Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #63

~The gift of Prayer, when I may formally express my gratitude and ask of God blessings for others and myself.

~Friends, who lift, encourage, strengthen, inspire, love, and believe in me.

~More work that helps pay the bills.

~Poke wars are fun. :-)

~NASCAR TrackPass offered RaceView for the Nationwide race free. Thank you! I'd rather watch the dots zipping around the track, than watch the leader board change after each lap. Even more fun, I was able to listen to Carl Edward's radio. He came in fifth. SPRINT CUP: The race is viewable on ESPN, but I don't have it. The guys at the Yahoo chat are great. Thanks Jay Hart, Geoffrey Miller, and Nick Bromberg. Unfortunately, Carl came in 14th. He had some engine trouble early. However, Paul Menard had his first win, so congrats to him. That being said, still cheering wildly because Carl is still first overall in the Sprint. Whoohoo!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Heroes... Marc Alan Lee

There are days, and then there are days, and this has been one of those weeks. I'm wondering what in the world I'm thinking, and spending a lot of time feeling terrified of what the future holds because, right now, I have absolutely no clue. I feel like such a coward. What kind of life is it when you're nowhere near where you hoped and dreamed and planned to be, ever? I want to give up, quit, and then I read about someone like Marc Alan Lee.

The first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq, August 2, 2006. Americas Mighty Warriors

And I remind myself that I have not been asked to give my life. God has asked me to LIVE my life. And so, I endeavor to follow where my heart leads, though I do not understand the whys of it. The how is easy: One step at a time.

Treasure
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
You may not have a lot of money, but you have incredible wealth. You may not have an abundance of things, but you possess more than you could ever ask or think. God has placed within you the greatest treasure anyone can ever possess-it is the life of Jesus Christ. You have, living within you, the beauty of His holiness, the kindness of His grace, the freedom of His truth, the compassion of His mercy, the greatness of His power, and the riches of His love. He has freely lavished upon you a treasure house of blessings that you can freely give away to others.
-Roy Lessin, DaySpring co-founder and writer

Friday, July 29, 2011

Some days...

...I find myself asking God to simply see me through to the end of the day, so I can start over tomorrow. Today is one of those days. It isn't actually a bad day. I'm tired, and that never helps. I finished my work in a reasonable amount of time. I was looking forward to accomplishing several things, and then I found myself stuck. I didn't know why; I only knew there was something I needed to change. Maddening. I tried distracting myself, knowing that sooner or later my brain would drag out of the depths of my subconscious what needed to be done. Four hours later, it did, but now I don't want to do anything more than curl up with a book for a few hours, and go to sleep early, but not too early.

What bothers me about the day is that it feels like I'm living very much on the surface. It seems to be a place I go when I'm feeling very insecure and out of sorts, wondering what in the world I'm thinking on my current path. I feel like I've done nothing all day, and yet I've worked on my WordPress stuff, finished my work, done a bit of catch up in several areas, and straightened out a continuity problem that really needed to be fixed. A mild headache is probably not helping any. Then again, I'm looking at putting into motion plans I've had percolating for a very long time. I miss my dog. Funny how thinking that brings an unexpected calm.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Week Five of REAL...

The 22nd: weigh in: 242 lb. That's discouraging to see. I had trouble going to sleep, and then woke up at 2 AM, then slept through my alarm at 5 AM, clear through to 7 AM. What? This is not helpful. *pfft* It's 8 AM, and I've completed 2 SEAL puppy reps and my physical therapy. Adventure to HP Deathly Hallows Part 2 in 3-D, with my sister and my dad. That was FUN! Had popcorn, lots of popcorn. Tried my bread with pbj, and it's yummy. At 9:30 PM, I decided to see if SEAL puppy reps 2x would help me sleep better. We'll see.

The 23rd: weigh in: 241.4 lb. A two-mile walk. Two reps of my SEAL puppy routine. Physical therapy, all before 8:30 AM. Good friend over to visit, and share lunch, nothing fancy. Made bread, pasta, and pancakes. Fresh bread for dinner. Definitely yummy.

The 24th: weigh in: 240.6 lb. Woke with a horrific headache. Hate when that happens.

The 25th: weigh in: 240 lb. Did not sleep well. Storms, last night, woke me at midnight and again at 2 AM. Then I woke to odd nightmares at 3 AM. Alarm went off at 5 AM. Two SEAL puppy reps, one-mile walk, two more SEAL puppy reps, and physical therapy, before 6 AM. Go me.

The 26th: weigh in 239.2 lb. Slept well. Thank you, God. Two SEAL puppy reps and physical therapy. Feeling pretty good, this morning. And the day went downhill from there. By the time I reached 5 PM, which is when I usually would have gone to my dinner meeting, my sciatica was screaming and sitting was no longer an option.

The 27th: weigh in: 239.8 lb. Slept okay. I have an odd rash on my arm. Thank goodness for Mum's Blend. Two SEAL puppy reps, one-mile walk, two more SEAL puppy reps, and physical therapy.

The 28th: weigh in: 240.2 lb. Waist circumference: 41". Yes, you read that right. From this time last week to today, I've lost 1.4 lb and 1". And I woke up so discouraged, after sleeping only 4-1/2 hours, which is never helpful, though I woke without my alarm clock. Go figure. Two SEAL puppy reps and physical therapy all done by 5:30 AM. It's isn't even 6 AM, and I'm dressed, with my hair done. I work at home. Work isn't even half done. Brain scattered. Working on the project. Trying to decide if I like WordPress or if I'd be happier using Blogger. Not a good day for making decisions. That being said, I'm nearing the end of the evening, and I'm feeling better, but of course I'm following the breadcrumbs. All is in God's hands.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bits and bobs...

Fear is an opportunity to exercise faith. Time to do some exercise, and it's exercise EVERYONE can do.

I need to remember that after a bad night, it takes two days before I stop feeling like I have the attention span of a flea.

Again reminding myself, when I decide to read a Tara Taylor Quinn book I need to accept that not much else will be accomplished. I also need to allow myself that time. TTQ's writing always finds me evaluating where I am in my healing process.

Today was a pretty good day. Yesterday wouldn't have been nearly as bad if I'd listened to what my heart was telling me. This morning, I woke up and realized I needed to change my perspective on several things and did.

Everything that needed to be done, today, was done, and a few other things, too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My latest quote so fit today...

There's a time for joking around and a time to be serious; this is not one of them. --Anonymous

My niece has been struggling with procrastination. That was me, today, and yet not. Work is not done. Fortunately, there's tomorrow. I did not attend my monthly meeting. Fortunately, there's next month. My answer to her was really for me. This was her quote, today: "It's so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to." ~ Annie Gottlier

And this was my answer: It isn't always easy when you want to, either. Some things simply take a lot of work. The question is how badly do you want it? Do you want it badly enough to do the work, the hard stuff, the yucky stuff, the painful stuff? Sometimes, procrastination is because it really isn't the best choice for us. Sometimes, procrastination is because it isn't quite time yet, another puzzle piece needs to be added. The problem is when procrastination is an excuse to not do what needs to be done right now. Priorities is learning to recognize what needs to be done right now and what can wait until later or doesn't need to be done, ever.

What I did today: I read Tara Taylor Quinn's latest book: Full Contact. I know, as soon as I see the book available for pre-order, that when I pick it up, the day will be gone. Her stories touch me in ways that stop me in my tracks. I laugh and cry and think and wonder. This book had a plot twist that was absolutely perfect for this book and these characters. The central message of this book, for me, is that there are two types of running away: The type where you run away from life by hiding away, and the type were you actually don't stay in one place. I easily recognized the latter. I also remember where I was and what I was doing when I decided it was time to stop running away. At the time, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. As I read her book, I realized I also do the former. I'm a bit sociophobic, not without reason. I've worked hard to improve, but reading the book I realized I still have a long way to go. It was a day spent unexpectedly and well spent. All the other stuff will still be there, waiting, tomorrow. Today is for absorbing and processing and seeing how this shifts my life because TTQ's books always do.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Carpe diem... not so much...

We had storms, all last night, which meant I didn't sleep well. I'd wake up every one or two hours, then have trouble going back to sleep. We need the rain, so I'm not asking it to go away. It's actually an old habit. My dog didn't like storms, so she'd wake me whenever there was a storm, every one to two hours. She's been gone almost five years, but the habit seems to be here to stay. What I did manage to accomplish: Worked marginally on some projects. Added another author to my no list. Read more of The Warrior Elite. I had stopped, for a time, after chapter one, as I tried to implement my SEAL puppy routine. Chapter two is about First Phase, which means it is only becoming more physical. I'm pleased that my SEAL puppy routine is becoming easier, with practice, but I will never, as in not in a million years, ever be able to accomplish even the basic requirements to pass the original screening, let alone enter First Phase. That being said, I am having fun with my itty-bitty SEAL reps.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #62

~NASCAR Carl won the Nationwide race. Whoohoo!! Unfortunately, it's only available if you can afford to pay for it, which I can't. Life is what it is. Thank goodness for highlights, which I will be able to see online. Yay!!

~Fresh, homemade, baked bread. Nothing smells like it, and nothing tastes like it. A bit of heaven.

~Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2. Sadly, the saga has come to an end. They did themselves proud. Saw with Dad and Sister at IMAX in 3-D. Brilliant!!

~Time spent with dear friends, with whom I'm safe to be myself, warts 'n all.

~Time spent with family members, connecting and sharing laughter.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Heroes... Mrs. Gene Bauer

I have not met this woman, but she influences me, every time I read or remember this story. Over at my sister's blog, We Are One, she posted the Daffodil Principle, and I asked if I could copy and post it here, in its entirety. I heard about this, from her, years ago. I'm so grateful she found it and shared it, again. It epitomizes Tolkien's own belief: "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

http://www.holisticpractitionersnetwork.com/Articles/daffodil_principle.htm

THE DAFFODIL PRINCIPLE

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say. "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. Going and coming took most of a day -- and I honestly did not have a free day until the following week.

"I will come next Tuesday," I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove the length of Route 91, continued on I-215, and finally turned onto Route 18 and began to drive up the mountain highway. The tops of the mountains were sheathed in clouds, and I had gone only a few miles when the road was completely covered with a wet, gray blanket of fog. I slowed to a crawl, my heart pounding. The road becomes narrow and winding toward the top of the mountain. As I executed the hazardous turns at a snail's pace, I was praying to reach the turnoff at Blue Jay that would signify I had arrived.

When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren. I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these darling children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears—and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car. The mechanic just called, and they've finished repairing the engine," she answered.

"How far will we have to drive?" I asked cautiously.

"Just a few blocks," Carolyn said cheerfully. So we buckled up the children and went out to my car. "I'll drive," Carolyn offered. "I'm used to this."

We got into the car, and she began driving. In a few minutes I was aware that we were back on the Rim-of-the-World road heading over the top of the mountain.

"Where are we going?" I exclaimed, distressed to be back on the mountain road in the fog. "This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, trying to sound as if I were still the mother and in charge of the situation, "please turn around. There is nothing in the world that I want to see enough to drive on this road in this weather."

"It's all right, Mother," she replied with a knowing grin. "I know what I'm doing. I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

And so my sweet, darling daughter who had never given me a minute of difficulty in her whole life was suddenly in charge -- and she was kidnapping me! I couldn't believe it. Like it or not, I was on the way to see some ridiculous daffodils -- driving through the thick, gray silence of the mist-wrapped mountaintop at what I thought was risk to life and limb. I muttered all the way.

After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road that branched down into an oak-filled hollow on the side of the mountain. The Fog had lifted a little, but the sky was lowering, gray and heavy with clouds. We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. From our vantage point at the top of the mountain we could see beyond us, in the mist, the crests of the San Bernardino range like the dark, humped backs of a herd of elephants. Far below us the fog-shrouded valleys, hills, and flatlands stretched away to the desert.

On the far side of the church I saw a pine-needle-covered path, with towering evergreens and manzanita bushes and an inconspicuous, hand-lettered sign "Daffodil Garden."

We each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path as it wound through the trees. The mountain sloped away from the side of the path in irregular dips, folds, and valleys, like a deeply creased skirt. Live oaks, mountain laurel, shrubs, and bushes clustered in the folds, and in the gray, drizzling air, the green foliage looked dark and monochromatic. I shivered.

Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist-filled air, the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils.

The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety (I learned later that there were more than thirty-five varieties of daffodils in the vast display) was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

In the center of this incredible and dazzling display of gold, a great cascade of purple grape hyacinth flowed down like a waterfall of blossoms framed in its own rock-lined basin, weaving through the brilliant daffodils.

A charming path wound throughout the garden. There were several resting stations, paved with stone and furnished with Victorian wooden benches and great tubs of coral and carmine tulips. As though this were not magnificence enough, Mother Nature had to add her own grace note -- above the daffodils, a bevy of western bluebirds flitted and darted, flashing their brilliance. These charming little birds are the color of sapphires with breasts of magenta red. As they dance in the air, their colors are truly like jewels above the blowing, glowing daffodils.

The effect was spectacular. It did not matter that the sun was not shining. The brilliance of the daffodils was like the glow of the brightest sunlit day. Words, wonderful as they are, simply cannot describe the incredible beauty of that flower-bedecked mountain top.

Five acres of flowers! (This too I discovered later when some of my questions were answered.)

"But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn.

I was overflowing with gratitude that she brought me - even against my will. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. "Who?" I asked again, almost speechless with wonder, "and how, and why, and when?"

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home. " Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions. On the patio we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline. The first answer was a simple one.
"50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."


There it was. The Daffodil Principle. For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun -- one bulb at a time -- to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain-top.


One bulb at a time. There was no other way to do it. One bulb at a time. No shortcuts -- simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded. Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks of each year. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world.


This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time -- often just one baby-step at a time -- learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"Carolyn," I said that morning on the top of the mountain as we left the haven of daffodils, our minds and hearts still bathed and bemused by the splendors we had seen, "it's as though that remarkable woman has needle- pointed the earth! Decorated it. Just think of it, she planted every single bulb. For more than thirty years. One bulb at a time! And that's the only way this garden could be created. Every individual bulb had to be planted. There was no way of short-circuiting that process. Five acres of blooms. That magnificent cascade of hyacinth! All, all, just one bulb at a time." The thought of it filled my mind. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My wise daughter put the car into gear and summed up the message of the day in her direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning.

Oh, profound wisdom! It is pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use tomorrow?" I also learned on that gray and golden morning what a blessing it is to have a child who is not a child anymore but a woman perceptive and loving beyond her years -- and to be humble in that awareness.

Thank you, Carolyn. Thank you for lessons of that unforgettable morning. Thank you for the gift of the daffodils.

Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards
NOTE:
This is a real garden by Mrs. Gene Bauer of Running Spring, CA
http://doityourself.com/flowers/paintingwithflowers.htm

Anyone can visit during peak bloom time, early March to early April. The garden is located below Running Springs, California, in the San Bernardino Mountains. From the city of Highland (about 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles), take Highway 330 toward Running Springs. Drive 14 miles into the mountains to the intersection of Live Oak Dr. and Fredalba. Turn right on Fredalba and proceed one mile. Park in the church parking lot. From there, signs will direct you.

She has been through 2 fires in the last 4 years and has lost many of the daffodils. Perhaps, only if you want to, you can send her $5 in the mail so she can buy a few new bulbs.

Mrs. Gene Bauer's Daffodil Garden
c/o St. Ann's Catholic Church
30480 Fredalba Rd.
Running Springs CA 92382

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Declaration of Independence... simplified... sort of...

I had planned to modernize all the verbiage, but some of it is simply too fun to waste.

MUB – My Unhealthy Behaviors

My Declaration of Independence
My Want, Will and Hope
HERE, JULY 22, 2011

The time has come to end past habits that have resulted in continuing unhealthy behaviors, which are contradictory to what God intended for me. Respect for myself requires that I declare the causes that impel me to end those behaviors, so that all excuses are put to rest.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that I am endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, healthy behaviors are instituted, by my healthy self, — Whenever any behavior becomes destructive of these ends, it is my Right to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new behavior, laying the foundation on healthy principles and organizing a logical process, as to me shall seem most likely to effect my Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that behaviors long established should not be changed for light and transient causes (reminder to self: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water); and accordingly all experience hath shewn that I am more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right myself by abolishing the forms to which I am accustomed (In other words, I tend to lean toward ‘better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t know). But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce me under absolute Despotism (enough evidence has stacked up to prove change is necessary), it is my right, it is my duty, to throw off such unhealthy behaviors, and to provide new Guards (healthy behaviors) for my future security. — Such has been my patient sufferance (I’ve put up with plenty); and such is now the necessity which constrains me to alter the former System of Behaviors (time to change). The history of the present unhealthy behaviors is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over me. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

MUB have refused to take ownership for holding me back from what is wholesome and necessary for my good.

MUB have ignored my efforts to create healthy habits by kicking in automatically. When I try to establish healthy behaviors, MUB wedge themselves in by slipping back into practice so easily.

MUB pretend like I’m allowed to establish healthy behaviors, for a short time, then they tyrannize their way back into my life.

MUB have dissolved my healthy behaviors repeatedly, for opposing with any firmness their invasions on my rights as a human being. (I can’t really say it any clearer than that.)

MUB have refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause other less healthy behaviors to be chosen, whereby my rights to choose have returned to the drawing board without success; while I remain, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. (No matter how much I try to establish healthy behaviors, MUB are so familiar and comfortable and easy that I find myself struggling to stick to anything new, because it’s awkward, uncomfortable, and usually hard work, without instant recognition of success.)

MUB are so ingrained that they obstruct any attempt to establish healthy behaviors.

MUB have made themselves Judge and Jury alone for the tenure of their offices, i.e., until further notice.

MUB have erected a multitude of New Rules, and sent hither swarms of excuses to harass me and eat away my sense of self.

MUB have kept, in times of peace, Standing Armies without my Consent for their defense, so I will always be wrong.

MUB have affected to render their Military arsenal independent of and superior to my Power over myself.

MUB have combined with others to subject me to a jurisdiction foreign to my sense of what is healthy; giving their Assent to their Acts of pretended Rules:

Blaming me for things that are not my fault or my responsibility:

Protecting my abusers, and willfully handing me over to those abusers:

Teaching me that I was incapable of doing anything of worth:

Imposing arbitrary rules that changed without notice, without my Consent:

Depriving me of the benefit of boundaries that provided safety from unhealthy behaviors:

Transporting me beyond Reason to be tried for pretended offences, sometimes by others and sometimes by my own sense of self:

Abolishing my right to free will, establishing therein an Arbitrary set of rules, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute unhealthy rules regarding my person:

Taking away my God-given free will, abolishing God’s most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of God’s Government:

Suspending my rights to choose, and declaring themselves invested with power to dictate for me in all cases whatsoever.

MUB have abdicated responsibility, by declaring me out of their Protection and waging War against me.

MUB have plundered my boundaries, ravaged my sense of self, burnt my values, and destroyed my ability to be truly healthy.

MUB are, at this time, transporting large Armies of pretend offences and “witnesses” to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy residents of a civilized nation.

MUB have constrained and taken Captive anything they can use against me, to become the executioners of my health and hope.

MUB have excited domestic insurrections amongst those with whom I’m acquainted, and have endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of the ruling public, the merciless enablers whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of everything.

In every stage of these Oppressions I have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: My repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. MUB, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of me.

Nor have I been wanting in attentions to those who supported or at least did not object to those past unhealthy behaviors. I have warned them, from time to time, of attempts to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over me. I have reminded them of the circumstances of my creating what I think will be healthy behaviors. I have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and I have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. I must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as I hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. (I’m tired of being ignored or treated like I’m stupid.)

I, therefore, my healthy self, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good person I am at heart, solemnly publish and declare, That I am, and of Right ought to be a Free and Independent person, that I am Absolved from all Allegiance to the unhealthy behaviors, and that all past connections between me and the unhealthy behaviors, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Independent Person, I have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which an Independent Person may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge my Life, my Fortune, and my sacred Honor.

— Judy

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week Four of REAL...

I'm going to try something new with REAL. It's the 15th, and I weighed in at 239 lb. Reflecting on the posts of the last couple of days, I'm realizing that I really am hiding. I've submitted an application for my dream job, and I'm waiting to hear back. I'm trying to keep my hopes from floating off into the stratosphere. It could be a few months before I hear anything. In the meantime, I'm keeping busy.

It's the 16th, and I weighed in at 240 lb, again. I also didn't sleep well, last night. I watched my DVD Inception. It was an interesting premise. I don't care for stories that don't have a proper ending. It's like letting rats loose in my brain, as I try to puzzle it out, when there is nothing to puzzle out. I did perform my physical therapy, today. I truly do try to keep that up, but I manage to remember for a few days, and then I forget. Maybe keeping track here will help.

The 17th, and weigh in is 239.2 lb. I slept 12 hours. I suspect I'm not well. When my friend called, my voice kept disappearing. I've decided to take a different perspective, one I've known I ought to pursue for some time but haven't had the courage. I've come to realize something about myself. I'm not afraid to live. I'm not afraid to fail. I am afraid of being wrong. So, I'll explore my experiment and report after it succeeds or fails. And strangely enough, I don't consider failure being wrong. I know that you can do everything right and fail. What would be wrong would be to accept failure as final.

The 18th, and weigh in is 239.2 lb. I slept six hours, went for a one-mile walk, did my physical therapy, and started a new exercise routine, which is a frail shadow of the SEAL basics, baby SEAL? Infant SEAL? Okay, a pretend SEAL.

The 19th, and weigh in is 239.4 lb. I slept only four hours. Last night, I was caught up in a book and wanted to finish, but finally realized I wasn't going to without staying up even later. I made a choice, and decided I could finish the book in the morning. When I woke, I felt an electrical burst of pain in the heel of my foot. I wanted to rub it to make it stop; reminding myself that I was lying on my back, the pain was probably a pinched nerve, so I needed to move. I'd had a mild headache for days, and then reminded myself that SEALs take ibuprofen, so I did. You do what you gotta do. Yes, I understand I will never be a SEAL, not in any way, shape, or form, but the basic information, I figure, is sound. I started today with my CIB (Carnation Instant Breakfast), and my itty-bitty SEAL routine, finishing with my physical therapy. Before 11:00 AM, I did another ittty-bitty SEAL routine and physical therapy. Lunch is done. A nap called. Unfortunately, I woke to a nightmare. Fortunately, my BFF called, and pulled me from it.

The 20th, and weigh in is 241.4 lb. Waist circumference: 42". How discouraging. Slept really badly. I had trouble settling down, and then woke to odd dreams, which are better than nightmares. One-mile walk, two reps of my miniscule SEAL routine, and physical therapy. In the early afternoon, I did two more reps, and physical therapy. DIdn't want to nap, even though I'm tired. No more dreams, please. Maybe instead of a pretend SEAL, I'm a SEAL wannabe, a SEAL pup... puppy? SEAL puppy? I kind of like that.

The 21st, and weight in is 241.6. Not a good trend, but not beating myself up because I can't remember ever having so much fun with exercise. I simply had to do my puppy SEAL routine this morning, though I only did it once, but while I was at it, I went ahead and did my physical therapy, too. I was asleep by 10:30 last night, but woke at 3 AM. Fortunately, I was able to go back to sleep, but didn't want to wake when the wake-call came at 5:30 a.m. Took a one-hour nap, and woke feeling significantly better. I also put my contacts in, today. I try to take regular breaks from them. Considering my age, and the fact that I still don't need reading glasses, oh, and my eyesight has actually improved since my first ophthalmologist appointment, in my mid 20s, I must be doing something right.

It's always fun to make a client laugh. I called and said, "I'm desperate. What are 'scerms' and how do you spell it?" The laughter went on for quite a while. Glad I could amuse. SKRM ~ Selective Kinase Response Modulator. Oh. Yea, that's definitely going in my personal dictionary.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

REAL extra ~ Mind Over Matter...

If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

An interesting observation, today. I went for a one-mile walk. I'm trying something that I'd done when I lost 30 lb in 3 months. When I'm walking I tell myself to walk like I'm skinny, not like I'm fat. I was gobsmacked by the difference I noticed. I actually do walk differently. I could feel my hips shift slightly, my back straightened, my neck felt like it lengthened, and my tummy flattened, a little. A very little. (I'll take what I can get.) I had a yoga teacher, years ago, who told us to stand like we had a piece of string tied to the top of our head that aligned perfectly with the spine. That was over 20 years ago, and I'm still able to feel myself stand a little taller, a little more centered.

I'm truly not comfortable at my current weight. I know how I arrived at this weight. I know the mechanics of losing weight. Now, it's time to convince myself that it's safe to lose weight. An abuse survivor knows that being safe isn't about the obvious. The obvious is a given, the "duh" factor. It's time to reach deeper, and learn that I'm capable of protecting my healthy boundaries, so I don't need the unhealthy boundaries anymore.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Christians United For Israel...

CUFI had their sixth annual Washington Summit. I felt very blessed and privileged when they decided to share tonight's meeting, online. There was no way I could attend, but by their gracious efforts, I was able to watch and listen to the event. It was inspiring and uplifting. What a remarkable experience. Thank you, CUFI, for sharing, and for standing with Israel.

Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am for the internet? For the way it ties me to people I've never met and yet share a common interest. For the way it allows me opportunities that would have been impossible even ten years ago. For the way it has opened the door to amazing experiences previously beyond my imagination. I'm grateful God helped me overcome my initial fears, and blessed me with friends and family who helped me discover the wonders found in the internet, and also helped me learn to navigate it as safely as possible. :-)

Carpe diem... not bad...

I've started my mini (read itty-bitty, miniscule, barely there) SEAL program. (More on that on Thursday's REAL post.) I'm currently reading Dick Couch's The Warrior Elite, which goes through the training of SEAL class 228, which, by the way, was Marcus Luttrell's graduating class.

With my problems with sleeping, I decided to try naps, and see if that keeps me from nightmares and sleep deprivation. Took a two-hour nap, today. We'll see how it goes. Brand new experiment for me. It'll be interesting no matter how things turn out. Live and learn.

Worked on a couple of projects, though not as much as I'd like, today. Storms headed this way, so how the rest of the day will go is debatable.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #61

~Blessed, restorative sleep.

~The pleasure of making a meal, from scratch.

~Books that inspire and uplift.

~The ability to chat with friends far away through FB, emails, and cellphones.

~Opportunities, to start anew, to explore, to enjoy.

NASCAR update: Carl didn't finish the Nationwide race due to engine troubles. In the SPRINT Cup, I can live with Ryan Newman winning, since he drives the Army car. Carl came in 13th. And as a side note, J.J. Yeley came in 23rd. Whoohoo!! Often J.J. doesn't have the opportunity to finish because of budget problems, so it was fun to see him finish and do so well. Carl is #1 overall in the Chase. WHOOHOO!!! Unfortunately, ESPN now has control of the rest of the races, so only three will be on television. For the rest, I'll join Yahoo's leader board and chat. It's kind of fun.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Heroes... Mother Teresa

This is a woman to admire and embrace. I fear I'm a far cry from her patience and kindness, but she inspires me. I wanted to share a quote or two, and then another and another:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.

Peace begins with a smile.

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.

The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Declaration of Independence...

In this first draft, I've remained as close to the original document as possible. It's been a fascinating exercise. And as the original underwent editing, so too will this. But I needed to start somewhere.

MUB – My Unhealthy Behaviors

My Declaration of Independence
My Want, Will and Hope
HERE, JULY 15, 2011

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the past habits which have connected them with continuing unhealthy behaviors and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect of myself requires that I should declare the causes which impel me to the separation.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that I am endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, healthy behaviors are instituted, deriving just powers from the consent of my healthy self, — That whenever any Form of behavior becomes destructive of these ends, it is my Right to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new behaviors, laying their foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to me shall seem most likely to effect my Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that behaviors long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce me under absolute Despotism, it is my right, it is my duty, to throw off such behaviors, and to provide new Guards for my future security. — Such has been my patient sufferance; and such is now the necessity which constrains me to alter the former System of Behaviors. The history of the present unhealthy behaviors is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over me. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

MUB have refused any Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for my good.

MUB have forbidden me to set healthy behaviors of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till their Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, they have utterly neglected to attend to them.

MUB have refused to allow behaviors for the accommodation of my health which would support me, unless those behaviors relinquish the right of Representation, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

MUB have called together my healthy behaviors at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with their measures.

MUB have dissolved my healthy behaviors repeatedly, for opposing with any firmness their invasions on my rights as a human being.

MUB have refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause other less healthy behaviors to be chosen, whereby my rights to choose, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the drawing board for their exercise; while I remain, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

MUB have obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing their Assent to Laws for establishing healthy behaviors.

MUB have made themselves Judge and Jury alone for the tenure of their offices, i.e., until further notice.

MUB have erected a multitude of New Rules, and sent hither swarms of Rules to harass me and eat away my sense of self.

MUB have kept, in times of peace, Standing Armies without my Consent for their defense, so I will always be wrong.

MUB have affected to render their Military arsenal independent of and superior to my Power over myself.

MUB have combined with others to subject me to a jurisdiction foreign to my constitution, and unacknowledged by my laws; giving their Assent to their Acts of pretended Rules:

For blaming me for things that are not my fault or my responsibility:

For protecting my abusers, and willfully handing me over to those abusers:

For teaching me that I was incapable of doing anything of worth:

For imposing arbitrary rules that changed without notice, without my Consent:

For depriving me of the benefit of boundaries that provided safety from abuse:

For transporting me beyond Reason to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing my right to free will, establishing therein an Arbitrary set of rules, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule regarding my person:

For taking away my God-given free will, abolishing God’s most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of God’s Government:

For suspending my rights to choose, and declaring themselves invested with power to dictate for me in all cases whatsoever.

MUB have abdicated responsibility, by declaring me out of their Protection and waging War against me.

MUB have plundered my boundaries, ravaged my sense of self, burnt my values, and destroyed my ability to be truly healthy.

MUB are, at this time, transporting large Armies of pretend offences and “witnesses” to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy residents of a civilized nation.

MUB have constrained and taken Captive anything they can use against me, to become the executioners of my health and hope.

MUB have excited domestic insurrections amongst those with whom I’m acquainted, and have endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of the ruling public, the merciless enablers whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions I have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: My repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. UB, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of me.

Nor have I been wanting in attentions to those who supported or at least did not object to those past unhealthy behaviors. I have warned them from time to time of attempts to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over me. I have reminded them of the circumstances of my creating what I think will be a healthy distance. I have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and I have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. I must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as I hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

I, therefore, the Representative of my healthy self, in General, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good person I am at heart, solemnly publish and declare, That I am, and of Right ought to be a Free and Independent person, that I am Absolved from all Allegiance to the unhealthy behaviors, and that all past connections between me and the unhealthy behaviors, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Independent Person, I have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which an Independent Person may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge my Life, my Fortune, and my sacred Honor.

— Judy

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Week Three of REAL...

Hanging about at 240 lb. A bit discouraging, but at least I'm not packing on the pounds again. I'm back to trying to convince myself that I do not need to hide behind my weight. A never-ending circle. I hope that one of these days I actually believe it.

In the news, they are bantering about the ideas that if you are obese you should be required to sign up with Weight Watchers. How easy it is to solve everyone else's problems when you don't actually have to do the work. There was also the threat that obese children should be taken away from their parents, because their parents were doing more harm than good. Another "stellar" piece of reasoning. Not. And then I was amused to note, last week, another article stating that despite posting calories, etc, people's eating habits haven't change. Why are they surprised? Did they really think it would? These are the same yo-yos who say that eggs are bad, and then say that eggs are good for you. I stopped keeping track of how many times that bit of idiocy bounced back and forth across the net. (That's the figurative tennis net, volleyball net, badminton net.) If I'm up-to-date, eggs are good for you currently. It also sounds like "they" may be judging everyone by what they would do themselves. That's called a tactical error. It falls into that funny category of "If you assume, then you make an..."

"They" keep touting the need to change and how to do it. If it's so simple, why haven't they patented the process and made scads of money? Do they really think that many of us who struggle with weight enjoy not being able to move as easily as we'd like, can't buy clothes like we'd like, don't feel as well as we'd like? In all their self-righteous, YES, self-righteous if-you-would-only ignorance, they never bother to ask WHY someone is the way they are. Instead, there's that funny category again: If you assume...

So, I'm going to turn their logic on them. If America is growing fatter that means we used to be skinnier. If that's the premise we're going with, then doesn't it seem logical to go back to eating the way we used to eat when we were skinnier? That means no diet drinks, no diet snacks, no fat-free/sugar-free/calorie-free whatever. By their logic, shouldn't we go back to eating butter, whole milk, fried foods, and red meat? Just sayin...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Truth/Lies... and more about fear...

I awoke this morning thinking about FDR's approach to fear, and how he thought it should be handled. Instead of empowering the American people to overcome their fears and solve their own problems, he exploded the size of the government, so the government could solve the problems, except that the idea of government solving problems is a lie. The Founding Fathers understood that the government should be limited in order for the people to thrive, otherwise, the people are serving the government instead of the government serving the people.

Sadder still, FDR expected the people to put their trust in the government, instead of God. He may have presented it with a side dish of faith in God, but that's the whole problem. God is not an aside. God is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, all present. FDR offered a lie: the government will solve the problems of the country.

Problems are a part of life. Pretending that all problems are solvable and/or avoidable is a lie. In fact, removing all problems is not only impossible but pointless. How does one grow? Change? What is the purpose of courage? Strength? Even love?

I don't want anyone solving my problems for me. Do I want help? Yes. I appreciate those who help me along my way. But there is a huge difference between doing for me what I am capable of doing for myself and helping me do what I cannot do for myself. There is also a difference between expecting me to do what I cannot, and never giving me the opportunity to see how far I can go, even if I can't finish.

Am I afraid I'll fail? Yes, I am. I'm more afraid of not trying. I don't want the fear taken away. It adds an edge that pushes me a little farther than I might attempt without the fear. Fear also gives me the opportunity to exercise faith and courage. There is a joy that comes when I face my fear and master it.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Here's the truth, as paradoxical as it sounds: Fear is not something of which we need to be afraid. It is a tool to be used to help us become who we are meant to be. Mary Ellen Edmonds advised: Do something, every day, that scares you to death. I'd forgotten that for far too long, but I'm realizing that though I forgot for a time, I've been remembering for a while.

Life is an adventure, and it isn't much fun without a little fear mixed in. Here's another truth: You decide whether you use fear as a tool to shape your life, or allow it to rule over you to diminish your life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Truth/Lies... and fear...

FDR's quote "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." A lie if ever there was one.

Here it is in full: So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

I freely admit: It is a fantastic sound bite. It's easy to remember, and it seems like it's true, until you look deeper.

I tried to re-write it, switching words around, trading a word here or there, but nothing works. The quote is a lie, on so many levels. So, now I'm going to dissect it.

Consider that this is a God-fearing nation. This requires a little research into the original meanings of words. I can remember songs about feeling gay, and it still only meant being happy. I remember when rainbows only meant a cool light effect compliments of water in the atmosphere and a promise from God. I remember when queer only meant odd.

When the King James version of the Bible was translated, God fearing meant to be God loving. So, yea, maybe I'm stretching on this one. My prerogative. Being a wordsmith lends one to looking at the meaning of every word, and choosing carefully. This also allowed me to mention some of the first thoughts that popped into my head when I recently heard this quote thrown out. That being said, it also ties in to what I dislike most about this quote.

The quote, which is rarely used in its entirety, implies that fear is wrong. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. Fear is, in fact, a God-given gift. That little voice that whispers this isn't safe is often a warning. I attended a church congregation of singles for several years. One of my dear friends was very popular with the men. I was not. It was actually quite funny. If the guys treated me like a stop-gap for talking to her, she would not go out with them. I was her early-warning system on jerks. However, I remember one guy with whom she sometimes sat. I avoided him. I wouldn't look at him. I even sat elsewhere if he was sitting with her. If he passed me in the hall, I would look down at the floor. Life happens, and we didn't see each other for a while. Then my friend and I were catching up with another woman, who asked about this guy. I admitted that I didn't even know his name, and didn't want to know. My friend congratulated me on my predator radar. She wasn't his type, so she wasn't worried about being nice to him. She also admitted that she never planned to introduce us, because she knew, but since I avoided him, she never had to worry about it. My initial fear, which I did not understand, protected me. A gift from God.

This particular quote was made in reference to the monetary problems of the depression. There were parents who were genuinely fearful about whether or not they would be able to feed their children that day, and the next, and the next. I remember when I lost my job and I had a dog to feed and a horse to feed and stable. The fear was gut wrenching. How was I going to take care of them? I'd promised I would. They were the closest thing I had to children of my own, and I felt the full weight of the responsibility of being their caretaker. I cried in fear of making ends meet. I took a job I hated, but it paid the bills. In my line of work, as a private contractor, there is always the fear of my work going away. And it did. Sometimes I'm scared silly...

Well, here's the problem: I tried to tell myself that the only thing to fear was fear itself. It didn't help. When you are the survivor of abuse, you know that fear is the least of your problems. Fear is the warning bell. Pay attention! Pretending like there's nothing to fear can get you hurt really badly or worse. There are people out there who enjoy hurting others, who enjoy taking advantage of others. Fear is a healthy tool to keep us on our toes and aware.

Yes, FDR did continue by clarifying "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes," but how often do you hear the rest of it? And were the fears the American people facing at that time truly unjustified? He minimized their problem. About the only thing I can say that's true about his statement is that if you're paralyzed by fear, you don't do anything.

"Doing nothing solves nothing." How's that for a sound bite?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Carpe diem... yes and no...

I planned to wake up early and take myself for a walk. Surprise! Rain, lightening, and thunder. There went that idea. However, the rain is much appreciated, so I can't actually complain. I've managed to work on a few things that needed doing, but it doesn't feel like a seize the day type of day. Nothing spectacular; nothing earth shattering; nothing above and beyond. That being said, I didn't spend the day in bed, with the covers pulled over my head. I do remember having days like that, but it's been a while. Thank God. Actually, it was my dog that taught me to stop doing that, unless I'm sick. She had to go for a walk, go outside, be fed. What a lifesaver she was. I miss her. I'm still enjoying my homemade bread. I'm not sure if I'll be going back to store bought anytime soon, if at all. Then again, I haven't tried to make a PBJ sandwich, yet, and that is a consideration. I suppose, it feels more of a silly type of day. Nothing serious, nothing life-changing. A simple, ordinary day. Those are nice.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #60

~Blessed rain.

~Homemade bread.

~Good books.

~Better friends.

~God's unwavering love, even if I don't always understand why He does what He does.

NASCAR note: Carl has had better weekends, but still doing well.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Heroes... JRR Tolkien

It's ten years ago now that advertising for the new Lord of the Rings started. Fellowship of the Rings would be the first installment of the three-movie epic. I was dubious. I was skeptical. I wasn't going to go see the movie. How could any movie possibly live up to my expectations of one of my favorite books? I'd read it in junior high school. It was my first "grown up" book. It was the longest book I'd ever read, and I read it twice. Well, almost twice. When I hit the whining of Gollum in The Two Towers, again, I couldn't bear it. Nasty little creature. So, when I started seeing ads and specials, I noticed, but I was determined to not buy into the hype. I was sure they would jack up the title, stuff a new story under it, and call it good.

The movie opened in December 2001, months after 9/11. My sister had also read the books and wanted to see the movie. I agreed to go, when she offered to pay my way. Free movie. No problem. I'd suffer through it.

Surprise!

Ten years later, and life is nothing like it was before the LOTR trilogy, and nothing like I'd imagine it might be. It shook my carefully crafted reality, and dragged me out of my complacency. My world exploded with sights and sounds and experiences and emotions I never dreamed existed. I'm so grateful Tolkien shared his world that everlastingly changed mine for the better.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quite the rant, yesterday...

I'm feeling less frenetic, today. What a blessing. How did I unwind? First, I made cookies, my favorite chocolate chip cookies. It does tend to wear me out a bit, but it's fun. Then I made bread. Best therapy on the planet. I haven't made bread in years. Then, two weeks ago, I bought a loaf of bread for $2.19. Last week, I bought another loaf of bread, but it was $2.29. This week, when I went shopping, that loaf of bread was $3.29. What?

Many years ago, I owned a bread machine. I didn't like how huge the loaf turned out. I didn't like the texture of the bread. And making bread wasn't what it used to be, for me. It's been a long time, since the last time I made bread. Today, I remembered why I enjoy it. Start with a Kitchen Aid mixer, with the whip attachment. Heat on the stove the buttermilk, sugar, salt, and butter so it's warm enough for the yeasty beasties, but not too warm. Do not roast the yeasty beasties. They die, and then the bread doesn't grow. Very sad. Next: In the mixer, blend flour and yeasty beasties. I used up my better-for-bread-flour. Then add warm milk mixture to flour mixture. Whip for 30 seconds on low or medium, and then on high for 3 minutes. Change out the whip for the hook. Do not take that the wrong way. I hated it when the old boyfriend made sexual innuendos out of everything I said no matter how innocent it was. Jerk. Anyway. With the hook attachment, gradually add flour, until dough bonds together. Remove to floured board and knead until dough is not sticky. I think I added a little too much flour, even though I hadn't added even the minimum amount required. Weather does that. I love kneading the bread. I don't know why. I don't care that I don't know why. I simply love this part. Total kneading should be at least ten minutes, making it a bit of a workout, if you're doing it right. That gentle push I see on the cooking shows, always makes me raise my eyebrows and shake my head. My way is better, because I said so. Hey, the bread is proof positive. Because I used rapid rise yeast, I let the dough rest for fifteen minutes. Then I cut the dough in approximately equal halves. While one half rested, I rolled the other half out. I also love this part. There is something incredibly satisfying about the squeaks and pops of the air bubbles formed by the yeasty beasties. Shape into a loaf and drop into a loaf pan. Repeat with the other loaf. I have stoneware, and love how it evenly cooks the loaf, and gives it a wonderful crust. That's me. I let the yeasty beasties do their job, which actually took longer than I thought it would, but they did their job, so I'm not complaining. Pop the loaves into the oven, and bake. When they sound hollow when you knock on the crust, they're done. Out of the oven, out of the pan, and onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool, and serve with butter. Life is good, and so is the bread.

I don't know what snapped, but between yesterday and today, I'm feeling much more like myself now. The black cloud has dissipated... oh. Sigh. Well that explains a lot. We've had storms rolling in for the past several nights. Today is the first day in about a week that there have been no storms. Unfortunately, I struggle with barometric headaches. Add to that, I used to love storms, until one particularly violent storm fried my computer. They've made me a little nervous ever since. It's probably only a small part of the story. There's been a lot going on, but I am feeling more lighthearted, for which I am truly grateful.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week Two of REAL...

I was going to say it is making a difference, but I'm not sure it is. I am one pound lighter. Yippee-skippy. Whatever. Such enthusiasm.

Watching the news, today, I saw a new study is out. It says that obesity has either stayed the same or risen in every state in America. Not one has shown a decrease. Personally, I find this fascinating, and it actually verifies my theory that weight isn't the problem; it's a symptom. Consider the evidence: Foods are being banned. Detailed labels are demanded for everything. The food pyramid was changed to a plate. People are penalized by insurance companies for being overweight. There is no hue and cry in regards to the prejudice displayed against those who are overweight. In fact, hating fat is not only acceptable but encouraged. Fat is hated by every part of society, without regard to anything. Television shows, ad campaigns, books, movies, and even laws are created condemning obesity.

Really?

Human trafficking has reached an all time high, and these control freaks are more worried about what goes into my mouth?

Really? What in the world happened to our priorities?

Have I been less healthy, lately, than I have at other times? Yeppers. I'm feeling incredibly stressed. I'm worried. I'm not feeling safe right now. The old negative tape has had too much playing time of late. A part of me wonders if death might be a better option than more failure and humiliation, and is more than willing to encourage it by stuffing a little more food into my mouth. I know it isn't healthy. My tummy isn't happy, but how else do I stop the anxiety and everything that comes with it? I've tried a wide variety of techniques to reduce the stress, but nothing works as effectively or quickly as food. Food is amazingly numbing.

I'm not giving up. I'm tired. It happens. I'll work through it. I always do.

For the record: I'm ten pounds lighter than I was a year ago, this time, and I've kept it off for the past six months.

Now, consider this: Smoking is down. How do I know? There are programs that depend on the taxes paid by smokers. Those programs are underfunded, because smoking is down. Every single person I've ever met who has struggled with quitting smoking has complained about how much weight they gain when they quit. So, maybe the reduced smoking is being replaced by the increased weight? Or maybe people with no work eat more because they have more time, and it alleviates the stress? Or maybe because recess has been done away with, children have fewer opportunities to play? Or we have been terrorized by the EPA about pollution and the sun to the point where those who spent time outside exercising no longer do so? Or how about all those diet foods that are now being revealed as counterproductive? And the list goes on and on.

To those who think they can regulate the world away from being fat: I wonder if they ever consider the possibility that it is not about them and that they need to get over their own sense of self-importance? How frustrated they must be to be powerless to actually control others. Narcissistic much?

One of the sites I visit was making a joke about the dog food diet. I couldn't laugh. I was a little girl, on a very strict diet. I was hungry enough to eat dog food, and grateful the family dog was willing to share. It was a family joke, until a cousin expressed their horror at what I had been reduced to eating. So, do I have "issues" about food? When those pompous know-it-alls can go back and change how my life started; when they survive what I did; when they know what it is to have food within reach and not be able to touch it, then, and only then, they can discuss -- not decide -- discuss possible solutions for overcoming what being overweight really means.

Whew. After all that, there is the definite need for some fun: I loved Field of Dreams. I love football. This spoof was posted yesterday on Yahoo. And yes, I'm Team Jacob, so BONUS! :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Truth/Lies... and mental illness...

First and foremost, I am not an expert. I'm writing this from my perspective in what I've been observing of late. This ties in to my learning the truth and letting go of the lies, and learning for myself, as opposed to trusting the so-called experts. Some of them are experts, but there are an awful lot of people who tout themselves as experts. I'm learning to investigate who I'm trusting to give me information.

I watched a CSI, the other night, and one of the suspects was a schizophrenic. Using persons with mental health problems as a convenient criminal seems to be the new "in thing" in Hollywood. Has anyone else noticed that Hollywood goes through these phases? Their new pet project becomes all the rage, and all the shows have something relating to the pet cause. Mental health is apparently what is trending now. The problem with this is that Hollywood is telling a STORY. Telling a story for television or the movies means everything has to be cram-packed into 1-2 hours, so everything is exaggerated. It's fiction. So what if a few facts are allowed to fall to the wayside? It makes for a great story! The problem lies in an uninformed general public that goes merrily on its way spreading the lies... oh, sorry, the exaggerations, as facts. How do I know? I've done it! It's embarrassing to realize how much I allowed television to educate me. There are some great programs, but I've learned that they are supplemental, not a main diet. In books, if I find something that catches my interest, I don't simply take the author's word for it, I look it up. Case in point, I read Brown's Angels and Demons. I was fascinated, especially when he had his list of "facts." Facts was an incredibly loose term. Truth be told, by the time I finished doing my homework, I realized that the only real facts worth noting were some of the locations. I felt foolish for believing him, but it taught me a valuable lesson. Fiction is fun, as along as I acknowledge it for what it is: Fiction.

Hollywood spews out garbage as solid facts on a variety of issues. Ask anyone, in real life, who has to deal with the public regarding what real CSI is able to produce, and they'll tell you that the television shows are a nightmare. The general public, particularly in court cases, have expectations that are impossible to meet, because they're basing their perception on television shows that are fiction. When it comes to mental health issues even the psychiatrists and psychologists don't agree about many things that Hollywood seems to take great pleasure in portraying as cut and dried facts. Please don't think I'm picking on Hollywood and books. I love a good story, like anyone else, but I needed to learn the difference between truth and fiction and the difference between fiction and lies. Fiction has truth in it, which is why it resonates. Lies deceive, cover the truth, distort the truth. When I read fiction, I know it isn't a true story; hence, there is no deception there.

I read an article the other day that wondered if a particular tragic event could have been avoided if the perpetrator had been understood to have mute syndrome, in addition to being schizophrenic. I thought the writer of the article was irresponsible giving a postmortem diagnosis having never met the perpetrator and making only suppositions. The writer wondered if the event might not have happened if the person could have had a voice. Excuse me? The event would probably not have happened if the person had stayed on their medication for their schizophrenia!

When did speculation become solid scientific evidence?

Now, if the writer wanted attention drawn to their article, that certainly gave it a punch, but how honest was it to draw such a conclusion with essentially no evidence on the part of the writer? In fact, that titillating tidbit was so completely out of sync with everything else written, I found myself wondering if any of the article was valid. So, I did my own homework. Wikipedia is a fantastic place to START. What value DID I find in the article? I now have a better working knowledge of mute syndrome, from reading about it elsewhere.

Why do these television shows and books annoy me so much? My sister is a multiple (now fully integrated). She's bright, intelligent, funny, empathetic, and one of my heroes and dearest friends. Her life has been difficult enough without the idiocy of misinformation for entertainment purposes making it more difficult, because people don't do their homework to find out what is truth and what are lies. These irresponsible television programs and books and articles dole out bits and pieces of information without thinking about what the results will be from an arbitrary information dump that has no research to back it up. And all they had to do was spend five minutes on the internet to verify. (She said I could share her website here.)

What unsettles me even more is that I see more and more an unwillingness to recognize evil and call it was it is. Instead, mental illness is vilified or minimized. The mentally ill are treated like they are either to be feared or treated lightly. "They're a danger to themselves and others." Or "There, there, just say you're sorry, and everything will be all better." Or it's a joke. Try educating yourself on what it is and what it means and recognize that each case is different. If you have a cold, would you really expect to be treated like someone with pneumonia? Would you really want everyone treating you like you have TB, simply because you have a cough? Or how about everyone telling you that you don't really have a cold, while you continue to suffer from the effects?

On the other hand, it seems that there is a fear of calling anything evil. In an effort to not hurt feelings and not judge others and make everything feel good and right for everyone, far too many people are happy and willing to throw away the concept that evil exists, let alone that people choose it, WITHOUT being mentally ill. You only have to face evil once to know it is real, and no amount of denial or whatever you want to call it will ever change that fact. Mental illness and evil are not interchangeable and pretending like there is no evil by calling it something else does not make it go away. Using mental illness as the scapegoat is irresponsible.

I've heard the lament that there isn't enough time to learn everything there is to know about everything. This is true. That being said, do not use that excuse while you play video games, go to the latest movie, watch television, and "hang-out." If you don't know, do a little homework or say nothing at all. In my interpreting class, my teacher liked to share the old quote that a little knowledge is dangerous. As an interpreter, we had to be prepared to translate anything and everything or at least know of a way to work around it. Her mantra: "Let's get dangerous." So, I learned a little about a lot of things. The more I learned, the more I realized how much I didn't know. I'm ashamed to admit that I used to use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card; Saying "I don't know" was not an acceptable answer. I'd been taught that. So I'd toss out what I knew, and let the chips land where they may. It made me feel smart to have such diverse information. I finally realized that I knew enough to land me in trouble, but not enough to bail me out. Now, I try to keep my mouth shut if I don't know. If it matters to me, then I do my homework. And I have finally learned that saying, "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer.

One more thought: Knowing evil exists isn't as frightening as some might think, because it also means that good exists. God is truth; the adversary is lies.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Writing my own Declaration...

Silly me. I thought it would be easy. A breeze! What could be so difficult? I copied and pasted the Declaration of Independence into a document and went to work. Oh, dear. This is going to take a lot longer than I originally thought. That being said, I also think it is going to be worth the effort. It was unsettling seeing many of the same offenses occurring now that our Founders were unhappy about then. But that isn't what I'm addressing in my own declaration.

The biggest trouble has been narrowing it down from a national scale to an individual scale. The Legislature doesn't translate well to me, the individual. I thought about doing a quick replace-a-few-words and done. However, the more I've worked on it, the more I truly wanted to explore the possibilities. At first, I started thinking in terms of Declaring Independence regarding healthy boundaries. Then I thought, "Why not go for healthy relationships?" Now, I'm realizing I really want to learn to be healthy, so how do I work this to fit my vision of what I want for myself and my future?

I think I've finished the first two paragraphs, and I think I'll share it bit by bit, and then finally as a whole. So, for today's effort:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the past unhealthy bands which have connected them with continuing unhealthy behaviors and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of myself requires that I should declare the causes which impel me to the separation.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that I am endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, healthy boundaries are instituted, deriving just powers from the consent of my healthy self, — That whenever any Form of boundary becomes destructive of these ends, it is my Right to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new boundaries, laying their foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to me shall seem most likely to effect my Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that boundaries long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce me under absolute Despotism, it is my right, it is my duty, to throw off such boundaries, and to provide new Guards for my future security. — Such has been my patient sufferance; and such is now the necessity which constrains me to alter the former System of Boundaries. The history of the present unhealthy behaviors is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over me. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.


I may yet do a bit of re-writing with this, but I've started, and that's quite a lot to begin.

As I have reflected on the Founding Fathers, what they endeavored to accomplish and what they were called upon to give, I compare it to my own little world, and feel very petty and small for complaining about my lot in life. Many of them sacrificed everything to see this little country off to as healthy a start as they could muster under the circumstances. That is, they sacrificed everything but honor. Would I be so willing to give all? I haven't yet, but I'm endeavoring to learn how it's done. The great American experiment is simply this: Can man govern himself? I'm going to make my attempt.

The question begs to be asked: Did our Founding Fathers sacrifice their fortunes and their lives so that we could ban lightbulbs?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

First three links are to the Archives:

Declaration of Independence

Constitution of the United States of America

Bill of Rights

Excellent short essay on the history of the fate of the Founding Fathers:

"The Americans Who Risked Everything" by Rush H. Limbaugh Jr.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.

The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
’Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #59

~Netanyahu answers questions on FB, and today one of the questions asked how he made his decisions, reaching where he is now. (I thought it interesting to learn that Netanyahu had lived in America during high school.) His answer: "Follow your heart. It knows better than anything else." Thinking of my own life, I didn't trust my heart for so long. Believing my heart knows best has been difficult to accept let alone believe. As I've swept away all the lies, I'm beginning to trust my heart and believe it's possible to follow it's promptings.

~Mellinger was drafted into the military during Vietnam. It wasn't what he would have chosen for himself, at first, but once there, he found his calling. How often do we turn away from opportunities, because it isn't what we want at the moment? Then we learn it's exactly what we need to bring out the best in us?

~I've been re-reading the Chatam House series by Arlene James. She writes contemporary inspirational romance. Here are a couple of quotes that touched my heart, from Baby Makes a Match: "God allows nothing into our lives without a reason." "Do you not realize that for God's children, there are no coincidences. Only plans."

~Lavender pancakes with buttermilk syrup are such a treat.

~Carl didn't do particularly well, this weekend, but at least he finished. Go Carl!!

Challenge for tomorrow: Write own Declaration of Independence...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Heroes... Corrie Ten Boom

My counselor gave me homework, a few years ago: Read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, published in 1971. It was my first autobiography in years. Corrie Ten Boom lived in Holland, in 1937. She lived at home with her parents, was single, and about my age. As she described herself, I felt a kinship with her. She tells of the horrors brought about by the Nazis. Their Christian family hid Jews from the Nazis, and were caught. Corrie and her sister are sent to the same concentration camp. I often felt like Corrie's inner struggles were my own. I wanted to be more like her sweet-natured sister, but I was content to be more like Corrie. I was going to say the most memorable part of the story is... but there are so many bits and pieces that fill my mind. The part of the story I seem to quote the most is when they are in the concentration camp, and Corrie's sister says that they must thank God for everything. To which Corrie replies dismayed, "Even the fleas?" "Even the fleas." So they thanked God for the fleas. Corrie reveals that they learned later that their barrack was the only one with a Bible study group, let alone a Bible, because the guards refused to enter for inspections, due to the fleas. It's a reminder to me that those pesky, unpleasant moments are blessings in disguise. I'm grateful for such an incredible example of faith and courage.

Friday, July 1, 2011

God bless Greece...

Today, I was grateful to see that Greece has banned ships from leaving their ports to join the Gaza Flotilla.

For all those who want Israel to go back to the pre-1967 borders, do you truly know what that means? Have you listened to the threats? Or is your head buried in political correctness? The world is not a warm and fuzzy place where everyone wants to "get along." There truly are people out there ready and willing to kill themselves in an effort to kill as many others of those they hate at the same time, though I do notice that the leaders aren't willing to make that sacrifice. Why don't they lead by example?

There is hate that runs deeper than any feel-good guru can reach, and evil is real. Evil revels in blood and pain and death.

Now, if that's all too unpleasant, here's a different perspective: Why don't you go back to your pre-1967 wages. That means Congress will be making $33,000 per annum while the President made $100,000. The minimum wage was less than $2. I did notice something interesting: Compared to the 2009 dollar worth, in the late 60s that $2 was worth $10. Compare that to today: Minimum wage is $8.75 and only worth $5, as of 2010, and dropping. So maybe you would like to go back to the pre-1967 wages. Yeah, sure, good luck with that.

Will we gather evidence until it is too late...

I watch what is happening and think: Some of the names have changed, but history is repeating itself. Apparently, there are those who refuse to learn from it. I read of the Germans who did not know what was going on, but felt something was wrong and felt powerless to do anything. There were those who knew and hoped to reason with the people who did not hold the same values, failing to comprehend that you cannot reason with those whose morals are corrupt. And there were those who attempted to do something, but failed, dying in the attempt.

Where am I? I know something is terribly wrong, but feel powerless to do anything. My only hope is that God is in control, and I pray I have the courage to stand where He has asked me to stand.