Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 31 of 31

Happy Halloween! And happy I've made it through 31 days of blogging.
I have good memories of Halloween as a young child. There were costumes bought at the 5 and Dime store. Cheap fabric and a plastic mask. My mother would make me wear a sweater over the costume ruining the entire ensemble. We would make the rounds, mostly to friends and relatives. The best was stopping at Auntie and Uncle Horace's house. She always made popcorn balls and we would sit in the living room eating them and sometimes caramel apples as well.

Other years there were parties at school with bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the donkey, and comparing our costumes. In memory it seems fun and innocent. I hope it really was like that.

The smell of autumn leaves is still one of my favorite scents. Whether it's just the damp, musky scent as they carpet the ground or the smell of them burning in bonfires, it just makes me smile.

I still love walking (kicking) through piles of crunchy leaves that accumulate, and watching each leaf's lazy dance through the autumn air. 

So for this last day of October -- Halloween -- last day of 31, I want to say thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you for letting me voice some really difficult things. Thank you for being there and not judging me.

Have a wonderful day and evening doing what you love with those you love, and remember --
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
-- Romans 8:28 (NASB)

Wordless Wednesday

photo credit Alan Pennington

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . October 30, 2012

Outside my window . . . it's windy, very windy! Mid 40's for temps, but the sky is clearing.

I am thinking . . . that I am glad one of the besties is coming over for a while today.

I am thankful . . . to not live on the east coast today!

In the kitchen . . . I have a sink full of handwash only items. Grrrr. . .

I am wearing . . . yoga pants and a long sleeved t-shirt. There may be a jacket in my immediate future.

I am creating . . . still working on the afghan, but I started a scarf for a Christmas present last week.

I am going . . . to take some shirts to the laundry, run by the YMCA to drop something off, and then to the grocery store.

I am wondering . . . about trying to do NaNoWriMo. It's really for fiction writers, but I'm wondering about using it to get motivated on my memoir everyone keeps telling me to write.

I am reading . . . The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg. She's a Swedish novelist. And no I didn't realize this was No. 3 in a series when I started it, but so far it hasn't mattered.

I am looking forward to . . . swimming with the manatees in December.

I am hearing . . . the wind and windchimes. We are under a wind advisory today. I am grateful that seems to be all we're getting from Sandy.

Around the house . . . still reclaiming the house from being out of town over the weekend.

I am pondering . . . the monster theme that seems to keep cropping up in my journaling. 

One of my favorite things . . . is sipping hot tea on a chilly morning. I'm on my second cup for today. I started out with English Breakfast Tea, and now have moved on to Plantation Mint.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . not much. Just the usual stuff.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
Yaya on her throne

One Block Over [Day 30]

I finished an 8-week yoga class last night. I love yoga and have been practicing off and on for 15+ years. This particular class was an introduction to Iyengar yoga. I did Iyengar when I first started yoga, but haven't done it in many years, so it was nice to have a refresher.
My only hesitancy in taking this particular class was it's location. It's in a lovely little neighborhood that is mostly small businesses now. It is the neighborhood I lived in until I was 6 years old. The yoga studio is one block over from the house in which I was abused by the monster.

I have driven through this neighborhood and even by that very house off and on over the past few years. I get hit with all the usual symptoms of headache, nausea, pain, panic, terror. This time I decided it was time to face it head on and try to take back that place from my childhood.

Time and space hold memory. Just like portions of my body remember the abuse through ongoing  pain today. 

I was nervous before each class -- not because of the yoga, that I loved -- it was the location. Standing at the yoga center I could look over one block and see the house. I know it's just a house -- a business now. But then it was my home with many good memories, all tainted by the episodes with the monster.

Last night I drove by the house as I left class. I noted the name of the business. I want to walk through that space again. I want to see what remains of the room he used to torment me. I want to exorcise him as much as possible from my life.

Yoga was a good start.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day(s) 28 and 29

We spent the weekend at Pickett State Park with Alan's side of the family. I mentioned before this has been a tradition for years. What I didn't mention, is that this year I wasn't really looking forward to it. I've been having a round of depression and pain lately which makes me want to curl up and do as little as possible (all the while feeling very guilty).
Saturday morning Alan and I packed up and headed up to the park. We made our annual stop at Walmart for supplies for dinner and breakfast, and then drove on into the park.
Our son and his best friend were already there so they helped us unload the car and brought us up to speed on event thus far (the rest of the family had arrived on Friday evening). 
We spent our time doing a lot of relaxing and talking, and not much hiking as it was very wet and rainy. I made a big pot of spaghetti, a tossed salad, and cheesy bread for dinner for everyone, and we rounded it out with roasted marshmallows, pumpkin bread, cookies, and homemade granola.
Sunday morning part of the group got up and took a walk in the misty rain while I started cooking breakfast. That's a tradition as well. Homemade pancakes, bacon, and omelets with juice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. There were 10 of us this weekend. That's A LOT of pancakes -- especially when there are special orders involved, i.e., plain, pecan, and/or chocolate chip. Eventually I had to grab a single pancake and one slice of bacon for myself! Everybody ate and talked and laughed and generally enjoyed themselves from the 4 year old to the nearly 80 year old.
After breakfast, my father-in-law came over to where I was washing up the dishes and gave me a big hug. He said, "I wasn't feeling well this morning, but the walk up the hill and all this wonderful food has made me really glad I came." I kissed him and told him the love and affection went a long way as well.
And suddenly I was glad I had come too. Isolation is not good for the soul. And suffering in silence doesn't do any of us any good -- whether it's from pulmonary fibrosis or depression.
So today I'll unpack and clean house and listen to some happy music. I'll do my Bible study and crochet a little. But mostly I think I'll remember that hug from my father in law.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

{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.

Day 27 of 31

This weekend dh and I are vacationing with his family at a state park. We've been doing this trip off and on for nearly 20 years. 

Recently my father-in-law was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, so this might the last trip he'll be able to make to the mountains. 

We're all going again (except for dd who has to work). I don't know how much walking he'll be up to or how much rain we may get while we're there. But one thing is for sure, I'll be spending time in the kitchen. I'm the family cook, which is fine with me most of the time. Tomorrow night I'll make a big pot of spaghetti, a tossed salad, and what we refer to as "Sandra bread" (named after the friend who introduced us to it). We may have brownies and ice cream for dessert or maybe apple cobbler. I haven't decided yet.

Sunday morning will be pancakes and bacon, and maybe some eggs if we have a special request or two. 

We'll eat and walk. The littles will play on the playground, weather allowing. We might play cards or Rummikub. I'll undoubtedly crochet and read, and everyone will talk.

It's odd imagining this might be our last trip like this, but the reality is any year could have been our last, we just didn't think about it that way. 

We don't have that many traditions in our family. I always wanted to have traditions, but it hasn't worked out that way (yet), but this trip is a nice reminder of the growth and changes in our family and extended family. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Voice [Day 26 of 31]


How many voices do you hear in your head?
I hear a chorus. A very discordant chorus.

There are the abusers' voices full of threats and lies.
"You are worthless, self-centered, unloved, dramatic. No one will miss you when you're gone."

There is my child voice.
Full of questions about why this is happening and what I did wrong to make it all happen.

There is my counselor's voice.
Assuring me that I am not a bad person, but rather bad things happened to me through no fault of my own.

There is my husband's voice.
Filled with love and humor, frustration and pain, patience and intellect. Reminding me of what is real and true.

There is God's voice.
Calling to me. Reminding me that I am His. His daughter. Christ's sister. God's "crown of all His creatures" (James 1:18). The only voice that really matters. 

And I struggle to tune out the evil ones and focus on the good ones. 
To hear the loving voices telling me truth.
And I post a note above my computer -- Only God is truth.
His is the voice on which to focus.

linking up at 5 minute friday and WOE Weekend Linkup

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25 of 31

I read a lot of blogs. I comment occasionally. I am usually overwhelmed by the gifts I see in these blogs, and every once and a while underwhelmed. But mostly what I wonder is "Am I adding anything to this format?"
When I first heard about blogging is sounded like a lot of vanity to me. People writing about themselves and posting on the internet for all the world to see. And I wondered about my motivations in wanting to join the fray.
I tend to criticize the things I am most drawn to. Maybe it's just another way to denigrate myself. Maybe it's just what I felt was happening to me as I grew up. Either way, I think it's about time I stopped doing it.
For all the methods of communication we have in the modern world, there are still a plethora of lonely people. People who need interaction with others but have trouble for one reason or another reaching out. Blogging helps with the loneliness. 
It's not the same as a one on one conversation, but it has benefits. I have been pleasantly surprised at the inclusion I have felt. I have been even more surprised by the absence of judgment. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I don't think so. 
All of us, but especially women, need to feel connected to one another. Blogging is just another attempt in this crazy rat race life to connect.
So keep writing.

12 Lines

He lures me to the study.
He relaxes me with chit chat.
He throws me against the wall.
He whispers horrors in my ear.

I begin to sweat.
I am pressed against the paneled wall.
I am terrified.
I feel the pain begin.

The doors lead to freedom.
Don't make eye contact.
My bare foot touches the porch.
The cooling damp grass receives my battered body.

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24 of 31

I've been re-skimming Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery. You know going back through and reading the portions I underlined or starred or highlighted; the pages I turned the corner down on. 
I was diagnosed with chronic PTSD in 2000 and I read this book for the first time in 2003. It was the first book on the subject that really spoke to me. I found myself all throughout the pages. 
It was a good news, bad news dilemma. The good news was I'm not alone. My responses are consistent with others' who have suffered abuse. The bad news was it validated that all these terrible things in my head were true. 
I read a post the other day written by another survivor about serial victims. Another term that unfortunately applies to me. What is it about having been abused that makes other perpetrators see me? It's like having a target on your back, or a flashing neon sign that says, "Pick me". 
And for all those years I believed it was something I had done that made it keep happening, or that the repetition was proof that I was making it all up. More abuse, emotional this time, even though the abusers were long gone from my day to day life.
My therapist and husband keep saying "Be kind to yourself" and "get angry", but I don't know how. Honestly. 
I've spent my entire life finding fault with myself and avoiding anger, except the kind that used to come roiling out at inappropriate times. I've gotten that under control, because I don't want to be like the abusers. Angry for no apparent reason. Lashing out verbally and physically. 
So I'm rethinking anger and what it really looks like. You know, righteous anger. The kind of anger that says you may not hurt me, but don't worry I won't hurt you. 
The "be kind to yourself" is taking even longer. How do I know when I'm doing enough and when I'm just being lazy? It looks silly typed up like that, but that's really what I worry about. How much is enough to make me a valuable, worthwhile, whole person? How much fun can I have and how many things can I do just because I like it, before I've crossed the line and become self-centered and uncaring of others' needs?
And then I remember grace. And I think about the gift freely given to me. The little girl who was abused grown up to be the woman who is trying to stop that cycle of abuse. 
And God says: "But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck." -- Matthew 18:6 (The Message).
And I find comfort in God's adamant love for me, and choose to embrace His grace.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23 of 31

"Trauma is trauma". That's what I say to people when they talk about their own struggles. It's not about comparisons. Whatever you struggle with is what you have to learn to deal with.

And yet, sometimes when I hear people throwing around terms it irks me -- no, actually it infuriates me. It makes me angry.

The first time I noticed it was in the grocery. Someone said the prices on foods made him feel as if the manufacturers were just raping the consumers. Whoa! I don't think so, not even close. The price of cereal compared to being raped? 

I remember after 9/11, my therapist (at the time) saying the whole nation was suffering from PTSD, and I felt belittled. Maybe there was some truth in it, but it made my personal story feel unworthy. What I heard was "Get over it. Look what all these other people are going through." I don't think that's what he meant, but still . . . 

I've said it before and will no doubt say it again, I am a words girl. Definitions are my bread and butter. I live by definitions. 

Trauma -- a : an injury (as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent
b : a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury
c : an emotional upset

That cuts a wide swath. Judith Hermann in her book Trauma and Recovery says it this way -- . . . simplistic efforts to quantify trauma ultimately lead to meaningless comparisons of horror. The salient characteristic of the traumatic event is its power to inspire helplessness and terror.

So maybe my theory that trauma is trauma needs to be updated by remembering what trauma really is. Having a bad day is not trauma. Thinking you or someone you love is about to die is trauma. 

Did I believe I would die? Did I feel powerless and helpless in those of moments of abuse? You bet I did. At times the abusers told me how they were going to kill me. At other times the pain and horror were so intense I couldn't imagine surviving. 

So what's the point of all this? I guess, it's to remind us all to think before we speak. And I'll keep working on listening with a discerning hear. Trying to hear what you mean even when what you say irks me.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . October 23, 2012

Outside my window . . . I see sugar maples turning orange and gold against a robin's egg blue sky. We are having a little "Indian summer" around with temps headed into the 80's today.

I am thinking . . . that going back to yoga last night was good, but my side is definitely noticing it this morning. Maybe I'll settle for a walk today.

I am thankful . . . to have a home. I think about all the homeless people this time of year. Each day must bring anxiety as the weather shifts to cold.

In the kitchen . . . dd made whole wheat/rice flour sourdough bread yesterday. Quite tasty!

I am wearing . . . a big t-shirt and my summer weight robe while I have my first cuppa this morning.

I am creating . . . still working on the afghan, but I started a scarf for a Christmas present last night.

I am going . . . to the dentist and to run a few errands. I'm wondering about early voting, but I here the lines have been awful, which I suppose is a good thing!

I am wondering . . . about trauma. The word covers the gamut of experiences. I am always telling people not to compare their trauma to someone else's, but I have a really difficult time with that myself. We had a speaker Sunday who talked about his experience of recovery after being hit by semi-truck, and I found myself thinking, "his experience is worse than mine". But based on what criteria? Trauma is trauma.

I am reading . . . A Murder of Crows by Jan Dunlap. Almost done. Not a great read, but relaxing, like a British cozy mystery.

I am looking forward to . . . our trip in December. Dh made the reservations, so it looks as if it will really happen : )

I am hearing . . . the dogs wandering around. They check out every nook and corner of the house after breakfast each morning before settling in for their morning naps.

Around the house . . . the usual picking up, and I need to finish up the laundry from yesterday. 

I am pondering . . . depression, and the way it comes and goes, plus how responsible I feel when I'm having a hard time. Trying to shake the responsibility aspect and place it firmly back in the abusers' court.

One of my favorite things . . . is sitting at my desk in the mornings watching the people in my neighborhood taking walks and getting ready for what their day will bring. Sometimes I feel a little like Alice Kravitz!
A few plans for the rest of the week . . . trying to get back to a routine with my Bible study (man I am SOOOO behind!), some beading and crocheting, and then dh and I are headed to Pickett Park on Saturday.

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22 of 31

Well, I missed Day 21. No excuses, but maybe a few explanations. It was Sunday and I don't normally post on Sundays. I wasn't feeling great. Ds was home (unexpectedly) from college. I had leftover errands from Saturday. The Tennessee Titans actually won their game (we're 3-4).

But that was yesterday. Today is Day 22 and I'm back in the saddle.
Memory pain. This may not be a term you are familiar with, but let me assure you it's real. According to the IASP, pain is defined as "'an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage'
This definition does not mention memory. It is clear, however, that the memory of pain often overshadows its primary experience in its impact upon pathophysiology and human suffering. Clinical interventions to blunt both the experience and persistence of pain or to lessen its memory are now applied worldwide." 

So I have memory pain. Pain that recurs in the places I was harmed as a child and an adult. The pain is real and sometimes staggering in its intensity. I deal with it using a combination of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and medication. I can go for weeks with constant pain, and other times I can go for weeks with no pain at all. It is not something I cause or make happen, but the best method for dealing with for me has been to face it head on -- recognizing that it is just one more form of the abuse I suffered. I don't want to hurt, but I do. Ignoring it doesn't work any better than trying to ignore the memories worked. 
So I write, and I breathe. I stretch and I rest. I say nice things to myself, and I acknowledge that this isn't my fault any more than it was my fault when the abuse actually took place.
But it's difficult. Pain is always difficult, but it's even worse when you have to explain that the pain is caused by a memory of pain and injury. Like the amputee who has pain in the foot that isn't there anymore. It sounds a little crazy. So I don't talk about it much, because I fear it adds fuel to the "crazy fire", and I'm terrified of being labelled that way.

Made by You Monday -- Menus!

It's been a while since I shared the week's menus, so here's what's cookin' this week at my house.

Day #1 -- Grilled Hamburgers, chips, and baked beans
Day #2 -- Ham and Bean Soup, cornbread
Day #3 -- Grilled chicken, spinach salad with mandarin oranges, toasted pine nuts, and craisins
Day #4 -- Spaghetti with meat sauce, lettuce wedges with blue cheese dressing
Day # 5 -- Baked tilapia, succotash, and fresh fruit salad
Day #6 -- Bacon and cheese quiche, Morning Glory Muffins
We love quiche and this recipe is quick and easy and I usually have all the ingredients on hand (or something I can substitute -- it's a very forgiving recipe).

Bacon and Cheese Quiche
10 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled (you can use microwave bacon and even real bacon bits in a pinch)
1 deep dish pie crust (frozen, refrigerated, or homemade)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (skim, low-fat, whole, cream, whatever you have)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of cayenne (or black pepper if you prefer)
1 1/4 cups grated Swiss cheese

Following package directions for pre-baking pie crust. 
Preheat oven to 425.
Sprinkle crumbled bacon over the bottom of the crust. Combine eggs, milk and spices and well. Sprinkle cheese over bacon and ladle egg mixture over all. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serves 6.

adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1990)
linking up to Skip to My Lou

Saturday, October 20, 2012

{this moment} -- day 20 of 31

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. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Look [Day 19 of 31]

I look and look and look.
I look hard hoping to find the answer.
The one that explains it all.

I look at myself.
I look at choices I made.
I look for what I didn't see.

I look at situations.
I look for warning signs.
I look at the alignment of the stars.

I look at them. The abusers.
Finally, I look at the people who are responsible.
I  see in a very different way.

I look at her -- at me.
I look at the little girl who loved life.
I look at the little girl who was brutalized.

I see the hope.
I see the growth.
I see the future.

linking up at 5 minute friday

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What's Broken? -- [Day 18 of 31]

What's broken?
For a long time I thought the answer to that was me.
If I could just do things right, I'd be slim enough, smart enough, happy enough, friendly enough. People would like me more. I would understand the world at large. There would be less pain, fewer wars, less pollution, no global warming.
I took a lot of responsibility on myself, and gave myself a lot more power and credit than I deserved as well. Oh look, something else to feel guilty about!

What's broken?
The real answer to that is, everything.
Everything in this world is broken. It's not just me, or all my fault. It's that this world is not the way God wanted it to be. But it's the way He knew it would be.

He knew by giving us choices and options, we would invariably make some bad choices; choose some wrong options. But He wanted a real relationship with us. Not just automatons following a preconceived map of action. Where is the fun in that for any of us?

But when I realize that it's not just me, that the whole world is broken, well that makes it a little easier to take in each day. A little easier to be more loving and compassionate to myself and others around me and around the globe. 

God knew we'd screw it up, but He also loved us enough to let us screw it up. And then He sent His Son to fix it for us. 

What's broken?
Nothing. Nothing that God's love can't fix.

linking up with Mama's Losin' It and imperfect prose on thursdays

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook -- Day 16 of 31

FOR TODAY . . . October 16, 2012

Outside my window . . . the sky is clear blue and the temperature is 52 degrees. I woke up COLD this morning (we dipped into the low 40's) and got up to turn the heat up.

I am thinking . . . about what to do today. I finished a course of steroids this morning. They have wiped me out for the past few days, so I'd like to get some things done today, but don't want to overdo.

I am thankful . . . to be done with the steroids. I hope the side effects don't last too long.

In the kitchen . . . last night was a big pot of chili. Tonight I'm thinking about chicken sausage, mac & cheese, and green beans.

I am wearing . . . my gown and flannel robe. I need to get a shower and get dressed, but I don't have anywhere to be right now so I guess there's no rush.

I am creating . . . this afghan is coming along quite nicely. I no longer feel that I'm just barely started at this point.
I am going . . . to get a few things done around the house and work on Bible study today.

I am wondering . . . about parental responsibility. I don't think I had any idea when I had children what I was getting into. My own parents were pretty hands off and I just assumed that was the way it was done. I'm looking back now and wishing I had known/done some things differently. The good news is I can talk with my kids about those things now and hopefully still help them through rough spots.

I am reading . . . A Murder of Crows by Jan Dunlap. It's a pretty good little murder mystery that I found for free to download to my Kindle. I needed something relaxing and relatively mindless, and this seems to fit the bill.

I am looking forward to . . . a trip with dh in December. We are going to swim with the manatees in Crystal River, FL!

I am hearing . . . nothing but silence which is quite lovely. My neighbor who drives a motorcycle just left for work. I can time my morning fairly well by the whine of his engine as heads down our street.

Around the house . . . just the usual to do today -- a little laundry and picking up. Empty the dishwasher, and then take ds pick up his car from the shop.

I am pondering . . . not much right now. My mind is a bit addled from the steroids -- I'm hoping that clears up soon!

One of my favorite things . . . is the changing seasons. We have had a lovely autumn here so far. Frequently we have short changes -- from hot straight to cold. But this years we seem to be easing our way into autumn and it just delightful.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . getting back on routine, testing the body's ability to get back to exercise, Bible study, and a farewell dinner with the besties as KFH heads to the great white north for his annual holiday show.

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 15 of 31

It's a beautiful autumn day here. The sky is blue. There is a nicely north breeze and the temperature is 62 degrees. I have the windows and doors open.

I'm recuperating from costochondritis fairly well. At this point the side effects from the steroids are worse than the inflammation. My hands are shaking, so typing may be slow today.
My son is home from college for fall break. Tempers flared last night. Son and daughter do not always see eye to eye -- she is a social work major with undecided political leanings, and she's bipolar. He is computer geek with decidedly Republican leanings, and he's 19 so he knows everything.

There for a little while last night I found myself reliving the toddler days of refereeing disputes. But then I remembered, that's not my job anymore. I told them both to behave like adults because rude isn't acceptable in my house. My daughter backed down and went to bed, my son kept pressing his case. At that point the hubs stepped in had a long conversation with son. Then they did some programming and played some ping pong and everybody went to bed.

Why is is so hard as parent to see your child misbehave? Even at 19? Because what if he stays 19 -- self-centered, cocky, and lacking in compassion for others? 

Then I remind myself, my daughter got over being 19, so he will too. (I hope its' sooner rather than later, though!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 14 of 31

Do you ever see themes or patterns in your life without even looking for them?

I've been working on the "monster" abuser lately, and I keep seeing things that speak to me about it all.
Yesterday the hubs and I watched an episode of "Sherlock" -- yes, it's another BBC series (and it's wonderful!). This one was "The Hounds of the Baskerville". If you haven't been following this series (infinitely superior to its American counterpart, "Elementary") the premise is Sherlock in the present.

I realized as I sat watching the story unfold in a modern setting, that it was validating my current realizations. We see what we expect to see. Children mold unfathomable situations into something they can make sense of -- in my case, an abuser became a Saturday matinee movie monster. It's the only frame of reference I had. It doesn't make me crazy. We all use what we have around us and inside of us to try and make sense of the things we see and experience. Even Sherlock began to doubt himself in "The Hounds" because what he was "seeing" didn't make sense in his context.
If the great Sherlock Holmes can doubt himself and come out on the other side, maybe I can too.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 13 of 31

I keep thinking about Lisa-Jo saying write what you know.
But what I know isn't pretty.

What I know is that some people are monsters underneath it all.
Family doesn't always rush to support.
Just because the hurt was a long time ago, doesn't mean it isn't still scary and painful.

But then I stop and consider what else I know. 
I know that my husband will always support me come hell or high water.
I know that he loves me as unconditionally as a person is able.
I know that he believes me when I tell him about the horrors I endured.
I know that he feels my pain as well as he can.

I also know that I have a cadre of friends who support me and love me.
They love my husband and kids as well.
I know that people who know me well have a lot more faith in me than I have in myself.
I know that I trust them, so they must have some reason for that faith.

But the most important thing I know is
Jesus loves me, this I know
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong.
and I knew that even when I was a little girl going through all the terrible things, because I'd been singing it all my life.

And that's what got me through it all.

{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. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 12 of 31

Facebook status update this morning:
Tough memories, a fall, costochondritis, steroids, bruising from said fall, and a thunderstorm do NOT make for a good night of sleep! There will be lots of "morning" tea today.
That's my week in a nutshell.
I shared a little yesterday about the tough memories. The fall was on Wednesday afternoon. My daughter and I went to the grocery for some dinner supplies. We were chatting and walking. I thought I was on the ramp portion of the sidewalk, but only my right foot was, so my left foot hit the edge of the sidewalk, and as my grandfather used to say, it was all over but the shouting. I fell hard on my left hip. Luckily my purse took the brunt of the aggregate sidewalk. 

Falling as an adult is just embarrassing. I know it shouldn't be. I know normal people fall all the time (they do, right?). My daughter just looked at me and said, "Oh, honey". Such a good Southern girl. There was a woman walking out with the bag boy pushing her cart of groceries. She expressed deep concern -- asking if I was hurt, putting items back in my purse, and helping me to my feet. I really appreciated her help, but I just wanted to pretend it hadn't happened. 

I'm okay except for the lovely bruise on my left hip and the few items that got broken in my purse when I landed on it.

I've had this happen before. PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) leads to clumsiness for some of us. I can chart stress by injuries from things like this. (A friend who also has PTSD reminded me of this and it made me feel better about the fall.)

Then there's the costochondritis. An inflammation of the cartilage in my ribs and sternum. A common ailment (so says my doctor) often found in teenagers. At least that part made me feel better. So now I'm on a round of steroids, which could lead to irritability or manic energy. Oh yay!

About 3 AM we got hit with an apocalyptic-sounding storm that lasted until about 6 AM. So I was awake off and on between pain, thunder, and lightening (and a few frightening memories/images thrown in for good measure).

I have had my first stiff drink of the day (i.e., English Breakfast Tea with lots of demerara sugar and a splash of milk), and my first dose of steroids. And yes, I'm cranky this morning.

But on the up side, it is Friday, and my dear hubs doesn't have a class tomorrow. I'm thinking a trip to Cheekwood to see the scarecrow display might be in order!

(Lisa-Jo reminded me to write even when I don't feel like it.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11 of 31

Have you seen the BBC show "Jekyll"?
My son and I are BBC addicts. I don't know what it is -- maybe it's the accent -- but we gravitate toward BBC shows on Netflix.

This past weekend my son introduced me to "Jekyll". It is not for the faint of heart. The basic premise of the show is similar to the novel, but with a twist, Jekyll and Hyde communicate via pocket recorder and  an assistant/keeper of sorts.

The show got me thinking about what we as a society teach about abusers and bad guys in general. We warn kids about "stranger danger", when in reality the person most likely to molest a kid is someone they know and trust -- a coach, a mentor, a troop leader, a minister, an uncle (or aunt). We do this because we want our kids to grow up believing they can control things. They are safe if they stay on guard, and that's simply not true.

Every person who abused me was someone I knew. Someone my parents knew and trusted. They all went to church and held jobs and lived in nice houses. 

The scariest thing about "Jekyll" is that there is so little physical difference in Jekyll and Hyde, but their characters are poles apart. Yes, it's fiction, but reality is like that too.

I have always referred to one abuser in particular as a monster. No one would think him a monster to see him on the street. He had a nice easy smile, charming demeanor, and good looks. The boy next door. But when he became an abuser, he was terrifying. A monster with claws for hands, elongated teeth, and a gaping mouth rushing to devour me.

Maybe that's why I find such comfort in these quotes:

"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness." Joseph Conrad

Fairy tales do not teach children that dragons exist. They already know they do. Fairy tales teach children that dragons can be killed. -- C.K. Chesterton

They take the onus off of me and place the blame directly where it belongs -- on the abusers, the evildoers, the monsters.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10 of 31

I had one of those conversations yesterday. You know the real ones where nobody pretends like everything is wonderful? Where you ask real questions about hard stuff? It was just lovely. And the funny thing was it led to laughter, and I felt maybe I was understood, and that little click of connection may have sounded.

I've known of this person since high school. I was reacquainted with her a few years ago through a mutual friend. Recently I hired her to do some work for me.

I'm not good at asking for help, even when I'm paying for it. Everything just came together in one of those ways that makes me think God's got to be in this. Planets aligning and all that.

We chatted before she began working. Filling in information gaps. What we knew, thought we knew, about each other -- exchanging it for what was real and true. 

Her life's not perfect either. She grew up going to church and the right schools, but it hasn't been picket fences and window boxes. And that made it easier to talk about my window boxes being empty, and the struggles of abuse, betrayal, distrust, a bipolar daughter, and an extended family that fails. 

What amazed me most was the laughter. It didn't feel like we were ignoring each other's pain (hers is divorce, blended family, chronic illness -- variations on a theme), rather it seemed that we just understood. There wasn't all that effort to try and explain to someone who hasn't struggled. She knew what it felt like, and so did I. So we moved into that click connection with little or no awkwardness. 

And isn't that what it's meant to be like? Really seeing, sharing, and understanding another person's life without judging or fearing judgment. 

linking up with Lisa-Jo and Ann Voskamp

Wordless Wednesday -- Best Tea Cup Ever

for more images go to Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 9 of 31

Anger is the reaction that we have when we feel we have been treated disrespectfully. It is a natural reaction just like fear, and it is often connected to fear as it serves as a warning signal that we may be in danger.

According to Websters anger is: a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism

When I think of anger, I think of abuse. The two are totally entwined for me. As a child, I saw the abusers' behavior as anger, not recognizing it for what it was. Abuse.

So I'm looking at anger right now trying to get a grasp on it as an appropriate and acceptable emotion. Trying to recognize the difference in anger and expressions of anger. Anger is not bad, but how we choose to express it may lead to negative, hurtful behavior.

It's syntax, but syntax is important, especially when I'm trying to unlearn and relearn basic life skills and understandings.

linking up with Lisa-Jo and Ann Voskamp

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . October 9, 2012

Outside my window . . . the sky is blue with wispy white clouds. It's in the 40's. Looks like a beautiful day : )

I am thinking . . . about anger and how to define it.

I am thankful . . . for the productivity I've had recently.

In the kitchen . . . last night was turkey chili with black beans to welcome autumn.

I am wearing . . . black yoga pants and a long-sleeved t-shirt with my new walking shoes.

I am creating . . . afghans and tying my first quilt.

I am going . . . to work on my Bible studies today. I'm a little behind so I'm making it a priority for the day.

I am wondering . . . how to get more crafting done. There are just not enough hours for all the things I think up.

I am reading . . . The Last Romanov by Dora Levy Mossanen

I am looking forward to . . . my dh having this coming Saturday off from grad classes. We are going to plan something fun to do together.

I am hearing . . . the television in the other room.

Around the house . . . things are looking pretty good. I have a lady coming to do some cleaning for me today.

I am pondering . . . this phrase from out minister "aching visionaries". It strikes a chord with me.

One of my favorite things . . . is a really good quote: “I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” ― Philip Yancey 

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . nothing out of the ordinary. There is a sameness to my weeks, but in truth I like that.

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