Tag Archives: relationships

Don’t Wait to Say You Care!

life-handle-with-care

A friend of mine recently posted some wonderful family photos on FB. I miss her, we grew up together and her Mr. Man took her to the opposite coast. They have had a wonderful life as far away from tragedy they could get and still be in the United States. Her FB photos of her handsome grandson triggered nightmares for me. I’m writing this post to try to exorcise the negativity and avoid stress eating my lunch. My nightmares centered on the dichotomy of the following paragraph. I’ll try not to be in too much of a rant in the following comments.

My friend’s father is the reason that I am a Christian.  Mr. P. was the kindest man I had met growing up.  He demonstrated his kindness as a Christ follower in ways that the rest of us aspire to in more flawed ways.  (So glad I don’t have to work my way into heaven!)  He was a loving father, husband and son.  He served his fellow man in all the ways he could.  Isn’t there always a “but” with humans?  But, he suffered from multiple personality disorder.  We never knew until a horrible thing happened.  He was tried and convicted of the horrible thing and went to jail, never remembering the horrible thing that Jack did.  It left Mr. P. a broken man to think he did this horrible thing and a week of this life was forgotten. What was left was a soul shattered life missing important pieces.

Fast forward to this morning: My co-worker brought her coffee cup into my office today and expounded on the self-centered nature of drivers. On and on she went as if she had saved up all her words to use on this one subject. I agree that we have become a self-centered and sometimes narcissist culture. My co-worker was upset because a vehicle was slow moving, often at erratic speeds. Her niece was driving, yelling at the man, her 18 year old friend in the back seat flipped him off as they passed. My co-workers concern was for possible retaliation, not that the driver might be impaired or the young adults need some anger management and road rage training.

The nightmare, still fresh in my mind, of Mr. P. driving around for a week before being picked up by the police stumbling, hungry, dehydrated and incoherent, rambling as one of his lesser personalities asserted himself. What if Mr. P. had been that erratic driver? What if it was one of my military heroes who suffer daily with PTS? There is a host of mental illness, medical conditions, grief and stress that could result in an erratic speed, not just distracted driving or a jerk driving as a self-appointed traffic monitor . Caution should be a virtue practiced at all times. I tend to practice the negative form of caution, cynicism. Either would have worked, as well as a touch of empathy, during this driver training exercise between my co-worker and her niece.

I have driven at erratic speeds, appearing fine to the world, while grief was crushing my chest like a 500 lb. weight. I would give much to say thank you to Mr. P. for all his kindness and unconditional love to an awkward young girl. I would give even more to erase the horrible thing from their lives. I would trade the rest of my life to be able to be with my beloved. The opportunity is gone. I must wait until my time to see Jesus is due and then I can see them all again. I grieve words not spoken, the road not taken.

Tell your loved ones you care, not only that you love them, but that you care about them. Give them a hug! Cut people some slack and eliminate provoking behavior from your daily life. How much better would this life be if we didn’t swear at each other, call names or gesture obscenely? Consider how you can improve the quality of your life in how you conduct yourself. Dare to care for the human race by being kind!

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Filed under Grief, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Marriage, PTSD

100 Things To Do If You’re Sad

Dear Reader, I advise you to do these things on rainy days (I’m not talking about the weather). Bookmark this article or link it or whatever the kids are doing these days, and open it when you’re f…

Source: 100 Things To Do If You’re Sad

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Filed under Family Times, Grief, Inspiration, PTSD

Lost – Brussels

At least 30 dead and more than 220 injured

20 dead and up to 130 injured

There will be more, it is so sad but the numbers will continue to roll in.  ISIS rushes in to claim responsibility and Muslims rush into the street spewing hatred.  I find it so hard to understand that kind of hatred.  (I know I am naïve, most of the time it is quite alright with me to be the butterfly with wings.  Please don’t think you have to pull them off so I am no longer naïve).  Harder still, I fail to understand how individuals can believe that their wants, beliefs and “rights” supersede or come at the expense of another human beings.  Have they lost all common sense?

The religion of hate marches on.  How are we to react to them?  I caution you not to get down in the dirt with them and return hate.  I believe in self-defense and even a good offense.  I believe in my constitutional rights.  I practice those rights.  I believe in a strong military and healthy boundaries.  I don’t believe in the right to hate!  Forgiveness might be the right thing to do but, it is certainly the harder and less traveled path.

God left us with two rules, all of the old testament rules are rolled into these two.

Love God.

Love Others.

Take this time to examine your own religion.  Does it judge a group of people?  Does it condemn rather than redeem?  If it does, RUN as fast as you can from them.  Remember the rules, there are no “ifs” in there.  Set healthy boundaries but show love for others.  Love as a verb and not as a noun.  The hatred coming from this religion did not grow overnight, be vigilant with your own, ever watchful so evil cannot grow there.

There is nothing we can do for those that are dead.  The remainder however, need our prayers and love.  Grief is a terrible thing, I’ve seen it twist good people into unrecognizable, mean people.  My prayers today go out to the remainder touched by grief as family, friends and neighbors go through the burden of living while loved ones cannot.  I will also pray for those men and women who took to the streets directly after the attacks spewing hatred.  Lord heal their hearts and pour out the hatred and fill it with your love.

I challenge you to find a way to show love to someone this week in memory of those lost in Brussels.  Honor the dead not with hate, but with love unexpected. Pay for someone’s lunch, take a homeless person a clean pair of socks, clean someone’s house, go the extra mile in your own “house”.  Let our response be swift in love, as it would be in might had it happened here.  In this sad day, remember…

Love God.

Love Others.

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Filed under Family Times, Grief, Inspiration

Be Thankful – Be Positive

The National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo, is in full swing.  Do you NaNo?  I am honored to be the Liaison for my Region.  I take care of small details and set up events for my Region.  We meet together, for those interested, every week.  I’m a sometime coach and general encourager.

This year we have more under 18 writers than last year.  I’ve been surprised at how a small encouraging word makes a big impact.  One author was ready to quit and is now strongly powering on to the finish.  One young adult, barely over 18, made a comment to me in an email.

“I’m behind just a little in my word count but I really want to catch up, this is my last chance to be an author.”

Did you just hear the brakes of my virtual car slam on?  I could swear they did and a 20 car pileup ensued.  I wanted to ask, who has been filling your mind with rubbish but refrained.  My job is to encourage not to solve the issue of world peace or even home peace.

I hope I managed to convince this precious writer that it is not the last chance.  They are writing between 250-500 words in each 10 minute virtual word sprint.  I have reasoned with the writer that if you can write that many words in 10 minutes, why can’t you find a 15 minute chunk of time to write every day.  Hide in the bathroom; write in bed after lights go out.  Write over lunch (I do!).  It’s o.k. to write in public just as it is o.k. to hide your writing in secret.  It is not o.k. to quit on yourself.  Don’t give up your dreams no matter who tells you are not ______ enough.

Jesus only gave us two rules to live by:  Love God, Love Others.  During this Thanksgiving season, do your own personal reality checkup.  Ask yourself:

  1. Do I express my thanks and appreciation to God and others?
  2. Am I kind to myself?
  3. Am I kind to others?
  4. Am I paying too much attention to what others say?
  5. Am I paying attention to my goals and dreams?
  6. Am I thankful?

It is a rare honor to be able to convince someone to believe in themselves and to reach for their personal dreams.  Be so thankful and kind this Thanksgiving that someone will be encouraged because you are alive!  Go change someone’s world for the better; it might be your own.

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Keep on Flooring

flooring

So what do you do with a 55 plus year old widowed granny.  Put her to work on the chain gang installing flooring!  I am my own taskmaster and the end to this epic 1,300 sq. ft. project is on the horizon but not quite in sight.

It all began back in October when I completed my research on what type of flooring I wanted.  I decided on a sustainable product that was readily available and on sale.  I ordered it from my local big box store in person and oopsie the store employee checked the wrong box.  It was an easy mistake, I wanted click lock and not solid.  Arrgh, it took multiple managers and three months to correct the mistake.  I received the flooring in mid January and had to put the project on hold for my daughter’s wedding.  Needless to say I was not happy to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s as well as wedding festivities on an ugly slab of concrete!

I have officially passed the halfway point and am almost to two thirds.  Yea me!  I go home from work almost every night and try to do 2-3 rows of installation.  I usually have a quick lay down of thirty minutes to relax and detox from the stress of the day first, grab a bite for dinner and then get cracking!

It is not especially hard work and I occasionally have help from a friend who has even more trouble getting up and down than I do.  Fortunately DaHve has the experience of being a retired contractor.  The daughter has dropped in a time or two to swing the rubber hammer as well as one or two grands.  Almost everyone has had a small hand in this project.  My “son” ish and his wife as well as 4 of their children did all the carpet tear out for which I am soooo thankful.  That was a dirty awkward job I am glad I did not have to lift a hand for.

Soon my floor will be this beautiful expanse of wall to wall bamboo!  I can’t wait.

If I can do it, you can too!

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Filed under All Things Crafty, Family Times, Foster Children, Projects

Broken

system failure

I haven’t posted in a few months and have spent my energy recovering after mono and strep.  I am back to work and have built up enough stamina to do one or two activities after I get home.  I take care of the fur and feather needs, my own nutrition and then try to lay some more flooring.  I usually manage two or three rows of boards before something starts to ache or I just run out of energy. I’m tackling 1,300 sq. ft. of flooring one row at a time! It will get done just not fast!  I have not planted a single vegetable in the garden either.

While my body may be slightly worn down, my heart is absolutely broken.  I cannot help someone who does not see the problem and we all know that “fixing” someone else’s problems is at best hypocritical and condescending and is not healthy behavior.  I do not want the responsibility for controlling or making someone else’s choices.  That being said, I cannot keep the tears from falling.

I have met a young mother of three, I will name her Phoenix here.  Phoenix comes from the most heartbreaking childhood that was splashed across inter-national media when the details became known.  Both of her biological parents are now in jail, her mother for at least 15 years and her father on consecutive life sentences.  I am grateful they are out of their now adult children’s lives but the terror and havoc they wrecked still continues as it is ingrained into their very DNA after so many years of continual abuse.  Because all of the victims involved are “aged out” and poor, they have exhausted all social services has to offer.

The father of Phoenix’s three children also comes from an extremely dysfunctional home that barely borders on legal behavior.  Phoenix looks to me as a mom figure because we are both domestic violence survivors.  I have made my own personal success my revenge and for years my mantra was “living well is the best revenge”.  I caught on early in my recovery days that getting even or snarky would only further hurt me and not the person I wanted to hurt.  I let it go, it was squealing like a piglet when I let go, but I was able to do it.

Phoenix has been to counseling, she has overcome so much.  But, this family is trapped in an economic cycle of poverty.  It is like trying to scale the wall of the Grand Canyon without climbing gear.  She doesn’t even know she can climb much less what a carabiner, harness, belay or an ascender is.  Telling her she can climb makes no impact on her.  Opportunities have presented themselves to her in the last few weeks but she does not take advantage of them.  Phoenix professes she is not afraid of the opportunities, just not interested.  She does not see a better way of life for herself and her family.

You have heard of the Stockholm Syndrome where the captive begins to love the captor.  Similarly, Phoenix is trapped in extreme poverty and poor living conditions because she cannot see the opportunities or where it will take her.  Where she is at now is better than before.  She passes on opportunities because she cannot see how they will benefit her future and presents indifference to the world.  It is possible that she just does not believe she could be successful and it may even be mixed up with some survivor guilt.  It would take a full time team of psychologists to unravel this depth of damage.

At times like this, I truly miss my beloved.  He understood this so well.  He came from this type of horror but moved past it.  He loved me in spite of my own past. He would know what to say to comfort as well as to motivate someone to invest in themselves.  He could convince people into believing in themselves because he could share his own story in a way that gave them hope.

Please pray for me as I make myself available to Phoenix when and if she ever decides to take the next step.  Please pray for Phoenix, her partner and their three children.  Pray that I will remember to love her in a healthy way in the hope that she will someday see better choices and opportunities.

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Filed under Family Times, Foster, Grief, Life Lessons

Peckish About My Lost Pict

It’s been nineteen months since my beloved was called home to help out Jesus. My beloved was always serving others, I don’t know of a time when he refused to help another. He had the gift of mercy down pat. Me, not so much. I struggle with a sense of right and fair.
I am constantly reminding myself that God never said life would be fair but that we should be. Mercy was my beloved’s best quality and the one that often frustrated me. You see it cost him his life, he kept nothing back and gave it all to others. He tried to follow Christ’s teachings as much as he could. I go from missing him terribly to being furious with him for not balancing his energies and saving something for himself.
I have come to grips with the realization that the people that manipulated him into helping them move while he was suffering from pneumonia will never express remorse or apology. I am choosing to believe that they cared for him and feel remorse; they too may have problems dealing with his loss at 52 years.
My beloved did not love perfectly, but he loved me. Our marriage had a couple of bumps in the road and one rocky patch where I almost gave up. I’m glad I didn’t. He was so sick and was making bad choices, everyone said I should leave him and cut my losses, that the illness would only get worse. For better or worse, right. We made the choice to love each other and our marriage found a new plateau. I loved nothing better than just laying in bed, feeling his arms around me. Now, I have good memories and no regrets. My mother is in her eighties, I may have twenty three plus years left to find peace and balance in my life. I’m working on it!
This emotional tug of war saps my strength. If only I could just wash the emo away with a good cry!
I saw a grief counselor for a brief time. She said people who love deeply, grieve deeply and I should be kinder to myself. I get depressed from time to time but refuse to stay there. He would hate that. I have his ashes on the floor next to my shoes. Mostly because I have to wait to do what I want with them. For now, when I behave badly, I simply roll him over in his grave, laugh, and go on as he would want me to with a, “Top of the Day to You” and a “I live to serve”.
St. Patrick’s Day was a big holiday for my Celtic lover. We didn’t celebrate St. Patrick as much as all things Celtic; he was all Pict as he used to say. He was seventh generation native Californian but still all Pict. His ancestors lived in the mountains and were sheep herders and lumbermen and later a purveyor of fine (and not so fine) Scots whiskey!
My Great Scot is gone (for now) and so ends his pict line. The little Irish girl in me abstained from the yummy soda bread and the St. Paddy’s fixin’s, maybe next year. I did wear green and an Irish sweater, drank pots and pots of tea, and cried for his loss. Maybe next year I’ll bake the Soda Bread with currants.
Sleep well my love; you have earned your rest!
Ti Amo, Tanta Ti Amo Mi Amore!

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Filed under Grief, Marriage

Foster: to help something grow or develop, to nuture

I never seem to be able to understand the cruelty of man, nor do I really want to. For in that understanding, it would forever change me. My beloved saw such cruelty as a child until he reached his majority. It made him not a cruel, but a kind man. He taught me the value of mercy, not getting what you deserve. I struggle with extending mercy where it is not deserved. I cannot save every child, just the ones brought into my life by plan or circumstance.

This weekend one that “got away” returned. I will call her Grace, she is graceful and in spite of all that has happened to her, kind and tenderhearted and more than a little bit gullible. I worked with her as a young girl but, she had so many years of damage. She had been in the foster system for years due to serious abuse and had several siblings. Her little sister was kept with her. The foster parents were train wrecks. (Thank you to the good ones out there!) They could pass a home inspection; answer all the test questions and looked good on paper. The constant verbal abuse and the difference made between the “good” biological children and the two girls was devastating. Would you be surprised to learn that both girls made bad life choices and have trouble with relationships? The little sister is strung out on drugs and bad relationships. Grace hit relationship bottom after three children and their parental abduction by the father. Grace is working with the police to find her children but decided to travel three states to come “home” to the last place she felt truly loved and accepted. I am so glad she did. She had one or two friends in town, my adult daughter and me. She remembered the kindness here and returned to us. I am a flawed person and to quote Patsy Clairmont, “God Uses Cracked Pots”! I hope we can make a difference for this one who needs to be loved on. I pray that God covers my mistakes with grace and mercy so we can find a way to help this beautiful woman to be happy.

Grace is actually the child who sparked a writing project of mine I’m passionate about. A guide for young adults who are about to or have “aged out” of the foster system. There is so much that they miss out on and don’t know. Their time was spent worrying about safety, where they would sleep, what they would eat, attending hearings or court sessions. They didn’t learn the how-to’s that you would expect them to know. Grace learned how to properly fit a bra at age 24, after three children, while we were shopping last night. I looked at her feet and realized, another day, too much for today. She was overwhelmed.

I hope this post travels far and you can comment on what basic things you wish you had been taught, even if you were never in the foster system. My beloved encouraged me to write this because he was raised in extreme poverty and saw many similarities in missed education and training as he tried to figure out what was normal and what he needed to know to be successful.

I would love to consider your comments to add to my guide: shopping, economics, personal hygiene, balancing a checkbook, food preparation, clothing, relationships, etc. Sometimes it is the little details that can derail you in life and keep the better opportunities away. Many foster children do not even realize they have missed the opportunities because they don’t know and there is no one to tell them. Your experiences could help someone. Thanks!

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Filed under Family Times, Foster, Writing

My Life is a Circus!

My life is a circus and I have a tent to prove it! It has been a little crazy lately. My beloved was a wonderful man. He could leap tall buildings, fix anything, reverse engineer or design engineer almost anything. I’m not exaggerating, he was a genius and had the IQ scores to prove it. He would give you the shirt off his back and had literally done so on at least two occasions I can recall. But, ah yes the but! He could not say no! Even when it caused his death. A close friend and former mentor had a heart attack and it turns out he was a hoarder. This could have been filmed for a reality show. The hoarders’ adult daughter called and pleaded for help. Mind you she had her family, her husband, her church, her father’s church and many friends in town. We lived over an hour away. But hey, she knew this close friend who could perform miracles and who wouldn’t say no….

My beloved should have been in intensive care with a fatal case of pneumonia. He was resting at home because he feared and hated hospitals. She knew this, you could hear it in his voice and as he coughed up liquid.

The call came and he went on Friday. I went with him on Saturday and Sunday and helped toss over a ton of belongings into a roll off dumpster. I begged, I cried, I watched him bend over and cough out water from his lungs. He came home Sunday night, could not get out of bed Monday and died on Tuesday morning. He was 52.

I do not bear her ill will, I am not angry with her, I think I have forgiven her, I may have to again, but I am not ready to talk to her yet. Maybe when the circus has left town and I can find some balance in my life again. Maybe these relationships just need to gently fade into the past with the pain as time goes by.

It has been one year and I have been fighting the bugs that came home with him all this time. The cockroaches were easy to kill, the silverfish a little harder but not impossible. The bed bugs won. Until I declared nuclear war and called in the fumigators. Food had to be removed and frozen. Anything taken out of the house had to be frozen or heated to over 130 degrees. We had to find homes for our three cats and ourselves for a week. My adult daughter is spending a few months with me to help me with the chaos of my life. We are both chemically sensitive and Vikane gas with a Tear Gas precursor is a very nasty chemical cocktail. It kills EVERYTHING! We have tossed and replaced one mattress and one box springs and had to destroy a lot of food that we either missed or just wouldn’t make the transfers. The tent alone cost $2,640. and other costs are still mounting. The biggest cost has been the life of my husband so the material possessions pale in comparison.

Clean, toss out, reorganize, sanitize…boxes and bags everywhere. I think it is the residue from the tear gas that is giving us sore throats and sore nasal cavities. It is better after washing all the bedding. The hundreds of little black bodies all over the house…who knew how many house flies and spiders we really had, even after a grocery store type of chemical bombing. The vacuum is busy and so are my daughter and myself!

My advice to you, say no when it is appropriate! Take care of your own health first! Regift, REDUCE, reuse, recycle! And so very important to avoid some of this mess….go to Wal-Mart and buy mattress and pillow cases for bed bugs. Put your box spring, your mattress and every bed pillow in the house in one! Strip all bedding, including the blankets, off your beds after visitors and wash and/or at least heat up in the dryer.

The folks at Clark Pest Control have been as wonderful as they could possibly be. They were very aggressive with the process (a good thing) and their sales person, Vincent, called me almost daily during the process. Sometimes three and four times a day. Now that I have “come clean” about my experience, others are confessing their own stories and what we have is an epidemic of bed bugs, especially areas that do not freeze over. Think about it….someone will pay the consequences of our actions, maybe not ourselves, but someone will.

Fumigation Tent

Fumigation Tent

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Filed under Family Times, Grief, Travel

Hope

 I’ve been meditating on the word hope lately.  There are so many people struggling with life out there finances, jobs, relationships, emotions and just fear in general.  So much fear… I have always had a deep and abiding faith Christ, even as a child.  I know that this faith is a gift from God now that I have lived life a bit and can see my sunset, hopefully from a distance.  I desperately miss my beloved but I have hope that I will see him again.  Some days the pain of separation is so great I truly do feel like I’m in the middle of a soul shattering earthquake.  More days than not my emotions are better and I can feel the hope.  I’ve had to wear big girl pants most days now and can’t afford to allow myself the luxury of too many pity parties or a slide into depression. 

My truck had a dead battery and I need to transport a new swarm capture.  (Moving bees in the passenger compartment is not recommended!)  The timing was not good; it never is, especially when dealing with wild animals and insects.  The pressure of a daily schedule, of the need to pick up my new capture, the help that wasn’t helpful and enough clutter from a busy life and schedule almost did me in.  I sent the “help” away and still wearing my big girl pants got the truck started, late, but start it did.

Today is a new day, I drove the truck, have nothing scheduled tonight and will pick up the bees after work!  I woke up this morning with a scripture reference running through my head.  I do not have tons of scripture memorized, I don’t beat people up with a Bible or any religious book so I was surprised that Galatians 3:9 would not go away.  I was clueless what it was so, I looked it up.  “So then those who are of faith are blessed.”

Hope, could that be the shield against today’s anxieties and depressions.  Faith, trusting that God is still in control as America (and myself) are not.  I am truly a blessed woman, counting my blessings and looking at the full glass (it is never really half full) overflowing, pressed down for full measure.  It’s spring and the promise of forgiveness and renewal can be seen everywhere.  Now that I have been relocated to an inside office and lost my big picture window to the world, I go outside every day, close my eyes and lift my face to the sun.  My doctor said it was good for me!  It is!  Be kind and gentle to yourself my blogging friends, you are the best friend you will ever have.  Where is your hope?  I challenge you to do some senseless kind thing for yourself and for one other person each day.  No matter how small or how great, to quote Nike, just do it.

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Filed under Bees, Grief, Stress Reduction, Uncategorized