Tuesday, January 31, 2012


We've know each other forever. Our families have been friends for ages. Our fathers work in similar fields. Her brother is the same age as my sister.

It wasn't until high school that you could say we became friends. We both auditioned for a play, and both got cast. Two of my longest lasting friendships came from that show.

She knows everything about me. I can tell her anything and she takes it in stride. She is funny, a little harsh at times, but unendingly loyal. She was my maid of honor at my wedding. She gave me a bridal shower. She and her husband were our kids appointed guardians. She has cooked for me, cleaned for me, sewn for me. She has listened to me whine, complain, cry, scream, and curse.

She still comes to my house and helps me try to organize my life. We are inveterate organizers. Granted she did throw out my husband's paint pans one year. That took a little work to get him past.

The fact of the matter is she is my sister. She is the one I call when I need to talk. She is the one I call when I need to have fun. She is the cruise director of our little bunch.

She and I started crocheting again the same year, so now we sit and crochet and talk about what it will be like when we're in "the home" and can't remember anything. We'll still have fun telling stories from years ago. We'll just think they are new!

Sometimes I think about what my life would be like without her in it. The very thought makes me sad and a little panicky. Next to my husband she is the strongest connection in my life.

She is my soul mate, my confidante, the sister I was meant to have. She is my best friend.

link up at RemembeRED

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . January 31, 2012

Outside my window . . . and back to unseasonably warm weather. Our high is expected to be in the low 60's today. Looks like another good day for a walk!

I am thinking . . . about struggles. 

I am thankful . . . for a really good day yesterday. I had a long stretch from 6:30 am to 3:00 pm where I felt really positive and productive.

From the learning rooms . . . senioritis is setting in around here. I think I may have it worse than ds does.

In the kitchen . . . last night we had "brinner" -- breakfast for dinner, because I didn't realize I was supposed to marinate the chicken I had originally planned!

I am wearing . . . yoga clothes -- black pants, tank top and sweatshirt.

I am creating . . . still working on the baby blanket, but I've started a spring bag in Corntastic yarn.

I am going . . . . to have another play day with my bff. We'll do some straightening, sorting and purging, and then spend the rest of our time crocheting and talking.

I am wondering . . . about the way children grow into adults. How much control do parents really have?

I am reading . . . The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney

I am hoping . . . for less conflict in our home in the coming days.

I am looking forward to . . . my bff coming over today!

I am hearing . . . ds heading out to school and the dogs making their morning racket.

Around the house . . . things are shaping up. I made some progress reorganizing in the kitchen and my office area in the last week.

I am pondering . . . . perception. How can 2 people be present for the same event, and yet have such disparate recollections?

One of my favorite things . . . is orderliness. I love it when my home is neat and orderly, so why did I marry a clutterbug? lol!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . all the usual stuff plus dh and I are helping with a marriage retreat this weekend.

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

boys making pancakes

Monday, January 30, 2012

Made by You Monday -- Smash Book My Way

So recently I saw this video --
Looks like fun, but I'm confused. I need to buy a special journal, pen and glue to do this?

I cleaned out my craft room on Friday with the help of my bff and dd, so as we cleaned and purged, I collected possible journals and odds and ends to use. Then my dd went through all my pens and markers, tossing the bad ones.

Friday night I sat down and started my version of the Smash Book. Wanna see?

Here's what I've done so far:

There's no rhyme or reason for the pages or the order. Nor is there any rhyme or reason to how much fun I've had doing this! It's simply ridiculously entertaining.

link up at Skip to My Lou

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bread -- {saturday poetry}


"Be gentle when you touch bread.
Let it not lie
Uncared for,
So often Bread
Is taken for granted.

Beauty of patient toil,
wind and rain
have caressed it.
Christ often blessed it.
Be gentle when you touch bread."

- Freda Elton Young

Friday, January 27, 2012

Red Writing Hood -- Recurring Theme

I have a recurring theme in my life: things are difficult – I work through it – I feel really well – something else comes along to knock the props out from under me – and the whole theme begins again.

I’ve been working through a flashback that led to some relationship changes. It’s been an ongoing project since the first of the year. Wednesday I realized I was feeling better, you know more like my old self and capable. Thursday I told some friends things were definitely looking up.

Last night my daughter took a turn for the worse. She has bipolar II disorder. Currently she is in school and working a part time job AND trying to go down on her meds. She hit the wall last night.

The good news is that because I was in a better place myself, I was more equipped to help her this time around. The bad news is, well obviously, that she hit the wall just as I was getting to a better place.

There is a verse in the Bible about God not giving us more than we can handle. Really, God? You have so much more faith in me than I have in myself. I have plaque in my office/craft room with a quote from Mother Teresa
I know God 

won’t give me 

anything I can’t handle. 

I just wish He didn’t 

trust me so much. 

I know how she feels. I bought this plaque years ago when I was first diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. It has served me well over the years as a good reminder that I’m not the only one struggling – that most people’s lives are no bed of roses.

I found myself channeling my therapist and husband to my daughter last night. All those words of comfort and encouragement they’ve offered me over the years that at times sounded so inane, even as I clutched at them like a drowning woman. Sometimes I think it’s the holding on that is the hardest part of recovery. The believing that it WILL get better. That this life is really worth hanging onto.

I wrote earlier this week that I am a strong girl/woman. I believe this daughter of mine is as well. I just want her to believe it.

link up at Red Writing Hood

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. 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.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
for more moments visit SouleMama

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday #4

“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

I read this quote on another blog this morning. It caught my breath, because it is so true. 

All of us hope and dream and plan for what our futures will be like. Women are probably more into this than men. When we are little we dream of boyfriends, weddings, husbands, houses, and children.

I dreamed about a perfect life, where the family was happy all the time. I would give wonderful dinner parties and my children would excel and be happy all the time, and my husband was suave and debonair.

What I got was not perfect and happy, but it is real. And let me tell you real is so much better than make believe, IF you are willing to let go of your fairy tale.

It took a lot of work for me to release my fairy tale, and it's understandable that I held on to it for so long. I needed a fairy tale after the horror story I'd grown up in.

Over the past 11 years I've been letting go of that fairy tale mentality. It's hard work. I have fought it tooth and nail at times, but this past weekend I let go of another aspect of that fairy tale life -- a relationship that is never going to be the way I wanted it to be. It's sad and I'm foggy on the exact future, but I acknowledged reality and did what I needed to do.

What a gracious and loving God I have! He has walked with me every step of the way, loving me even when I kept getting stuck in the same place over and over again.

So today I am thankful, as always, for my Heavenly Father, and all the blessed people he has put in my path to open my eyes to the life He has waiting for me.

Blessings and peace.

find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking a Stand

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Diary of 5

I am seeing... a pink rose in full bloom

I am hearing... dogs settling in for the morning

I am smelling... Comfort & Joy tea

I tasted... yogurt with peaches & granola

I am feeling... content

link up at Diary of 5

Wordless Wednesday

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

RemembeRED -- Personification

The dictionary defines personification as “the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.” 

I am her Velveteen Rabbit, you might say. She calls me Yolie. I came into her life at a critical moment. The blending of past and present was just beginning. She was drawn to me instantly, even though she felt foolish to be so drawn at her age. She desperately needed this stuffed animal, but she didn’t understand why.

I knew why. She needed someone to tell her secrets to. She needed someone safe, who wouldn’t repeat the scary things in her head. She needed a compassionate witness.

So for the past 11 years I have listened to her; absorbed her tears, sweat and fears. I have travelled with her physically, emotionally and spiritually as she sought to reclaim her soul.

She is a strong one, this girl/woman. She has forged ahead, sometimes at a dangerous pace. She has looked horror in the face and refused to back down. She has chosen to speak instead of remaining silent.

She is still a little embarrassed and confused by my presence. She knows she would be lost without me, but she doesn’t really know why. I know though. I am the repository – the holder of that which was lost and then found. She has others who have helped her on this journey – her husband, her therapists, her friends, and others like me. But I am the keeper of the gates; the one who knows it all, whether she has said it or not.

I am not fluffy and soft anymore, but I am well loved. Sometimes I am in my natural state, and sometimes she dresses me. Right now she favors a red gingham, smocked dress. It doesn’t really matter to me. I am here for her, and that is all I need. I will be here as long as she needs me, to receive her tears, her fears, and her love – as she kisses me on the nose each morning.

link up at Write on Edge

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . January 24, 2012

Outside my window . . . sunny with clear, blue skies! It's quite lovely. Brisk 37 degrees (F).

I am thinking . . . a quote I recently saw: The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.

I am thankful . . . for getting through some tough stuff this weekend.

From the learning rooms . . . ds is home with the crud. I'm going to encourage him to write a paper and do some reading today.

In the kitchen . . . catch as catch can. I came down with the crud myself yesterday, so it was every man (woman) for himself.

I am wearing . . . still in my nightie and flannel robe. Taking it easy this morning to see how the stomach is going to do.

I am creating . . . well I finished the hat, but I'm not happy with it. I started a gender neutral baby blanket, but I really want to do some little projects, like bright round coasters or these tin covers (minus the beads) from Attic 24.

I am going . . . . to finish up the laundry, change the sheets and maybe do some ironing today.

I am wondering . . . how one determines what to do in service to others.

I am reading . . . Murder in the Marais (Aimee Leduc Investigations #1) 
by Cara Black on my new Kindle Fire.
I am hoping . . . to get some writing done today. I have a post I'm working on, but I haven't hit my stride on it yet.

I am looking forward to . . . getting the dogs back into their normal spots. We had to rearrange a little to accommodate their stitches and recovery. Stitches were removed this morning, so I think we can return to normal.

I am hearing . . . nothing and it is quite lovely!

Around the house . . . some organizing has begun. I'm considering redoing the shelves in my "office". I seem to be inspired to do this each January.

I am pondering . . . . the length of time it takes to process and move forward with certain things. And my need to be absolutely positive that I am making the "right" decision!

One of my favorite things . . . is "The Mentalist". Is that incredibly shallow of me? Ds and I had a marathon yesterday since we were both sick. It was really lots of fun.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . yoga, therapy, Bible study, housekeeping, crochet, reading -- all the usual suspects!

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

ds and gf heading out to Homecomin

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Musings

The last couple of weeks have been harder than usual (I wonder how many times I've started a post this way?). 
I had a flashback during yoga that brought some new, but not surprising information. Another attack that I pushed to the bottom of the pile. It's brought with it a lot of pain, tears, and consternation. I am tired of dealing with the abuse. I am tired of the inequity of it all. I am tired of self-doubt and self-recriminations. But so it goes.
For years I've talked and thought about boundaries. We all have to set them to protect ourselves. I struggle with how boundaries and Christianity go hand in hand. I look to find boundaries in Christ's life and work. He certainly walked away from some situations, but I am no Christ. It is much harder to trust my own judgment than to trust His. So I seek advice from trusted friends who are Christian, and I test what they tell me through prayer and deep consideration. I take comfort in the realization that they mostly tell me the same thing -- It is appropriate to protect myself from people who continually hurt me, even if it's not malicious; even if they say they love me. They can love me and still do and say really hurtful things. I have pointed this out to these people on many occasions but they seem incapable of making a change.
This weekend I made a change. I honestly told them that I need a break from them. It's just too hard trying to maintain the relationship while knowing they are maintaining a close relationship with one of the abusers. 
I did it by phone. I didn't cry or scream or threaten or throw accusations. I simply stated that I was having a really hard time with another flashback and knowing that they still welcome this person into their home was making it hard for me to talk with them.
I said I'd let them know when it changed -- that they could send emails if they needed to -- if something really important came up they could call my husband or daughter.
She said she loved me as we got off the phone. She never says that. 
I shook for 45 minutes after the call.
I made the call on Saturday, and today I am beginning to feel better. I catch myself wondering if they are all right, and then I remind myself that isn't my problem. They are adults with all the information they need. 
Today I will focus on what I really want this to mean. And I will pray, as always, for myself and all survivors to find that elusive peace in the constant struggle to understand.


Made by You Monday -- Variation on a Theme

Last Monday after I posted about bean soup I decided to fix a pot. I didn't have the usual fixings, so I decided to wing it. This is the variation on last week's recipe, but I really liked it, so you get soup again this Monday!

2 cups dry beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked (I use a blend of 5 or 6 of my favorite beans; you can also buy bean soup mix on the bean/rice aisle in the grocery -- just throw out the seasoning packet!)
2 quarts broth (I usually use chicken or vegetable, but you could use water and bouillon cubes in a pinch!)
2 cans original Rotel
1 pkg. Little Smokies, cut into quarters (I like the all beef)

Drain beans from overnight soak. Place all ingredients in dutch oven or slow cooker. If using a dutch oven, bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for at least 2 hours. Check periodically to make sure the liquid level is good. Add water or broth if needed. Check bean tenderness to make sure soup is ready.

If using a slow cooker, follow manufacturers instructions. In my 6-qt. slow cooker I usually set it on low and let it cook all day (8-5).

Garnish with cheese and serve with cornbread or muffins.

Serves 6-8 the way we eat it. You might get more or less depending on how much people like it!

for more goodness or to link up go to Made by You Mondays

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Finding Peace in the Heat -- A Re-post

(this is a repost from 6/2/10)

Everybody looks forward to summer. The lead up to Memorial Day weekend is awash with excitement about the coming weeks of relaxation, sun and fun. I like summer too, but unfortunately my enjoyment is tainted by memories. These are not memories I deliberately dredge up -- they just come with the warming weather, longer days and rising temperatures.Typically when the memories start to invade, I berate myself for dwelling on the past; for not being grateful for all I have and how far I've come; for not depending on God and being "all better".

The fact of the matter is, I was viciously and repeatedly molested as a child, and the vast majority of the abuse occurred in the summer. So while everyone else is excited and looking forward to the new season, my body and mind are gearing up, unconsciously, for what may happen next. Will there be more abuse? How bad will it be this time? Will he/she succeed in killing me this time? I am vulnerable all over again. I know that I won't see those people this summer. I have separated myself from all of my abusers, some by choice, some by geography and some by death (not at my hands), and yet the body remembers. It remembers the pain, the terror, the heat, the sun; leading to old habits of fear, sadness and isolation.

So how do I fight it? Sometimes well, other times not so well. This past weekend brought dreams, pain, sadness and depression. I fell into old traps of blaming myself, denigrating myself, and fearing everyone around me. I saw my therapist yesterday. She reminded me of how far I've come. She told me I was doing well. She told me to be kind to myself. And she told me to remember the good things that have happened in the summer in the years since the abuse ended.

Yesterday I went to the pool for the first time this summer. I swam laps and laid in the sun. I read a paperback novel and talked with an old friend. I had a few moments of feeling "normal", or at least what I think normal feels like. It was good.

I may do it again today.

for more posts go to Write on Edge

Friday, January 20, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. 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.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

for more moments visit SouleMama

The Cure

“The cure for anything is salt water….sweat, tears or the sea.”

~ Isak Dinesen, pseudonym of Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke 

Class is winding down. Savasana is in sight. A few final stretches and the best part of yoga class will begin. As I move into a long stretch, I notice that I am sweating. Sweat is good. It means I’m working my body. But somewhere just rising to the surface is another thought. Sweat means something bad is going to happen. Humiliation, pain, abuse.

I’m back at the farm. She is telling me I stink of sweat and fear. She wears me out, abuses me, and then ends with humiliation. As if sweating were the wrong thing somehow. She is the bringer of exertion, fear and abuse, but somehow I am the one who is wrong.

I catch myself and try to bring myself back to the present, and another memory comes. Years later, in my own home while my baby naps. He comes to the door and I let him in. Why do I let him in?

We’ve moved into savasana, but I am not relaxing. I am caught in the alternate reality of a flashback. I breathe -- cleansing breaths to push the memory out and away. I deliberately tell my muscles to relax. I remind myself that whatever it is, I’ve already survived. I will deal with it in due time.

The class is over. I sit up on my mat. People are filing out. Not me. I am stuck on my mat. The instructor comes to me.

“Are you sick?”


“Are you okay?”

“No. Bad memories.”

She lays her cool hands on mine and prays words of peace. She holds me as the tears begin to fall; until I am present again.

link up at Write on Edge

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday #3

Today we find our intrepid blogger feeling a little less frazzled. And how thankful we are!
Struggles come and go, as does joy, but the constant is the love of God and His grace to meet us where we are.
I am still struggling with some concepts and ideas; with what to do regarding my extended family; with, as a friend put it, the mind boggling confusion brought on by my family's reactions.
Again I find myself wishing for an edict or papal bull that would clarify and authorize my actions and behavior. Perhaps God is telling me and I am just not hearing?
Here is what I do know. God is with me, so who can be against me? He has surrounded me with a host of believers who listen, care, and offer Biblical advice. They honor my feelings and fears while still offering loving support -- so very much for which to be thankful!
His grace is sufficient, if only I will let it be.

Blessings and peace.

find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking a Stand

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Diary of 5

I am seeing... trees swaying against the gray sky

I am hearing... strong wind and my windchimes

I am smelling... Farmer's Market candle

I tasted... pumpkin bread

I am feeling... better

link up at Diary of 5