Archives

Raw and Real #2 – Quiet (PJs)

My new series Raw and Real is just beginning.

My hope is that as you see some of my struggles, you will see yourself somewhere, and find help and strength in these words.

To begin at the beginning, you can click →here.

In #1, you read that I wore shame “like a coat”.

It is important to know the difference between guilt and shame.

Here is the definition given by →Psychology Today.

Guilt: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

Shame: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.”

Did you inflict the pain?

Or did someone else’s actions inflict the pain?

Even though I was very young, and naive, just a child, somewhere on the inside, I knew something was not as it should be.

Not having the knowledge or capacity to figure out what these feelings meant;

they were buried deep in the “That’s just the way it is” category.

Somehow, I didn’t even wonder if others had the same things going on in their lives.

It was assumed that they did.

That category grew larger and larger over the years of my life.

Finally after many years of repetition of the same types of “trauma and drama”, I did begin to realize that something was wrong;

not just wrong, but VERY wrong.

I began to realize that the events in my life seemed to follow a cycle.

It was of course, not the same people that were there at the beginning, but the victimization was the same;

the same in that it was victimization, but quite different in size and scope.

Advantages taken mentally and physically were more inclined to take away any ability I may have had to remove myself from the fray.

However another difference was that I was able to see the high likelihood, that not everyone I knew bore the same issues.

After countless relationships with varying amounts of “trauma and drama”, I miraculously was introduced to the man who would become my husband.

We had a small family that although not always completely high functioning, worked well, and we learned how to live together, and to power through our troubles, and lead a pretty normal and well balanced life. 

(Our “kind of crazy” has been alive and well for 43 years!)

In 2001, there was of course what we Americans refer to as 9/11.

There was so much trauma; so much to absorb, so much to process.

And then, as if that were not enough, on 9/17 that my mom was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

Treatment and care began immediately.

Her time was short, but intense.

She passed away in my living room, with her family all present, just days before Thanksgiving.

The reason this is important to the story of this post has to do with the idea of process.

While I was caring for her, I felt strong.

I felt like I could do what needed to be done.

Even after her passing, I still felt strong.

I still felt like I could do what needed to be done.

I was not looking ahead to, or even aware of, what was about to hit me.

I refer to what comes next as the →Cave Days.

There had been no time to process 9/11, much less 9/17.

I was not prepared for the loss of energy, the loss of strength, the loss of enjoying anything I had enjoyed before.

Between the mental pain, the physical pain that was radiating through my body, and the brain fog;

it took several doctors, and several “might be” diagnosis and treatments to find the problem.

During that time, I spent hours, days, weeks, and years at home, in my PJs, not moving or thinking;

barely breathing.   

It took me nearly four years to even LOOK at the items in my house that belonged to my mom.

As it says in the →Cave Days post – caves can be places of burial, or places to rest and regain strength.

It was a choice that had to be made.  

But how?

I hope you’ll come back on Friday for Friday Favorites.

Then again on Monday, so we can explore “But how?” question together.

Until then …

Raw & Real #1 – Toxic Turmoil

Toxic Turmoil

In → a post last week I told about a meeting I went to.

My mind kind of went into the way back machine and began to remember where I began, and some of the steps that I had to take to grow out of what I call “The trauma and the drama”.

Way back in the beginning, let’s just say that it could be known as “Toxic turmoil”.

The Encarta Dictionary defines toxic as relating to or containing poison or toxin, causing serious harm or death and turmoil as a state of great confusion, or disturbance.

I remember as a tiny little girl, spending a lot of time alone.

I never thought about it much.

Though I do not remember in detail what those pre-school days involved, I know that it didn’t seem strange, this playing alone.

It is just the way it was; dancing in circles in my room.

I was content.

I remember that dad was always away at work.

He drove a delivery truck for a regional store.

When he came home, sometimes he would bring home trinkets to play with.

Now when it was time for kindergarten, I was so excited.

It was time for adventure, as I got to walk ALL THE WAY to the school.

Mom had taught me many things that the children at school didn’t know yet.

So, it was fun.

I was smart.

And fidgety.

I already knew what was being taught to the other kids.

What I didn’t have in my repertoire, were social skills.

This brought on no small amount of problems in my life away from my home.

The exciting new beginning, turned into exciting new habits.

Habits that followed me throughout my young lifetime.

Habits of wandering, and interrupting, and day dreaming.

Not only in my mind, but physically and verbally as well.

Back in the day, teachers did not teach according to a student’s skill set. 

It was strictly reading, writing, and arithmetic.

All students were expected to stay seated, and stay on task.

Learning styles were not taken into account as they are now.

Kids like me were labeled “Trouble”, regardless if our intent was to be difficult or not.

Attachment of these labels followed all through the educational years.

In →Psychology Today, I read an article that pretty well explains some of the behaviors kids may show.

They aren’t really being naughty, they are simply learning the way they learn.

One may note that even though teaching styles have changed, we still inflict labels on our kids.

Labels that follow them throughout their life.

They help to dictate who they may become.

To be sure, some of these labels are based in truth.

While others are given and never followed up on.

This post isn’t really about teaching.

It is a post that can show the reasons why sometimes we are the way we are.

Scripture, the Holy Bible, says that “words are spirit, and they are life”.

I believe we can speak things into existence.

That topic is for another time.

But if we keep speaking rotten things over our lives and our kids that is what they will become.

That little Debbie girl, she was trouble.

A phrase I heard on the daily.

Enough said about that.

Now on to the home life, early on it was turmoil.

When school began, other things began as well.

I enjoyed playing alone, but like any kid, I wanted to have some friends too.

Since my social skills were lacking, so were my friends.

The kids that I played with from the neighborhood were the ones, who like me, were lacking in social skills.

They were boys, so of course I learned to play like a boy; rough and tumble, and aggressive.

This didn’t make the little girls at school want to play with me.

These boys also had older siblings, who took advantage, mentally, physically and psychologically, of any one smaller than them.

My introduction to “real life” was early.

Although I did not have a name for it, shame became something that I wore like a coat.

It would be years before I could know the ramifications of these events, or the price I would need to consider for my freedom.

It all sounds so melodramatic when I place it all here on the page, but it is only the beginning of a pretty rough road.

“Raw and Real” is where we began.

Freedom is our destination.

Step by step, we will arrive.

Until next time …  

Freedom to Be Real

At the beginning of this year, I was invited to a new meeting, new for me anyway.

The name of the group is “Raw and Real”.

(That should tell you something!)

My husband asked me before I went what it was all about.

I seriously did not know, and I told him so.

“So why did I agree to go?” was his next query; because I 100% trust the friend who invited me.

Turns out, it is a growing group of woman from many different walks of life, just sitting for a couple of hours and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I was dubious, because I dislike the small talk involved with meeting new people.

I love the DEEP talk – just not always the small talk of getting there.

But did I mention I trust my friend?

This group was all women with a similar world view, even though their life histories were very different.

It was actually quite a joy to hear some of their stories, and heartbreaking to hear some others.

Let me tell you folks, no matter how bad you had it – someone always had it worse.

You can never tell by looking at them, just how difficult their journey has been.

I won’t share their stories, but I can sure tell you what happened in my mind while I was there.

I did not share my story there, but as I listened I was reminded, and considered my own journey.

Sometimes when you have walked thru so much, over such a long period of time –

You know where you’ve walked, but some of the steps get forgotten.

What I’d like to do here, is share the BIG steps that I remembered during this meeting, and then in subsequent posts, share some of the little steps that were involved in becoming the free woman that I am today.

So here is the list I made while listening – many of their steps reminded me of my own!

1. Toxic turmoil  

2. Lament

3. Quiet (pjs)

4. Introvert

5. Little girl – 6 weeks – 6 months

6. Identity

7. Process

8. Too much process

9. Write

10. Travel

11. Relate.

12. Freedom

During the process of writing this out, I am positive that even more will be revealed and remembered. 

Over the years I have come to “Love the process”.

It always takes me to new places, with further vistas, and hopefully, you can realize some new freedoms too, just by following along.

Until next time …

Let’s Begin With a Cliché

I know its cliché , going into the year 2020 seeking “New Vision”.

But seriously, at least for me, that’s a pretty important thing.

Some things I’m pretty clear on, while other things are as clear as mud.

I have found that if I divide my life into sections, and deal with reach separately, I can get to a pretty clear conclusion.

Then, by adding all of the conclusions together, I can come up with a plan to make things happen.

Anyway, what are those sections?

1A Personal, which involves spiritual and physical self care.

1B Personal, which involves writing, photography

2A WorkCorporate, which involves working with local, state, and regional members in a group that I’ve been in for twenty years.

2B  WorkVolunteer – as a member for the non-profit that my husband operates.

2C Work – As in home

3. Relationships – both personal and corporate.

1. Personal care, has taken much time in scripture, as well as just being quiet; settling down the recalcitrant child inside.

It has also taken much time with dealing with past traumas and dramas; airing them out, painfully I might add, going through them one by one, and asking God about the truth in each one.

It’s odd how we can see things so differently than they actually were.   

The personal work, the “Inside job” has been a real treat for me.

It has suited my introverted parts really well.

Although admittedly, there were times I just wanted to cry.  

It has taken a long time to change the filters, but I can see much more clearly now.  

The second part of personal care, the physical part, has involved being in an exercise class for the past nine years.

There have been times I had to drag my sorry butt to that class kicking and screaming, but all the while knowing that if I didn’t, I would turn in to a pile of dust.

Writing all the time is a good thing, sitting around without moving, can be deadly.

2. For personal work on an actual work level, as in day to day work; I have spent very few dollars through the years on education after high school.

I’ve been self taught on pretty much everything.

On marriage, on parenting, on keeping a home, on running a business, on spiritual matters (dealing with the trauma and the drama).

Since about 2012 or so, I’m being self taught on writing and photography.

Slow and steady wins the race, and tenacity gets you there eventually.

Honestly, 2B  (Work – corporate) can really give me fits, and it has, for as long as I’ve held the position I have.

To be totally truthful, this section has eluded me for the last several years, but every year I face it again.

I found out just this morning that this year I’ll have some help, so moving through this section can begin in earnest.

I have told myself that when others are in the mix, things can’t always be the way you want them.

That is only partly true.

Yes others being involved is a thing, but I’ve come to know that timing is an important factor as well.

What if, perhaps, I thought I had it all together before?

And it wasn’t the right time, and things still didn’t work out, or they worked out poorly, and some of the nuances would get lost in the shuffle.

(Can’t be losing those nuances!)

To be sure, there would be things learned from the experience, but there is also much to be learned through tenacity, and holding on – being a necessary place holder.

2C (Working – volunteering with my husband’s non-profit) is always a work in progress; constantly growing and changing.

3. Relationships are interesting because we need to find out why we respond the way we do to others, and what makes them respond to us the way they do?

When we figure that out, we can find that those relationships may or may not work out, and that’s OK.

We can move on, or we can make different decisions on how we deal with them from that point.  

Making the time to get to know one another is essential.

Often I find if I have an adverse response to someone first off, when I take the time to engage with them, I find that we have something for each other.

There are times when this doesn’t happen.

Sometimes what they, or I, carry on the inside of us, just doesn’t mesh, no harm, no foul.

If we didn’t take that time, we would never know which way it might turn out. 

So to summarize what’s worked for me;

I begin with a visit each of my sections, thinking them through, analyzing each, and where they are at this time.

Each year begins at a spot further down the road than last year.

Then what it really boils down to scheduling, (then keeping the schedule).

I literally have an Excel sheet divvied up by half hours for each week.

This works for me!

I can give as little or as much as each one needs.  

This is not to say that just because it is on the sheet it is carved in stone, (stuff happens) but it is to say that I DO have a certain time allotted to do each thing.

There are days I throw the schedule to the wind, and do something else, but never more than one day in a row.

Doing nothing isn’t on the list, but it should be.

Sometimes taking a nap IS the best use of your time.

But for me, more than one day is how bad habits start.

It’s easier to get OFF the path than back on it again.

I hope that you have found this helpful.

Do you have anything to add?

Please do so in the comments.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’ to 2020 vision! …

One Thing I Missed

As many people do, at the beginning of the year, I’ve been considering the year just finished, and digging deep to find how the year I’m entering can be better; more productive, more quiet, more adventurous, more of whatever it is supposed to be.

Like a hastily taken photograph, there has been a lot of noise in this picture.

I have been able to narrow that noise down to three top priorities.

I posted about them here and here.

In short, they are; 1. Use my writing to help others to heal from their trauma. 2. Take my photography to a higher level to show God’s magnificence and 3. To help people in a more person to person sort of way.

All of these simply mean that I need to stop making excuses, and carve out more time to work on each of these things.

All this past month or so, a different kind of thought has been surfacing around me.

It manifests in different ways and places, but it means the same thing.

I simply MUST take more time to be quiet.

Remain still.

I don’t mean just idle, we all know how to do that.

What I mean is taking that time to quiet the noise inside, so that I can think more clearly.

If you know me, you know that I am a big proponent of “Quietude”, even to the point of making little YouTube spots to help in the process.

Truth time; For the past six months or so, I haven’t been making those spots, or even using them for what they are created for.

It happens.

Life takes a turn sometimes and gets crazy.

When the crazy comes to an end, it takes some time to get back to where we (read I) need to be so we can gain some strength back – mentally, physically or spiritually.  

Enter oversleeping, overeating, over social media-ing, binge watching TV.

This isn’t all bad; the trick is to know when that time is here to stop it, and then do something about it!

One of the ways that it is being made clear to me that it’s time is through a little daily devotion that I read.

Over the last little while, it keeps talking about time, and how it’s been difficult, busy, frustrating and somewhat stagnant.

It also has been encouraging in regards to priorities, entering a new phase of life, knowing I’m not the only one, and resisting the urge (or the habit) of staying hidden away.

These devotions have talked about the significant (I like that word!) changes that have taken place during this time; and now it is time to accomplish what these changes are bringing to pass.

Coming out of this place of retreat, can seem overwhelming.

The habits that help us to be calm, take time to bring to the surface again;

The New and Improved Model!

It seems slow, even one step ahead is always preferred.

But it all makes me want to run forward.

Then today two things came in front of me almost simultaneously;   

  • I heard a friend speak (on Facebook Live) that I hadn’t heard in a while. He was talking about “Zoning out”. His word for “Quietude”. And how he must do this every day, to quiet the noise, to turn off the world we live in, so he can think; the silence speaks volumes. The “Mind of Christ” becomes clearer to him at these times.
  • Today’s devotion was this; January 14, 2020:  Take a breath and settle down, says the Lord.  I know your sense of urgency and impatience to get a move on, but right now I need you to be tolerant and long-suffering.  Otherwise, you will remove yourself from the flow of divine destiny.  Keep yourself in My Spirit and take life as it comes with the grace I will provide.  Romans 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Oh my goodness.

Gently and kindly I’ve been being pushed in this direction – and then today……

It didn’t seem very gentle.

It seemed very firm and deliberate.

Listen up.

Take the time.

I used to teach people that even if you start with five minutes, it could help.

Then you can move the time out as your grow in strength.

But God can work with ANY time that we give Him.

How did this get left off of my priority list?

Well its back on there folks.

Beginning today!

“Quietude” first!

The results will be amazing!

I’ve experienced them before, those “Quietude” moments.

And look forward to enjoying them again!

Thanks for staying with me.

Until next time!

Cousin Friends

So. Last week, I was able to have breakfast with my cousin.

When we were growing up, we saw each other a lot, practically every weekend; sometimes until the wee hours of the morning.

I miss the games of Monopoly, and LIFE, playing hide and seek in the tall grass field next door until well after dark, the camp fires, and the times when we watched the vacation photos off those slides, on that funny little screen.

There’s a funny thing about cousins.

They get you when no one else does, because they were there when no one else was.

This cousin in particular, was a soft place for me to land when I was a high schooler – her being SO GROWN UP with her age being five years beyond mine.

As a young mom with two littles, a lot of time was spent around her kitchen table, making sense of how things were, how they could be.

We learned together how to trust God, and how to allow Him to lead and guide us through some really rough times.

We both had them, but we held on tight.

Somewhere when our kids became full of school activities, and life got crazy – we lost each other.

Well, not really.

Our hearts have been joined all these years none the less.  

We just couldn’t get together as much as we liked.

But you know what?

Being together again last week, seemed to begin closing that gap again.

We are still so much alike, maybe even more now, and we know that we can still benefit each other by just spending time together, telling our stories.

Another thing that we know is that we can help some outside of our family as well.

There are, near as I can tell, only a few other relationships in our lives that can compare to the cousin relationship, and they would be a sibling, a spouse, or if you’re lucky enough a BFF.

These are the ones who can help soothe your soul, hide your crazy, or talk you off the ledge.

All this being said, what my cousin, what my siblings, what my Spouse and what my BFF all know for sure –

Even we will fail.

Humans are not infallible.

We can say we want to help, and truly mean it, but for whatever reason there is a disconnect.

We can strive for that perfection, but will not really ever reach it, at least not here on earth.

So even with all of these human fail safes in place, there still is only ONE who can foot the bill – Perfectly – Forever.

His name is Jesus. 

I read this article, 7 Ways Jesus is the Best Friend You Could Ever Have.

I was impressed by the simplicity with which the author describes what an authentic friendship with Jesus looks like.

She begins by stating that ” Christians think of Jesus as their Lord, Savior, King and Master. However, believers rarely think of Jesus as being a close friend. Though that might sound strange to you at first, Jesus actually wants us to think this way.”

Clicking on the link above will take you to the complete article.

Let me end by saying that I hope you have those in your life who will give you the boost you need, or even the kick in the pants if you are stalled out somewhere.

A cousin, a sibling, a BFF, or a spouse, even a blogger friend; but even in the absence of one of those, you can always give Jesus a try.

I would welcome your dialog if you need some help getting started.

I hope you’ve found this helpful.

Until next time…