. I know, because he sounds like I used to sound, and they told me I wasn't crazy.

I have found myself wishing he'd just listen. Why can't he see the flaw in his thought processes? And yes, I see the irony in that. How many people have done and are still doing that for me?

So I'm reminded once again that I am just a vessel. A traveler on a journey that is not really about me, but is more about how God is using me. How the best things happen when I let go of the reins and let Him lead me.

linking up with Imperfect Prose and Just Write





Reward







linking up with Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . April 29, 2014

Outside my window . . . it's 63 and sunny. We have had storms the past couple of days and we may get more this afternoon. Grateful we have been spared the worst of the weather.

I am thinking . . . about stress and how it impacts the body and mind.

I am thankful . . . for new flowers sitting on my desk.

In the kitchen . . . another batch of slaw last night. This time with sesame orange dressing. 

I am wearing . . . It's a miracle! Not really, but I am already dressed in yoga pants, a t-shirt, and my walking shoes.

I am creating . . . does it count if I am helping my BIL/SIL move into their new house, as creativity?

I am going . . . to my bestie's to help her clean for a party. We'll probably do a lot of talk therapy as we go.

I am wondering . . . if there will be fall-out from my post yesterday.

I am reading . . . The Dark Monk: A Hangman's Daughter Tale by Oliver Potzsch. I read the first one in the series and almost gave up on it, but I powered through to the end and was rewarded. Here I am on number 2 so we shall see.

I am looking forward to . . . normalcy. Do I get that at some point?

I am hearing . . . birds and my daughter chatting with me as I try to write.

Around the house . . . no sense of order whatsoever -- see photo of my living room below.

I am praying . . . for all the storm victims from the past few days.

One of my favorite things . . . mushrooms, both for eating and just looking at. I found this at the market this morning and am going to give it a try.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . chaos. I think there are no plans.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 

temporary housing for the 6 yr old nephew
during the week of moving



Monday, April 28, 2014

Real Life

Saturday I went out on a limb.

I followed through on a plan I'd made weeks ago. I attended an (in)RL Meet-up. I get regular emails from (in)courage. Sometimes I read them. Other times I just hit delete, but when the reminder of (in)RL came up I went and searched for a local meet-up. 

I must have been feeling brave that day because the only local meet-up I found looked like it was intended for moms of young kids. I signed up anyway and warned them I was older with grown children. (It's funny how I find myself almost apologizing for that, as if having survived those years means my life is over!)

I received a warm email in response assuring me that all were welcome.

I wrote the information on my calendar so I wouldn't conveniently forget about it. And when Saturday rolled around, I got dressed and drove to a place I'd never been before to meet a bunch of ladies I'd never met before . . . all by myself.

We worshipped. We prayed. We watched a video. We ate. And then it happened. Share your story. Whatever you want to share. No pressure. I began to practice my relaxation breathing and considered taking some meds. I had an internal conversation with myself about what I should or shouldn't say. I weighed my story against the others being shared. They were telling stories of dreams, of "that thing", of adoption, of blogging, of changes, and families and hopes and sweetness. Beautiful sharing and accepting with a few tears and some laughter.

Suddenly it was my turn and I'd been so busy listening (connecting?) that I'd forgotten to plan what I would say. And the words just started tumbling out. My interior voice kept telling me I wasn't do this right. I hadn't started well. I needed to shut up. I used those terms -- chronic PTSD and survivor of childhood sexual abuse -- but I stopped short of the 2 rapes as an adult, because I worried I was babbling.

And when I stopped, the woman on my left slid toward me and hugged me. She thanked me for sharing my story. The other women began to voice appreciation -- could they hug me? Could they pray over me? And I began to panic.

This wasn't my intent. I didn't mean to seek attention. I clearly had over shared. I told them it was fine that they didn't need to do anything. I hadn't meant to make this about me. I was sorry.

Why is it so hard to believe that they reacted as compassionate witnesses because they wanted to?

They told me it wasn't about me. It was about God using me. Using all of us to connect. To teach and learn hospitality. To see our worth and value as God's hands and feet and voices. 

We shared contact information -- email, blogs, phone numbers. We all agreed we should meet again soon. One woman asked if I'd like to walk sometime. We live in the same neighborhood. 

I drove home with the roof down, singing along with my iPod. And I thought a lot about what I'd said and what they'd said. About what God was leading me into. 

I'm still struggling in my heart with the idea that I didn't do anything wrong. But in my head I know -- I KNOW -- this is what real life is about. Real life is about being real with other people. And that includes taking risks.



linking up with (in)RL

Saturday, April 26, 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.

Convertibles and iPods

I drive a Fiat 500c (convertible). It is the most freeing and fun car I have ever owned. 

Recently I reorganized the music on my iPod and I've been tooling around town listening to my incredibly eclectic blend of music. I have everything mixed up together on it -- David Bowie, LeeAnn Rimes, Mama Mia, K-Pax, Bill Withers, blink 182, Melissa Manchester, Johnny Mathis -- anyway you get the idea.

Tuesday was perfect convertible weather -- sunny and 74 with a lovely breeze. I found myself smiling while tooling around on errands. Singing at the top of my lungs along with Pink and Christina Aguilera.

I used to provide a soundtrack for my life. Singing and listening to music were part of everyday. Over time those have diminished. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's just another one of those self-care things that got lost in the shuffle.

For some reason the convertible brings back that need for a soundtrack. Maybe it's the wind blowing through my hair, or the realization that no one can hear me singing -- not even me. So if I miss a note there's no one to care. Whatever the reason, I know that few things make me as happy as riding around town with the top down. My wild and crazy hair going everywhere, and music playing a top volume.

There are worse ways to spend my time.


linking up with Just Write




Friday, April 25, 2014

Friend

They come in all shapes and sizes. I find them in the most unexpected places. They brighten my days and help keep me centered. They provide me with opportunities to get outside of myself in ways I would never imagine.


Over the years I've made friends through school, my kids, Bible study, seminars, part-time jobs, even the lady who cleaned my house for awhile. The young woman who cuts my hair is probably my newest friend. I've known her for about 4 months now, but she knows more about me than some people I've known all my life! And we have a lot in common.

Friends are more than acquaintances. They're the people you feel comfortable with. The ones who know the dirt and stick around anyway. They're the ones you know you can call on when things are fabulous and when things are in the toilet.

So here's to friends. May we have them, be them, share them, and raise them. Because when all is said and done they are God's hands and feet on this earth.

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Late

Sometimes I feel as if I showed up late for my own life. Clearly I was present in my life for my birth and childhood. All through middle school, high school, college, and grad school. I was there for my wedding and the births of my children. 

Somewhere in my mid-30s I began to recognize the disconnect that had flowed through my life. That feeling of waiting for real life to begin. I knew it was supposed to be different than it was, especially what was going on in my head -- my interior life -- but I couldn't articulate it, and even when I tried all I seemed to get were blank stares and platitudes.

At 38 I went into counseling and it soon became clear that I had repressed an abundance of horrific memories of abuse from childhood. Repression can be a wonderful thing, not unlike dissociation, but the problem is you lose the good along with the bad. I felt that I had lost my sense of self, but that sounded terribly pretentious even in my own head.

As the memories came flooding back, and panic attacks and flashbacks became the norm in my life, I sometimes wished for the repression and dissociation to return. It wasn't particularly fulfilling walking around feeling only half present, but this constant barrage of pain and questioning didn't seem any better.

"They" kept telling me it would get better. Things would stabilize as the flashbacks and panic decreased. They told me it took 5-7 years to process abuse. I held on to that number -- the magic number for when I'd be all better. Somewhere in the midst of that time I realized what they had really said was 5-7 years for each episode of abuse. When I passed the seven year mark, I had to have a long talk with myself. I had made a lot of progress and it was okay that everything wasn't perfect. I had multiple abusers and multiple episodes with each one. Maybe there wasn't a definitive time frame.

It's been nearly 14 years since I started this path toward recovering from the past. I consistently see things differently now than I did back then. I'm nicer to myself. Less demanding and more accepting. I understand that better doesn't mean it didn't happen. Better doesn't mean no more panic attacks or flashbacks. Better means I recognize them for what they are and have developed coping skills for dealing with the tough patches.

I'm 52 now and I'm just now figuring out who I am. The way I see it, I'd rather be late to this party called life than never to have arrived at all.

linking up with Writer's Workshop


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . April 22, 2014

Outside my window . . . it is gray, cloudy, and 65*. We got some rain last night. Currently a squirrel is sitting on my porch eating up the birdseed I spilled the other day.

I am thinking . . . the today is Earth Day. Everything in my yard is GREEN and birds are singing to each other. The earth is amazing!

I am thankful . . . for a day of accomplishments yesterday.

In the kitchen . . . last night I was just too tired to cook. Tonight I'm thinking about grilling sausages, steaming broccoli and cauliflower, and making a pasta salad.

I am wearing . . . I wonder if you can guess (since it's essentially the same thing every Tuesday)?

I am creating . . . still trying to get that sewing mojo going. I've got several in process projects that I'd like to create/finish, and several more new projects I'd like to get started on.

I am going . . . to run a few errands, take a walk with dd, and continue on the constant path of order around my house.

I am wondering . . . about how to continue my Lenten fast on a permanent basis --

fast from feeling guilty and angry at yourself 
for things you have done wrong,
instead remember God's great love for you

I am reading . . . The Dark Monk: A Hangman's Daughter Tale by Oliver Potzsch. I read the first one in the series and almost gave up on it, but I powered through to the end and was rewarded. Here I am on number 2 so we shall see.

I am looking forward to . . . the (in)RL Conference this weekend. There will be webcast and I found a meet-up close to me that I plan to attend on Saturday.

I am hearing . . . traffic and birds. It's that nice blend of morning sounds that seem to represent the beginning of a new day.

Around the house . . . bestie and I did some sorting and a little organizing yesterday. We worked on a better schedule for me with the changing season. Still trying to honor April as take care of me month.

I am praying . . . my bestie who is interviewing for a job today that would make it possible for her daughter to go to the college of her choice. Bestie would be great at this job, so I am praying that the interveiwers see that if this is God's will.

One of my favorite things . . . is learning. Last Friday dh invited me to a lecture he was attending on a new treatment method for post traumatic stress disorder. It was focused on combat veterans, but it was quite interesting. The whole experience reminded me how much I enjoy stretching my mind.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy and errands today, tomorrow is my day at home and I plan to sew. Thursday is Precept Bible Study, and Friday is another day at home as well the beginning of the (in)RL Conference. Saturday is the meet-up for the conference and then back to church on Sunday.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
my Easter dinner table




Glue

A verb or a noun. To glue -- the act of attaching two items to one another using adhesion. Glue -- the adhesive used to attach two items to each other. My own definitions, but that's what it means to me.



A covenant is spiritual glue. I am glued to God through the covenant of baptism, and I'm glued to my husband through the covenant of marriage. Being glued to someone doesn't mean I'm happy all the time. It means I'm sticking with this person because I sealed myself to the relationship.

And sometimes that's what keeps me going. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love God. But all of them irritate and frustrate me sometimes, so if it weren't for that glue I might just throw up my hands and walk away. In the tough times that can seem like a pretty good plan. So the glue saves me from myself. My selfish longings and ambitions. My fear or unwillingness to see through the tough times and remember the good ones. The glue serves a larger purpose. 

Glue keeps me attached when I don't think I can hold on any longer. And that's a really good thing, because otherwise I'd miss some really amazing stuff.

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Monday, April 21, 2014

loving myself -- then and now

What were you writing about last year at this time? What has changed?

He sees all of them. All the time. I can pretend to hide them from Him, but I'm only hiding them from myself.

The dark places in my heart. Fear that I am not good enough. Shame at my deepest desires. Judgment of my self. Judgment of others. Lack of compassion. Envy.

The places that bog me down when I let myself recognize their existence. That drag me farther away from Him. That make it impossible to hear His voice calling me back to Him. His voice saying, "I knew that about you already. Come back. It's okay. I'll help you. I love you in spite of yourself."

Saturday I sat on a blanket on the floor of a sanctuary I'd never entered before. I sat with my head bowed, my beads in my hands, my shawl over my lap. And I listened. I told Him I was opening my heart to Him. I told Him my deepest desires. I cried -- not long aching sobs, just simple tears sliding down my face and landing on my hands. No choking or gasping. And I don't know if they were tears of sadness, hurt, gratitude, or joy, but I don't think it matters. I cracked the shell open a little more, and let Him come in deeper. I trusted Him to not take advantage of my vulnerability.

There was no epiphany. There is no sudden change in my life. I don't know if it will happen again (I hope it will), but I do know that something shifted. I acknowledged all those dark places, and I'm still here. He didn't strike me dead. 

A man cannot be comfortable 
without his own approval.
-- Mark Twain

I'm trusting in Him to show me how to learn to approve of myself. To see who I really am. Warts and all. To love myself despite my dark places. And maybe by acknowledging those dark places, I can spread some light in them while sweeping out the dust and cobwebs. Creating more space for Him.

*****

Since writing this piece last year I've gone on several more silent journeys of meditation, both guided and unguided. I am continuing to open myself up to God. To trust Him to remain constant and loving. I'm definitely clearing dust and cobwebs and replacing them with love and light. It is not an easy journey, and it is one that I must make on my own. I'm glad I stepped out in longing and fear. It was worth the leap of faith.

linking up with Writer's Workshop


Saturday, April 19, 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.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Roses and Fasting

Claire is sitting on the sofa with Yaya listening to music. Squeaker is resting on her rug in my corner of the house. And I am finishing my first cup of tea this morning. With temperatures still in the 30s there will be more to come I am sure. 

The roses I bought for myself yesterday sit on the corner of my desk and their scent is intoxicating. I woke up with a smile on my face this morning, and I was surprised by it.

A couple of bad days that included the recurring questions, "What do I do now?" and "What did I do wrong?" are behind me. Things aren't all fixed, but I'm feeling better with some answers I can live with. That first one is the hardest, because the answer is "Just wait". There are no immediate fixes. Only time and talking and learning and loving. That's it. No magic reset button.

The second answer seems to be "It doesn't matter". Hindsight is 20/20. There are always things we'd do differently. And I realize it's all one more lesson He is teaching me, and one more reminder to let go of coping mechanisms developed during abuse that just don't work in real life. 

It's Holy Week. The last of Lent is before me. I look at that piece of paper taped to the window in front of my desk. My Lenten fast.


fast from feeling guilty and angry at yourself for things
you have done wrong,
instead remember God's great love for you

I've let this fast happen. I haven't really worked at it. I've just read that daily and tried to care for myself without worrying about motives or what other people might think. I've done what seemed best for me as much as possible. The world hasn't crumbled and my family has barely noticed the difference, but I have. I'm breathing easier. Sitting and waiting instead of rushing in to fix everything for everyone.

I think that smile may be God telling me I've done okay.

linking up with Imperfect Prose and Just Write




Dreaming of Spring



linking up with Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . April 15, 2014

Outside my window . . . it is gray, cloudy, and cold. Doesn't it seem that I've been say ing that a lot this spring? 

I am thinking . . . how wonderful it was to drive around all weekend with the top down. I even got a little bit of sunburn (just a pink tinge). I'm ready for more of those days.

I am thankful . . . for easy access with friends all over the world. I know computers and social media get a lot of criticism, but on the whole they have made it so much easier for me to connect with old friends and make new ones.

In the kitchen . . . last night was breakfast for dinner -- scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits. Tonight I'm not sure. I think I'll dig through the freezer and see what's in there that needs eating.

I am wearing . . . I wonder if you can guess (since it's essentially the same thing every Tuesday)?

I am creating . . . a spring table topper. Actually I finished it yesterday. I have several more projects on my sewing table that I am going to work through.

I am going . . . to continue with catching up today from having been out of town over the weekend.

I am wondering . . . about designing a deck for our backyard. It's something I have wanted for a long time and it looks as if it may come to fruition this spring/summer. Yay!

I am reading . . . well not much. I'm in between novels right now and it's hard to do non-fiction reading before bed at night.

I am looking forward to . . . a couple of fun activities in the coming weeks. Of course Easter is this Sunday, and that night I'll be helping provide dinner at the Ronald McDonald House. This Saturday is Fun Girls' Day in Nolensville, and next Saturday is the (in)RL meet-up in Franklin.

I am hearing . . . nothing but peace and quiet.

Around the house . . . cleaning is still waiting to be taken care of. Funny how it always waits for me to get around to it.

I am praying . . . for marriages everywhere.

One of my favorite things . . . is tea. I know, I know it comes up over and over again, but it's true! My morning cuppa makes everything better.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . mostly the usual suspects -- grocery shopping, housework, a couple of meetings, Bible study, Easter Sunday, and the aforementioned cooking.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
the B&B we stayed at in Gatlinburg
(photo by Alan)



Saturday, April 12, 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.

















(photo by Alan Pennington -- dh)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Paint

I'm painting a new life. 

It started almost 14 years ago when I began to remember the abuse I survived as a child. Since then I've been uncovering truths and redesigning what I want my reality to be.

Painful -- yes. But invigorating too. Not many people get (take) the opportunity to really look at their lives and the choices they make with any effort to understand them. I have had that opportunity.

My therapist once told me be to look for the good that had come from surviving the abuse. That may sound like an odd request, but I knew what she meant as soon as she said it. And I knew the answer almost as quickly. I am not what I would have been. I learned at a very early age to lean on Jesus. He was my companion and friend. It was years later, after recovering the memories, that I recovered His constant presence in my life.

So I'm painting a new life that includes an old friend. The one who paints the sky with stars.


linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reflection

. . . the art of bending back.

I don't like to look at myself in the mirror. I make myself do it when I'm doing my hair or makeup. It's unavoidable when I step out of the shower in the morning. Over time I've been forcing myself to look . . . really look at myself. For a long time all I could see were the negatives -- round cheeks, graying hair, a much rounder body. 

This month I designated as self-care month for me. I didn't create a lengthy to do list. Instead I've tried each morning to check in with myself and see what sounded like self-care for that day. The month isn't going exactly the way I imagined it would, but I am paying more attention to my wants and needs, and being a lot less strident with myself.

It's a month of reflection in many ways. I'm bending back into my old self. The one that existed before the abuse. The one who thought more about herself that what other people thought about her. I'm not calling it selfishness (although I would have in the past), but am rather reframing it at "as a valuable and necessary step in providing proper care to others" (Counseling Today January 2013). If I won't take care of myself, why should anyone else?

Yesterday I looked in the mirror longer than usual. I realized that, yes, I've gained weight and things aren't as taut as they once where, but that smile is still there and brighter than it was during the worst of things. I'm still me -- someone who cares a lot about how others feels. Someone who will go a long way to keep from hurting another person. Someone who likes to laugh out loud, and desperately wants to be accepted for who she is, warts and all. 

Because the first step in getting what I want is to offer it to myself. So I'm reflecting and bending back to take better care of me.

linking up
 with Writer's Workshop

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blue Ribbons and SAAM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) as well as Child Abuse Awareness Month. Each year since my diagnosis of PTSD and the realization that all that pain in my childhood was actually abuse, I put on a blue ribbon to wear all month. I change my profile on Facebook to a blue ribbon and my cover picture to this --



I do it with a lot less panic and stress than it used to cause me. Acknowledging publicly my history, my experiences. A defining part of who I am. Yet I always remember the beginning. The first time I put on the blue ribbon. The stress of walking around wondering what would happen just because of that ribbon pinned to my shirt.

And by now it's become my tradition to repost this -- the first time I talked about it here. 

Put on a blue or teal ribbon if you are willing, but for sure It's Time . . . To Talk About It!

* * * * * *
every april I pull out my blue ribbon and pin it on my shirt. 
the first time I did it, I worried about what people would think/say.
I worried they would ask what it meant.
I worried they wouldn't ask what it meant.
I worried about what I would say.
I worried about what I wouldn't say.
each year that I have worn the blue ribbon it has become a little easier to set aside the worrying -- to expect nothing -- to be happy with a good conversation -- to set aside the discomfort of others.
it hasn't gotten any easier to have them look away though.
yesterday as I was having blood drawn at the doctor's office, the technician said, "what's your pin for?"
"april is child abuse awareness month. I am a survivor."
"oh", startled, she looked away, and I felt it again. the guilt and shame. 
what did she think of me now?
should I have kept my mouth shut?
not worn my blue ribbon?
there was no more conversation and little eye contact. she drew my blood, while I dealt with the pain of the needle in my arm and the accusation in her looking away. I was damaged goods all over again. I was at fault. I was less than.
I read a post this week about seeing people.
all I want is to be seen for who I am. a grown woman who is still 5 years old inside, wishing someone would intercede for me. wishing I didn't feel guilty and ashamed for others' actions.
but every april I pull out my blue ribbon and pin it on my shirt.


linking up with Imperfect Prose and Just Write




Pinwheels!

Pinwheels for Prevention



linking up with Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . April 8, 2014

Outside my window . . . another gray morning here. Back in the 40s as well. Spring has been schizophrenic so far this year. Oh well, the cherry tree blossoms are still lovely even against the cloudy backdrop.

I am thinking . . . about better moods around the house.

I am thankful . . . a day of "therapy" with my bestie yesterday. Good conversation with a trusted friend is better than just about anything else I know.

In the kitchen . . . a couple of cakes this past weekend -- Hurricane Oatmeal and Hedgehog's Yellow Cake -- two of our favorites. Roasted pork tenderloin, a frittata, and more slaw.

I am wearing . . .  my new gown (from the hubs for my birthday), my robe, and faux Crocs.

I am creating . . . a better attitude about myself. My season of Lent is nearing its end and I can feel that God has used this time to strengthen me and help me see myself as he sees me.

I am going . . . to have the house to myself all day as dh and dd are both at work all day and ds has school and work as well.

I am wondering . . . about my 20 year old's moodiness. I can't remember if this is normal behavior or not. Sending up extra prayers for him lately.

I am reading . . . I'm sort of in between books right now. I need to look over my "to read" shelf and pick something.

I am looking forward to . . . our trip to Gatlinburg this weekend. Dh and I haven't been away together in I can't remember when. We are staying at a B&B we've stayed at before and have plans to try out the Zipline and Ropes Course. Should be exciting and perhaps a bit scary!

I am hearing . . . the dogs letting me know it's time for breakfast.

Around the house . . . a bit of chaos. Things have been busy and when I've had time to clean I've chosen other things instead. There's a big shock! LOL!

I am praying . . . for a friend with a brain tumor, and dh's cousin who is struggling with cancer and emphysema.

One of my favorite things . . . is morning quiet. I love having time to slowly rejoin the noisy world, but I love sleep as well. Sometimes the two strain against each other.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . pretty much the usual suspects until Friday when dh and I leave for our weekend getaway. Wheeeeeeeew!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
my Easter tea mug






Monday, April 7, 2014

Quick and Easy Summer Slaw

I've been trying to find ways to get more veggies into my diet, as well as healthy nuts and seeds. Recently I've discovered that I like slaw if it's not drowning in a cream (mayo) based dressing. So I've been experimenting. As always working from what I have already in the house, I piddle around until I came up with something we all like . . . a lot!


1 bag (5 cups) tri-color slaw mix
1 bag (12 oz.) broccoli slaw mix
1 cup Panera Poppyseed dressing (available at local grocery stores)
1 cup Archer Farms Sunny Cranberry trail mix

Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Serve when chilled.

Presumably this should make around 8 servings, but I don't think we get that many given the way my husband and daughter go after it. 

The nice thing about this recipe is you can play around with it and substitute any combination of veggies, dressings, and trail mix (just make sure there's no chocolate involved!).

Happy eating!


linking up with Made by You Monday


Saturday, April 5, 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, April 4, 2014

Writer

 . . . one who writes. 



At what point is it fair to call myself a writer? I know people who write for a living. I've read and studied writers. I've even taught classes about works of literature. When do I shift from journaling and blogging to being a writer?

I started this blog nearly 5 years ago. I didn't have the faintest idea of what I was doing. I knew I wanted to write about the abuse I endured, but I was unclear on my motivation. I wanted to believe it was altruistic. Something to help other people, but really I was such a mess I didn't believe I had anything to share. I needed to share. I needed to get the words out and maybe hear back from somebody telling me I was okay.

I still don't have the faintest idea what I'm doing. My blog flows along with my mood, stress, and joy. I write about where I am on any given day. What I'm cooking or baking or making. I write about PTSD and the long lasting effects of child abuse. I write about my marriage -- it's ups and downs. I write (a little) about my kids and their journeys.

Maybe, just maybe being a writer is no different than being a person or a parent or a wife. Just doing those things -- breathing, birthing and raising, loving and working -- is what makes me those things.

So I write . . . because I am a writer.

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, April 3, 2014

St. Ignatius and Mama Kat


Open a blank blog post and "right click paste" in the body of the post...what was pasted? Explain it.

Philippians 4:4-7
The Message (MSG)


4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.


This was my Bible reading when I woke up this morning. I had copied it from Bible Gateway to share the text on Facebook.

Last weekend I went on a directed silent retreat through Dovehouse Ministries. The spiritual director guides people in the Ignatian Practices, a method of praying scripture and meditation developed by St. Ignatius in the 16th century and followed by the Jesuits.

So now each morning I wake up earlier than I previously had and gather my Bible, notebook, pen, and practice book. I set my timer and I read scripture, pray, and listen for God's words for me. Some days are wonderful -- like today -- where the scripture goes straight to my being addressing issues I am aware of in my life. Other days it is harder to stay focused, but I see those days as training in a discipline of worship -- exercise for my spiritual self, it you will.

Right click and see what comes up for you this morning :)


linking up with Writer's Workshop



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rage

Revelation 3:20 -- Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.

Each of us has many rooms in our hearts. Jesus knocks on different doors at different times. This weekend I went on a directed retreat where I was invited to read Revelation 3:20 and then ask Jesus what door He wanted me to open to Him, and this is what happened.

In a room in my heart. Inside are all the monsters of my past. They are loose in there so I don't go in. I am a little girl trying desperately to keep the door closed so they don't get out and do more damage. That's the room Jesus wants to go into. I can't go in by myself, but I trust Him. I ask if He will go in with me. Will He hold my hand? He takes my hand as I open the door. He tells me to put them all in cages, and instantly they are.

There are snarling beasts with wild fur, giant claws, and gnashing teeth. Giant reptiles with slashing claws, and snakes that look harmless but are not. As we stand in front of each cage He asks me why I am angry at each one. As I describe the abuse and pain they have inflicted on me, He tells me He is angry with them as well. Angry that His creations can turn on one another this way. That they would turn on me -- His child -- to deliberately do me harm. As He says this each monster returns to its human form. 

Jesus tells me He always has and always will stand between me and them. In the same way He provided protection at the time of abuse by leading me to dissociate, He has continued to be my shield. They are not my concern. Their repentance and need for forgiveness are between Him and each of them. I have no responsibility toward any of them beyond wishing them no harm.

He tells me I can stop trying to get somewhere. I have done my part. It's okay to just be. To rest in Him. He will walk with me through that room any time, but it is up to me whether I go back in there again or not. My rage toward them is understandable and He feels it too.

Give the rage to Him. Quit using on myself. I am not culpable for their actions or how they made me feel. 

We walk out together, still holding hands and close the door. It latches smoothly. No more snarling beasts trying to escape. There is no judgment or disappointment from Jesus, only love and compassion. 

The question was asked, "What do you do with your rage?" I had tried to store it in that room with all the monsters. To ignore it, hoping it would dissipate on it's own. But rage and anger left to their own devices do not fade, but rather grow and infect all around them. Pushed deep inside I was the victim of my justifiable rage and anger toward those who harmed me.

Now I know the answer to the question, "What do you do with your rage?" I give it to Jesus because He understands it, so I don't have to carry it anymore.


linking up with Imperfect Prose and Just Write





Cherry Tree Blossoms



linking up with Wordless Wednesday & The Jenny Evolution