Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday -- September 30, 2010

Once again I find myself grateful for the opportunity to share the things that I am thankful for this week. I am grateful everyday, but it is good for my soul to sit down and enumerate the blessings in my life, and to realize that while, yes, there are struggles and stress, my God truly provides for my every need.

So for this Thankful Thursday I am grateful for:

1. My dh. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, but I never cease to feel that God provided my dh for me. God knew the struggles I would face and He provided me with the help meet who was matched for me. 

2. Sleep. One sleepless night is all it takes to remind me of how grateful I am that God established the concept of rest. 

3. Old friends. I have had so much fun and found so much value in reconnecting with friends my my childhood/young adult years. It has been a real blessing to talk with people who have known me for SO long.

4. New friends. Last night I connected with some lovely ladies in my Beth Moore class. It is hard for me to reach out and trust anyone, but especially new people. A big thank you to the lovely ladies who encouraged me last night.

5. Talent (?) and intellect. It's hard to say positive things about myself, but I am so grateful for this outlet of blogging. I know that it has helped me to find my voice, and I hope it will help others as well.

May your Thankful Thursday be full of blessings. Check out Grace Alone for more sharing of gratitude.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How It All Began

My dh and I went into marriage therapy, for the second time, in September 2000. We went because dh wanted to know why I wasn't happy or interested in intimacy. I went along because I wanted him to stop nagging me. We met with a family psychologist who had been recommended by a friend, we'll call him Paul. Paul was a good Christian with an open enthusiastic style. We met with him a few times, talking about various aspects of our relationship. Dh and I are pretty forthright and open, so we didn't hold much back. I just didn't know why we were there! Things weren't perfect, but who has a perfect life? Dh annoyed me a fair amount, and I apparently annoyed him just as much, if not more. 

We talked about communication issues, our origins, child issues -- all the usual stuff. We also told Paul about the previous time we'd been in marriage therapy. The focus of that had been addressing the effects of an assault I had suffered in college. A family member molested me in the middle of the night. I had never told anyone in the family except for dh. At the time it happened, we had only been dating a few months. My parents were out of town, and since I was afraid to stay at home alone, I had gone to this couple's house to spend the night. 

As we recounted this story to Paul, I remember thinking, this was old news. We had dealt with this. It didn't need to be addressed any further. Admittedly, when we had talked through it years before the outcome had not really been satisfactory for me. We told my parents what had happened, and rather than jump to my defense, my mother said, "Oh poor L (the wife)" and my father said, "You were right to not tell us. Boys will be boys." I was stunned, but felt that they must be right (they were my parents after all). 

That first time in therapy, I confronted the molester. He apologized, but stated that he didn't understand why it was such a problem for me. I made him tell his wife, who later told me I should have told her when it happened. She might have left him then, but couldn't now because there were too many years and child invested in the marriage now. 

As I began to recount all of this to Paul, it occurred to me that the whole situation still really bothered me. It still made me sick at my stomach to think about it, and there were huge portions of the event that I either couldn't remember or explain. Paul suggested that I might want to talk with him without dh present. Uh-oh! It was all my fault -- whatever "it" was.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . . September 28th

Outside my is finally feeling like autumn! We're in the 50's this morning with a projected high of only 75. Lovely.

I am thinking...about my PADI Scuba class this weekend. I still have a lot of material to cover.

I am thankful have this past weekend behind us. There was a lot of stress, but much good came from it.

From the learning rooms...test over Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon literature; Physics test; still reading Into the Wild.

From the kitchen...the cupboard (well, really refrigerator) is bare! Must hit the grocery today.

I am wearing...a very mismatched set of pj's. 

I am creating...still have to get started on the actual quilting, but I'm also wanting to make a new cover for my Bible.

I am going...visit Traveler's Rest this afternoon with ds for a history project.

I am reading...The English American.

I am get things done today and still get some quiet time.

I am hearing...the tv news talking about the disaster that is education in America.

Around the's time to put away some summery decor and get out some autumn decor now that the weather is cooperating.

One of my favorite writing. I've always enjoyed it, but was afraid to put it out there. I'm working on that.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Bible studies, PADI lessons, sorting in the house, hopefully some sewing/crafting as well.

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

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Am a Good Person

Abuse has long standing and far reaching effects. My experience has been that just about the time I think I have a handle on it, something new comes along to challenge the work I have done.

This past weekend brought some new challenges. My dd came home for a visit from the program she is in to deal with her chemical disorder. My expectation was that I would be excited to have her home for a visit. The reality was that I was very worried, tense and nervous about all of us falling back into bad patterns of behavior and coping with stress. The truth of the weekend was a mix of both. 

It's amazing the things I hear coming out of my mouth sometimes! Thankfully, most of those comments come in safe environments, like with my therapist or in private conversations with my dh. Last week talking to my therapist, I said, "I just want to do everything right this weekend, because I am worried about doing the wrong thing and ruining everything." That's classic abuse reaction. Take full responsibility for everything that goes wrong in any situation. I know I don't really have that kind of power, but my experiences led me to believe that if I had just done/or not done certain things, I could have controlled the abusers -- kept them from hurting me. That's re-victimization I think. Letting the abusers make me responsible for their actions. It's a defense mechanism. Everyone uses it to a certain degree. There is safety and security in believing that a person becomes a victim because they neglected to take proper precautions. The problem with that way of thinking is that it's false. You can do everything "right" and still be victimized or have an accident through no fault of your own. That's especially true of children.

Once more, God provided lessons and reassurance that I needed. A good Sunday school lesson on the difference between expectations and desires. A wonderful sermon on God's relationship with us and His desire for our relationships with one another. My dh once again giving me the pep talk and reminders that I am a good person who had bad things done to her (and he still makes me laugh). 

So the weekend's over and things will go back to routine, except it's never routine -- so bring it on Monday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Feel Good Friday

Well it's Feel Good Friday and unfortunately I don't feel well. Boo! Tummy troubles. : (

Anyway on to my list:

1. Tuesday night I got to have tea with a friend I hadn't seen in 25 years! And it was just like old times! So lovely to be reconnecting.

2. I finally pin basted my 1st Quilt Ever! Now I just have to get up my nerve to start the actual quilting!

3. Wednesday I got back to the YMCA, after being sick last week. It felt good to get some exercise. I walked 2.7 miles on the treadmill while I watched "Ghost Whisperer". I've been struggling with depression this week, and the exercise is a good antidote. However crying over a tv show while walking on the treadmill at the Y is a little embarrassing. 

4. Yesterday I picked my daughter up at the airport. She's been away for 5 months, and is home for a long weekend visit. We are working on getting things set up for her to move back home and start school in January. Busy times!

5. This week multiple friends checked on me voluntarily. They knew I was having a hard week and were compassionate and non-judgmental. That's the best Feel Good Friday there is!

Feel Good Friday is hosted by The Girl Next Door Grows Up.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday -- September 23, 2010

It's Thankful Thursday again. This verse came in my email this week, and I saw something I'd never noticed before. 

Philippians 2:3-4
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not 
only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

It's the second part that caught my eye this time -- "look not only to your own interests" (italics mine). This is the first time I noticed that it's okay to look to my own interests. It's not either/or, it's in addition to. That's very comforting to me. Permission to include my interests in my plans -- not exclusively, but rather inclusively. 

Off my soap box now! LOL! Anyway here's my list:

1. I am thankful for good friends and lasting friendships that can be picked up again even after long absences.

2. I am thankful for creativity and patience. I am truly just beginning to realize that the process is at least as important as the outcome.

3. I am thankful for God's enduring patience with me. I ask again and again. I worry again and again. He is always kind, sympathetic, and compassionate. And He answers again and again and again.

4. I am thankful for perseverance. It's hard for me to give myself credit for much, but lately I'm realizing that I have persevered in my recovery. There have been many times it would have been easier to just walk away -- to accept the status quo as good enough -- and I didn't do it. 

5. I am thankful for the opportunity to have my dear daughter home for a visit this weekend (even if I'm a little scared about how it will go). 

That's my list. I hope you have wonderful Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Telling the Truth

I've been thinking about truth a lot lately. Actually, I've been thinking about truth for years. John 8:32 tells us, "The truth will set you free." Many of us want truth, but fear it at the same time. Perhaps it is not the truth that we fear, but rather the reaction of others to the truth. 

I consider myself a "pathologically" honest person. I tend to give more information than is needed, to validate and prove the truthfulness of my comments. This is the result of being repeatedly told by abusers that no one would believe me. From the time that I was four years old, I was repeatedly told by several people that I was a liar, and if I told my parents about the awful things these people were doing to me, that my parents would write me off as a liar. I believed the abusers. Why wouldn't I?

I was raised in an environment that taught truth was the ultimate determination of value and character. I felt that I was a liar because of all the things I hid and kept to myself. I was unable to "tell the truth" because of fear for my life, and my acceptance in my own family.

When I first began to "tell", my therapist quoted John 8:32 to me. I knew it had to be right because it was Biblical, but I couldn't "feel" it. I wanted to be believed so badly! I remember telling my therapist the first time about any of the abuse. I talked with my eyes closed, head lowered, shoulders hunched. There were lengthy pauses. It took everything in my being to force the words out of my body. I could only speak in third person -- "J held the girl down" "the little girl was terrified". After I had recounted the episode to him, I peeked through half closed eyes, and asked, "Do you believe me?" He said he did. The relief was palpable. I had told and the world had not ended! I asked, "Why do you believe me?" He asked me why he wouldn't believe me. I couldn't answer, but in my heart I knew that if HE knew how terrible I was he wouldn't be asking that question. 

It's taken a lot of time and therapy to get to this point of telling. Most of the time it feels good. I'm not out for pity or sympathy. I just want to feel like an honest person. I want to be set free.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . . September 21st

Outside my is bright and sunny and unseasonably hot! 

I am thinking...the upcoming weekend and my dd's visit home. I am hoping that it is a positive and productive weekend for all of us.

I am thankful for...lessons learned and relearned . . . and relearned again!

From the learning American history test; an Anatomy & Physiology test; reading Into the Wild.

From the kitchen...the first batch of pumpkin bread was baked on Sunday. I am sure there will be many more before the season is over.

I am jeans and my summer/autumn tunic.

I am creating...more on My 1st Quilt Ever! I got all the pin basting done yesterday. It's about time to start quilting!?!

I am chat with a friend tonight that I haven't seen in person in 25 years!

I am exercise and get some more housework done.

I am hearing..."Walker, Texas Ranger" on the tv.

Around the house...progress is being made on the bathroom! Plumbing, electrical and subflooring all done. Go dh!

One of my favorite making and following a plan. Many plans have been made lately, but few have been followed.

A few plans for the rest of the, crafting with friends, a visit from dd, Bible studies.

Here is a  picture for thought I am sharing...
This is one of those projects that lingered for far too long in my sewing basket. I'm glad I finally finished it, because I LOVE it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Feel Good Friday: A Follow Up to The Girl's Week

I've been blessed by reading Erika's blog this week about overcoming panic attacks.  I too have suffered from panic attacks for many years. Most of you know I was diagnosed almost 10 years ago with chronic post traumatic stress disorder. The condition is the result of the childhood sexual abuse I suffered. Through many years of therapy, medication, a super-supportive husband, and a network of wonderful friends, I am finally finding myself more and more able to talk about the abuse, the panic attacks and the PTSD. 

I want to publicly commend Erika for taking a week of blogs to honestly share about panic attacks. The more we are willing to talk about the hard things that we all deal with, the easier it becomes to deal with them, and the more people are helped and educated. So here's a big kudos to Erika!

Here's my little help list for handling a panic attack. Feel free to pass it on!

1. Remember to breathe! In through your nose to the count of four; out through your nose to the count of four. Practice it when you're not in a panic attack, so it will be second nature when the attack hits.

2. Remember you are not alone! Thousands of people suffer from some of form of anxiety disorder. You're not weird. 

3. Remember this too shall pass! Even though a panic attack can feel as if it will never end, they do end, and life returns to normal (whatever that is!).

4. Create a ritual for handling a panic attack. At the peak of mine, I found that getting off by myself to breathe was imperative. I also found that having something concrete to hold helped keep me centered and present. I carry a prayer strand in my purse at all times. When I feel my stress level escalating, I pull it out and run it through my fingers (Lucy's Beads and Prayers).

5. Finally, find someone to share your struggles with. My husband has always been good at this, but I have a couple of friends as well who seem able to take it all in stride. It helps to have someone who understands to talk with.

So that's my Feel Good Friday with extra thanks to Erika!

See more at The Girl Next Door Grows Up.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday -- Mixed Up Week

I had many plans for the week. It was going to be super productive and efficient. God apparently had different plans! It's really so much simpler to just listen to God, than to try and argue with Him! LOL!

So here's my list for this week:

1. I am thankful for my dishwasher. What a blessing to get up in the morning and open the door to find clean dishes! The dish fairy washed them while I slept!

2. I am thankful for my ds. He's been sick this week with an upper respiratory infection. I am NOT thankful for that, but I am thankful for who he is and the joy he brings to my life. 

3. I am thankful for a new and improved attitude that is helping me learn to truly cut myself some slack. I haven't felt well this week -- female troubles -- but I've been kinder and less judgmental of myself, which has made feeling bad not quite so bad.

4. I am thankful for the cloudy, cool morning. Maybe some rain later today, which will increase the feeling of change in the air. Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year, and I am ready to feel the cool, crisp morning air and smell the falling leaves as the world gets ready to sleep through the winter months.

5. Finally I am thankful for my increased Bible study. I am grateful for the desire that God has placed in my heart to do these studies, and I am mesmerized at how they are interweaving with one another! For both the Precepts and Beth Moore studies I have spent a lot of time in Genesis rereading the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. What a blessing to see these great men and women through new eyes.

I hope your day is filled with gratitude and blessings.

For more Thankful Thursdays visit Grace Alone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . . September 14th

Outside my window...the leaves are falling from my cherry trees, and we are having fairly typical autumn weather for us. Cool in the mornings, hot in the afternoons.

I am thinking...about the energy and activity that seem to have invaded my life lately.

I am thankful for...opportunities to stretch and grow while still remembering to keep balance and meet my own needs.

From the learning rooms...a new study plan for ds. Note cards for each class everyday.

From the kitchen...pork chops last night and a new recipe tonight, Cajun Chicken Caesar Sandwiches.

I am summer weight robe, and realizing that I need a new winter robe.

I am creating...nothing right now, as I am overwhelmed by tons of new fabric from my dear friend, KFH. (See photos below for a taste!)

I am yoga class this morning. Haven't been in a couple of weeks.

I am reading...The Heroines by Eileen Favorite

I am have a productive afternoon after running a few errands.

I am hearing...silence with the occasional dog bark.

Around the house...plans are afoot for cleaning and company this weekend.

One of my favorite rearranging the furniture. We spontaneously rearranged the den Sunday night, and I really like it!

A few plans for the rest of the, crafting with friends, lunch on Friday with a friend, ds has Friday off from school.

Here are pictures for thought I am sharing...

This is only SOME of the fabric I got last week. More next week : )