Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . September 30, 2014

Outside my window . . . another beautiful autumn day! 

I am thinking . . . about dh and his fellow travelers in Malaysia. It is so odd to realize that he will be going to bed soon, just as I am getting started on the day.

I am thankful . . . for dh's safe travels and for better sleep for me the last 2 nights.

In the kitchen . . . I went to the grocery store yesterday, so I'll be able to cook tonight. Grilled chicken, asparagus, and polenta.

I am wearing . . . a favorite nightgown.

I am creating . . . cowls and infinity scarves for Presents with a Purpose.

I am going . . . to sit down and schedule the rest of the week, because I'm having trouble getting everything done I agreed/planned to do.

I am wondering . . . about this weekend. I have 4 university women coming to stay to help with a program through International Justice Mission. That will be 6 of us in the house (5 women), and only one working shower!

I am reading . . . well, nothing just yet. I finished Breakfast with Buddha and HIGHLY recommend it. Not sure what to pick up yet. Too many choices!

I am looking forward to . . . several activities this week, and of course dh's return.

I am hearing . . . the quiet of morning.

Around the house . . . things are shaping up well. My SIL came over Saturday and helped me with some deep cleaning. She is a cleaning machine! 

I am praying . . . for a friend's loss, dh's safety, a family going through the 1st anniversary of the death of a child.

One of my favorite things . . . is feeling at ease in my own body. I had a massage yesterday that helped me reclaim that feeling.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . the usual things plus a ladies' meeting Thursday night and a program on Saturday, Handmade and Bound -- "a celebration of print, paper and book"

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
dh working with students in Malaysia

linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, September 29, 2014

Plenty Left to Learn

I remember him answering my question. We had been discussing some warped perception I had about myself as a result of the abuse. I was embarrassed by the obviousness of his answer. How could I have not known that? Seen that? Was I just stupid that I had to be told something that made so much sense?

I saw this quote recently and it all came rushing back to me. The relief I had having someone understand, explain, and not belittle me. Except for myself -- I always did the belittling more than well enough.

I asked him if I were just stupid for not having known the answer. Was he appalled by my lack of knowledge? He looked at me quizzically and answered my question with a question. Did I remember being in school as a small child? Did I remember learning basic skills, like addition and subtraction? Did I believe I was stupid for not having known those things before having them taught to me?

Posed that way, clearly the answer was no. I had been uninformed. Ignorant in the truest sense of the word. I had needed someone to teach me, guide me. This was no different, he said. You cannot know until you have been taught. That's how we learn and grow. Taking in new information to help us move forward and grow into the people we want to be -- need to be. No one comes fully informed. 

I can still feel the fear of disdain, and the relief that he didn't think me stupid or foolish.

I read that quote, and I realize it sums up what was happening that day in his office. The beginning of this journey of learning about my past and putting it into perspective -- of unlearning the terrible lessons taught to me by the abusers. I have been and continue to be "intelligent enough to know there is plenty left to learn". 


Friday, September 26, 2014

:: because

I write about my experiences with abuse because I have to do it.

I'd like to be able to say it's altruistic. I write to help others, but that's not the primary reason. I write because it helps me get it out and keep it in perspective.

If I don't write (or talk) I fall back down that rabbit hole that leads to abuse driven crazy thinking. Because that's what abuse does to you. It makes you lose sight of reality. I lived in an alternate universe for a long time. Sometimes I forget about that reality issue, until I say something that makes sense in the other universe to someone who's never lived there. Then I get the deer in the headlights look from them, and I realize it isn't real. That interpretation is another "because" of the abuse.

So I write because it helps me. And in helping me I can only hope I'm helping someone else.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Enough Is Enough

This is my Facebook profile picture right now. I need to see it ALL THE TIME. 

For years I thought I was the only one who struggled with this concept -- Have I done enough today?

Enough for what? 

To rest? To say I'm done? To have the right to exist?

What I'm finding out is that nobody gets to choose "enough" except me. I'm the one who says if my day or hour or minute is enough. 

I'm also finding out I'm not alone. I must not be alone because these kind of things keep showing up all over the internet

And this article  from the Washington Post that I desperately wish I could have read 15 years ago.

I am enough because I am me. Made in God's image. Loved and adopted by Him to live this life. 

Yes I want to make good use of my time here, but good use by His standards, not some outrageous, unattainable perception provided by the media.

So whatever I accomplish today -- whether it's writing or cleaning or cooking or dreaming -- it will be enough. Because I say so.

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . September 23, 2014

Outside my window . . . blue skies and bright sunshine with a cool 50 degrees :)

I am thinking . . . about yet another plan for organizing my time! I worked on setting up a new routine over the weekend. I need routine, but I fight it for some reason.

I am thankful . . . for a fun day on Saturday with Besties 1 and 2. It is pure rejuvenation hanging out with them.

In the kitchen . . . an impromptu round of grilled burgers last night. I had no idea what I was doing for dinner until dear son came in and asked for burgers. We all the makings so I fired up the grill.

I am wearing . . . my favorite homemade gown and one of my (many) crocheted shawls.

I am creating . . . assorted projects for Presents with a Purpose. Still working on scarves, but thinking about doing some boot cuffs as well.

I am going . . . to therapy and then home to carry on with organizing and cleaning.

I am wondering . . . about how I'm going to do with dh out of the country for 10 days. He is going to Malaysia on a school related workshop.

I am reading . . . Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo. 

I am looking forward to . . . several things I have planned for next week to keep me occupied while dh is away.

I am hearing . . . quiet.

Around the house . . . autumn decor is making a return, and I'm still reorganizing. 

I am praying . . . for safe travels for dh. They will be flying Malaysia Air for part of the trip, and while I know it's highly unlikely anything will go wrong, it is still a bit unsettling after Malaysia Air lost 2 planes so recently.

One of my favorite things . . . is finding ways to help others and get plugged in with other people. I'm putting out some real effort to make this happen right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . yoga classes, Bible class, LBB is coming for awhile on Thursday. Alan leaves on Friday. Coffee with a friend. A concert on Saturday night with BFF #2, and then church on Sunday where I'll be working at the welcome center.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
a recent yard sale acquisition

linking up with The Simple Woman

Friday, September 19, 2014

Reading List

List the the top 6 books on your list to read next --

1. True Detective by Max Allan Collins

"In the mob-choked Chicago of 1932, private detective Nathan Heller may be willing to risk his life to earn a Depression dollar, but he never sacrifices his slicing wit." I've been a fan of Collins' work for years. Just got the first Nathan Heller book on my Kindle.

2. The Orthodox Heretic by Peter Rollins

I recently met Rollins and heard him speak. Fascinating speaker. I'm looking forward to reading his works.

3. bird by bird by Anne Lamott

Love me some Anne Lamott! If I'm really going to attempt writing for real, then this is a must read.

4. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve my spiritual walk. This book was recommended to me earlier in the summer. I hope to get around to it soon!

5. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

While I'm familiar with the killing spree of Dr. H. H. Holmes, I'm not as familiar with 1893 World's Fair held in Chicago. I'm always up for a murder and mayhem when it's mixed with history, so this one's on my list.

6. Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald
Okay, there is no excuse for this being on my to read list, except that I bought it on a whim. I am too old to have been part of "Molly Ringwald" moviedom, but I read ONE review that said it was good and bought it. Besides after I read the others on this list, I gonna need some fluff!

So there you go, the next 6 books on my reading list. (Yeah, likes this is ever gonna happen!)

linking up with Writer's Workshop


I hold tight to my feelings. It's a lesson learned long ago, but reinforced time and time again.

Letting other people in can be painful, so it's better to just hold those feelings in and interact with others on the surface.

My needs and pain overwhelm me. Why would anyone else want to deal with them?

We are on a plane. I am cold. My husband is reading in the aisle seat. I will have to interrupt him to get a jacket from the overhead compartment.

I am cold. There is nothing to be done but try to wait it out. 

He looks at me and asks if I'm okay. I tell him I am cold. He immediately offers to get a jacket for me. Handing me the jacket, he asks, "Were you just going to be cold? Why didn't you tell me?"

I didn't want to bother him. To interrupt his reading. 

Why he asks. Is his reading more important than my discomfort?

I know the right answer is "no", but in my head (heart) the answer is still "yes". 

He smiles and laughs a bit as he covers me with his jacket. 

I hold the tweed jacket around me, smelling in his scent.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . September 16, 2014

Outside my window . . . is Milford, CT. It's 59* and cloudy. I'm here just for the day with dh on a business trip.

I am thinking . . . how unfortunate it is that I generally don't sleep well in hotels. Last night's primary problem was hard pillows.

I am thankful . . . for time with my dh. Even if most of our time has been spent traveling, it's nice to just be together seeing new things and having new experiences.

In the kitchen . . . nothing by me. I do know that a trip to the grocery store is my future once I'm home.

I am wearing . . . yoga pants and a large white shirt (not my gown as I had to go down to the lobby for breakfast and tea)

I am creating . . . assorted projects for Presents with a Purpose. Right now I'm focusing on infinity scarves. I'm on number 3 working from my yarn stash.

I am going . . . to putter around the hotel this morning and then meet dh and his client for lunch. After that it's back to Nashville!

I am wondering . . . about setting up a writing schedule for myself.

I am reading . . . Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo. 

I am looking forward to . . . to the rest of the week at home. I'm getting into a bit of a routine with everyone's new fall schedule. 

I am hearing . . . the air conditioner in the hotel room, and dh getting ready for his meeting.

Around the house . . . we left things looking pretty well. A bit of laundry to fold when I get home and I've got to clean off my work table and the ottoman in the den. 

I am praying . . . for a friend, an adoptive mother, who is struggling with tough love for one her older children.

One of my favorite things . . . is coloring. Yesterday dh and I stopped at a little mini-mall and found some goodies on sale. Two big coloring books and a set of crayons, buy 2 get 1 free. 

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . home today, a quiet day of housekeeping tomorrow. Precept class on Thursday, and currently Friday is wide open. Saturday is Fun Girls Day, and then back to church on Sunday.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
a shot from last month's Fun Girl's Day
"The Kitchen of the Future" c. 1960s

linking up with The Simple Woman

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Defining Myself

I have had a week of mini-epiphanies.

It started out with this quote:

 Remember that being a survivor is not an identity; it is an experience. An identity we hold onto; an experience we live through. 

A reminder that I am more than my experiences. There is more to me than the fact that I am a survivor of abuse. I had to remind myself that it is okay that my primary identifying marker was "survivor" for awhile, but it's okay to move on from that.

Later in the week I ran across this:

There is the “event” of childhood sexual abuse that involves the actual acts that occurred. Then there is the experience of childhood sexual abuse that involves the before and after effects of the events. Many people “move on” from the event by forgiving their violator, removing themselves from the environment that supported the event, by achieving success that distracts them from the event, by forgetting the events, or simply ignoring the painful event. Healing from the experience, on the other hand, is much more difficult and complex. It requires a great degree of self-awareness; understanding the guilt and shame, changing damaging scripts in our head, paying attention to relationships and allowing the pain to transform into purpose. There are layers and layers of healing from the experience, which is why it is a life-long journey. It is too long of a journey to go alone. So let’s go together.

A wonderful explanation of of the complexity of the healing process. A reminder that it's okay for it to take as long as it takes, as long as I am moving forward.

I've had a lot of quiet down time this week as I've been fighting a cold. Lots of solitude and little energy has meant sitting and thinking because I'm too tired to do anything. At first it was annoying, but then I began to realize that this illness was providing me with an opportunity I've been needing. Time to think about how far I've come. Where I am now. And what I want in the future. That it's okay to think about life that way -- what I want. It doesn't make me selfish. It makes me self aware.

Then this morning, this little gem:

If we stop trying to improve ourselves and start trying to delight ourselves, we get further as artists.
-- Julia Cameron

Well that pretty much says it all doesn't it? I've moved to a point I can see myself as an artist, and I'm tired of trying to improve. Ready to start delighting. 

This just might change everything.

linking up with Just Write

Friday, September 12, 2014


Am I ready?

I look for signs, for guidance, for messages and callings. Is this the time to start to really write my story? To begin the slow and painful process of putting my history into a cohesive reckoning of experiences and feelings?

I entered a memoir contest a couple of weeks ago. I wrote the opening paragraph for my "memoir". I even had a friend help me with editing. It felt good to be stretching my writing muscles for something so specific.

I wrote a post about wanting to write a memoir, and how to deal with legalities. I'm thinking about meeting with an attorney. Is this really happening?

Am I ready?

Is now the time to delve into all those old journals and ramblings on my computer, in my file cabinet, on my blog? Is my psyche ready to open those old wounds yet again and lay them out for others to see?

I don't know. But I do know I'm ready to find out.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Aspirations, Goals, and Realism

I had goals for years. I didn't know it, because that's not what I called them. I called them dreams, aspirations, expectations. But they were goals.

The perfect marriage. Perfect husband. Perfect (talented, beautiful, smart) kids. An immaculate, perfectly decorated home. And me. Perfectly dressed, coiffed, and happy -- all the time.

You see the flaw already, don't you? It's ridiculously obvious.

I was a smart girl, but I still bought into the advertising. Anyone who didn't have it all together had no one to blame but themselves.

Look at that commercial. That tiny woman is eating a candy bar. Implying that she eats one everyday. That woman just had a baby last week, and she's back to her pre-baby weight, clothes, life, energy -- as if the pregnancy never happened at all.  Those people eating at the local fast food joint are happy, healthy, and well-dressed. All those kids are happy, obedient, and love going to school while making straight As and being at the top of their chosen sport.

This is not real life!

Real life is a process, not a constant. Real life is messy. It's a continuum. 

So somewhere along the way I readjusted my concept of goals. Goals are things that I have control over. Goals are about me. My goals are no longer based on how other people behave. My goals are mine. Separate and apart from someone else's. That doesn't make them better or worse. That makes them mine.

New goals --

1. Be productive, whatever that means to me on any given day.

2. Be kind -- always.

3. Take care of me so I can take care of others.


5. Love. 

These goals are attainable, maybe not everyday, but most days. And that's good enough for me.

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . September 9, 2014

Outside my window . . . foggy! The old wives tale around here is the more fogs in August and September, the more snow come winter. We shall see.

I am thinking . . . autumn colds are for the birds!

I am thankful . . . that I am feeling better after a weekend of doing nothing but fighting a fever.

In the kitchen . . . grilled burgers, baked beans, sweet potato barrels, and chips.

I am wearing . . . one my cotton gowns (as usual)

I am creating . . . a rug for the guest room and a shawl. Pretty soon I've got to get started on projects for Presents with a Purpose.

I am going . . . therapy and then back home to do some paperwork and maybe a bit of crafting (yoga's on old until I'm fever free for 24 hours).

I am wondering . . . how our society arrived at the level of loathing so many women feel for their bodies. I wrote a post last week about weight and self worth and was kind of blown away by some of the responses I got via Facebook. Lots of self criticism out there!

I am reading . . . Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo. Almost there, just didn't feel much like reading over the weekend.

I am looking forward to . . . a quick trip next week with dh to Connecticut. He's got a meeting and I get to tag along.

I am hearing . . . dogs settling in for morning naps, and birds chirping. It's interesting how the fog changes sound.

Around the house . . . still some reorganizing (although not as much as I'd hoped) and thinking about some autumn decor.

I am praying . . . for the global issues. 

One of my favorite things . . . is starting a new Precept study. It's kind of the way I used to feel about starting back to school. I did some "homework" last night, and it felt good to stretch those muscles again.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . coffee with a friend tomorrow. Precept class on Thursday (I'm providing snacks). Lunch with a college friend on Friday. Alan has class on Saturday, and then church on Sunday (I missed last week with my cold).

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
This is Steve, my new buddy.
Steve went exploring over the weekend.

linking up with The Simple Woman

Friday, September 5, 2014


I hear voices in my head all day long.

No I'm not schizophrenic. 

I hear people telling me what to do. Telling me what not to do. I hear me criticizing and demeaning myself.

I know it's got to stop. I've tried all kinds of things to drown out the voices, but it never lasts for long. Drowning them out doesn't seem like a real possibility.

So I'm trying something new. I'm whispering to myself lately. A small, quiet, kind voice reminding me that I am enough. That the only voice I need to pay attention to is God's.
None of the others matter at all.

So I'm whispering "good job", "way to go", "atta a girl". And I'm smiling a bit more each day. 

Baby steps and whispers.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 4, 2014

August's Lesson

I could say I learned how much I worry, but that's not really true, because I know I'm a worrier. 

I could say I learned that I like sweets, A LOT, but that's not really news either.

So what did I learn last month?  That's hard.

Maybe it seems hard because I don't like the word "learned" as it seems to imply that I have acquired lasting knowledge and mastered something new. If that is indeed the definition, then I don't "learn" much at all, because it seems I keep learning the same things over and over again.

Perhaps I will say I was reminded. That seems better to me. 

So what was I reminded of last month?

1. That asking for help is good thing.
I was worried (see above) about our scuba trip. Worried that I'd have trouble with my ear again, so I went to the allergist and got checked out and she provided me with some advice. It worked! No ear trouble on the trip. I asked. I received. It made things better. Perhaps I should apply this in other areas of my life?

2. That worrying about what might happen won't change the actual outcome. It only sucks joy and energy from the now.
We had a really good time diving and I was reminded of how much I love it and how capable I am. All that worrying was just a waste of time.

3. I do like coffee. 
Okay, this one has nothing to do with worrying, but I was reminded that Starbucks isn't the only coffee in town, and you don't have to burn your coffee if you don't want to. I tasted some coffee the other day at The Fresh Market. It's their "Summer Breeze" with hints of apricot and fresh cream, and it is yummy. Admittedly, I do prefer more of a cafe au latte with milk and sugar, but it's a nice variation on my morning cup of tea.

So there it is. What I was reminded of last month. (Yes, I know Kat only asked for 1, but by now you should all know that I'm not good at limiting!)

linking up with Writer's Workshop

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Weight and Self Worth

I see myself differently everyday. Sometimes every hour. It often depends on who I am with or if I'm all alone.

I have the best opinion of myself when I'm with my long term friends. These are the people who have known me for years and years. Through good and bad and worst. They have known me at every weight and age (at least since I was 15), and they have chosen to remain with me. And I have no idea why.

I've been trying to untangle some relationship knots of late. Like most people I prefer to think that my problems are someone else's fault, but I'm pretty good at taking ownership for things that aren't my fault as well. 

Sometimes I think I work so hard at being honest, that I lose sight of feelings. I work so hard to be sure that I'm not being too easy on myself or being unfair to other people, that I forget to take into account my feelings about things. 

This is all very vague. Let's get down to specifics. I am a 52 year old woman. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and 2 rapes as an adult. I'm 5'2" (on a good day) and I weigh . . . well a lot more than I should according to all the charts that are out there and a lot more than I did over 30 years ago when I met my husband.

I come from a family of overweight, sedentary people. I married a man who is active all the time, and his mother was a swimsuit model. Seriously. 

I've embraced activities over the years. Hiking, swimming, yoga, biking, even scuba diving. Most of them I enjoy quite a bit.

I love to cook, and the older I get the more I love sweets. I've trained myself to stop and think about why I am eating things -- am I hungry? Am I bored? Am I tired? Am I stressed? And I try to eat for the "right" reasons. 

I love sweets and salty carbs. I am working on adding more fruit and vegetables to my snacking menu, and protein too. It's difficult when the rules of healthy eating seem to change everyday. I grew up on "eat what's put in front of you" Southern cooking. I've been down the fat free road, the low carb trek, the high protein approach, Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss. You name it and I've probably tried it.

I've exercised regularly at times, and sporadically, and not at all. 

I suffer from depression and anxiety. '

And yet the Nike ad runs through my head -- Just do it!

I have good intentions. I make plans. I start and stay with it for a while, but then I get an injury or my allergies and asthma act up as the pollen increases. I get depressed. I feel that I'm never good enough and I'm never going to lose the weight, and if I don't lose the weight then I can't really live.

And the truth is I just want off this merry-go-round. I want to be content with what I look like and accept myself for who I am, but that's hard when the media and people around me tell me I need to change . . . constantly.

So how do you do it? How do you figure out what you really want and do it for yourself? That's the questions I'm asking. And it's not rhetorical.


linking up with Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . September 2, 2014

Outside my window . . . it's already 77*. Sunny and with an array of clouds wisping across the sky.

I am thinking . . . about a some lovely encouragement I got from a dear friend last night. 

I am thankful . . . for a calmer week ahead and the busyness of the weekend being behind me.

In the kitchen . . . last night was a variation on Enchilasagna. I'm working on using up some of the food items that have accumulated in the freezer and pantry (+ I'm just not into cooking right now!)

I am wearing . . . one my cotton gowns (as usual)

I am creating . . . a rug for the guest room and a shawl. Pretty soon I've got to get started on projects for Presents with a Purpose.

I am going . . . to a meeting and then to run some errands. After that home to do some housework and crafting.

I am wondering . . . how best to carve out some real writing time for myself.

I am reading . . . Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo. Quite entertaining. I keep forgetting it's a novel and not a travelogue.

I am looking forward to . . . getting back to my Precept Bible study group on Thursday. We are studying Exodus this fall.

I am hearing . . . Yaya wheezing (normal for her) and I think I just heard ds get up to get ready for school.

Around the house . . . I've been doing a bit of reorganizing. Moving household supplies and books. It's a bit like spring cleaning only for autumn.

I am praying . . . for peace around the globe. It is frightening to see so much anger and hostility towards others. I know God has control.

One of my favorite things . . . is re-organizing. It's the librarian in me, but I love grouping and categorizing items, especially when it makes things easier to use.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . it's a pretty quiet week. I am thankful for that. 

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