Friday, March 27, 2015

Break

Do I "break" -- fall apart, fragment, shatter -- or do I "break" -- pause, take a rest, a respite?

Another flashback. Another reminder of pain from the past. Knee jerk reactions to deny, run and hide, beat myself up. Is this the one that takes me down? The one that smashes me permanently? The heel of his palm to my nose. Searing pain that leaves me staggering, ripe for the attack that follows.

My husband points out that it means I fought back. And he never showed up at my door again. It was the last attack. Something good from this latest reminder of pain? 

So I write about it. I cry on the massage table. I talk to my husband. My therapist. I seek help. I feel all those feelings again -- fear, guilt, paranoia, self-loathing, denial.

I pause and take a respite. A retreat with my husband for the weekend. We may talk about it or we may put it aside for the time being. More than likely it will be a bit of both. 

But I choose the second definition. Because this time I get to choose.

linking up with Five Minute Friday and Writer's Workshop




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . March 23, 2015

Outside my window . . . we have bright sunshine, blue skies with wispy white clouds. It's going to be another lovely day. 

I am thinking . . . about perceptions. It is so easy for me to get caught up in what I think people think of me. I am reminded of the saying, "It's not my business what anyone else thinks of me".

I am thankful . . . the beautiful spring weather we are having! It lifts my spirits and puts joy in my heart.

In the kitchen . . . last night I made a chicken pot pie and you would have thought it was ambrosia from the gods! Sometimes I forget how good a basic meal can be.

I am creating . . . still working on my secret crochet project and spring sewing goodies. 

I am going . . . to therapy, lunch, and then running errands today. Another bike ride this afternoon :)

I am wondering . . . about my trip this weekend with hubby to Los Angeles. He has a business meeting and I'm tagging along. I've never been to LA, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with what to make sure I see!

I am reading . . . The Haj by Leon Uris. I picked it up some time ago from the free books bin at McKay Used Books. It grabbed me from the first page!

I am looking forward to . . . more bike riding and spring weather! Spring isn't at all predictable here, so I have to grab it as it comes.

I am hearing . . . just the sound of Squeaker wandering around the house. We are all getting acclimated to Yaya's absence. It is still difficult, but especially so for Squeaker. At 15, she has never been an only dog, so we are giving her extra love and attention. I don't think I realized how much she got from Yaya!

Around the house . . . still working on getting things cleaned and prettied up for spring. 

I am praying . . . for peace and discernment about life experiences.

One of my favorite things . . . is relaxing with a good movie. I recently read an article about the best "foodie" movies. Sunday night I re-watched "Julie & Julia" and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. 

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . errands, biking, a walk at Radnor Lake with hubby, a massage, meeting with my spiritual director, and then off to LA!

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



linking up with The Simple Woman

Saturday, March 21, 2015

:: ten things

simple things -- 

:: fresh flowers in the house

:: a new door greeter

:: feathers

:: music

:: a new skill to learn

:: a new mug

:: planning

:: clean water to drink

:: vintage table linens

:: crossword puzzles

Friday, March 20, 2015

Real

Last Saturday I faced some real life.

On Friday night my dog started having trouble breathing. She was 13 years old and had a heart murmur that was progressing to congestive heart failure. I was alone in the house since dh and ds were still out of town on their climbing trip. I texted my daughter (who works for our vet) and she said to bring Yaya in first thing Saturday morning.

We arrived at the clinic and they took Yaya for x-rays. They gave her shots to help ease the situation. Then they started her on oxygen. As I sat holding the oxygen mask for Yaya I began to accept the situation for what is was. I would be going home without her. 

My first thought was, "I don't want this to happen!" But reality kicked in and I had to accept that this is real life. Real life includes loss. 

I began to talk to Yaya, telling it was going to be okay. I told her about the other dogs she would meet on the other side -- what I like to think of as the Elysian Fields. When the vet came in to check on her, I told him I didn't want her to suffer. This wasn't about me. It was all about what was in her best interest. 

We moved her to an exam room, and he gave her a sedative. As my daughter and I stood and loved on Yaya, her breathing relaxed and the panic in her eyes disappeared. We stroked her fur and whispered words of love and encouragement. She slipped away. And we cried. Not for her, but for the realness of her leaving. 

Real live is messy and tough, but it's also full of wonder and love and affection. 

RIP in Yaya.



linking up with Five Minute Friday




Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tricks, No Treats

 A time you were tricked.

For good or ill Mama Kat's prompts frequently remind me of my childhood. I read the list of prompts for this week and was immediately struck by number 1 - A time you were tricked. It wasn't a single time, but rather lots of times.
Tricks and games are the stock in trade of abusers. They set me up, lured me, tricked me into believing a game was afoot, to relax me or wear me out, and then BAM, they'd lower the boom.

The clearest memory and example I have of this happened the day of the barn incident. 

It is after lunch, and we are sent outside to play. It's a hot, early summer day. Her idea is that I should chase her around the yard to see if I can catch her. We run in a circle -- past the swing set, across the carport, through the front yard, and back into the backyard past the swing set again. 

It is hot and humid. A better time for a nap than a game of chase. We run in circles. She is older than I am by 5 years, so there is no way I can catch her. I am sweating and tiring, but I keep chasing, because it is what she has asked (told) me to do. At some point I realize that if I am chasing her in a circle, it could be reasoned that she is chasing me. That I am the prey. But that concept won't become fully formed until much later in my life.

Eventually she changes the path, turning to run into the barn -- the shade with an invitation of a truce, a cooling off period. I follow like a lamb led to slaughter. It is a trick. I have been tricked and fallen for it again. There was no "game" being played. There was merely an execution of her plan. Wear me out and down, and then lure me to the barn to "cool off". Exhaust me so that she can torture me more easily. Assure my compliance(?) or at least lower my ability to resist.

I think about tricks, pranks, practical jokes. As an adult I've never liked them. I feel belittled and betrayed when I am on the receiving end. When it's not me who's been tricked, I feel sympathy and pain for the one who has been. 

Being tricked is like being lied to and then expected to laugh about it. Tricks are lies in disguise, and I don't do lies.

linking up with Writer's Workshop




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . March 17, 2015

Outside my window . . . we have bright sunshine, blue skies with wispy white clouds. We're already up to 60 degrees. It looks like it's going to be a lovely day. 

I am thinking . . . about my dear sweet Yaya. She got much worse on Friday night, and Saturday I took her to the vet. They did all they could, but we had to put her down. She had been my constant companion for 10 years. I feel quite lost without her, but I know that time will help me adjust to her absence. Missing her sweet face and snuggles on the sofa.

I am thankful . . . that the boys arrived home from their trip out west, with the only casualty being a camera that fell from 80 feet up a climbing wall!

In the kitchen . . . last night was roast, macaroni and cheese, steamed broccoli, and rolls. Tonight may be the night to fire up the grill for some chicken and a big salad.

I am creating . . . still working on my secret crochet project and spring sewing goodies. Unfortunately I haven't got as much done as I would have liked, but this week looks more promising.

I am going . . . to therapy, lunch, and then the grocery store today.

I am wondering . . . about too many things to list, but this is my new "go to" scripture -- 
2 Corinthians 10:4 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
. . . for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments

I am reading . . . well, I'm not sure. I've recently gotten several new books, and I'm not sure what to read next!

I am looking forward to . . . another ride on my new bike. I'm trying to go out each day that the weather is nice and ride for 10-15 minutes to get acclimated to the new bike (fewer gears than I'm used to) and to get my biking legs back!

I am hearing . . . dh showering and the oven clicking as cinnamon raisin scones bake for him to take to a meeting this morning.

Around the house . . . I'm continuing to work on reclamation. Yesterday I went shopping with LB and picked a few spring home decor items.

I am praying . . . for my dad and his cousin's in the loss of his aunt/their mother. The circumstances are odd (not suspicious) and the situation has raised some old family struggles.

One of my favorite things . . . is spring time. I love being able to be outside enjoying the warming weather and pleasant breeze. Springtime around here can be a bit schizophrenic, so you have to grab each nice day that comes.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy, baking desserts for the homeless dinner, grocery shopping, and hopefully a bike ride.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
iced scones for a Saint Patrick's Day meeting





linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, March 16, 2015

Vanilla Jam Cake

This is another one of those desserts that probably will hurt my food Nazi credibility, but I needed a dessert for a meeting last night and happened to have this stuff on hand. I don't make layer cakes as a rule because many years ago a dinner guest made fun of what she called, "the saddest layer cake I've ever seen". I thought it was rude, but I also quit making them because of one tilted cake (that still tasted delicious, as I recall). 

I saw this recipe though and decided to give it a try. It was tasty and easy, and could easily be duplicated with any flavors or homemade cake and icing if you want.


1 box French vanilla cake mix
(3 large eggs, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil)
1/3  cup jam -- I used St. Dalfour Four Fruits -- 
1 carton vanilla frosting

Bake cake according to package directions in round pans. Cool layers completely. Place one layer on plate and top with jam leaving a 1/4 inch border around cake. Top with 2nd layer and frost cake completely. Serve with ice cream if desired -- we used cherry vanilla.

Happy eating!

linking up with Made by You Monday





Friday, March 13, 2015

Plan

I love making a plan!

I love the list. The orderliness of it all. I love seeing it all written out -- so easy to mark off as I accomplish each item.

A plan keeps me focused on the needs/wants of the day. It tells me what to do next.

But lately, execution has been my problem. I'm not sure what it is exactly. In the past a list was all I needed to get it done. Now it seems that the list has lost it's power, and I'm wondering if the list was just another "must do or else". 

Part of healing from childhood sexual abuse has been getting away from the "or else" mentality. That's a good thing. A healthy thing. But I'm struggling with what takes its place. Like the demon possessed man, I've got an empty spot and I need to fill it with something new, healthy, better.

So I'm rethinking my plan, and what drives it. I'm trying to find positive motivation for doing all the things on my list -- the housework and cooking and exercise and even fun things. 

Maybe I need a plan for that.

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Best Kind of Day

You can go back to your childhood for one day. What day and age do you choose?

To quote Joyce Summers, "My, that's a terrible thought."

I pick a day in mid-spring the year I was 4. It's before the awful started. Before I knew to be afraid. Before I knew bad things could happen to me.
I am at my grandparents' house. I stay with my great-grandmother while everyone else is at work. She has chores to do, but she includes me in all of them. We bake biscuits together. She lets me have my own lump of dough to roll out all by myself. I sneak little bites of the dough. We place biscuits on the little black baking sheets, and I play with my doll while Nur gets the rest of our meal ready.

Later we will wash clothes and hang them on the line to dry. We'll take a walk through the back field and go home to pull off the briars that have stuck to my socks. Maybe we'll play Old Maid. But through it all, I will hum and sing and smile and dance, because I know I am loved. I know I am safe, because nothing bad has ever happened to me.

Emily Webb in "Our Town", after she has died, asks to go back for just one day. Mrs. Gibbs says, "No!—At least, choose an unimportant day. Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough." Emily chooses her 12th birthday, but she can't bear it, saying, "All that was going on in life and we never noticed."

So I choose an unimportant day. A day when life was so normal. The best kind of day to remember.

linking up with Writer's Workshop





Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . March 10, 2015

Outside my window . . . it is gray and drippy -- again. But we are in the 50s. 

I am thinking . . . that Daylight Savings Time gets harder every year. I'm not meant to have to adjust my inner clock constantly! Presumably it takes 3 days to acclimate, but I know it will take me at LEAST a week. Thankfully my schedule allows me to slowly acclimate.

I am thankful . . . that my boys had safe travels out west and are having a good time. They are rock climbing, so say a prayers for their safety if you will.

In the kitchen . . . very little cooking, but I have been cleaning.

I am creating . . . still working on my secret crochet project and spring sewing goodies. Reveals coming!

I am going . . . to have an afternoon of crafting, I hope.

I am wondering . . . how to motivate myself in a positive way to make good use of my time this week. I want to enjoy my week "off", but I'd like to feel productive, too.

I am reading . . . The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #10) by Louise Penny. I simply love this series. Gamache, et al seem like old friends, and it is comforting to have them around, even when the plot gets dicey.

I am looking forward to . . . a massage later this week and my first meeting with a spiritual director. This is something I've wanted to investigate for a long time, and an acquaintance offered to be my director recently. A blessing and gift.

I am hearing . . . poor little Yaya coughing. She is getting older (12 yo) and has developed a cough related to her esophagus and heart condition. She's really struggling this morning.

Around the house . . . I'm slowly reclaiming the house from my winter blues. I'm trying to to take the slow road. The mess didn't happen overnight, so it's not going to get organized overnight.

I am praying . . . for safety for my boys. For peace for several families who have lost elderly family members in recent weeks, and for friends' granddaughter who is in treatment for cancer.

One of my favorite things . . . is hedgehogs, but you knew that. Yesterday as I was giving breakfast to the young man who lives with us, he asked if hedgehogs were my favorite animal. I said yes, and he said he'd noticed them around the house -- an understatement if ever there was one.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy, crafting, mani/pedis and lunch with dd, a massage, meeting with my spiritual director, hopefully a chance to ride my new bike (if the rain lets up!), and enjoying some "down time" for reading and movie watching.

Here's a picture for thought I am sharing . . .
hedgehog goodies from CCD!




linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake

Last Friday was my birthday, and I made myself a "cake". I am a huge fan of dump cakes, despite feeling that they are "beneath" me somehow in the world of cookery. I'd been craving one of these for about a week, and told myself I could make one to share with friends on Saturday.

It's ridiculously easy, and obscenely delicious, especially if eaten straight from the oven with ice cream or whipped cream. It's none too shabby heated up in the microwave with or without toppings.


2 cans cherry pie filling (I used Comstock 20-oz.)
1 box devil's food cake mix
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 9 x 13 pan. Layer pie filling and dry cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over entire cake. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Happy eating!

linking up with Made by You Monday


Friday, March 6, 2015

Gather

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May


It's the first phrase that came to me. 

Today is my birthday. I like the idea of gathering of years of life and experiences. I'm in my fifties, but I don't dread birthdays. I still love them. A day all about me! A day to remember the past year and look forward to the next. 

This year I'm hoping to gather even more rosebuds. Learn more about myself and those I love. Gather in more memories and love to share and savor. 

Tonight I'll gather with some of the people I love best in the world to eat a meal of my choosing. To celebrate me. Tomorrow I will gather with my best friends and celebrate me some more while eating and laughing and talking and crafting. And I'll gather more joy and love to store up to look back on when things are feeling bleak.

Even if it's not your birthday, you don't have to wait to gather up the good things in life. Gather them while we may. 

Savor. Enjoy. Gather.

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shattered

Write a blog post inspired by the word: shattered

I had a meeting yesterday morning. It was supposed to be one of those 30 minute meetings to go over and finish up the details from a previous meeting. It turned into something very different.

Last summer I agreed to participate in a PhD study on lectio divina -- in short the practice of reading and meditating on scripture. This is something I've been interested in for some time. I've gone to a few workshops and retreats. I liked the idea that my practice might benefit someone else -- I'm altruistic that way.

Yesterday I met with the PhD candidate (MC) to go over my journaling from the experience and to give him the opportunity to ask me some follow up questions. I felt that I had let him down by not doing as well with the practice as I had hoped, thus providing less data for his research.

MC asked me an open ended question when I got there -- What hindered me from going further with the lectio divina? I knew the short answer, but I wasn't prepared to go that route. The longer, more accurate answer was going to open up a lot of my past and require me to verbalize a lot of what the abuse did to my relationship with God. I asked him if he was prepared for a winding, long winded answer, and he was.

That began a nearly 2 hour conversation about God, our representation of Him, insular societies, secret keeping, understanding how my past colors my perceptions, and how Christians show the true character of God to others.

I didn't say anything I didn't already know about myself and my history, but I did experience that strange epiphany that comes with verbalizing thoughts. There is a clarity that comes from saying or writing out thoughts in complete sentences and paragraphs that doesn't come from random thoughts and ruminations. MC said it himself to me, "Your journal was in phrases, and you're not a phrase kind of person." It's true. I write and talk in paragraphs, but when I looked back at what I'd shared with him, it was all phrases and incomplete thoughts. I had edited myself out of fear that he would not understand, agree with, or validate my complete feelings. And it's scary to think some things through to their ultimate conclusions.

What does this have to do with the prompt -- shattered? I believe I shattered a stronghold or a wall yesterday. I completed a lot of sentences about my true feelings and beliefs about myself and God and how the abuse impacted (impacts) my daily life and inner conversations. 

There's a lot more demolishing to do. 

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. -- 2 Cor. 10:4 (NIV)


linking up with Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . March 3, 2015

Outside my window . . . gray, cloudy skies. We are in the upper 40s, heading up to mid 60s, but with rain. Tomorrow brings more rain, changing to sleet and snow with a possible accumulation as temperatures dip back down below freezing for a couple of days. Nashville weather is much like a menopausal woman!

I am thinking . . . what a good day I had yesterday. My bestie and I were discussing how much just turning the calendar from February to March lifts the spirit.

I am thankful . . . for a good worship service and fellowship on Sunday.

In the kitchen . . . last night I attempted making fried rice for the first time ever. It wasn't fabulous, but it wasn't awful either. I've got some ideas on how to improve it next time.

I am creating . . . a secret crochet project to be revealed later. 

I'm also working on some home decor items for spring.

I am going . . . to therapy, out to lunch, and then for a sauna session. After that home for some sewing and cleaning.

I am wondering . . . how to stick to the spring cleaning plan I've set up. Wondering about methods of motivating myself.

I am reading . . . on a whim, I started a new book last night -- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Myth, Metaphor & Morality by Mark Field. My kids and I watched Buffy reruns all through their teenage years, and recently dh and I have been watching them. On the one hand it's a silly, sometimes very dark program, but it certainly hit a nerve with the public at large. References to Buffy crop up everywhere. She's even listed as one of the 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived. I couldn't put it down last night, and I'm still in the introduction!

I am looking forward to . . . plans I've made for the next 10 days or so. Sort of a spring reboot for my lifestyle approach. That sounds very ambitious, doesn't it!?!

I am hearing . . . total quiet.

Around the house . . . spring cleaning is on the horizon!

I am praying . . . friends who have lost loved ones. A friend's granddaughter who is in treatment for cancer. Healing for so many people from various diseases and injuries that always seem to come during the cold weather.

One of my favorite things . . . is my birthday! Friday is another one to celebrate. I'm just a kid at heart and always look forward to my birthday as day to guiltlessly enjoy things I like.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . lots of sewing and crafting. Lunch with dd on Wednesday and maybe a walk with dh if the weather cooperates. A meeting with a PhD candidate, and then celebrating my birthday with a weekend of fun activities with family and friends.

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

spring time crafting


linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, March 2, 2015

Inside Out Ravioli

I actually made a menu list last week!

Well, my best friend and I made one while I drove to the grocery. But it still counts, right?

I used to always do a menu list each week before making my grocery list, but somehow I've fallen off the wagon. The good news is, it does make cooking dinner A LOT easier. One of last week's meals was a favorite recipe I got from a co-worker when I lived in Memphis 25 years ago.

I like this recipe because it's hearty and filling, and it's a one dish meal, which is great for a cold winter night.


1 ½ pounds ground chuck
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 10-oz. packages frozen spinach
8 oz. macaroni, or any small pasta
½ cup chopped onion
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 small can tomato paste
1 large jar spaghetti sauce
2 eggs
Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese

Cook spinach according to package directions adding ½ cup extra water. Drain spinach, reserving liquid. Cook macaroni, drain and set aside. Brown beef with garlic and onion. Drain. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, and ½ cup spinach liquid. Simmer 30 minutes. Beat eggs and add to spinach and grated cheese. Casserole can be layered: pasta, spinach mixture, meat sauce. Top with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese. OR Stir all ingredients together and pour into greased casserole and top with cheese of your choice. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Serves 6-8

Happy eating!

Linking up with Made by You Monday