Sunday, June 30, 2013

Things I've Learned In June

Let's spend some time together today, shall we? Hop on your big yellow bee and let's talk about life! To get things rolling, here's a very exciting picture of myself and a list of things I've learned in June:

As I do not have a yellow bee, I am including the terrible picture of my kids and me from Mother's Day

could we be an goofier!?!

1. Cooking for 4 is very different than cooking for 3. Especially when the additional 1 has been eating crappy college food. My idea of a full refrigerator and pantry is very different than my 19 year old son's. If it's not instant, it's not really food.

2. Crocheting is an acceptable summertime activity if you have horrible allergies/sinus infection that keeps you from going outside for the worst pollen season ever! But it is true, you can watch entire seasons of TV shows on Netflix and never know what the characters look like.

3. Salad, grilled meat of any form, and fresh bread is always appropriate for dinner. Even multiple nights in a row.

4. Poppy seed cake filling is over rated. Made these for dh and he really liked them. Bleh.

5. I don't see enough people in my day to take very exciting photographs. Apparently I need to get out of the house more. (See #3 over at Ostriches)

6. Books I read in high school, college, and early years of marriage, may not be worth re-reading even you get 8 books for $.70 at the used book store. Actually that may be the reason you can get a book for a nickel.

7. Fifty year olds can have a ridiculous amount of fun sorting through Barbie clothes from childhood. Hours and hours of fun as a matter of fact. Taking photos. Determining which are "original" and which were made by moms. Even a 50 year old man can get into the swing of it (if he's a costume designer on the side, anyway.)

8. Discovering Doctor Who with your husband and 23 year old daughter is fun. Not sure how I've missed this, but I'm finding it hard to get through a day without an episode. (unfortunately the 19 year old doesn't understand our addiction -- but he likes Game of Thrones -- ewwww, porn!)

9. Finding the sewing table is very nice, but may not necessarily lead to a significant increase in sewing.

10. June flew by fast. Hope July goes a little slower, but I'm not counting on it.

linking up with CHATTING at the SKY via Ostriches Look Funny and Writer's Workshop

Saturday, June 29, 2013

{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, June 28, 2013


In-between two extremes. That's where I'm living right now. 

In-between feeling capable, competent, healed, and feeling sluggish, dull, broken.

The long haul of trudging through the muck and mire of the past is ending, I think. I'm proud of the work I've done.

But (oh that word!) healing isn't looking or feeling like I thought it would. Sometimes. I'm a perfectionist at heart. I want all or nothing. Black or white. I'm not good at intermediates. And healing/recovery is an in-between state. The bad isn't gone and it's not good all the time. The bad slips back in sometimes -- usually when I least expect it -- and I fall back into old patterns of self denigration. 

But here's the thing, this world, this life, is an in-between. This world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through. So there are no absolutes here; no perfection.

I'm learning to embrace the in-between of now, and not push it away. 

Because it's just a stepping stone toward home.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summertime Blues

I read stories like emily's post yesterday and the wonderful responses to it. And then I sit down to write, and the guilt washes over me again. 

I write about the abuse from my childhood. About recovery from that abuse. And the ongoing struggle with chronic PTSD. The voice starts in my head -- "Don't compare your 'problems' with other's real problems" or "That happened a long time ago. You should be over it by now". 

But I'm not over it. Hence the term "chronic". I was asked to describe PTSD --
Walking in darkness; fearing the abyss
Appearing normal, but I am shattering inside

I know God is big enough to handle all the problems, large and small. But I'm feeling like a failure these days. Struggling again with extended family issues. Dealing with wanting to run away and hide. Trying to make myself be kind to be me. Stating the truth about my feelings without denigrating them.

And it all just seems so whiny.

The only way out seems to be to remind myself of how bad it really was. To tell myself what I'd tell anyone else who had my experiences. To cut myself some slack (so much easier said than done!). And to believe that I'm not just making excuses and seeking attention.

Recently someone commented on a post --

My past is kinder than yours, but when I'm overwhelmed and/or tired, I slip into what I call "conspiracy-theory mode" where I think everyone's thinking and talking about and working against and hating me.

and that opening phrase -- my past is kinder than yours -- almost made me cry. Someone else acknowledging that is was a hard past, and it's understandable that it still impacts my day to day life.

So will you stand with me . . . again? Have I worn out my welcome with my neediness? 

linking up with imperfect prose

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 25, 2013

Outside my window . . . pale blue skies with a few wispy clouds. It's 75 degrees going up to 91.

I am thinking . . . that mood swings are bad enough without adding mind altering antibiotics to the mix.

I am thankful . . . for good friends to spend the day with that will hopefully lift my spirits.

In the kitchen . . . this morning I had fresh, organic blueberries, Greek yogurt, Tennessee honey, and organic granola along with my Irish breakfast tea. 

I am wearing . . . my cotton batiste gown from Vermont Country Store.

I am creating . . . a surprise goodie for a Facebook game I signed up for.

I am going . . . to hang out with my bestie, LBB, and get some sewing done.

I am wondering . . . about getting a smartphone, and whether or not I can justify the expense. And, can I get one without getting them for my kids, even though they really want them?

I am reading . . . Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans. Quite interesting and very funny.

I am looking forward to . . . nothing specific which could explain my mood.

I am hearing . . . dd chattering on the phone while she fixes her breakfast, lunch, and dinner for her long day of work and school.

Around the house . . . dh has made amazing headway in his workroom and new storage shed. I wish I had before and after pictures so you could fully appreciate the improvements.

I am praying . . . for 3 friends who are expecting babies soon.

One of my favorite things . . . is my Blessing basket. I carry my crocheting in it everywhere I go, and get lots of compliments!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . sewing with LBB today, a meeting tomorrow, and then general housework and getting back to my exercise routine for the remainder of the week.

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


Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Paranoia Comes Knocking

I have another sinus infection. I went to the doctor yesterday, and they were baffled by it. So of course I began to feel responsible, as if I had done something wrong.

The doctor can't figure out why I have another infection, so in my head this is what
-- that means she thinks I'm making it up
. . . except she said my throat was red and covered with drainage

-- that means she knows I'm just seeking attention
. . . except she suggested sending me to an asthma specialist

She gave me a hug after we finished the exam.
-- does that mean she pities me?
. . . it could mean she likes me, and that's why she said she was glad to see me, but sorry I felt so badly.

Abuse does weird things to the way I process everything. All people are suspect. Motives must be investigated to find ulterior motives.

And when I am sick that just adds another layer to it all. Yesterday there was a resident shadowing my doctor. She seemed nice, but she doesn't know me. Did they talk about me after I left? Did she wonder why my doctor hugged me? Did she think I was malingerer? 

Paranoia. One of the usual signs that I am actually physically sick. Most of the time I can keep it in check, but when an infection wears on my strength, the paranoia sneaks back in. 

So for today, I'm taking my medicine and resting on the sofa. I'm drinking lots of water, and trying to settle my racing thoughts, while really hoping and praying that this round of antibiotics does the trick.


linking up with imperfect prose

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 18, 2013

Outside my window . . . clouds and rain. I'm not sure if it's going to be this way all day, but it makes me want to go back to bed.

I am thinking . . . about rights and wrongs again. I find myself coming back to the issue time and time again.

I am thankful . . . for having the resources to eat well. While I do not have a garden (because I can kill anything!), we are doing more organic buying especially of meats and vegetables.

In the kitchen . . . this morning we had blueberry scones and apple sausage. 

Tonight will be the summer classic -- hamburgers and baked beans.

I am wearing . . . interestingly the same pj's I had on last week (yes, they've been washed!)

I am creating . . . the fabric lined crochet basket only lacks the lining now. I've cut out the lining, but need to find the interfacing (somewhere in my cabinet) and finish this project up.

I am going . . . to the grocery store today. Of course I am, because it is raining, and the two go hand in hand.

I am wondering . . . if I may have a sinus infection. I really don't want to go to the doctor as the antibiotics and steroids they typically give me are almost as bad as the infection symptoms.

I am reading . . . Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans. Quite interesting and very funny.

I am looking forward to . . . continuing to enjoy my summer. I'm still working on my pacing, trying to keep from planning too much thereby accomplishing nothing.

I am hearing . . . dd's music in the background and cars driving by. We've been having roadwork in our neighborhood, and our usually quiet street is part of the detour thus upping our traffic tremendously.

Around the house . . . we continue to make progress on organizing. Dh's work room and new shed are shaping up nicely, and we've nearly found the ping pong table again!

I am praying . . . for our country. Such a trying and uneven time.

One of my favorite things . . . is hedgehogs. Have I mentioned this before? I'm sure I have. Here's my latest acquisition for the collection --

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . the aforementioned grocery shopping, housework, a little yoga, and hopefully a little swimming once the rain clears up. I'm not complaining -- we need the rain. One of the nephews has a birthday this week, so will be partying on Sunday afternoon as well.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
(it helps if you're a nerd!)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Treasure Toffee Cake

This is one of my all time favorite coffee cakes. I usually make it around the holidays, but I think that's just a trick I use to keep myself from making all the time! 

It's yummy for brunch; with a cup of coffee or tea; or even for dessert.

Hope you enjoy it!

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 Heath Bars, crumbled (or the equivalent weight of Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits)
1/4 cup melted butter
powdered sugar

Combine cinnamon and 1/4 c. sugar, and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients through eggs. Blend at low speed until moistened. Beat at medium speed 3 minutes. Spray or grease a 10-inch Bundt pan, and spoon half of batter into pan. Sprinkle with 2 Tbl. cinnamon mixture. Spoon remaining batter into pan. Top with remaining cinnamon mixture, nuts, and candy bits. Pour melted butter over the mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Turn out from pan and dust with powdered sugar once cake is completely cooled. 

Serves 16.

linking up with Made by You Monday

Saturday, June 15, 2013

{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, June 14, 2013



That voice telling you that you can't do it? That you aren't good enough? That it's all your fault?

That voice is a lie. That voice is fear. That voice is self-loathing. That voice is Satan.

There is only ONE response to that voice. 


Switch from that voice to God's voice telling you He loves you. Telling you that all things are possible through Him.

Maybe it is difficult to do what you're trying to do, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

Maybe part of the problem is you, but that doesn't me you can't work on it.

And you are good enough, because you are made in His image. You are His child. Adopted. Chosen. Added.

I'm not saying it's easy. Learning to turn off that voice and tune into God's takes effort. It takes a plan. It won't happen over night, but if you're willing to try it will happen.

Stop. Be silent. Listen. 

linking up with 5 Minute Friday

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Random Facts

6 random facts about Alan and me . . . 

1. Alan is 17 months younger than I am. He really enjoys those months where it appears that there is a 2 year age difference.

2. He says he knew after our first date he'd marry me. I broke up with him, but we never stopped dating.

3. Alan's Mr. Fit/Outdoors/Let's Do Something. I'm Ms. Let's Eat Dessert/Watch a Movie/Take a Nap.

4. We are a complete person academically: he's math/science and I'm history/English.

5. He is a human calculator. I am not.

6. I think he's pretty terrific, and so does he.

linking up with Writer's Workshop

You've been told all your life about the sanctity of Holy Communion. You've been told it's wrong to partake in it until certain rites have been completed. They've told you how wonderful it is. It will bring you closer to God and closer to those with whom you share it.

Imagine having holy communion shoved down your throat while you are being forcibly held down. Imagine they stuff the bread in your mouth and hold their hands over your mouth yelling at you to chew and swallow. Imagine they pour the wine down your throat in a river so you can't breathe or swallow, the whole time telling you to be quiet.

That's what child sexual abuse is like.

Then imagine that all the rites are completed and you are ready (according to the rules) to partake, and everyone around you is happy for you, but you feel dead inside and can't figure out why you're not reacting they way they told you would (should).

That's what sex after abuse is like.

I told my story in a ladies' class and then opened the floor for questions. One brave woman asked if the abuse had effected my sexual relationship with my husband. On the one hand I wanted to look at her and say, "Duh!", but on the other I wasn't sure exactly how to answer that question.
 Of course the answer is yes. In truth sex was one of the major reasons we went into marriage therapy years ago. And it's better . . . a lot better. But the truth of it is this, I will never know what it would have been like to give myself freely and without hindrance to my husband the first time, because that opportunity was stolen from me. 

It took a long time for things to improve in that area. We aren't where we want to be, but it's better than it was. It's been difficult for me to bring God into this area. My husband suggested praying before sex, and that seemed so odd to me. But why? Why is it any odder to pray before sex than it is to pray before a meal? Or communion? It helped me begin to put sex back in its proper perspective. It is a holy sacrament. A gift from God. What happened to me as a child didn't have anything in common with God's plan for sex. It was a perversion of the sacrament, but not because of me.

So I've been allowing God to redeem my sexual relationship with my husband. Because He is the only one who can.

linking up with imperfect prose and Write on Edge

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 11, 2013

Outside my window . . . we've had quite a bit of rain over the past few days, but today it's clear blue skies. Going up into the 90's, so I'm thinking a trip to the pool is in order.

I am thinking . . . about slowing my racing mind. I've been making a concerted effort these past days to deliberately think about ONE thing at a time. It takes a great deal of effort for me, but I find my mood improves and I stay calmer.

I am thankful . . . for my daily devotional. I use a book called Common Prayer (which I think I've mentioned here before). I really enjoy it because it keeps me focused on what is important in life.

In the kitchen . . . last night was hot dogs and chips. I know, but I was just too tired to bake the salmon and chop all the veggies for the salad. Not sure about tonight yet.

I am wearing . . . my Chinese lantern print pajama pants and a loose black shirt.

I am creating . . . a fabric lined crochet basket. Still working on this. Yesterday I finished the crochet portion, so now I have to pick out my lining and a make it.

Here's mine so far --

I am going . . . to pick up some medical records for dh and run them by his office. Hopefully get a swim in, and maybe go with ds to get some jeans/cargo pants for work.

I am wondering . . . how to live intentionally in every moment. I am learning to appreciate each moment as it comes by not wishing away the "bad" moments, but rather incorporating them into the larger of picture of my life.

I am reading . . . Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. I'm also still working on Mom in the Mirror. I like to make notes as I read it, so it's not good bedtime reading.

I am looking forward to . . . another day of quiet thoughts and reasonable expectations of productivity.

I am hearing . . . dd getting ready for work/school. She is sick again, this time with an embedded sinus infection. Bless her heart. 

Around the house . . . bit by bit. I straighten a small area and then move on to another. It's working right now.

I am praying . . . that a procedure dh is having done this afternoon will help with his sitting issues. Will you pray with me?

One of my favorite things . . . yarn! I come back to this one time and time again, but I can't help myself. Yarn makes me happy!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . swimming, a meeting, a trip to FIL's to pick up some items to donate, maybe a trip to the used bookstore to shop, and then date night on Friday (some jazz, perhaps?). Saturday is FUN DAY will the besties, which is always a good thing :)

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
another stack of books waiting to be read

Monday, June 10, 2013

Crazy Easy Poppy Seed Treats

My husband is half Austrian. He has wonderful memories of the cookies and pastries his grandmother made. Unfortunately when she passed, the recipes passed with her.

Fast forward nearly 20 years. Dh decides he wants to make (with my help) what he remembers as Poppy Horn Cookies. So we diligently begin the internet search. Many interesting (and complicated) poppy seed pastries are found, but none that seem like what he remembers. We were getting a little desperate, as he had agreed to bring these cookies to a luncheon on Saturday, and this was Thursday night, when we stumbled across this site. Crazy easy poppy seed horn pastries!

We opted to cut the crescent rolls in half, thus making 32 pastries. Which turned out to be a good thing, as they grow'd like Topsy! Next time I'll probably cut back on the filling a bit, as it was too "poppy" for my taste, but dh loved them, even though they were not the same as his grandmother's.

1⁄2 cup confectioners sugar
1 1⁄4 tablespoonmilk
1⁄4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

2 can(8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 can Solo Poppy Seed Cake and Pastry Filling or 1 jar Baker Poppy Seed Filling

To make these poppy horns, preheat oven to 375° F. Grease large baking sheet and set aside. Unroll pastry into rectangles, and spred with filling. Using a pizza wheel, cut each rectangle into 4 triangles (following original tear line). Roll up, starting at wide end. Place, pointed end down, on prepared baking sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack 5 minutes.

To make glaze, combine confectioners sugar, milk, and lemon peel in small bowl, and stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of horns while still warm. Let stand until glaze is set.

linking up with Made by You Monday

Saturday, June 8, 2013

{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, June 7, 2013


I spent a lot of years stumbling around in the dark. I thought I was in the light. I was doing everything I'd been told to do to have a good life. I'd married a good Christian man. We went to church regularly. We were involved in our congregation -- helping others, teaching classes, opening our home. 

We moved back to our home town. We had a baby. She was perfect in every way. We bought a house. We were doing everything I'd been told would make everything perfect. But it wasn't.

So it must have been me. I just couldn't be satisfied. I expected too much. I wouldn't let myself be happy.

Really the problem was I'd fallen prey to the abuse years before. I'd tucked it away to pretend it didn't happen, but it was coloring everything I thought, said, did, touched, and believed.

So eventually I fell apart. 

And that's when things began to get better. I stumbled out of the darkness of lies and "shoulds", and into the light of truth and love. I fell prey to God, and turned it all over to him. I leaned on him as I worked through the muck and mire of the abuse.

Falling felt good this time. I guess it all depends on where you land.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bad Dream/Good Dream

This morning I had a dream. It was not a good dream. It made me realize some fears linger long after the reality is gone.

I dreamed I went to my usual counseling appointment. When I got there a different person called me into the office. It was a man I'd never met before. I asked where my  regular counselor was, and he gave a really lame excuse. Add to that my mother and sister were waiting in the room for me. 

I asked the counselor if he'd read my file, or if I needed to give him a little background. The whole time I'm thinking this is pointless, and why are they here. He "assured" me that he was familiar with my "case". 

The other people in the room began talking and he was nodding his head in agreement with them. Other people began to filter into the room putting in their two cents worth. No one was talking to me or had in interest in listening to me.

And then it happened. The counselor announced that I had made everything up. It was all in my head -- all the abuse, all the struggles to deal with the abuse. He validated the people in the room who had hurt me the most, and just kept telling me I was wrong.

But here is the good part. I stood up and yelled at them all. I began to recount episodes in detail, asking how I could have made that up. I reminded them of validation they had provided about details. I asked them why I would have done this to myself for all this time? What is my motivation? Why do I have physical pain in areas that were harmed by the abuse? 

And then I turned on my heel and walked out. I didn't consider for one moment that this new counselor was right. I knew he was wrong. I was angry and sad that he was giving the nay-sayers what they wanted to hear, but I knew he was wrong.

And that was the gift from the bad dream. In the past I would have waked up worrying that this new person was right -- that he had some knowledge that no one else has had. 

Redemption is about recovering something. I recovered a little bit of my self-worth in that dream. A little more faith in myself.

Maybe it was a good dream after all.

linking up with imperfect prose on thursdays

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

just write

(Warning: triggering content)

We have to pick her up from her piano lesson as we head to the house. We are celebrating my grandmother's birthday. I have on my new fall outfit -- a wool pleated skirt in gold and red, and the matching gold cable knit turtleneck sweater. 

I don't want her in our car, but all I've succeeded in doing is making my father mad with my complaints. When she gets in the car, she has to sit between my sister and me. I look out the window, trying to ignore her. She pokes me in the side, but I still won't look at her. She pinches my thigh and I gasp and look at her. She has the mean eyes. It's going to be a very bad night.

After dinner, we all go into the den for dessert. Cake and ice cream. She tells me to eat fast. She wants to go play. And I fall for it all over again. How stupid am I? When will I learn that "play" is code for "beat the s**t out of you".

We get to her bedroom and she tells me to get a purse from her closet. Do I really think this is going to be fun, or am I just so programmed at this point? It's a black shoulder bag with a chain with the leather strap running through it. She unhooks the chain/strap and wraps it around my neck. She tells me I will do what she says and be quiet about it or she will strangle me. I will die and no one will care. 

I am 7 years old. I do what I am told to do.

I was right. It's going to be a very bad night.

linking up with Just Write

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . June 4, 2013

Outside my window . . . the sky is a cloudless blue and the temperature is a lovely 64 degrees. The pollen count is, unfortunately, still incredibly high. Yellow finches are visiting my feeder, and I've got to remember to water the plants today.

I am thinking . . . about so many different things that my mind is going 90 miles a minute. I need to do some journaling to get myself centered.

I am thankful . . . for an improved mood around the house last night. We are still recovering from losing my father-in-law, and the stress has been running high.

In the kitchen . . . last night was baked salmon, steamed asparagus, and easy cheesy grits. Tonight will be steaks, baked potatoes, and broccoli salad.

I am wearing . . . still in my jammies and summer weight robe, but I'll be changing soon to meet my friend for lunch.

I am creating . . . a fabric lined crochet basket

Here's mine so far --

just 2 colors and I haven't picked my liner fabric yet.

I am going . . . to have to get a pedicure soon, or people are going to start running from me in fear!

I am wondering . . . about the dreams I had last night. Very strange and they included so many people from my past.

I am reading . . . Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner and still working on Mom in the Mirror by Dena Cabrera and Emily Wierenga.

I am looking forward to . . . lunch with my dear friend Christine, who I haven't seen in far too long.

I am hearing . . .  nothing but quiet as I type on my laptop.

Around the house . . . I think I'm making progress. I need to make a list of small things that I keep overlooking and spend an afternoon taking care of those.

I am praying . . . for a friend's father, 3 people I know who are pregnant, my children and husband.

One of my favorite things . . . is watching "Dr. Who". I've just gotten started on this (I'm only on the 2nd season, so don't spoil anything for me!). Most nights dh, dd, and I sit down and watch an episode together. We have yet to convert ds.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . lunch today, a meeting tomorrow, Thursday and Friday are looking open so I'll probably make a run to FIL's house to work some more there, and then it's the weekend again.

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

Monday, June 3, 2013

Easy Cheesy Grits

I'm a sucker for grits. I guess it's part of being a southern girl, but I just love grits!

Cheesy grits make such a great side dish with pork and beef. Lately I'm been doing a quick and easy version using whatever Artisan cheeses I find out our local farmers' market.

Here's the basic recipe I've been using -- 

Bring 3 cups water and 1/4 tsp. sea salt to a boil. Add 1 cup grits (I like Bob's Red Mill yellow corn grits). Reduce heat to low and stir. Gook slowly for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbs. butter and 1 cup freshly grated cheese and a little coarse ground pepper. Cover and let stand for a couple of minutes. Stir just before serving. Makes 4 generous servings.

Happy eating!

linking up with Made by You Monday