Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Henry the Reading Frog

Dh, Henry (the frog), and me 

for more photos visit Wordless Wednesday


His name was Horace, and looking back now, I realize that he loved me unconditionally. He was married to my great grandmother’s sister. We just called her Auntie. They were old. They’d never had children, but had taken care of several generations of nieces and nephews. Their home was always open and welcoming. I’m sure he wasn’t perfect, but he seemed perfect to me. I never saw him angry. He was warm, loving and accepting. I could do no wrong in his eyes. 

My sister and I would go and visit them. If we stayed overnight we all slept in the big room in the attic. There were 2 double beds that faced each other from opposite walls. Auntie and my sister would sleep in the bed on the left while Uncle Horace and I would sleep on the right. I never felt as secure as when we were all tucked in for the night. Normally Auntie and Uncle Horace slept downstairs in their bedroom, but when we stayed they slept in the attic with us so we wouldn’t be scared.

Eventually they sold the house and moved to the country. Not long after that Auntie had a stroke and died. We all went to the funeral and I held onto Uncle Horace all day. When we returned to the house he marched straight back to their bedroom returning a few moments later carrying Auntie’s china doll. He carefully placed her in my arms and said, “She always said you were to have this. I gave her this doll before I went to fight in World War I.” I have treasured that doll and that memory ever since.

After that we didn’t see much of Uncle Horace. My parents apparently didn’t make the time to drive out to see him anymore which meant I couldn’t see him either. Later I heard he’d moved into a nursing home. Eventually I assumed he’d died.

A few years ago I went to visit their graves. I wanted to take a moment to let them know what they had meant to me. An oasis of love and acceptance in a childhood riddled with pain and fear. I placed flowers on their graves, and told them I loved them. That’s when I noticed Horace’s death date. He’d been alive when I married. He could have been at my wedding! I’ve worked hard to accept that I didn’t abandon him personally. I was a child and thus limited in what I could do. But I miss those opportunities I could have had with him to give and receive love and acceptance.

His is the first face I’ll look for in heaven.

linking up with Writer's Workshop

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . August 30, 2011
Outside my window. . . it is cool and misty. for the next to the last day of August we are going to be sunny and HOT! A high of 94 is predicted with high pollen counts and poor air quality.

I am thinking. . . it is amazing how much better just talking can make me feel. Dh and I had plenty of time this weekend to talk without interruption. He is such a good sounding board : )

I am thankful. . . to be feeling better both physically and emotionally. Summer is always a difficult time for me, but this year I've noticed it seems to be worse in July and the later into August we get. Now that autumn is coming my mood seems to be improving. Then again it could just be that weekend getaway with dh!

From the learning rooms. . . ds's senior year is off to a great start. He currently has straight A's.

In the kitchen. . . last night we had black bean and chicken quesadillas and watermelon. Tonight is a Shepherd's Skillet and steamed broccoli.

I am wearing .
 . . lavender yoga pants and a v-neck t-shirt for yoga class.   

I am creating. . . a scarf for a Christmas gift, and still trying to figure out what pattern I want to use for a baby blanket. 

I am going. . . to Restorative Yoga class this morning and then coming home for the rest of the day (I hope).

I am wondering
. . . how best to be of service to others while still keeping boundaries regarding my own needs and sensitivities. 

I am reading. . . My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. Very amusing. 

I am hoping. . . to keep this positive mojo going, and that the new schedule I'm working on will prove to be doable.

I am looking forward to
. . . yoga class and the wonderful peace I always feel afterwards. 

I am hearing. . . ds and gf chatting while they eat muffins and bacon before heading out to school.

Around the house. . . I cleaned out the refrigerator yesterday. It's always scary when I find food I have no memory of cooking! I also cleaned out the pantry. Order in the storage areas makes cooking so much easier. 

I am pondering. . . the difficulties I have in enjoying having fun. A recurring them for me has always been to begin to feel fearful once I feel relaxed and happy. This can lead to real confusion regarding my emotions. Choices are often overwhelming, but I am working on learning to face fun and relaxation as positive without the fear of things going downhill. 

One of my favorite things
. . . is knowing that people have enjoyed a meal that I have prepared. I enjoy cooking and eating, but it is so much more enjoyable when shared with appreciative eaters. 

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . a low-key week with very few plans away from home. My hope is to get the house in good working order and a dress cut out for myself.

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

just a couple of dh's wonderful
shots from this past weekend

for more visit The Simple Woman's Daybook 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Musings

over the weekend Alan and I went to The Inn at Evins Mill for an anniversary getaway. it's always nice to go somewhere new, and I highly recommend The Inn if you are anywhere nearby.

the best things about a getaway with Alan though, is the chance to talk without interruptions and to just "be" quietly together -- to remember why we chose each other. 

relationship is all about communication. all too often the longer we are married, the less time we spend in actual communication. it's all well and good to say, "we know each other so well, we don't need to talk", but I don't believe that for a minute.

the same thing is true in my relationship with God. if I don't spend time talking to Him, i.e., studying His word and praying (talking) to Him, I lose sight of who He truly is. I impose my own fears, beliefs, and negative thoughts onto Him and they were never His to begin with. that's just satan trying to fool me.

make time today to communicate with the people most important to you -- God, your spouse, you kids -- whoever. even if it's just 5 or 10 minutes. it can make all the difference in the world.


The Sweet November Scarf/Shawl

The Sweet November Scarf/Shawl
in Parrot from Deborah Norville
collection Everyday Soft Worsted

for more go to Skip to My Lou

Friday, August 26, 2011

Serendipitous Heart (Leaf)

the other day as I was walking through my kitchen
I noticed a leaf on the floor.
I bent down to pick it up and was 
stopped short by what I saw.

the leaf dry and brown,
was shaped like a perfect heart!
it seemed serendipitous to me.
a gift from God.
an unexpected lift for my spirit.

I laid it gently on my sewing table until
I could grab my camera and get a shot.

the next day I saw my daughter poking at it.
I told her what had happened, and 
to please be careful as I wanted to
get a picture of it.

later as I sat working (well playing)
at my computer, my son came in
and started talking with me.
I had my back to him.
I turned around to respond to something
he had said, and that's when I 
saw it.
he had a pair of scissors in his hand 
and was randomly cutting something
into little pieces.
oh yes it was my little miracle gift
from God! 
snip, snip, snip
and it was gone.
when I told him what he had done
he was truly apologetic.
his friend said, "I wondered what that
was there for. I broke a piece of it off."

so here's my picture of my serendipitous

wish you could have seen it.
I did and it made my day.

catch up with more "Feel Good Friday" at lia sophia tomgirl

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday

:: lunch with an old friend that reminded me of some important things

:: seeing "The Help" with my bff. I'm not really old
 enough to remember things being as bad as they 
were in the movie, but I am old enough to remember 
my grandmother, mother, and the (black) maid 
cleaning house and polishing floors together. 
At lunch time the maid had to sit in the kitchen by herself.
A good reminder to all of us that we are ALL made in
the image of God!

:: an excellent meeting last night to improve our
marriage ministry program at our congregation.
What a dedicated group of people!

:: cinnamon toast for breakfast with the door wide open

:: a quiet day at home to be a homemaker

may you find grace, peace, gratitude, 

and blessings this day and every day

for more Thankful Thursday visit Women Taking a Stand

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

editing reality

so I ran across this prompt today at Write on Edge -- Remembered-Your worst memory. initially I laughed at the thought of participating. then there was the familiar onset of nausea, headache, memory pains, etc. the recurrent question, "which one was the worst?" I've written about several of them on this blog. some of them I have not been able to put into words. there was my great aunt, my cousin, her mother, the student, and the close family member. I've never been able to rate them. individually they are horrible and grotesque, but taken as a group they are overwhelming.

the worst is maybe not what was done but what wasn't done and what was said. my father's response to two different episodes: "boys will be boys, so you were right to not tell us" and regarding the student, "I can't believe he would be so disrespectful of me". my mother's initial response not to my pain, but what about the rapist's wife. my parents' ability to tell me they just chose not to think about the information after I told them some of the abuse. they were going on vacation and didn't want their trip ruined. their ability to remain in close contact with one of the abusers.

as Laurie Colwin wrote: "She had a picture of the way things should pleasantly be, and she edited reality heavily to make it so." 

other people editing my reality -- my worst memory. 

link up at RemembeRED

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . August 23, 2011
Outside my window. . . my cherry tree is beginning to lose lots of leaves. I can't remember if they fell this early last year or not.

I am thinking. . . structure can be a very calming thing.

I am thankful. . . 26 years of marriage to my dh, Alan, today. It is hard to imagine that we have been together that long. I feel as if everyday I learned something new about him, or am reminded of all the wonderfulness he brings into my life.

From the learning rooms. . . an interesting power point presentation on the darkness of man as presented in The Hiding Place and The Lord of the Flies.

In the kitchen. . . recently we had dinner guests. I made a layered taco salad and cherry cobbler with whipped cream. And of course a loaf of banana bread that barely lasted a day!

I am wearing .
 . . yoga capri and a hot pink tshirt. 

I am creating. . . a baby blanket and finishing the fringe on a shawl. 

I am going. . . to yoga class and then taking my father in law's car to be tested and get a tune up.

I am wondering
. . . about perceptions. My dh recently wrote me a note called his happy/sad list. Most days I think I'm treating myself pretty well, but his perception is that I am still far too hard on myself.

I am reading. . . Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman which is a little depressing for me right now. I recently picked up Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. Written in 1901, I've heard about it all my life and somehow have gotten around to reading it. It is really quite good.

I am hoping. . . to have a productive day.

I am looking forward to
. . . lunch tomorrow with an old friend; and seeing "The Help" with my bff.

I am hearing. . . quiet.

Around the house. . . things are a bit less chaotic. Unfortunately that is largely due to my having a mama screaming fit on Sunday afternoon!

I am pondering. . . what God wants from me. Do I really listen, and will I know if He tells me something new?

One of my favorite things
. . . are mushrooms. Yes I love to eat them, but mostly I like looking at them. I think it's all tied up in the fantasy/fairyland that I used as an escape as a kid.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . a little weekend getaway with dh.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing. . .

(pattern available at make it and love it)

for more visit The Simple Woman's Daybook 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Made by You Mondays #1

a lightweight lap-throw
made from Sensations Sublime
acrylic and rayon
in turquoise and red

for more go to Skip to My Lou


Post traumatic stress leaves it's victims untethered. That's my opinion at this point. 

When I was a pre-teen and teenager I wondered why everyone around me seemed to be so grounded. They seemed so sure of their place in the world -- of who they were -- who they wanted to be -- and how to become that person. I was always untethered -- ungrounded -- disconnected -- uninformed. What I know now is that's one of the fundamental effects of childhood abuse. I lost my bearings. I was searching for connections, but terrified of them at the same time. When basic trust is broken, a child's world view shifts forever. Trust is our connection to others. Once it is broken, we are disconnected. It's not just a feeling; it's a reality. 

Monday Musings

the only constant in life is change. i'm sure someone well-known said that, but i don't know who it was. what i do know is how true it is.

at the end of each school year, i am deliriously happy for the summer to start (well except for those pesky memories). by the time late august appears i'm ready for routine, and quite honestly some alone time. my kids are 18 and 21. i love them wildly and i'm thrilled that they like to spend time with me -- BUT at heart i'm kind of a hermit. i really like my quiet alone time and that's hard to get in summer (when i possibly need it more).

so today i find myself alone at home. ds started school last week and dd started classes this morning. by 6:45 the house was empty except for me and the dogs. lovely. 

so for today i'm not sure what i'm doing except basking in the aloneness.

i'm sure come may i'll be anxious to have them back in the house regularly.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Poetry

not really poetry.
dd and I were driving around town
yesterday running errands
and this song came on
my iPod.
we both really liked this movie
when it came out
years ago (1998).
this is my favorite song
from the movie, although
all the music is amazing.
I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feel Good Friday -- August 19, 2011

I am 49 years old.
I did something this week
that I have never done before.
something I didn't think
I'd ever do.
my husband encouraged me to do it.
my dd went with me and was
even impressed with my skill.
I wasn't sure I could do it.
wasn't even sure I wanted to do it.
but when push came to shove,
I wanted it badly enough
that I overcame my fear of
possible failure and humiliation.
I went for it.
and what's more I ENJOYED it!

and here's what I got for my willingness
to step out of my comfort zone 

my brand new Honda Fit!

it's true.
I'd never bought a car by myself
before -- not even a used one
and this one is brand new!

I did my research.
I checked on prices.
I haggled.
I was prepared to walk out.
I stood up to all the 
sales ploys
and didn't cave to any 
unnecessary purchases.
I walked away having spent
only $100 more than I had
planned to spend.

I'm pretty darn proud of myself.
and I have a really cute car to show for it.

catch up with more "Feel Good Friday" at lia sophia tomgirl

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Effects of Abuse on Medical Care

The last 6 weeks have been medically stressful for me. Medical issues are always exacerbated by the abuse issues. Then they all get tangled up together and I begin to wonder what is real, what is imagined, and what are reminders of abuse (i.e., memory pain). This can make it very difficult to seek medical help, especially if the problems are related to personal issues.

About 10 days before July 4th I developed a sharp pain in my right middle back. I really thought I had just strained a muscle at a recent yoga class, so I decided to ride it out. On the 6th I kind of crashed -- deep fatigue, fever, pain began to move into my left side and around into my ribs. I went to the doctor.

I have a really good female primary care physician. She knows about my past and is very kind and understanding about how the abuse impacts my medical care. She did an exam and a urinalysis. The results showed that I probably had a bladder/kidney infection and the beginnings of a sinus infection. One of my things about going to the doctor is I always expect them to tell me there is nothing wrong with me, i.e., I'm lying. When the doctor told me I was sick and probably had been for a couple of weeks, I was actually relieved, almost euphoric.

She gave me some antibiotics and pain medication, and told me to go home and rest. Music to my ears!

Unfortunately that was just the beginning. The pain continued along with the fatigue and fever. Ultimately she decided to send me to a urologist. That's when the anxiety really started to ratchet up.

Another person in authority to try and convince that I'm not lying; not a hypochondriac. The potential for personal and invasive tests, and what if they lead to nothing? Where does that leave me? 

The pain and fatigue were my primary concerns. The doctors were concerned about microscopic blood in my urine. I just wanted to feel better (well, and not have bladder or kidney cancer!). 

After a lot of go round trying to get things scheduled; having two CT scans; a renal ultrasound; multiple emails to the urologist and my pc doctor, I went in Tuesday to see the urologist herself for the first time. Standard procedure for these symptoms includes a cystoscopy. There was no way I was going to be able to endure that unless I was under general anesthesia which wasn't an option. So I had to tell the urologist that I refused to let them do that test. It's hard for me to refuse to do things that people in authority tell me to do. I expect to be forced against my will. Not rational, but understandable. I wound up having to stand up for myself with FOUR different people. I repeated my explanation reminding each of them that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and it would be far too traumatic to go through that test awake and even if I were asleep the after effects would probably trigger panic and anxiety.

The urologist agreed with me. She decided they had ruled out anything serious, and that my primary care physician and I should keep an eye on things. 

I thought I'd feel relieved. Instead I went into the restroom, locked myself in a stall and cried. I pulled it together enough to get to my car in the parking garage, and cried some more. I called my dh and tried to explain. He did the best he could, but the reality of it is, if you've never been abused, you'll never completely understand the stress, anxiety, self-doubt, and fear that these kind of things engender.

I thought I was past these intense reactions. I guess I was wrong. So for the past couple of days I've been more dependent on medications and self soothing techniques. It's taking me a while to get relaxed and return to normal. 

But then again, normal's just a setting on the washing machine.

(self soothing aid)

Thankful Thursday -- August 18, 2011

:: clear test results from the urologist on Tuesday

:: my fun new car that I got on Monday

:: the opportunity to visit with an out of town
friend later today

:: a lunch invitation from a friend I haven't
seen since middle school (well we called
it junior high)

:: cooler weather which is a real phenomenon
in Tennessee in August

may you find grace, peace, gratitude, 
and blessings this day and every day

for more Thankful Thursday visit Women Taking a Stand

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . August 16, 2011
Outside my window. . . it is cool and pleasant. What a joy around here in August!

I am thinking. . . that at least we have eliminated one significant stressor.

I am thankful. . . for my new car, lower stress, cooler weather, improvement in my father-in-law's health.

From the learning rooms. . . school's back in session. Ds is a senior. This year he is taking Human Geography (AP), college algebra/trig, Foundations of Faith, Scientific Investigations/Astronomy, Psychology (AP), English IV. Busy year.

In the kitchen. . . last night was pork chops roasted in Lawry's Tuscan Sundried Tomato marinade, baked potatoes, and steamed broccoli with butter and garlic.

I am wearing .
 . . cotton capri pajama pants and a white tshirt. 

I am creating. . . a baby blanket and finishing the fringe on a shawl. 

I am going. . . to the urologist for one more test. I hope this is the last one for a while.

I am wondering
. . . about the volume of stress we have had in our home lately. I am so grateful that it is beginning to abate.

I am reading. . . Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman.

I am hoping. . . for a good report from the doctor as well as continuing improvement in my stamina.

I am looking forward to. . . the coming autumn weather. We are having a cooler spell right now which is unusual for us in August. Our highs have been in the 80's with low humidity and NW winds. Lovely!

I am hearing. . . silence.

Around the house. . . the only constant is change (and chaos). I wonder if I will ever learn to be accepting and content with this.

I am pondering. . . finding myself. It is trite but true. Every layer of abuse that I work through leads me to reconsider my likes and dislikes. Sometimes I feel as if I must be a very slow learner! LOL!

One of my favorite things
. . . sitting on the sofa with my sweet puppy. She is 12 lbs., but rather that being a lap dog, she is an under the butt dog. She likes to squeeze in as close as possible to my hip and slowly burrow under me. Very funny.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . cutting out a new dress for myself, helping my father-in-law get some car stuff taken care of, and enjoying driving my new car.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing. . .

2011 Honda Fit
which replaces this:
2006 Toyota Prius
No people were harmed in the crashing of this car.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Feel Good Friday - August 12, 2011

june 17th
that's the last time I participated 
in "Feel Good Friday"
how did that happen?

if I share all of that with you
this may not be a very feel
good friday post!

suffice it to say, things have been
crazy, hectic, rough
(insert word of choice HERE)

the good news is:
I get to buy a new car
(because dd totalled mine, & yes she's fine)

my father in law is doing well in pulmonary rehab
(because he has been diagnosed with sarcoidosis)

I was able to get a doctor's appointment today
(because I've been sick since the first week of July)

I am having lunch with the fun girls
(because LB is our "cruise director" and fine organizer!)

how's your friday shaping up?

catch up with more "Feel Good Friday" at lia sophia tomgirl