Saturday, April 30, 2011

A bit of fun...

Casting Crowns quote I found on FB:

I used to have a fear of hurdles.

But I got over it.

:)

My two youngest nieces came over for the evening. They watched the NASCAR Sprint Cup with me, as we cheered Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Tony Stewart. We talked about a variety of subjects, and laughed. They're smart and interesting. Their parents are all right, too. ;-D

Friday, April 29, 2011

Validation explosion...

Validation: Validity, in logic, determining whether a statement is true or false; to declare or make legally valid; to mark with an indication of official sanction; assessment of an action, decision, plan, or transaction to establish that it is (1) correct, (2) complete, (3) being implemented (and/or recorded) as intended, and (4) delivering the intended outcome.

Upsi has created a safe place for people to discuss their struggles with dealing with narcissistic personalties. Today, at her site You Don't Have to Dance for Them, a discussion was raised about validation. I replied, and was shocked by how strongly I reacted. I felt like I'd exploded, not in tears or hurt but fury. Hours later, now, I'm able to recognize why I reacted the way I did.

Several things came together, at once: In the article posted earlier this week, validation is part of the equation. Today, I finished reading SEALed Forever by Mary Margret Daughtridge, in which validation plays a significant role in the conflict for both the hero and heroine. And my ongoing journey.

The quoted blogger made the statement that validation was unnecessary. "We never need to justify hurt or turn it into suffering via a perceived need for validation. We only need to act on its motivation heal, correct, and improve."

I re-read the above quote, and I'm irritated all over again. Validating isn't about justifying my hurt; it is about recognizing that I AM hurt and not making it up, as I was repeatedly told. Healing requires acknowledging there is an injury. I lost count, long ago, the number of times I was hit, pinched, belittled, insulted, ignored, and more and told, "That didn't hurt!" "I didn't hit you that hard." "Stop whining." "Stop complaining." "You're blowing it out of proportion." "You're being overly sensitive." "You're letting your imagination run away with you." "You're making it up." "It isn't as bad as you're making it out." "You're such a 'girl'." "No one will believe you." "You have nothing to cry about." "You want to cry? I'll give you something to cry about." "You asked for it." "You want to play the poor-is-me game? I'll play it and win."

Needing validation is a part of being human. A baby will cry when they are hungry, tired, or don't feel good: and we validate them by feeding them, rocking them to sleep, or cuddling them when they're cranky. A baby is not seeking justification for crying. They do need to know they are not alone, and someone will meet the needs they cannot because those needs are real and reasonable.

Simply because we've grown up does not mean we're now capable of meeting all our own needs. We are not. Anyone who works, be it in an office, outside, or in the home, they are meeting the needs of someone else. Any time you go to the store, the bank, the post office, make a phone call, use the computer, drive a car, fly, etc, then someone else is meeting your need. Anyone who has a family or friends is meeting the needs for companionship, for self and someone else. It's the way people are made. We spend a remarkable amount of our time dependent on others. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's incredibly amazing that we are able to connect the way we do.

Needing validation is not silly or stupid or unreasonable. Being able to validate requires a level of honesty. You have to honestly acknowledge that the feeling/need exists and is real. There are those in my life who will never be able to validate me because it would require acknowledging the lies in their own lives first. I don't anticipate that happening any time soon. However, I have discovered that I don't need their validation that my feelings and needs are reasonable and real. I have found an incredible circle of friends who recognize and acknowledge (thereby validating me) that my feelings and needs are both real and reasonable. Knowing it's real is HUGE. Knowing it's real means I can stop wondering if I'm crazy and start working towards a better solution than the ones that definitely haven't worked in the past, like living in denial.

Are there times when I'm whiney and unreasonable? Absolutely, without a doubt. I also allow myself to be validated that that is also simply being human and not criminal behavior. Undesirable, but not criminal. I'm allowed to have bad days. There is strength in working things through on my own. There is also strength is seeking help and allowing others to lift me, and being allowed to return the favor.

There are plenty of people who are more than willing to live in the lies and pretend like everything is fine. The Emperor's New Clothes sound familiar? Following the logic of the statement above: Then there was no reason for the child to point out that the emperor had no clothes. It was obvious. Validation was unnecessary. However, the point of the story is that sometimes validation is critical in order to move forward in the truth.

I think I'm ready to step down from my soapbox now, at least for today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reflecting on the previous post...

Re-reading the article, I'm still endeavoring to wrap my mind around the concepts. I've been working on the self-referencing, without realizing what it was and bumbling about a lot, for as long as I can remember. I was going to say that it has only been in the last few years that I've made a more conscious effort, except that isn't really true. I occasionally make huge breakthroughs, and then spend a lot of time fine-tuning. Reading the article reminded me of a self-reference I haven't yet owned. I'm not sure how. I think I'll give myself more time to mull it over.

Whatever I decide to do with it, I know ties into my freedom referred to in the second inspiration.

I've added Magnificent to my daily routine, morning and evening.

And yes, the SEAL saying makes me laugh. I think of all the times I have tried to run from what's happening to me, when what I need to do is stop running, so that I am able to pay attention to what God wants me to do.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bits of inspiration...

The Andrew Vachss article You Carry the Cure In Your Own Heart was a gobsmack for me and yet familiar, too.

"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you." ~ Storm photo title.

Magnificent presented by Andie's Isle

SEAL saying: Don't bother running. You'll only die tired.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Carpe diem... odds and ends...

Laundry is done, again.

Chocolate chip cookies made. Yummy! I also did a little experimenting. I bought a dozen eggs at a ridiculously low price and froze them in batches of two. After thawing a couple eggs, I used them in the cookies, and they worked great! Good to know. Freezing eggs at What's Cooking America.

Today, I moved another must-read author to the no list. How to turn me off as a reader, in a New York minute: Tout go green, global warming, carbon footprint, vegan is best, be entirely self-sufficient, and a stupid heroine.

Do I believe in being environmentally friendly? Yes. Do I believe that a lot of the Green ideas are nonsense? Yes. Did you see in the news that those "green" light bulbs cause cancer? But only if you turn them on. Really. It's so stupid I can't help but laugh.

Global warming has been proven wrong. The scientists themselves have admitted that they cooked the books. If they'd done the same thing to your 401K, you would have been screaming when you learned that you didn't have nearly as much money as you thought. Get over it. Move on. Find another cause, like human trafficking, which is real and truly horrific. Carbon footprints go hand in hand with global warming, and are just as invalid. There's a reason the carbon exchange collapsed; it was proven to be a lie. Do you plan on getting rid of your dog because it has twice the carbon footprint of an SUV? Based on a lie. Do you know how many poor communities depend on shipping their funny knick knacks or unique foods to world markets? Creates a huge carbon footprint, which is a lie. So are you going to squash this village for a lie? What? I'm being unfair? Using emotional blackmail? Pot/kettle.

I don't mind if someone chooses to be vegan. Their choice. They have the right to choose it. It isn't an easy lifestyle choice. It's all too easy to end up malnourished. And before you criticize me for eating meat, I suggest you read The Secret Life of Plants. Then we'll talk.

Nor can I express how annoying it is to watch a cooking show that declares that everyone should have their own farm. Have they really thought this through? The logistics alone are insane. What about other jobs that need doing... unless their plan is that no one travels, everyone will be healthy because they decree it, there will be no need for police because everyone will be obedient, they're willing to have their home burn to the ground, next time mother nature sends lighting... what planet are they on? Not this one. People are flawed. Some people enjoy hurting and humiliating others. When the world is perfect, then we'll discuss it. Oh, wait, we won't need to because we'll be perfect.

And finally, there is nothing in a story that makes me want to rant more than a heroine who is being stalked, but she is not going to be dictated to by anyone. Great. You're going to put yourself in harms way, along with anyone with whom you come in contact, so you can prove how prideful you are. No one is allowed to protect you because you are independent to the point of stupidity.

Now, the other side of this "coin." I've read books that present these same issues without ruffling my feathers, except global warming and carbon footprints, which have been proven to be lies. Yes, I'm emphasizing. I'm sick of hearing about it, especially hearing about it still being preached as if it were true. Simply repeating the lie will not make it true. Ever.

Green: Walking a block instead of driving a block. Donating items to charity. Not littering. I'm so glad that smoking is no longer in vogue. It's disgusting to be out walking, and literally everywhere is littered with cigarette butts. What is attractive about that?

Several of my favorite heroines are vegan, but they don't rub anyone's nose in it, and they don't expect everyone to follow their lead. They are not offended that others love meat. They recognize it's a choice. They don't even tout that it's particularly healthy, only that it's their choice. Gotta love someone who takes personal responsibility for their choices, without expecting everyone to do what they do.

Being self-sufficient is a good thing, really, but not everyone lives in a place where it's possible, and pretending otherwise is exactly that: Pretending. A lie. I've done the garden, and it was so discouraging when beetles ate more of the veggies than I did. I do have some blackberries bushes that provide some delicious jam, which I learned how to make, every year, except when the weather heats too fast, which it does from time to time, but not every year, so no it isn't global warming, which is a lie. The important thing is to do what you are able.

And finally, our stalked heroine: She allows the hero to protect her without being milquetoast. She compromises and works with him, instead of behaving like a spoiled brat, who has to have her way. It isn't attractive. Don't think I like stupid men, either, because I don't. The heroine is quite capable of making her own choices; please don't decide for her. It's insulting, not only to her intelligence but to his. I mean, is a hero really attractive if he's interested in someone with an IQ matching her shoe size? Anymore than a woman who's interested in a man who isn't any smarter than said same shoe size? And just for the record: Bickering is not attractive. I've seen some arguments and clashes that were spectacular and worked well in the story, but petty bickering and arguing is exactly that: petty, and not attractive.

Whew. I've been thinking about all that for a while. Maybe now it will leave me alone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rejoice! Jesus lives!

Happy Easter!

Over the years, I've listened to various arguments about what is the most significant moment in history. Some choose the birth of Christ. Some choose the Garden of Gethsemane. Some choose the Crucifixion on the Cross, and some choose the Resurrection. At different times in my life, I have chosen each of those singular moments.

This year, I've gained a whole new perspective. The single most significant point in history is Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Coming to terms...

Someone, who says they love me, tells lies about me to their friends. I used to take it personally. Today, I realized that it isn't personal. They tell lies about others as well. I simply know about it, whereas others do not. It's easier to let go, now... No, that isn't quite true. It is easier to turn it over to God. Jesus was never a doormat, and I do not believe that I am expected to be a doormat, but there are battles that are not worth fighting. And this is one. I've tried explanations and capitulation, but it has changed nothing. I cannot change this person, but I can and will change me, what I feel and think and believe. My worth is not dependent on any person's good graces, but on God's grace alone. I have been richly blessed by God with friends who have worked tirelessly to teach me of my worth. I'm learning.

Other stuff: I struggled to decide if I should re-invest in my warehouse membership. Money is tight. I bought only a few things, but I realized that what I saved, in one small visit, paid for more than half of the membership. I need only go once more this year, and it will be paid for in full. A good investment.

Congratulations Carl! On winning today's Nationwide race in Nashville! Whoohoo!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday...

All week, I've made a concentrated effort to recognize and embrace this Easter week. Today, I sought ways to make Good Friday more meaningful to me than ever before. NikonSniper and Fellowship of the Minds had Easter messages that added to my worship. This evening, without much hope, I looked for something on television and found TBN. Thank you TBN for showing The Passion of the Christ. I have not seen it before. I've had a testimony of my Savior for many years. A couple of people who saw it told me it was too violent. TBN broadcasted it last Sunday, and I couldn't bring myself to watch. After preparing all week, it seemed as though God had led me to it, so I watched, and wept. In Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage, he describes what happens, in detail, what happens to the human body when it is crucified. From other reading, I knew what happened during a flogging. It's beyond brutal. I took comfort in the knowledge that the movie wasn't real, but I also knew what it represented. I wept for Mary, His mother, and His followers. By the end of the movie, I had originally thought I would feel bereft, brutalized, horrified. I did not. I felt filled, warmed, comforted, peaceful, hopeful. I felt reminded that I gave myself to Jesus Christ, long ago, and He accepted me. He is truth. He commanded His disciples to love one another as He loved. As HE loved. Not as the world loves. AS HE LOVES. I have stumbled and struggled along, endeavoring to learn about love, and I realize now that I have been endeavoring to see it through MY eyes. It doesn't matter if I understand love at all. Jesus Christ understands love perfectly. I need only follow Him, a choice I've already made. There is much fine-tuning to do, but I'm hopeful in a way I've never been before. Jesus is my Savior. He suffered in Gethsemane and died on the cross for me. I know more surely than ever before that He knows where to find me in the darkest moments. This isn't the end; it's the beginning. Easter isn't over.

I'm adding my prayers for healing rain for Texas, so please God, no flooding.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today...

I am focusing on the moment. This moment. What is my life, right now? I am God's, and I'm learning to take ownership of myself. I am Christian, and Jesus Christ is my Savior. I am an abuse survivor, which colors everything. My hope is that in sharing my struggle, someone else will feel like they are not alone, like they will rise above the past. I've lived almost half a century. My furry children are no longer with me. I miss them. The career choice I thought would take me through the next decade is vanishing. I've seen a lot, done a lot, learned a lot. I'm nowhere near where I dreamed of finding myself. I've lived at home my whole life, with stints on three different continents. Today, I found the front door open, closed it and locked it. Not the first time. I've worked more than a dozen different jobs, mostly unrelated to each other, and am looking at starting something new, again, but that's for another day. Today is about today. I'm overweight. My back is a mess, a reflection of my life in so many ways, but I'm learning to accept and make the best of it. I have limited eating options that don't fit the "world's" concept of healthy. I have a deep and abiding love for cooking that has survived all my changes and explorations, a love that started before my Easy-Bake Oven, which sealed it. My wide-ranging interests have waxed and waned over the years, but this one is ever present. And I'm good at it. Experimenting with recipes and taste-testing food is fun. I am a bibliophile. I have read over a thousand different authors (in the last five years alone). I have a list of 725 authors I probably won't buy again, and 62 authors that are currently on my must-buy list. And I keep exploring new ones. Books open doors to places and people I want to visit. I am conservative, really conservative, regardless of growing up in a very liberal home. I have a king-size cathedral-window style quilt that I created, because my sister started it and didn't want to finish it. I have pillows and a lap quilt on my bed that I designed and created. I enjoy my interesting collection of dishes, related to the cooking thing, I'm sure. I tend to avoid sleeping, in an effort to dodge nightmares. I have an absolutely amazing circle of friends, who have blessed me beyond measure in more ways than I ever imaged possible. My interests are more varied than ever before in my life. I'm embracing my interests more wholeheartedly than ever before in my life. It's helpful, from time to time, to take a moment and take stock of one's life. In this Easter week, the last supper has occurred and the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew what was coming, and accepted it because of his boundless love for each and everyone of us. I cannot earn my way into Heaven by being perfect, by doing everything expected of me, by making sure everything is always right. Jesus Christ beseeches me to become as a little child. An abuse survivor doesn't understand the concept. Innocence was destroyed and forgotten. I am asked to give my heart to Jesus. It wasn't so long ago that I tried to do exactly that. I visualized myself gathering up all the broken pieces and handing them to my Savior. I stood in a wide open field, and to my dismay the pieces kept blowing away. The faster I tried to gather them, the more they scattered. When I paused to look about me, to see where the pieces had blown, my breath stuck in my throat to see tiny shreds sprinkled like confetti as far as the eye could see, and I knew the pieces reached far beyond what I could see. How could I possibly gather up all the pieces? How could Jesus make my heart whole when there were so many pieces seemingly irrevocably lost? At the time, I felt hopeless. Gradually, I'm endeavoring to remember that Jesus knows where all the tattered pieces may be found. He asks me to do as much as I am able, not because He can't do it, but because He knows how much I will learn and grow through the journey. He's already walked the path, and has volunteered to traverse the road with me. It is up to me to accept His help or not. It's good to remember that His idea of help is not always my idea of help, but His way is perfect. Today, I'm not where many would think I should be, including me, sometimes. Today, I look back, and reflect and learn and accept. This is where I am right this moment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Remember...

As I reflect, this week, I realized that part of the mourning process required remembering, a lot of things. I've considered all the things I did and went through to accomplish what I needed to do, to ready myself for my dream career. Then, it didn't happen. And it won't. I'm learning to come to terms with that. I grieve the loss of those dreams, and yet it isn't as painful as it used to be, when I first realized the dream was over. I'd had hints, from time to time, for much of my life, but I was determined to visualize what I wanted and act in faith. I firmly believed and had been taught that it was a worthwhile dream, all the while ignoring the hints that led away from it. Not trusting myself, and not trusting God. As I've struggled to be honest with myself, to stop lying, I've found that my faith in myself and in God is growing. I'm surrounded by plenty of people more than willing to tear down that faith, unwitting or no, because the direction I'm heading doesn't suit them, doesn't make sense to them, isn't what they envision. I learned long ago to reveal as little as possible because it's safer. By holding close what's important to me, it can't be used against me, ridiculed, or used as a whip. There are those who think they know and understand, and I find myself at their mercy. They plead ignorance, while I must live with the consequences. They think I'm overdramatic, exaggerating, misunderstanding. Somehow, my feelings don't matter. My boundaries are meaningless. My hopes and dreams are somehow wrong. They have free will, as I do. I forget that though I have changed, they have not, and their expectations of me remain the same as they've always been. So, I must remember that the world I live in isn't safe and never has been, especially for my dreams. That being said, I choose not to stop dreaming, especially in order to spare the hurt that is sure to come. Pain is part of living. God will provide a way, but I need to look at my dreams through His eyes, instead of mine. His vision is clear, and He sees so much more than I am able to imagine. And He has provided so many incredible people in my life, who love and support and encourage me, with honor and respect. If the breadcrumbs were any more abundant, I'd be drowning in them. I'm grateful God is allowing me this time to mourn, yet already feel His gentle, guiding hand, pushing me forward.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I am God's. What is my purpose?

I am also an abuse survivor, fearful and brave, imperfect, flawed, hopeful, tenacious, creative, optimistic, reserved and friendly, a fighter, of worth...

This week, I will mourn the dreams I held dear for most of my life. God has been leading me along in the direction He wants me to go, and truly, I'm looking forward to the new adventure, but I think it's been a struggle because I haven't properly mourned and released the old dreams. They don't fit anymore. I don't think God minds.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Carpe diem... and starting...

...at the bottom.

Laundry: Done. Defrost fridge: Done. Check blogs: Done. Reading assignments: Done. Make better food choices: Done. I didn't do well on that last one, this past week. I did much better, today.

Sigh... I wrote "the bottom" and then deleted, knowing that I dared not post here... I suppose that's the real bottom. I struggle to own my feelings, but I must step carefully, every moment of every day, lest I find myself on the wrong end of a disagreement. I want to give the advice to others to create a way, when they are young, to be independent, and yet, I know all too well that such broad advice isn't truly helpful. It's like the quote I heard long ago: If a philosophy can fit in a nutshell, it should probably stay there.

So, I'm endeavoring to strip away all the lies and all the old dreams that no longer fit, to face the truth that I am not and never will be what I was taught I should be, and even my own image of myself is wrong on many levels, but not all. This means figuring out what I may keep, what is right, what is true to me, and then decide where I go from here, but that is for another day. Today, it is recognizing where I am and who I am. I have to start somewhere, someday. Today is as good a day as any.

This quote came in an email, from a friend, today, and it seemed remarkably fitting for the beginning of this journey:

"Faith is not about everything turning out OK;
"Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #49

~Palm Sunday, and the coming Easter week.

~The Great Exemplar, the Eternal Healer, the Sacrificial Lamb, the Son of God, Jesus Christ my Savior and Redeemer.

~The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis & John Eldredge page 154: When we face trials, our most common reaction is to ask God, "Why won't you relieve us?" And when he doesn't, we resignedly ask, "What do you want me to do?" Now we have a new question "Where is the Romance headed?"

With that question in mind, this week, I'm stepping back and searching first for where I am. I already have a fair idea of where my Sacred Romance with God is headed, in countless breadcrumbs left for me to guide me. I'm realizing that my search for who I am is actually an exploration of what lies within me to better serve God's purpose for my life. What am I overlooking? What am I not recognizing as an additional asset? What are my assets that I'm not using to the best of my ability?

~Friends and family who enrich my life, inspire me, strengthen me, remind me of what matters.

~Remember.

Looking deeper...

This morning, I woke with the plan to begin looking at myself and my life differently. So, what was the first thought that came to me? The old image I've kept in my head of what I "should" be. *rolling eyes* In frustration, I pushed the image away and decided not to think about it at all, yet.

God has other plans. I was checking the various blogs I visit. Stopping in at Fellowship of the Minds, I found a post about a man who converted to Christianity when he was 60 years old, Malcolm Muggeridge. Mother Theresa touched his heart, and I recognized a God incident.

It isn't going to be easy, because the old image keeps popping into my head, but I have several inspiring books I'm looking forward to reading this week.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It doesn't make sense...

I'm still not feeling well. I figure it's God way of forcing me to slow down, and focus. I feel like I'm all over the place. I was very bad and had eggs over-easy on toast. I love eggs. I'm allergic to eggs. I didn't care. I cajoled myself that I could "get away" with it, once in a while, and today was once in a while. It was yummy. I'm catching up on some reading.

I'm realizing that I have to be careful with my blog. There is much I do not say, and much I skirt, because I'm not safe. That was one of my toughest sessions with my last counselor. He asked me what would happen when my parents passed away. I live at home. We talked about how the house will be sold and divided among the siblings. I admitted I didn't know. I could see the shock on his face as he said, "You have no security." And then the dismay, "You have no idea what it is to have any security in your life." No. He then asked if I even knew what security was, and I replied that I had a very good working knowledge, as I do of many healthy concepts, but I have absolutely no idea how to apply any of those concepts in my life. As I have struggled to stop lying to myself, I have found myself stumbling, again and again and again. Then it dawned on me that lying is the only way for an abuse survivor to make sense of the insanity of abuse in their life. Abuse is not logical or sensible. What kind of sense is it to neglect a child and expect them to grow up healthy? What kind of sense is it to beat a child and expect them to grow up with a healthy sense of self? What kind of sense is it to sexual abuse someone and expect them to have healthy boundaries? What kind of sense is it to belittle someone and expect them to believe in their own self-worth?

I was reading another blog, and one of the commenters wondered how far was too far. How well I remember wondering the same thing, many, many years ago. If your boundaries have been repeatedly violated, if you have any boundaries at all, there is the need to have someone else define the boundaries. Now that I'm much healthier -- and yet, I've still such a long way to go -- but I realize now that healthy boundaries are created when you listen to yourself. What's too far for one isn't for another. For some people, holding hands is too far. Instead of defining how far is too far, wouldn't it be better to teach concepts like honor and respect for self and others? Wouldn't it be better to teach listening to that inner voice, the one that encourages rising above the baser instincts? I don't know. There's so much I don't know. I know my high school boyfriend pushed my boundaries whenever he had the chance. However, I had a line in the sand I would not cross, and it earned me the nickname Ice Queen. As I read Tara Tyler Quinn's It Happened on Maple Street, it was driven home that I was absolutely clueless about what it was like to be truly attracted to someone. I've had plenty of crushes, and several I thought I wanted to marry, but none of them because I was irresistibly drawn to them. They simply seemed like a good choice. I was hurt when things didn't work out, not because I felt I was less without them but because I felt like I had failed to be enough to begin with. I regularly thank God that I haven't married because any man I married before now would not have been a healthy choice for me. And now I've circled back to stop lying to myself. I know -- because I did it -- I would have molded myself to what I thought he wanted, rather than being who I am. And yes, now I am back to who am I, though I have a foundational answer now: I am God's.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. I'm taking Easter week to do some soul searching. It seems an appropriate way to celebrate the season. I'm not sure what I'm going to find. I'm a little nervous. I don't imagine it will be easy. I've already had some hints, and it's painful, but God's way isn't the easy way. I think I'm finally ready to embrace that truth.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Who am I? I am God's.

I was awoken at 4:30 in the morning by this thought. The rest of the day has pretty much been a wash. I make plans; God laughs. I did finally manage to finish my work, mostly, by about 7:30 p.m. I'm barely able to keep my eyes open, but know that if I go to bed too early, I'll be up before the birds, again. So, staying awake as long as I'm able, which isn't going to be much longer. My voice is still iffy. My head is still stuffy. I don't know much more today than I did yesterday, but I'm feeling more peaceful.

In the last two days alone, what have I discovered or re-learned about myself and who I am? I enjoy cooking. If I'm cooking, then it's a sure sign I'm feeling more like myself. I made pancakes and buttermilk syrup, yesterday. Yummy!! I've done some catching up on some reading. I've been enjoying the gourmet-a-day theme on my iGoogle page. Today featured Ron Ben-Israel Cakes. Oh, wow. And at the other end of the scale, I was asked where I stand in regards to Israel. I was blessed to grow up next door to a Jewish family. I made some hurtful and thoughtless comments in my arrogant youth. Thank God, I grew up, and we remained friends for many years. I also became better acquainted with my Bible. As an adult, I'd watch what the media would say, and then I'd call my friend and ask, "Okay, now tell me what really happened." I stand with Israel.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who am I?

I have read dozens of books... hundreds of books... thousands of books... I keep the ones that speak to me, the ones that lift me, inspire me, challenge me, change me. All the books that explore my history agree that there are things I didn't learn and should have, and now it's too late. There are things I learned that will be stumbling blocks for the rest of my life. There are things I should have learned in order to be healthy that I didn't. I'm finally accepting the truth. I'm no longer lying to myself that I can overcome the mess that's my life. I've tried to make something of the wreck of my life. I can't. There's too much. It's too big. I will not pretend anymore that there's any chance for the life I always wanted. I'm done.

In the last year, I've been working, slowly but surely, in this direction. I can't make anything of my life, but God can. It isn't too much for God. It isn't too big for God. It isn't too messy for God. It isn't too broken for God. God created the world and all that is in it. God created light. God can create something from my life. It isn't going to be easy, but I know all about that, and I'm not a quitter. Okay, God, what next?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sigh... this lying thing is tough...

I wrote yesterday that my voice was pretty much back. Spoke too soon. Growing up, it was always advisable to be sick as little as possible. On average, colds last seven to ten days. I try to be optimistic and say I'll be well in seven days. Here's the truth: I usually have the cold for at least ten days. Then I end up with a sinus infection that takes another two to three weeks to clear up. No antibiotics. I'm already allergic or unaffected by two families of medications. There aren't that many. So, I drink lots of water and try to rest. I feel better accepting the truth. I'm not quite as featherbrained as I have been, which is always a relief. I've managed to accomplish some tasks on the To-Do list. I repotted my rosemary to a larger pot for living outside. It wasn't surviving well in my window. I hope I wasn't too late.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This and that...

I was watching P. Allen Smith's gardening show. He talked about creating terrariums when he was a kid. I thought: How appropriate! Then I wondered what I did as a kid: I made up stories in my head. I also loved to cook. Hmmm....

I'm feeling better, i.e., the head isn't as stuffy. My voice is pretty much back to normal. Thank God.

Brain is scattered. Don't know why. Not as worried about it as I was yesterday.

Yesterday, I found myself bitterly regretting how I allowed things to happen, after high school. When I say allowed I mean I didn't fight for me. I wanted to pursue the culinary arts, but was told that women couldn't make any money as a chef, only men could. I was told to major in engineering (regardless of the fact that I almost flunked high school calculus). Instead, I changed my major to home economics. Again, I was told that I couldn't make any money doing that, and I should become an engineer. (I turn numbers around.) Add to that, if a class was difficult, it didn't occur to me that I needed to find a different way to approach the class. I thought I was too stupid to figure it out, so I'd look for something easier. I had to pay someone to type my papers, and they pointed out all my deficiencies in spelling and paragraphing. I finally gave up on college because I thought I wasn't smart enough. When I finally went back I took only classes I was interested in and nothing too hard. Then I discovered the wonders of going to school with an available computer. By this time, I'd worked for Corporate America. I learned that just because it was hard didn't mean I was stupid. I learned to work harder and more efficiently. I discovered I had some amazing problem-solving skills. Yesterday, I wept because I'm not where I had wanted to be, ever. Today, I'm back to accepting what is and endeavoring to move forward from where I am.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Carpe diem... out of sorts...

Though out of sorts, I managed to do laundry and some reading. I've been sorting through memories as well. It hasn't been a particularly pleasant experience, but necessary. There is a sense that something is lurking, barely out of reach, waiting for the right key or clue to come to the fore and be recognized. This vague feeling is not a comforting one because there is a sense of recognition that what's coming isn't something pleasant. And it isn't comforting knowing that God is doing the pushing, though it seems He is being as gentle as possible. This is one of those times when I feel the need to grit my teeth and exercise faith in God's plan for me, no matter how scary or impossible it seems.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #48

~Rain that makes things green and grow.

~Books that lift and inspire.

~Family members that strengthen and encourage.

~Friends that support and enrich.

~Friends that bring clarity and understanding.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Conundrum and other stuff...

Reading someone else's blog, today, it occurred to me that as I struggle to stop lying, there are problems I haven't considered fully. There are people in my life with whom the truth is not an acceptable answer, so I... lie. Well, shoot. Then again, in their world, lying is the central form of communication, and I'm simply communicating in a language they understand and accept. I do endeavor to instill as much truth as possible. It's fascinating to watch them close themselves off if they think I'm lying, when I'm telling the truth, because what I'm saying isn't what they want to hear. Sir Walter Scott certainly had it right: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!" It doesn't improve with practice! It only becomes messier. I'm not giving up. I'm going to continue to try to stop lying. And please no Yoda: "No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." Master Yoda, I respectfully disagree. Then again, quotes meant for one instant are often applied to other instances for which they were not intended. Confucius said "If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it's OK. But you've got to shoot for something. A lot of people don't even shoot." And the only Woody Allen quote I like: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

NASCAR: Carl Edwards won the Nationwide race! YAY! He came in third in Texas, today, and he is now #1 in the Sprint Cup standings!! WHOOHOO!!!

My sister and I had planned on walking, this morning. We woke to buckets of rain. She invited me to breakfast. I had Lucky Charms. They were yummy!! Not a treat I buy for myself. Thanks, sis!

My nephew and his friend participated in an art fair, despite the rain. They're carvers, wood and bone, and very good.

I'm still stuffy. I think it's a sinus infection, so I'm drinking lots of water. It is improving. I'm curling up with Lucy Monroe books. She has a new addition to one of her series coming out, next month, and I'm re-acquainting myself with the characters.

Friday, April 8, 2011

There's change, and then there's change...

There's change as in doing something new, which can be done at any time, though some opportunities pass, never to be offered again. I'd like to visit New Zealand. That would be a change. If it happens, great. If not, that's okay.

And then there is change as in changing a flaw that harms self and others, which can never wait. Stop lying was a change that needed to happen long ago. I tried. And tried. And tried. The difficult part was that I didn't acknowledge how deep the habit was ingrained. I didn't stop trying to change. I kept searching for understanding. I also kept trying to be honest.

I quit dating over fifteen years ago because I realized I didn't know how to maintain healthy boundaries, and I finally stopped lying to myself that I could. I truly am learning now. It hasn't been easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. I stopped lying to myself and accepted that people who said they loved me didn't. I had to learn to be honest with myself that there are those who don't believe I have the right to protect myself. I've stopped lying to myself that people didn't mean to hurt me or humiliate me. I told them, repeatedly. They are lying to themselves if they say they didn't know. I've stopped lying to myself that it is my responsibility to determine anyone else's willingness to accept responsibility for themselves and their actions. I've stopped lying to myself that it is my responsibility to make anyone else happy. I have stopped lying to myself that it is my responsibility to fulfill everyone else's expectations of me no matter how unreasonable and no matter the cost to me. I have stopped lying to myself that it is my responsibility to be the scapegoat, the secret keeper, the puppet, the toy. And it's scary. Because it means that I have to stop lying about who and what I've been all my life. So who am I?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Follow up...

Often when I write, I'm able to leave the topic and move on to something else. Yesterday's topic is lingering. I grew up among predators. One was arrested coming out of church. He was jailed, all the while declaring himself innocent because he hadn't had intercourse with his victims. Yes, you read that right. He painted himself innocent because he swears that he hadn't actually had intercourse with any of his victims. I don't want to imagine how well that excuse will go over before the Throne of God. Remember that it would be better to have a millstone about the neck and thrown into the depths of the sea. That's better. It's going to be ugly. A predator lies to everyone, including him or herself. Maybe especially to him or herself.

I've recently finished five years of therapy. I'd been through two one-year rounds previously. The two earlier rounds saw me through some rough patches, but I don't feel like I actually changed. I was still struggling with almost exactly the same problems, with slightly different packaging. This time is different. It wasn't easy. It was incredibly hard. There were plenty of times when I did not want to face another day. Anyone who thinks therapy is wonderful hasn't had decades-old scabs stripped away, leaving you raw and vulnerable and feeling like the wound happened yesterday, again.

I think one of the hardest things I had to acknowledge was finally realizing how much I lied. I was brutally trained in the art of lying. I lied to protect myself. I lied to protect others. I lied to present an image of peace and calm and ease. I lied when I didn't have to lie. I lied without even realizing. I lied out of habit. Paradoxically, I did not tolerate lies from others. A part of me felt like I over-reacted. Now, I know why. I was calling others on the carpet for something I did myself. I really hate it when I point a finger at someone else and there are several pointing back at me.

Starting therapy this last time, I knew all the lies had to end. It wasn't easy. Sometimes it was a struggle one moment to the next. There were those who didn't want me to change. People who supposedly loved me. It was okay if I changed, as long as I remained the same with them. They didn't understand that all the lies had to stop. All the lies. Every single one. It hasn't been an easy lesson to learn. I messed up. A lot.

When I read the article, yesterday, so much rage surged back, though with a difference. I didn't try to smooth it over or pretend like it wasn't a big deal. I've stopped lying to myself. In my conversations with others, I check myself to be sure I'm sharing the truth. There are still those in my life that require me to hide who I am from them. They don't want the honest me. They want the me that makes them comfortable, no matter the cost to me. They will lie and say they want to know, but when I've tried to believe them, they've proven again and again and again that they lied. I've stopped lying to myself. I'm not perfect. I will probably have to stay aware all my life. I'm okay with that. There is an unmistakable peace that is mine, every day, because I've stopped lying to myself. It hasn't made my life easier, but it has made it more livable.

The truth will set you free. God never promised life would be easy. He did promise it would be worth it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Still not well...

...and frustrated by that. Head is stuffy, and thinking is foggy. I managed to accomplish what I planned for the day.

Fellowship of the Mind posted the news that the author of the pedophile guide book only received two years probation. Not enough. Not nearly enough. This was my very, very edited response: A predator will always lie. No matter what. A skilled predator knows how to lie so convincingly that others believe them. They’ve learned how to weave in a truth, but it’s still a lie. The child has to live with the consequences for the rest of their life, so should the predator. And having been abused as a child is no excuse, ever. Accept personal responsibility. Oh, wait, personal responsibility isn’t PC.

I am so angry... I've had thrown back at me: You want mercy for you and justice for them. Actually, if I ever did anything so despicable, justice couldn't come quick enough or severe enough. No excuses.

There are those who tell me that the predators live with the consequences as well. They chose them when they made their decision to disrespect another human being; the child did not. No excuses.

All that being said, since I have no control, I am more than willing to turn it over to God, because God has already said that it would be better for those who offend a child to have a millstone around their neck and thrown into the depths of the sea.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Assessing...

I've been thinking about my blog, here, and noticing that it seems quite random and also rather shallow, over all. I try not to be controversial. I try not to step on any toes, at least not often. I know I constantly sensor my thoughts. A part of me fears being found, having what I write reported to those with whom I'm not safe. Each word and phrase is carefully chosen to protect me, to protect my hopes and dreams, what few there are. My fretting isn't unfounded. I've shared information that has come back to haunt me, to be used as a whip or shackles. I'm not ashamed; it is my self-worth that is held hostage. That which matters to me is thrown back at me as a joke, dismissed, or derided. And I'm questioned why I share so little. I admire those who say, "Let them come," and share their story anyway. I'm not there yet, not entirely. I am exploring, though. I'm learning, but I've no illusions about still being at the mercy of those who think me incapable, irresponsible, a burden. So, today, I'm thinking about where I want to go from here. I'm not sure, but I'm thinking about it now, rather than pushing it aside. I want to lift, inspire, encourage. I know too well how easy it is to slip the other way. I'm learning how important it is to be honest, to stop lying to myself, and yet there are those who do not want me to be honest. It makes them uncomfortable, and then they make my life difficult. What a mess.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Carpe diem... doing better...

I still have a stuffy head. I still have a headache, though now I'm not sure if it's a cold or allergies, because now allergy medicine is helping. I was able to accomplish everything on my list. There wasn't much, but that was the idea with as lousy as I feel. I'm still scatterbrained. You know it's a problem when almost every word has a typo, a least for me. My old work taught me to be a really good typist.

I did a bit of re-reading the ends of favorites, like TTQ's Maple Street and Meyer's Host. I told God I needed a breadcrumb, and He sent it. Actually, He sent several. A quick reminder: Breadcrumbs are those things that lead you in a particular direction, even when you don't know where you going. They're hints, and not always recognizable right away. I always used to feel bad about asking because it felt like asking for a sign, but I'm not asking for a sign to tell me which way to go. I know which way I'm going. I'm asking for encouragement on the road, a reminder that I'm not traveling on my own, that I'm not completely crazy. I think that's always been a problem I've had in the past. I didn't notice the little things very well. I was always looking for big, neon signs, because frankly, that's all I recognized with any certainty. Good to know I've done some changing for the better.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #47

~Racing in Martinsville was exciting, today! Blessedly, neither Martin Truex or Kasey Kahn were hurt. A miracle when you see it. Poor Carl Edwards lost his power steering early on. Can you imagine driving at speeds from 60-120 mph, on a short track, with no power steering? His crew chief reminded him that this is why he lifts weights, but still... He stuck it out to the end.

~I still have my cold, but I know they do not last forever.

~I already have blackberries developing! Hopefully, it won't grow too hot too fast. At least one batch of blackberry jam would be nice.

~Supportive friends, new friends, and my friends the books.

~Psychology Today The Legacy of Distorted Love by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. on Child Sexual Abuse and Narcissism. I found this informative and clear.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life is not fair...

Sometimes, I need to remind myself of that. I'm feeling very whiney, today. The cold is coming to an end, which means I don't feel wiped out, but I don't feel up to par, either. It's that unpleasant in between spot. I've really had enough of the headache I've had for all seven days. Or has it been eight, now? I want popcorn, but I don't have any in the house. I want to read, but I'm feeling very distracted. I want to feel better, NOW. I've been very patient all week, and now I'm done. I'm ready for it to be over. I was frustrated with trying to number a document. I tried to use the supposedly helpful Help feature offered by MS. It wasn't helpful. I could ask about numbers, which directed me to bullets and numbers. When I asked about numbering pages, it told me there was nothing related. Nasty pc program. I finally went to Yahoo and asked. Thank you eHow! Easy-measy. In no time at all, viola, my pages were numbered. I'm still cranky about that. No, I'm tired, and I'm sick, and I'm frustrated with still being sick and tired. I want to curl up in bed, but I'm not hopeful. I went to bed at a reasonable hour last night and laid there, unable to sleep. But I'm sooooo tired!! Okay, as my dear friend says, "Whine, whine, whine, stop."

My blackberry bushes are in bloom, lots and lots of blooms. Walking with my sister, this morning, at the park, we saw two sets of ducklings, eleven and ten respectively. So little! So fuzzy! So adorable! The roses are exploding into bloom. It's cooling down again, at least for the next few days. What a blessing. I enjoyed the garage cam at Martinsville. What fun! (NASCAR)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tara Taylor Quinn's newest novel...

It Happened on Maple Street is Tara Taylor Quinn's own true-life love story. The first book I remember reading of hers was Merry Christmas Babies. She's written over fifty novels, and I own quite a few of them. She has been one of my shining lights in my search to become healthy. She's an inspiration to me. Her stories touch my heart, and heal me a little more with each reading. There are several that I re-read on a regular basis. I usually don't find her stories a comfortable read, because I have to stop and think every few pages. I have to explore how I feel about what she's written. She was one of the first who required me to start being honest with myself about my past. May she continue to write inspiring romance stories of strength and courage, for many years to come. I wish her all the best.