Category Archives: Gratitude

A guest post for 1000 Voices of Compassion Speak

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My friend Suzie is an amazingly strong woman that recently drove from Alaska to Florida. Living here in Florida while her husband is in Alaska, due to health reasons on her part. Her strength amazes me. Her courage astounds me. When she asked if she could write for 1000 voices of Compassion Speak, I didn’t even hesitate.

Gratitude, to me, is that rush of feeling, a hot liquid sensation and sense of triumph after the release of cramped abdominal muscles far south of the belly button and the relief, knowing I have made it to the white commode in time. In time for what, one might ask? In time to avoid a future that includes changing one’s clothes and hunting up a washcloth for a partial bath . Hurrying along on a walker is a harrowing experience of balance, pain, frustration, determination and acceptance of whatever outcome. It wouldn’t have been the first time for an “accident” and it won’t be the last. Gratitude is in the moment, in a bathroom. From the abyss of the couch cushions, my cell phone merrily played its country jazz text alert song repeatedly until a woman, near driven to insanity, finally located it, banished it into my friend’s safekeeping and it was delivered back into my hands. Gratitude was what I felt, affectionate amusement was what I saw in my friend Erin’s face. I was thankful to not have to purchase another, lose all the phone numbers I have collected, and briefly resolved to copy them all into an address book, the traditional paper way. This commitment will hopefully last, and be remembered, after a brief nap. I am not grateful for my useless swollen right foot. At least I have a right foot, but I would prefer a useful prosthetic piece of plastic just so long as I could go for a bicycle ride, although diving into the ocean wouldn’t be as easy. My left ankle now aches from the strain of trying to give the right one a respite. I wait, grateful, I suppose, that I am in snow and ice free Florida, not predictably dangerous Alaska where walking without twisting an ankle is a daily test. I failed that test numerous times, although not directly due to precipitous conditions. I have gratitude for owning this computer and using it as a vehicle of frustrated self expression. Creative whining. If my ankles were in good repair I wouldn’t be using this computer. If I weren’t thinking about gratitude, I would be doing what exactly? Unsure.

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What it is like

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Social media can truly be a miracle sometimes. When asked a question you have time to think without your facial expression giving it away or making it awkward. It is a small thing but one I find very helpful. Recently I was talking with someone who had just gotten diagnosed with a chronic pain illness. It would be a matter of constantly managing it. She asked me, “What is it like? How do you do it? I just can’t imagine ever being okay with this. It is so distracting and I absolutely hate it.”  I agreed. I still feel all of that. It hasn’t gone away, more like it is just simmering.
Simmering, yeah that is a good description. Let’s go with that. It is a lot like cooking a meal that will never ever be done but you know it will be worth it.  It is a labor intensive meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It is like you have four pots on the stove and something in the oven.
One pot is emotional/mental health. One pot is physical health. One pot is spiritual. One pot is work and in the oven is the family. Just like in cooking you have to keep adding ingredients and it can simmer on its own for a bit but it needs a stir now and then. Every so often, and often when you feel you have it the most under control, all the pots start boiling over. Sometimes some smoke even starts coming from the oven.  Normally though the boiling over happens one at a time and you can handle it and move on. You take a taste every once in a while to check on it as a means to see how it is coming along. Sometimes tasting can tell you if there is a problem. Sometimes it tastes good but really something has started to go bad you just can’t taste it yet.
Then there is the other problem. Suddenly an ingredient is no longer working. It is no longer bonding with everything in the pot to make it one solid thing. It could be that self-care has fallen off your radar. It could be that you cut back on exercise. It could be that you thought it was self-care by sleeping in on Sunday, but really you hadn’t done anything else for spiritual health so it really wasn’t self-care. It could be that you cut back on exercise–physical health–for good reason, yet it negatively affected another part of physical health, vitamin D.  Sometimes you find an ingredient you thought would work well actually doesn’t and you have to take it back out of the pot.  Sometimes while you are disposing of that ingredient another pot starts to boil over. Don’t forget you changed the dynamics of that one pot you took the ingredient out of so you will need to adjust the temperature!
Yes, but that is essentially life isn’t it? You have to add the chronic pain as well. You are right about that, we are handling that as well. Hopefully each of the pots and the oven are helping that. Chronic pain though, that is the tricky element. That is the part that makes the ingredients suddenly stop working so well. That is the part that says, “that worked for a while, but now, not so much.”
On the really good days the chronic pain is like the background noise of the dishwasher going. You hear it, you know it’s going on. You just try not to pay too much attention to it until it dings. When it dings that is when you find out that suddenly the soap you were using didn’t work or something got gummed up in the hose and the rinse cycle didn’t go off. Sometimes there is not even running water to wash the dishes by hand while all the other stuff is happening. Chronic pain does that. You find something and your brain says, “hey, thanks this is really working,” so it starts focusing on something else more pressing.
So essential pain management just becomes part of your routine. I can’t tell you when it happens, just that it does. I can tell you that I am never okay with it. Chronic pain just adds to depression and anxiety because you are constantly longing for what you cannot have. Things you used to do are no longer an option. It took quite a bit of looking around trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It took even longer for me to realize that what I want to do will always be in flux. Some days I am overwhelmed that my health issues are only going to get worse as I age  because they are degenerative. Degeneration is already an issue as you get older. It is just sped up in my case.
Some days though, I don’t care. I am enjoying the moment for all that it is. Those are the days that make all the above worth it. They balance out all the bad days where all the pots are boiling over there is smoke coming from the oven and the dishwasher just plain won’t work.
It takes a lot of self-analysis to make those good days happen. In the beginning, I fought that. Don’t look too closely. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If it is hanging on by a thread and still working, it isn’t broken. There comes a time though that it just doesn’t work any more. Nothing about it works and self-analysis is forced on you. You have to sit down and look at it. You have to acknowledge the problem.
Slowly you realize that sometimes you could be a bit more proactive. For a time that is all it is. A thought. You don’t act on it. Then one day you do something proactive and you see it pan out that it fixed a problem you didn’t even realize was coming. I am not saying that before you know it you are doing this all the time. I am not. I know I am not. I know there is always room for improvement.
At the end of the day, that is what I tell myself. I think about the things I handled proactively and the things I didn’t respond to that I should have. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I tell myself, we will try again. We are not going to try harder because we are already trying our hardest. We will just simply try again. I can tell you that if you keep telling yourself this each night you will believe it. I can’t tell you how long that will take. It could take months. It’s harsh to think that, Months! I can’t take months! I need a fix now! So take a deep breath and remind yourself that slow and steady cooks the meal.

 

 

Compassionately Honest children

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Honesty. It is something a lot of us strive for. It does however often leave us feeling very vulernable. When we meet that honesty with compassion a wonderful thing happens. We reach a new level of understanding. Suddenly progress is being made where it had not previously happened. As a parent I struggle with this. How do I be open and honest with my daughter about how the world is? I want to protect her and keep her safe.  For awhile I clung to this quote : “Parents need to fill up a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can not poke enough holes to drain it dry. ” Alvin Price.

However, the more I thought about it the more I didn’t like it. Why? Why must I fill her bucket so high? What if I just had a child with a healthy self-esteem? Would that be enough? What if instead of filling her up so much that she might overflow, What if I just told her the truth?  If I do that, do I have to have all the answers? It took me a bit to realize, I don’t. I don’t need to be able to tell her why it is, just that it is.I can tell her I don’t know why these things have to happen. They have happened and now we have to deal with them and go forward. If we have open and honest discussions about what is going on in the world, compassion and empathy can be fostered. Not too long ago I found this quote which made so much more sense to me than the first one.

“It is not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless. “L. R. Knost

So then my questions turned a different corner. How do I raise a child who can survive this world AND possibly make it better? How do I keep her the loving, peaceful, compassionate and kind child she is with the reality of this world?

The longer my daughter has been at a Montessori school the more I am convinced this is the right path. She is honest about situations but not in a way that is lacking empathy or compassion. This is something Montessori has fostered since the beginning of school for her. There are variations of it but I have heard it called, the peace rose the most.  If feelings are hurt, sit down and figure out how to make it better. Acknowledge that certain behavior was not right without blaming one specific party. I only see this as helping the world be a better place in the long run. If five year olds can do this, What is holding us back? What if all schools everywhere used this process starting in kindergarten. Sure the progress would be slow but I guarantee there would be change.

In order for peaceful conflict resolution, you have to look inside yourself as well. How many of us want to sit down and honestly look inside ourselves? I do it, but I am still squirmy and uncomfortable. I do it because I know my daughter needs the example. I do it because I have seen her peacefully resolve conflicts with skill that just blows me away. Actually, I am not sure if I am being the example or if she is. I know she showed me it is possible in a way I never understood before. I am sure someone had explained the concept that Montessori uses before. It just took my daughter actually doing it for me to understand. Now it comes as second nature to her.  What if we had a whole generation like that? Can you imagine the changes that would happen?

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Ten Things of Thankful #I lost count

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Everyone assumes that depression is straight up straight down. You are depressed or you are not. It would be fantastic if it was that clear defined.  Depression is a balance it is not just going up stairs. You find yourself looking up and you think you are doing well and you look down to see somewhere along the way you started going down again. It is very confusing and you really have no idea when you went back down. It’s a balancing act of watching where your feet are going and looking up. Sometimes those stairs turn into a tight rope. Sometimes they are large wide spaced far apart stairs. This depression path is a tough one to figure out and it is constantly changing.
 I hate getting up in the early morning but really having no reason to get up multiple days in a row has not been good for me. I am more apt to wallow. It doesn’t feel like wallowing. I can tell myself I am just resting. I have been so busy. There has been so much going on. Let’s watch some netflix. Let’s play a few games. Oh look its dinner time. The whole freaking day is gone and I am not really sure how.
By now you are probably wondering how in the world does this tie into a Ten Things of Thankful post? I promise you it does.
You see I thought I was on my way up and I look down at my feet to see I am descending. Oh. Well how did that happen? So I am thankful that I am able to see clearly I was going down. I am thankful that I was able to turn to some Buddhist readings and find comfort. Suffering just is. It isn’t personal. Once we understand that we can mover foward.
I am thankful for youtube meditations. I have a few I love and it makes my day when they upload new videos. I swear this was just the notification I needed that day to turn myself back around.
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I am thankful that we live in such a gorgeous place that we can escape at the end of the day. A few minutes of family time just strolling the beach was near Nirvanna.
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I am thankful through a lot of hard work my daughter is reading more and more. I am anxious to see where her reading level is after all that we read this Summer.  The library has had a great deal of influence on her and she is excited that she is now old enough to join a book club.
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So There it is a Ten Things of Thankful post and if that isn’t ten things I am sure the pictures make up for any slack.

The beachy week of Ten Things of Thankful #10thankful

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The beachy week of Ten Things of Thankful #10thankful

So I cracked the whip at Lizzi to post the link up before my own piece was ready.  Depression and anxiety sometimes makes me feel like I am grasping at straws and like I said in my post earlier this week. It is therapy. It is part of my therapy. It works. It slowly and steadly works. Thus the reason I am so anxious for it to start. I know I haven’t commented much but I have been reading and trying to social share as much as possible.

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We went early to the beach on Tuesday and it was gorgeous. We even saw a pod of dolphins come in. Thankful we had beach time and Thankful we had time to rest afterwards.

Wednesday we had a hike. It was hot and humid even at eight thirty in the morning. I pushed and we took a three mile walk. Thankful we had such a great walk. Thankful I could spend most of the day recovering from the hike too.

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Thankful for friends who take my daughter for almost two days so I can just chill and pace myself cleaning. I had time to just decompress and have some alone time with hubby.

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It has been awhile since we took the dog to the dog beach. He was never a fan but oh my the tantrum. He was quite ridiculous about the boardwalk down and then the sand as well. The sand reaction was much more severe! It was quite hilarious. He liked the water for once. I am sure it felt wonderful on his arthritic hips. As long as his paws didn’t touch the sand he was good. I was quite impressed with how much he swam. When he was younger he would bolt out of any water.

I am fairly certain I have ten things of thankful in there. Pictures do count too. This week was an extra emotional week so the breaks to the beach and hiking were quite needed. I am also thankful that I have friends who just listen or make me take some time for myself. They always seem to know exactly how to fix me, or at least put a bandaid on it so I don’t fall apart.

This coming weekend I have spent some time reaquainting myself with the Actual real Declaration of Independence and really think about the State of the USA. Of course, there will be food, family, beach and fireworks but this year I have decided to also meditate a bit on politics. I know that seems anti-relaxing but I think I need to. SO I am gonna go with it.

 

If you would like to leave your ten things in the comments, I would love to hear it. If you are in a dark place right now, just start with one.

A right proper pity party or Ten Things of Thankful?

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I could sit here and think of all the things that should have happened this past week, but didn’t. I could throw myself a downright proper pity party.I probably could even make it coincide with the regular Florida summer afternoon storms. After all what pity party is complete without dark clouds and rain?  I could do that or I could change my thoughts. I could focus on what DID happen. I could just let go of those things that didn’t happen. I could let the negative things slip through my fingers like sand and hold on tight to the positive nuggets that dotted my week. I could reach up and bat away those dark clouds and find the light. I think I will do that instead, that sounds so much more lovelier. So off I go to sift through my week:

1. Raise

Hubby got a raise again. This was his yearly review raise. Still it helps!

2 Hair to locks of love

I have decided to grow my hair until December and then donate to locks for love. This made me very happy with what I am currently doing with my hair. I have been debating getting it cut.

3 Successful hair cut

I think it was two years ago now , my daughter had a full out panic attack when she was getting her hair cut. Ever since then she is a mess whenever I brought up the subject. I finally reached my limit and was like no its time. I am fairly certain it has been over a year. No panic attack today!!!!

 

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4 Awesome nature trail discovered

On Monday we went north a bit to discover this sustainable village. The website and the presentation I watched made it seem like it was a good idea. Instead it was such a disappointment.  HOWEVER, I had also discovered a short nature trail so we decided to do that as well. I am glad we did. It was such a neat little place!

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5 Amazing art work completed by the kid Henri Matisse

I am truly impressed by her artwork. It was a free class hosted by the Library through a teaching artist association.

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6 Groceries!!!

Okay seems silly but still. Some we were given and even though it wasn’t stuff I normally would buy it also wasn’t wasted. I mean what a shame to have to use the bacon right away. Oh darn.

7 Extra cleaning job

I unexpectedly got an extra cleaning job. This past week was super tight because it was a rent week so it was extra helpful.

8 Big changes at Church. Silver lining

Ah this is one of those things. You know change has to happen. You know it does happen. However I don’t always like when it happens. Still this is probably the most active I have ever been in a church. It is also the one I have felt most free to be me in. Unitarian Universalists, I wish I had found it when I was in my teens and twenties. However silver linings are important to find in the middle of huge changes. I won’t say there are not any, because I know there are. I am just having a hard time right now finding them. In theory the changes sounded good, in reality they kind of suck. I am however determined to stay the course and investigate what new things are in store for our church.

9 Synched calendars!! Finally

 

Okay so this is actually quite a big deal. I didn’t do it earlier and it recently bit me in the bum. I realized I was double booked for things. One fun and learning and one a responsibility and one I can’t shirk. I sat down last night and synched my home calendar with my phone calendar all the way until the end of July. Now here is hoping our fun classes and my meetings won’t clash again. Oh and I double checked the locations so hopefully we won’t be showing up at the wrong library to any of these classes either!

10  at least one job applied to every day

I am not happy that I haven’t found a job. I am happy though that I have found a minimum of one job every single day this week to apply to. A few of the days I applied to three or four jobs.

 

HA! I found ten things I am thankful for this week. Can you? I bet you can if you really look with a different perspective from what you have now!

Glitterbombs and birthdays and sleep oh my! Ten Things of Thankful

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Ten Things. Ten things of Thankful. Ten big things. Ten little things. Ten big and little things. Ten things that are big to me but little to you. Ten things that are little to me but big to you. Can you find ten things to be thankful for in the past seven days? Can you do it and not change your attitude? I dare you to try it.

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How has it been a whole week already? Forget that how has it been a whole school year already? Summer is indeed here. School is out. However, that does not mean the thankfuls stop. It might even increase the thankfuls, come August. Oh okay probably it will just increase the thankfuls. So lets get right down to it.  If you know me….you know its also going to be picture heavy. Pictures take the place of my short term memory sometimes or something like that. They help me remember. So I take A LOT of pictures.

1. BIRDS!

The Black Skimmer nesting area

The Black Skimmer nesting area

Black Skimmers cooling off in the water. Its not injured. Their top beak is actually that short. They literally skim the water for food, eating fish up to five inches long.

Black Skimmers cooling off in the water. Its not injured. Their top beak is actually that short. They literally skim the water for food, eating fish up to five inches long.

This still amazes me. Some of these clouds only showed up once I took the picture. It was so weird to look at the spot I took the picture of and look at the picture and see two different things. I am sure its because of Science.

This still amazes me. Some of these clouds only showed up once I took the picture. It was so weird to look at the spot I took the picture of and look at the picture and see two different things. I am sure its because of Science.

2. being able to reach out and help members of our church in return.

Our church has been so amazingly supportive. It was a great feeling helping not one but two church members this week.

3. Sleep. I hesitate to say this but I think the thyroid meds might have fully kicked in. I have been getting some down right decent sleep in the wee hours of the morning and that is normally my hardest time to sleep. Whatever it is, I will take it and just in time for summer vacation. Don’t bother Mommy until at least eight am okay. Okay. yeah. That will happen.

4. Continuing birthday celebrations

Somewhat sad it is not alcoholic but it was good for me!. It is water kefir. This one flavored like a mojito!!

Somewhat sad it is not alcoholic but it was good for me!. It is water kefir. This one flavored like a mojito!!

The famous dark chocolate flourless cake. This time we didn't split a slice. We each had a slice. That was one heck of a sugar rush!

The famous dark chocolate flourless cake. This time we didn’t split a slice. We each had a slice. That was one heck of a sugar rush!

More birthday presents!!! Two down comforters I am now wedged between them at night. AHHHHHHH!!!!

More birthday presents!!! Two down comforters I am now wedged between them at night. AHHHHHHH!!!!

Ignore the mess of the car, its been cleaned since then. A new Whovian Shirt and a new Sherlock cup!!!

Ignore the mess of the car, its been cleaned since then. A new Whovian Shirt and a new Sherlock cup!!!

5. Unexpected glitter bombs

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A very special and sweet lady sent me this. Can you guess who? Glitter, a ladybug!! and glitter tattoo! and a medal for winning at life!!!  This time I opened it on my bed and not in my car. Much easier to clean up.

6. NEW PLANTS. I can’t promise I won’t kill them in the end but remember a while back we got anti-mosquito plants for around the hammock.. well all but one of them are still alive. Plus I have kept a small herb garden going for six months now. So I inherited a cucumber plant and everglades tomato plant. Maybe my black thumb is starting to turn somewhat brownish green.

These I don’t have pictures of yet. Everglade tomatoes are a native to Florida Tamatoe! (I spelled it both ways so however you say it, one is right!)

7 networking in unexpected places.

Someone I met online, who lives local. Like minds and so much we can do together to help the community and each other in so many ways.

8 Princess P!!! We got to spend some time together on Wednesday. Hopefully with Summer coming there will be more playdates!

The face. Omg she kills me with cuteness!

The face. Omg she kills me with cuteness!

All the selfies. ALLLLLL THE SELFIES!

All the selfies. ALLLLLL THE SELFIES!

Might just be my new favorite picture of her.

Might just be my new favorite picture of her.

9. These lizards

Yes. Yes they are. Not only were they, they froze and just looked at me. I left them be but it cracked me up they just froze like they got caught.

Yes. Yes they are. Not only were they, they froze and just looked at me. I left them be but it cracked me up they just froze like they got caught.

10. Juicing!

I have gotten back in the swing of it and I have to say; I am not sure I would have survived this week without juicing each morning. Cucumbers, ginger, turmeric, beets, and sometimes greens and garlic. Oh and lemons.

Then I had the great idea to add some juice to some recently ready Kombucha and let it ferment a bit longer.

BY far the best batch I have made. I drank the whole liter in one day. There was no self control.

And fizz. Yes I had alll the fizz. I have never had it punch a hole in the ziplock bag. Despite precautions I got coated in Kombucha. Definitely doing this again.

And fizz. Yes I had alll the fizz. I have never had it punch a hole in the ziplock bag. Despite precautions I got coated in Kombucha. Definitely doing this again.

There they are, My ten Things. Now, How about you? Join the blog hop or just come and read and get all the warm fuzzies.

 

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Connecting with Compassion to who I am #1000speak

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Everybody dreams what their life will be like when they are older. Especially when you are a teenager and life is so hard and no one even remotely understands you. Life will be so much better when you are an adult and in charge.I would get married. We would have at least two kids but probably more and of course we would have a boy first and then a girl. We would have this nice house which I would always be able to keep clean. We would have success after success at our careers. We would have money for vacations and would be well-traveled. This picture of how it will be drives you on and on and on. Until it doesn’t. Until that is not how your life is going at all, not even remotely. Your daydreams didn’t account for reality. They didn’t account for infertility, job loss, deaths of loved ones, and on and on the list could go. That’s the problem I struggled with for a while, the picture of my life in my head and how it really has gone.

Many days and nights spent berating myself for messing it up so badly. I obviously wasn’t trying hard enough, doing enough, being enough. I had to get my act together. It was past time to grow up and be the adult I dreamed I would be. In time, I added to that. It was time to be the wife I dreamed I would be. It was time to be the mother I dreamed I would be. It was time I had the career I wanted. I was so good at criticizing myself. Really , I still am.

Every month for a week at a time I would beat myself up. It was so easy to get pregnant we had been told. It only takes one time. Every month I struggled with the feelings of not being enough. Not being woman enough to do a simple thing like get pregnant. Made worse only by doctors who said “ah your young it will happen. There is nothing wrong.” Nothing wrong at all with a nineteen year old, a twenty year old, a twenty-one year old trying month after month to get pregnant and failing. Month after month of seeing my dreams flushed down the toilet, literally. Finally when a doctor did believe, I wasn’t relieved. I didn’t feel vindicated. I felt broken. The day came and the test was positive, for a short while everything was back in place. Then it was gone. I was back to flushing my dreams down the toilet. That picture in my head said I should be pregnant with baby number two by now. That picture in my head was starting to shake and tremble. If I was really honest that picture had broken years ago but I refused to see it.

The test was positive. I took a million more. I didn’t really believe it. I was sure something was going to happen. Even as I was in labor, something would happen. My dreams can’t be coming true. I will mess this up some how. We were leaving the hospital with a baby. WITH. A. BABY. For a few days I believed and then, you have eighteen years to mess this up every day. For eighteen months I worried about every single detail. No, I didn’t worry, I obsessed. I question every decision at least ten times. My house could never be clean enough, I could never be doing enough for this precious life. Obviously the only answer was to try for another baby. You know so I could mess it up twice. I mean so I could get at least one right. Maybe. Two months and nothing. So much for the second time being so much easier. Then the phone call. My husband lost his job. Laid off. Back to the doctor I went, for birth control.

At this point you maybe wondering if I had the same issues around getting married. The simple answer is no. The process was not simple at all. Three weeks after we met my husband was in a car accident. He had been taken by Helicopter out to a trauma hospital. Scary words were said, like life support, coma, brain injury. To see someone like that is not easy. To see someone like that and suddenly know they can’t die your suppose to marry this person.The only second guessing I have is , if he hadn’t been in that accident would I have ever known? Would I have messed that up and walked away. For a long time that answer was probably. Probably I would have walked away from the greatest thing in my life. I am sure I would have messed it up.

One day it was clear. I needed help. Therapy started quickly, before I changed my mind. Medication happened. Medication changes and more therapy. It took me years to be comfortable with self-analysis. This was just simply not done. You simply didn’t do self- analysis with someone else. This is what you did in bed late at night when no one was around. Most certainly you never told anyone, let alone discussed it. Slowly progress was made. Until it all fell apart. It like literally fell apart, got laid off then my car blew up and then I wrecked my “new” car. I tried to pick it back up and worked at a new job for three months and then I realized. No my family is more important to me then this. This work and have nothing left, using medications that allowed me to work but ultimately would shorten my life considerably. My family deserved more than this.

It really wasn’t though, it just seemed like it. Instead it was all falling into place. All that therapy was not for nothing. I have been slowly coming to accept where I am. The first thing I had to do was tear up and burn that picture in my head of how life was supposed to be. Chronic illness had dictated long ago just how clean I could get and keep my house. It dictated a lot of things for a while. Second thing was to tell this chronic illness crap it wasn’t the boss of me, well not all the time. I started writing as a form of self-analysis and as something that maybe eventually one day it would help someone else. Even if it only helped me it was worth it.

Four years later, trying to look back to what really ultimately helped me make the change. The change that took me from a person who had to please everyone else even if it didn’t please her to the one who likes to please others but knows she has to please herself as well. I can’t tell you how much watching tv show after tv show actually helped because I stayed true to what truly interested me. How many Doctor Who episodes I watched at just the right time. The universe was getting its message to me.

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I can’t tell you how much these words stuck with me long after the episode was over. I can’t tell you how much I really just sat and thought about how I feel about these words. There were quite a few others I am sure that I heard but didn’t really hear. I know now that it wasn’t the right time for me to hear them. Somewhere along the way I found myself back to being an avid reader. Somehow I was finding myself. Four years of this, so don’t think it was just one day. I can’t tell you where I was in the journey when I saw this next quote. I just know it stuck with me.

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Huh, yeah. THAT. For a while I just related to this post. I would see it and it would always get a “like”. Then maybe I shared it. The more it sat in my brain just percolating the more I thought about it. Then came the final point, the epiphany if you will. What if I just let go of that picture? What if instead of burning it or ripping it in anger of how it was “suppose” to be. I just let it go. Slowly, I began to actually enjoy my life. I began to start analyzing what I do have about a year ago.

I can’t tell you that voice that always says I am not enough, not doing enough is gone. It is not. It is not always easily squelched under foot either. This is where Buddhism has really come into play for me. Reading some of the Buddhist texts and books available through the Unitarian Universalist Library in our Church I found this quote.  This quote quite often becomes my mantra during meditation.

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I can’t tell you how many times that voice tries to rise and I can only answer Self compassion repeated over and over. I am not quite there yet. I am not quite to who I am yet. I am getting closer and stronger in it every day though.I am trying every day to connect with who I am instead of who I thought I would be.  I hope you are too. I hope you are showing yourself compassion because that voice is wrong. It is dead wrong. You are enough.

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What the hell is wrong with people……a Ten Things of Thankful version?

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This title is drastically different from Wednesday’s post now isn’t it. That is because later that day I discovered, yet again, there are seriously messed up people in this world. Seriously. Messed. Up. I thought we had hit the break we needed. I thought we  the light at the end of the tunnel was suddenly shining brighter. Instead I am dealing with police investigation and a lack of a job. Scam scam scam and you can bet there will be a whole blog post telling others about this so no one else falls for this because there was no mention of wiring or sending money anywhere. Deep breathes, but I am determined to learn and move on. I am determined to not let these people completely destroy what hope in humanity I had built up. I am not going to let them pull me into negativity.

That being said, I am spent the day thinking about how I can be thankful about all this. It helped I also had a puking and too sick to play little girl laying half on top of me most of the day. That too has a spot in my thankful believe it or not.

1. Thankful that I was smart enough and consciences enough to go into the bank to deposit check. Apparently what she meant by overnight deposit was to put it in the ATM. The bank took one look and said it was counterfeit.

2. Thankful that I asked for further verification and thus they added to the evidence by actually calling me.

3. Thankful that I don’t now have a criminal record for check fraud.

4. Thankful that I don’t now owe the bank money for a fraudulent check.

5. Thankful for great friends who helped pick me up, get my head thinking clearly and back on tract.

6. Thankful that even though the kid puked in my bed at three am. I am thankful that it is so much different than when she puked as a toddler or young child. There was no hysterical crying after each puking session that inevitably only made things worse. She was able to communicate effectively what part of her body was bothering her and how it hurt. So much easier to deal with than a hysterical three year old who if asked will say her eyelashes hurt.

And no I didn’t take any pictures of these events.

7. Thankful that I could spend the day in bed with her and that she even exploded my heart into a million pieces telling me she didn’t want me to puke from snuggling with her.

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8. Thankful that on Tuesday even though I didn’t really want to I forced myself on a walk and got to see two otters playing and eating in the canal I was walking along.

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9. Thankful for friends who knew how much I needed a short walk on the beach before I knew how much I needed a short walk on the beach.

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10. Thankful for more friends who rescued me on sick day with Gatorade, chicken noodle soup, yogurt and my favorites coke and benedryl.

Then I stumbled onto these on The Master Shift Facebook page and they have really stuck with me.

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Reconnecting my soul

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We are often out hiking or taking nature walks so I didn’t even realize it was missing. The part of my soul that nature just seems to click back in place from all the crazy of life. The problem had not been we were not out hiking or walking, the problem had become it was all too familiar. I needed somewhere new to explore. Once I started thinking about it , I knew that was it. I knew I needed to go some where new to explore and I needed to get dirty. Where oh where could I find that in Florida? The swamp. Oh that sounds perfect. We made plans with a friend to combined families and go to Corkscrew swamp. The day we were to go I decided to look up Corkscrew and see what to expect. What I didn’t expect to find was a twelve dollar per person fee. It would cost us thirty dollars to go hiking? Pass. We will save that for a special occasion hike. So the night before we were suppose to go I was scrambling to look up a place to go. I looked at a bunch of different parks but nothing was striking me. I was actually really looking forward to swamp stuff. A boardwalk through the swamp was just what I needed, or so I thought.

I found Green swamp in Lakeland. It is spread across five county parks. I narrowed it down to Colt Creek Preserve.

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Yes, my daughter chose to wear white to the swamp. I let her because , Bleach. We found great spots to explore. Places where wild boar had dug up, plants and flowers to inspect, and birds so many birds to listen to. It was even a bit wet.

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It was pretty near perfect. Within thirty minutes of the hike starting I felt my soul reconnect, that click that being out in nature does for me. Grounding whatever you call it , I felt it.

We even walked through trail that was past our ankles deep in water. We even scared a turtle out of hiding tromping through that trail. It was not what I had thought. It was a bit more water than I had thought to go through, but it was perfect in so many ways.

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We even came across some wild blackberries growing and some were ripe enough for the girls to eat. We left plenty for the animals though.

We found all kinds of places to explore. I had plenty of water with me and I had taken Ultracur that morning and had enough with me to get me through the rest of the day as well as a nutritious and balanced picnic lunch packed. Plenty of carb replacement and protein along with veggies and fruit. We did not set a certain pace and took breaks as frequently as we needed to.

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The kids did great. We came to a pavilion not too long after this part of the trail. The girls were so busy playing in the field when they were not complaining of being hungry. My friend and I decided to leave the girls there with my husband and go get the van, where we left our lunches. They walked a bit over three miles , not too bad for four girls under ten years old.

When I wanted a swamp hike, I did not envision stomping through water that went almost to my knees.

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In case you think I was kidding, that really was the water line. I didn’t stop while we were stomping through it because I was in anxiety overdrive. If I had been alone or even just with my husband I would have probably turned back. I probably would not have pushed through. I have a lot of anxiety about that much water and not being able to see the bottom. There are snakes and snapping turtles and alligators just so many things my brain could come up with. I was glad I had been practicing deep breathing because it really helped. Whatever was left out of alignment clicked in place after making it through that. The exhilaration of overcoming it really was something I needed, had you told me that ahead of time I would have told you you were crazy.

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I definitely felt the walk the next two days but it was exactly what I needed. It was much easier to give myself permission to rest and recover. I had squelched any fears of not being an involved enough mother. I had stomped on any feelings of uselessness. Truthfully I think my daughter was just as tired as I was afterwards. I definitely felt connected to the Earth and the fact that Earth Day was just a few days away made it seem even better.