Saturday, January 31, 2015

{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.


Wait

I wait. I wait for the laundry to finish washing. I wait in line to pay for my groceries. I wait for my husband to come from work, and my son to come home from school. I wait for the skies to clear. I wait for sunshine and warmer weather.

I wait for answers. I get partial answers, but they are incomplete. Now fully formed. I wait for clarification, and understanding. I wait with hope that things will continue to improve -- that there will be a resolution that brings peace, contentment, and joy. 

The waiting is easier than it was. I’m feeling supported, and lifted up. I’m doing something good for myself this weekend. And I’m seeing improvements. Not perfection. Not my dreams come true. But I’m seeing changes. A softening as it were.

So I wait, because I trust in Him who never fails; He who knows better than I what I truly need.

Blessings

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . January 27, 2015

Outside my window . . . cloudy skies with a brisk wind. We're in the mid-30s. Typical January for us here in Nashville. Last week we had snow on Friday and by Sunday I was driving with the top down!

I am thinking . . . that the decorations must have really been getting on my nerves. Last night I dreamed someone had set the Christmas tree back up in the living room and I went on a yelling rampage until it was taken down again!

I am thankful . . . for antibiotics. I have been running a fever for over a week. The doctor sent some meds yesterday, so I am hopeful that whatever this is will be gone shortly.

In the kitchen . . . we've had barbecued pork from the crockpot and a breakfast casserole to eat on for the past few days. I've determined that with wacky schedules, my new approach to cooking is preparing a couple of good meals that provide leftovers so food is available for the guys to heat up as needed. The microwave is getting a workout!

I am wearing . . . jammies and my robe and my new slip on Skechers.

I am creating . . . still working on my afghan (this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft). It's coming along, slowly but surely. I'm not tired of it so that's a good thing!

I am going . . . San Francisco! I leave on Friday for a long weekend with a friend from college days. I am so excited as I've not done anything quite like this before. 

I am wondering . . . how to motivate myself to do the things I want to do. This doesn't seem as if it would be difficult, but often I am stymied by not knowing what to do!

I am reading . . . The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley. It hasn't been exactly what I expected, but it has been good. It's also provided me with a new list of books to read -- like I needed that!



I am looking forward to . . . well of course my trip, but also to feeling better and getting to work on some projects that have spinning around in my head.

I am hearing . . . a plane flying overhead. Yaya walking around on the wooden floor. The hum of electricity.

Around the house . . . all the Christmas decor is boxed up and waiting for my guys to store them. I like the almost empty feel of the house once the pretties are all stored for next year.

I am praying . . . for a young man who is struggling with depression. Another friend who's husband died last week. A dear friend's daughter, who is in the hospital. My own dear daughter who hurt her back yesterday. A friend who is going through some major life changes. And my husband and son who are both in school and working. Peace, comfort, and healing to all.

One of my favorite things . . . is feeling at ease in my own skin. I've been peeling back another layer this month. I've made some good progress even with additional difficulties tucked in around it all. You, my friends here on the internet, have been most helpful.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy, an errand, bake a couple of cakes for feeding the homeless, packing for San Francisco. Friday morning I head west!

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
ocean sunset by Alan Pennington
because we all need this memory 
in January.






linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, January 26, 2015

More Thoughts on Sharing


I wrote a blog on Friday called Share. It was a link up to Five Minute Friday, and honestly was written out of the remnants of a bad week. I'd been sick with a fever and fatigue since Sunday. I had to cancel driving my husband to a business trip. I had to cancel everything for the whole week. My house was a mess. There was no home cooking. My son was clearly getting annoyed with me for not "taking care" of him (he's 21!). 

I was still trying to regroup from the previous week's encounters, and on Monday I found out via Facebook that a long time acquaintance/friend had died unexpectedly. Add to that, my hairstylist got fired, and it was just a bad week all around.

And on Friday morning there was that word -- Share. All I could think was maybe it would help me to process everything if I put it out there. I was right. It did.

I got some wonderful comments and I really appreciated them even if I didn't feel like responding to them at the time. But now that I've had time to reflect (and start to feel a bit better) I keep thinking about one comment in particular.

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. I've learned during my life to keep things to myself except for with a certain select group of people that I've come to trust because most people don't actually care, they're just curious and all too ready to pass judgment.

I know this feeling all too well. So let me clarify. I never intended to suggest that we all jump on the internet and share all of our deepest darkest fears and secrets. What I was trying to suggest was that we all need someone, maybe several someones, with whom we are truly authentic. 

I think more clearly by writing. I only talk to a select few people whom I feel I can trust completely (and occasionally larger groups with much less intimacy). I write because I can get it out there and I don't have to sit and watch someone's face while I say these things. I don't have to wonder what they're really thinking in the moment.

My husband and I went to visitation on Friday for our friend. It was incredibly crowded and my fever came back with a vengeance, so I wasn't feeling my best. We decided to leave rather than stand in line for hours, but on our way out we ran into a mutual friend. He and my husband were discussing the need for caring counselors in our current society. I offered up that I think more people are willing to talk with a professional these days because we don't open up to one another in the way small communities and close knit families used to because we live such insulated lives. We all put on out best faces and pretend everything's fabulous rather than risk judgment of our imperfections.

I believe God knew the profound vitality of sharing when he had James write

16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 NRSV)

Confession/sharing creates community and allows for authenticity. Maybe we've bought into the idea that if we're all good Christian people our lives will be perfect, and if they're not we have failed somehow. That's a Puritanical belief that Satan uses against us because it works.

Confession, in this context, isn't about judgment or punishment. It's about being open and letting others see our needs and our dark places, just as they share with us. It's a communal activity to bring us closer together. Not to drive us apart.

We have to let go of misconceptions and be honest with one another if we want to live an authentic life. If we want to live as Jesus did.

That's what I try to do in this space, because for me it's safer to share with the blogosphere than to share one on one. But at least it's a first step. 

Blessings.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Share

I share here all the time. I share the good news, the bad news, the silly news, and the sad news. 

I share because it helps somehow. Passing off some of the burden helps me out, and sharing the good stuff increases the joy and reminds me of it when the bad stuff rolls around again.

What I've found is there is no authenticity to life if I don't share. And that means sharing it all -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it doesn't just go one way. I need to hear your good and bad and ugly as well. It's the only way for me to feel truly connected.

A man died this week. I'd known him most of my life. He was a good man, but he'd struggled, and I wish I'd known about it so I could have been there to help him carry that load. I'm not mad at him. Maybe I just wasn't one of the people he felt comfortable sharing with, but I would have loved being there for him.

It can be scary sharing. There's a lot of judgment out there in our world, and none of us wants to be judged. We just want to be accepted and loved. 

So share your stories, people, even if they don't wrap up with pretty bows. It's the only way to really live a life worth living.

Blessings!

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Close Encounters

I had one of those encounters the other day that made me question my sanity and healing. Let me start by saying, this may not make sense to you. Perhaps my reactions are deeply etched in my psyche by the abuse, but that's part of the reason for putting it out here for others to see and, hopefully, comment on. 

I was sitting in the waiting room of a local business, reading my book (which we all know = my invisibility cloak), when a younger woman asked me if my basket contained crocheting or knitting. I told her it was crocheting, which then led to a discussion on the merits of each and my personal opinion that most people are either a crocheter or a knitter, even if they are capable of both. One thing led to another and as she was very interested in the pattern I was using, I handed her one of my cards and told her she could find the pattern on my blog.

I'm used to brief questioning when I share my card, as the primary topic listed is PTSD and child sexual abuse recovery. Most people move right on past that if they are interested in crafting or recipes. This woman sat and stared for a few seconds, and then asked, "What does this mean? Healing from PTSD?" I gave my quick and dirty answer -- I was diagnosed 14 years ago with chronic PTSD and the blog is a compilation of things I have found healing. She looked at me and said, "I'm going to cry."

I, of course, apologized for upsetting her (and felt my world start to tilt a bit). She said, she too had been diagnosed with PTSD, and she believed there are no coincidences in life. I felt my shell drawing in tighter around me.

This is the problem with being open about the abuse. I'm not always in a good place to share the healing. I've been going through some stuff myself right now that's taking a lot of my energy. I assured her she was welcome to check out the blog and garner what she could. Then I kept trying to figure out a way to get back to my invisibility cloak. Blessedly, her name was called and I was saved.

So here's the real issue, by the time I left, I couldn't shake that feeling that I had done something wrong, or left something unfinished, or worse yet, that I was now responsible for her healing (even though I have NO IDEA who she is!). Yes, I know it's not rational, but that didn't quell the words floating around in my head.

I shared a bit on Facebook and got some good support. I shared with my husband, and he didn't scoff or make fun of me. But I was tired. Rung-out, washed-up, fall-asleep-on-the-sofa tired at 4:00 in the afternoon!

And then, THEN. The next morning I went to a yoga class. A really good yoga class. Afterwards I'm talking to the instructor and she reprimands me for not having kept up with my yoga practice during the toughest portion of my healing. She too is a survivor, and it's what got her through it. I "should" have made yoga a priority. Somewhere in this discussion, I realized she didn't know my story and had no authority to judge what I'd done, but it made me so mad! I shared with her so she could better understand where I was in my practice, and she shat all over it (me). 

So I was rung-out, washed-up, fall-asleep-on-the-sofa tired by noon on Friday. Of course some of that could have been the class itself, or the fact that I fell in the mud afterwards walking to my car.

Nonetheless, I did survive. I'm not looking for approval (or maybe I am), but I do wonder why it matters so much to me if someone else can understand my reactions to these events.

Blessings!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scarred

I've been scarred. Both physically and emotionally. 

The physical scars are the result of surgeries or (minor) accidents. The knuckles on my left hand show white scars from a fall I took years ago on a sidewalk while heading into a class. I have scars from foot surgery and a Caesarian section when my daughter was born. For the most part, I don't think about these scars very often.

The emotional scars aren't visible to anyone else, but there are a lot more of them, and the scarring goes much deeper.

Unlike physical scars, sights, sounds, smell, and even comments can trigger pain in those places. Psychic reminders of the episodes that led to scarring. Most of the time no one else would notice the shift, but people who know me well see it. Often they know it even before I do. My husband will look at me and say, "What's wrong? You've got your hand over your mouth." Or I'll begin to fidget and look down. A location may be mentioned or a reference to abuse in a movie or book may come up, and my kids will look at me and say, "Are you okay?"

Often I don't even know the physical evidence is there. Sometimes I don't recognize the internal twisting and knotting until I'm well into the pain. 

Those scars have been triggered by movies and books and songs and the odor of cigars. The sight of a Jack Daniels' bottle can cause a catch in my throat. Wires and barns are not my friends.

Over time I've found that I can't make the scars disappear, but I can smooth them over a bit. It turns out that studying the scars, becoming familiar with them, has helped me not be sideswiped by them as often. Ignoring the scars won't dissolve them. I know. I tried. But looking at them, learning the contours of their outlines, their shading, and their depth, has made it possible to live with them.



Maybe that's part of the appeal of old things to me. Well-worn toys and furniture and books. They, too, are scarred, but they live on, serving their purposes, helping others, fulfilling their calling, scars and all.

linking up with Writer's Workshop


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . January 13, 2015

Outside my window . . . it's another gray morning (cue James Taylor). We're covered in clouds and won't get out of the 30s today.

I am thinking . . . about the new devotional routine I'm using this year. I'm liking it quite well. I am using Celtic Daily Prayer for the morning and I've printed out the midday prayer and posted it on a cabinet door in the kitchen. At night, I've been using The Book of Common Prayer, reading the Compline after I get in bed. It is a soothing approach to easing my way into sleep.

I am thankful . . . for good conversation yesterday. My bestie, son, and I talked and laughed yesterday about a lot of different things. It was good for me.

In the kitchen . . . things are still a bit chaotic, but I did get the menu list made for this week.

I am wearing . . . variations on my usual theme.

I am creating . . . my beautiful afghan (this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft). Still haven't done a row and stitch count lately, but things are moving at a slower pace right now.

I am going . . . to get all the Christmas decor put away or die trying!

I am wondering . . . about standing firm in times of stress. I'm a conflict avoider, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, conflict just can't be avoided. So I'm getting advice and learning some new techniques. And praying A LOT in my standing firm.

I am reading . . . I started Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott. I'm not much of a Civil War buff, but the premise of this intrigued me. So far it's quite engaging.


I am looking forward to . . . a trip to San Francisco at the end of the month! A long weekend to see a dear friend who moved there recently.

I am hearing . . . peace and quiet. Dh is gone to work and Ds has gone on a hike as his winter break is winding down.

Around the house . . . things are still not back to normal, but I'm continuing to work on it. I did get an improved workspace set up, though.

I am praying . . . for marriages and families who are struggling right now.

One of my favorite things . . . is doing something nice for someone else. Yesterday I took my bestie out to lunch for a belated birthday. A good time was had by all.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy, grocery shopping, back to the chiropractor -- all the usual suspects.

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




linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, January 12, 2015

Who Am I When No One Is Around?

Here's the thing about blogging about recovery. It's not a straight line, which can sometimes leaving me feeling as if people read and get really frustrated with me.

From the beginning of this path, one of my biggest fears was being judged by others. I needed EVERYONE'S approval, love, and acceptance. I suppose that was the only way I believed I could be safe. Of course the flaw in that concept is that it is impossible. No one is going to get approval, love, and acceptance all the time from everyone. It's not only impossible, it's not valuable. I suppose I had some sort of system in my head. There were people whose approval I knew I didn't need or want, based on their behavior. But I had a hierarchy that needed to be followed.

I still find myself caught up in the need for approval. I'll question conversations, text messages, or Facebook comments to see if I said anything I shouldn't have. Did I use the wrong word in that context, or worse yet misuse a word all together!

It's easier to let it go when it's via social media, but with people I see regularly it can be difficult, mostly because they are the one's who mean the most to me. The ones I want to love me unconditionally. 

I've been working on finding out my passions in this new year. Focusing on the things that bring me joy and help me feel fulfilled. Yesterday our minister asked us to answer some questions this week
 -- 1)Who am I when no one is around? 2) What breaks my heart? 
3) What am I going to do about it? 4) How will our congregation become more kingdom because of me? And then he read Exodus 24:7 -- Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 

He commented on the fact that the Israelites didn't necessarily understand why God wanted them to do all these things, but they agreed to do them, and then came to understand them. Sometimes we need to do the same thing. Practice God's word even if we aren't clear on the outcome. And nowhere in that does it tell me to make sure everyone likes me and approves of me. I'm told to obey with love for all.

So I'm working on that this week. Being in His word. Finding my passion in His kingdom. And following in obedience with love for all, myself included.

(You can listen to the entire sermon here.)

Blessings.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

{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.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

What's Important

It's tough here in my world right now. Things are not flowing the way I want them to. I don't think they're flowing the way God intends either, but I am waiting for Him. I know He is present. I know He is in control.

I keep asking Him what He wants me to do. All I hear is "Wait". But waiting can be difficult and lonely. I am waiting in faith. Faith that He has this covered. That He won't abandon me. I have evidence to support His faithfulness. So I'm clinging to that.

I'm praying for myself, but I'm praying really hard for someone else. Someone who is struggling. He's depressed and dissatisfied and scared. Maybe he's feeling hopeless, I'm not sure. I want to fix it, but I can't. I've got some ideas on things that might help, but he's not receptive right now. 

So I'm waiting. It's not something I'm particularly good at, and it's not something our society encourages. We are the "get it now" society. "Just do it". "Have it your way." In America, especially, we are the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of people. 

None of those are going to cut it in this situation.

So I keep praying, reading, confessing, and asking, with no end in sight. I know what I want, hope, believe to be the outcome -- I just don't know how it's going to happen. 


Friday, January 9, 2015

Welcome, 2015


Welcome, 2015.

Welcome a new year. A clean slate. A fresh start.

A chance to do better at everything. At loving myself.

I'm welcoming in more thoughts and actions concerning things that are important to me.

I've been a wife and mom for nearly 30 years (yikes! I'm old) and I'm just now recognizing how important it really, really is to feed my passions and nurture myself. How good it is for me, yes, but how much better a wife and mom I can be when I do that! It seems foreign and counter-productive to me. This focusing on me, to help others, but that's how it works.

Once again I am reminded of Jesus' words -- 

37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matt. 22:37-39)

If I'm not loving me, I can't be loving others. And that is what I'm called to do.

So, welcome, 2015. A new year of learning to love myself because Jesus said so.

Blessings.

linking up with Five Minute Friday



Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year's Eve

3. If the way you spent your New Year’s Eve is any indication of how the rest of the year will go, how would you say your future is looking right about now?

Given that I can't even remember what I did on New Year's Eve, that should tell you something about this post!

I know I spent the day with my daughter doing fun, girly things -- shopping, lunch, and mani/pedis. That was great.

I know that I was at home that night with my husband and son. We drank some sparkling grape juice and went to bed by 10:30, but that's it. I've got nothing else. No special foods or activities. Just a normal evening and then bed.

I'm choosing to see that as a positive. I spent time with people I like, doing things I enjoy. And still got to bed on time. WINNING!

I'm a bit like Mama Kat on the whole NYE thing. When I was in college I developed an aversion to NYE after 2 tragic events occurred on 2 concurrent years. The first year, a friend's grandfather committed suicide, and the second year, 2 sisters I was in school with were hit and killed by a drunk driver on New Year's Day while the sisters were on their way to church.

So, no, I don't want to go out and party. I don't want to go out at all. I don't have people over because I don't want my friends out driving on NYE. I don't like to drink and I don't want to start the new year feeling grungy and foggy from too much food or drink, and too little sleep.

I am an introvert, remember?

Based on this information, I'm hoping my upcoming year will be peaceful and spent with those I care about the most.

Blessings.


linking up with Writer's Workshop


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . January 6, 2015

Outside my window . . . it is still dark outside. I'm up earlier than usual. I had trouble getting to sleep last night and woke up 2 hours earlier than usual this morning. We're about to get hit by the cold front that is taking it's toll on much of the nation. It's currently 30 degrees and going up to 40 today, but then temperatures are going to plummet for several days. Of course it is January.

I am thinking . . . that all the holiday hoopla is behind us now and we are at the beginning of another new year. Dh is working fewer hours at his "day job", and starting his internship towards his new degree today. Ds goes back to school in a few more days, and I am looking at what the future holds for me personally.

I am thankful . . . for a safe and pleasant weekend away with the extended family. The weather was not cooperative for hiking (lots of rain), but we got a few hikes in and some games played. On the whole everyone seemed to have a good time.

In the kitchen . . . over the weekend I handled most of the food prep for the 10 of us. I did a better job of delegating set up and clean up, though. That made the weekend more enjoyable for me. There were lots of pancakes, bacon, monkey bread, sausages, and eggs for breakfasts, while dinner was hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and chips the first night. Spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad the second night, and soup and grilled cheese our last night.

I am wearing . . . my Vermont Country Store gown, Dh's robe (as mine is in the laundry) and my faux Crocs.

I am creating . . . my beautiful afghan (this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft). I haven't done a row and stitch count lately, but things are moving at a slower pace right now.

I am going . . . to strike order! All my decorations are still up as we were out of town over the weekend (when I traditionally "undecorate"). So now I have decorations, unpacking, and the usual cleaning to do today. 

I am wondering . . . about communication and walls which can sometimes seem unmovable. 

I am reading . . . I finished The Rule of Four over the weekend. It was quite good, and I have several things I want to look up now to fact check what was true and what was fiction. I started Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott. I'm not much of a Civil War buff, but the premise of this intrigued me. So far it's quite engaging.


I am looking forward to . . . finding another new normal.

I am hearing . . . quiet right now. Dh just left for the YMCA, and Ds and the dogs are still sleeping. I have started a load of laundry, so I can, periodically, hear the washing machine.

Around the house . . . the aforementioned chaos, but also some rearranging is going on in my head that I hope to make a reality soon.

I am praying . . . for Dh in his transition. For kindness in our family, and for a better sense of purpose for me.

One of my favorite things . . . is reclaiming the house after the holidays. I'm sorry to be late doing it this year, but I'm looking forward to having it completed.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . not much on the books this week beyond the usual. Hopefully some quiet time for setting up new routines and contemplating 2015.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
my Lego mini camper and friends set
(hedgehog included!)





linking up with The Simple Woman