Monday, December 05, 2011

It's Time

My life is so full and worth living outside of the blog world that I've come to the not so difficult decision that




It's time for me to say goodbye to this blog and to live the beautiful life I have worked so hard to build. I'll be leaving all my posts as they are in the hopes that they will find their way to those who need them.

Thank you to all my readers, supporters, and encouragers. You have made this journey the most rewarding period of my life and there is no way I could ever adequately express what you all mean to me.

This is the happiest goodbye I've ever said, and I can't wait to see what God's got in store for me now.

May you be blessed - and inspired to PASS IT ON!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Little Early

(I already put up the tree. Whee!)

I hope you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving.

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Getting Real

Belonging to a loving community of fellow survivors over the last couple of years has helped me see a lot of the painful patterns I repeat when I stop getting real about my own issues and start focusing on everyone else's problems. When I'm focused on what's "wrong" with someone else or what they can change in their lives to get better, when I'm so focused on helping other people that I lose sight of my own need to change, I end up sliding back to into old patterns and it usually takes a real kick in the butt for me to realize what I'm doing. I've seen this happen so many times it's not even funny... If I were to get real about what's going on in my head and my heart sometimes, this is what I'd say:

"I'm not happy with my life right now for some reason, so instead of dealing with what's going on with me and figuring that out, I'm just gonna stay so focused on how screwed up YOU are right now. I'm gonna let myself turn into a chaotic crazy mess of a person while I tell you how you should make all those changes you need to make, all the while ignoring the fact that I'm making a huge mess of my own life right now."

It's really easy to notice this "I'm-higher-up-than-you-on-the-healing-scale" behavior in others but how bad does it suck to get real and admit that sometimes I'm that person - the one meddling, controlling and doling out advice to others when I need to just stop and deal with my own issues?

We all have issues - every one of us - and to pretend like the healing journey has this magical rainbow of an ending is ridiculous and unreal. When things around me are spinning out-of-control, nine times out of ten I have a part in it somewhere, somehow. Traveling along this road for two years does not make me "healed" or perfect or above anyone else. The choice to acknowledge that I still screw up - regularly - is a painful one to make, but it's necessary to choose to be 100% honest with myself if I want to make progress.

Refusing to get real with ourselves can leave us trapped in a chaotic place we think we can't get out of. The reality is that if we would be brave enough to acknowledge our part in our mess we could more than likely do something about it, climb the mountain of conquering the "why" of our repeated behaviors, and move on to the next leg of the journey. It's so easy to lie to ourselves and say, "I can't help this situation." NEWS FLASH: Most of the time we CAN help it! True, there are situations we can't do a thing about, but let's get real here - those situations are very, very, very  few and far between. Getting real can get ugly (who really wants to admit that they're being a controlling, manipulative, chaos-creating person?) but I think it's necessary to get real with ourselves in order to have an authentic and progressive journey. We can't get over a mountain of piled-up, screwed-up thinking if we don't acknowledge that it's there, blocking our way to progress.

Here are some ways I've seen survivors in my own personal community lie to ourselves and keep ourselves trapped at the foot of the mountain:

We tell ourselves we're okay when we know we're not. We pretend we don't need to examine that nagging feeling we have that something we're doing is not working for us.

We tell ourselves that we have nothing to do with the trapped feeling, that we don't need to examine our own part in the mess.

We tell ourselves that we're doing the right thing when the choices we're making are obviously screwing up our lives physically, spiritually, financially.

We spend our time judging others, criticizing others, and trying to manipulate others into healing and making progress instead of focusing on what we can do to let go of what we think they "should" be doing.

We tell ourselves that the approval of others is more important than being honest with ourselves - and with them - about how we really feel.

We hold ourselves accountable to a standard that can never be lived up to, and it starts trickling into our relationships with others and cuts us off from the rest of the world.

This list could go on and on and on. Do you have anything to add to it? As a community, I feel like sometimes we need to stop talking about all the yee-haw healing moments and happy-go-lucky stuff to remind each other that we know we ALL have faults, that we don't have to be perfect, and that we need to take time to just get real. Lying to ourselves serves no good purpose on this journey. We all make mistakes and we all screw up. THAT'S real. What do you need to get real about today? Are you gonna climb that mountain or are you gonna let it keep you from seeing what's on the other side?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Queen of Halloween

My mother-in-law is the Queen of Halloween around here. She decorates like mad and her collection of Halloween-themed stuff just keeps growing and growing. This year she asked me if I could take some pictures of her decorations. Taking pictures makes me happy. I was glad to help her out. These are my favorite shots from yesterday (notice the yellow in those cute flowers):

What made you happy this week?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Warrior Within

As joyful and fulfilling as my life has become in the last 2+ years, even as a thriving and empowered survivor I still have moments of sheer panic, moments of disappointment, moments of grief, etc. I know triggers and old tapes often make their appearance when I least expect them, so I do my best to stay prepared...

See that pic above? I call that basket my "toolbox" and it stays under the coffee table in my living room so that I can run and grab one of my many "tools" any time I need to get centered. In that basket you will find my dream journal, my copy of "The Courage to Heal" and the accompanying workbook, my folder full of trauma work, a spiral notebook for journaling, some memoirs and recovery books, several folders with info from my therapist, and every piece of mail and every note and every card I've ever received from survivors who've shared their stories with me. I've recently added a new tool to this basket and it is something I'm thrilled to be able to share with you today.

A while ago, One in Four - a registered charity in the United Kingdom that is run for and by people who have experience of sexual abuse - provided me with a copy of "The Warrior Within: A One in Four handbook to aid recovery from childhood sexual abuse and violence" by Christiane Sanderson and staff.* One in Four states, "The book is for both female and male survivors of CSA and sexual violence, whether abused by male or female abusers, either within, or outside the family, or in a religious context. It is a portable resource which will support you when you most need it. It is designed to help you pace your recovery and to create a safe, secure base within that allows you to regain trust in yourself. In reconnecting to yourself you will be able to reconnect to others and the world. Together with your warrior within it will help you to triumph over trauma and move from surviving to thriving to feeling truly alive."

I was expecting something wonderful from "The Warrior Within" because I'd been following @WeareOneinFour on Twitter for a while and had seen them share lots of great tweets and information. I'd visited their website and gotten familiar with their organization, but I had no idea how much of a passion I'd develop for this book. Upon digging in and using it for a few months now I can honestly say that this handbook has been the best tool I've ever used in my healing journey. It's now front and center in my toolbox. I personally believe that a copy of this book should be in the hands of every survivor working to overcome abuse and trauma. I also believe "The Warrior Within" would be a great help to family and close friends of survivors who are seeking ways to support their loved ones as they heal.

First of all, the size of the book does make it very practical for toting around. As a matter of fact I carried it in my purse for quite some time during a recent challenging phase in my journey. As you can see, it's held up nicely!

My favorite thing about "The Warrior Within" (other than the brilliant way it manages to address both men and women without making a mess of the content) is that its ease of use is almost too good to be true. The first thing I noticed when I got the book was this great system of icons used throughout the text:

The icons are there to help the reader use the handbook in the way that best suits them. There is no right or wrong way to use this book. When I use this handbook I do lot of flipping through and grabbing the exercises and activities that best suit the issues I'm dealing with.

The book is divided into three parts, each focusing on a different aspect of the healing journey. Understanding CSA, identifying how to manage your reactions to trauma, and maintaining self-care are just some of the topics that are covered.

The format of the handbook makes it easy to move at your own pace, which is essential to healing and overcoming traumatic experiences.

If you're able, I would love for you to GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS HANDBOOK! The book is published in the UK and the cost (as of the date of this blog post) is £6.99 (which amounts to about $11.00 US at the current rate of exchange). There's a small fee for shipping and handling and an additional cost for shipping orders abroad. Please contact with any questions you may have about ordering the book.

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

*I would like to thank One in Four for the giving me the opportunity to review this book, which was provided to me unsolicited and at no charge. View my disclaimer and review policy by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Look and Listen You Will

This Wordless Wednesday is brought to you by Origami Yoda and Darth Paper. Don't worry, "The Imperial March" (Darth Vader's theme) is wordless.

And so it is with my wannabe Jedi mind trickery (and these adorable butt-kicking finger puppets my son and his friend made) that I bid you good day.

Blessed may you be - and pass the inspiration on you will!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

'Tis the Season

(And here's the reason I've been neglecting my blog!)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Give a Click for Depression Awareness Month

Lately Tuesdays around here have been reserved for the Happiness Project, but I received a guest post from Tracy Rose and the staff at that is rather time-sensitive (you have until October 15th to "give a click" - it's free and easy to help so please read on). I'll do my best to jump back into the Happiness Project next week. Today in lieu of a happy photo, I'd like to share this post with you:

Give a Click for Depression Awareness Month

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with depression is the social stigma attached to it.  This stigma can manifest itself in many ways, but perhaps the primary block in most people’s mind is that depression is actually something you can just “snap out of” – as if long-term, overwhelming sadness and despair is really just someone “going through a funk.”

This stigma keeps thousands of depressed individuals from seeking help in the form of counseling or medication.  It keeps thousands more in a closed cycle of hopelessness.  About 35,000 people commit suicide every year in the United States, many of whom have a mental illness such as depression.  What’s worse is that for every single completed suicide there are about 11 more attempted suicides.  

This is a tragedy beyond words.  Even though so many people suffer from depression – as many as 1 in 10 – it is still hard to reach out to those who need help.  Building a support network of trusted friends, healthcare providers, or even online acquaintances who have experience with depression can help erode the number of people losing their lives to depression.

Perhaps one of the best things about being depressed in this day of age (if anything!) is the accessibility of resources for those who decide to help themselves or someone else.  There are so many online chat support groups, informational websites, and resource referral banks to choose from, but you have to make the commitment to yourself to look for them!

October is Depression Awareness Month.  Advocates for organizations geared toward helping people with depression are determined to use this month as a tool for spreading information and awareness about depression and how to end it.  One of the most valuable services these organizations are performing is trying to erase the stigma of depression.

Groups like Help for Depression and To Write Love on Her Arms regularly help thousands of depressed people, and they are working hard to let the nation know how common and just how devastating depression is.  Still greater is their commitment to helping individuals with depression seek and find the help they desperately need.

Thankfully, there is an easy and free way to give them money!  Just “like” on Facebook, and for the first 15,000 “likes” they will donate $1 to the non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms.  Spread the word: this charitable promotion only lasts until October 15th

Together, we can end the stigma associated with depression, just by taking a stand to support these organizations working to raise depression awareness.  So get started!

*Images courtesy

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bring on the Noise!

My friend Kerri recently asked me to write a guest post for her blog because she's decided to use her blog as a platform for friends to share their stories during National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.
I know it seems everything has an "awareness week" nowadays, and to be honest I'm kind of excited about that. I think giving people the chance to use their voices to educate others about whatever they are facing is a good thing. I've heard and seen complaints about the amount of "noise" created by awareness campaigns on Twitter and facebook and other sites but sometimes I wonder how many millions of people would still be sitting in silence and suffering alone were it not for the advent of social media and all of its awareness. I say bring on the noise!

The blog post I shared with Kerri's readers is a bit snarky, but I still wanted to share it with you all here to give you a little glimpse into another part of my world. I'm not always sunshine and rainbows, remember? Sometimes I'm sunshine and sarcasm, and that's okay.

So here's the link if you're interested in reading:

Be sure to check out the rest of Kerri's blog. There's some fun stuff there, and there are more stories from people who live with invisible illness. Be sure to leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Do you live with an invisible illness? Are you participating in National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week in any way? If so, you're more than welcome to leave a comment and share links, stories, etc.

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh, Hail!

(And it's hailing like CRAZY outside! 
Hubby caught some!)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall, Fabulous Fall!

Fall's almost here! You have no idea how happy that makes me. If you could see my happy, it would be terrifyingly large, like one of those big T-Rex statues at a natural history museum. That's right, I'm so happy today it's kinda scary. Here's what's making me happy this week:

I may live in a podunk town where not much happens, but I feel so blessed to live on property where I can take my kids out to see their granddaddy's garden full of pretty pumpkins and fodder shocks, or where I can open up my door and look across the road to see heavenly sunlight beaming through the trees. 

What's making you happy today?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wacky Wrap-Up Revisited

Whew! Last week was a whirlwind and I'm happy to say that both emotionally and physically things are looking up. Something fun happened to me and I want to share it with you and revisit the blog post it all stemmed from.

I subscribe to Redbook Magazine and I also follow them on facebook and Twitter. Several months ago they asked (via facebook status update) what kind of quirky coping mechanisms we readers use when we need some calm in our lives. I shared my "Wacky Wednesday Wrap-Up" blog post with them in the comments section of that status update. One of their senior editors emailed me not long ago and asked if she could quote me in their October issue. Of course I said yes! I got my magazine in the mail today and sure enough I saw my little quote. While it's not as amazing as having an article published, it's still lots of fun to see my own name in print in one of my favorite magazines. (And it's a great excuse to remind you to go wrap up in a warm blanket - right now if possible!)

I hope right now, somewhere in this world there is a woman who is discovering (or re-discovering) the "aaaaaaah calm joy" moment of wrapping herself in a blanket fresh from the dryer thanks to this little quote.

What "aaaaaaah calm joy" moments have you experienced lately?  
(Please share in the comments section.)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

What Sunflowers Do

Today has been a tough day. My six-year-old has an upper respiratory infection, I'm not feeling well myself, and emotionally I'm just kind of spent. After a long day here at home and an early evening spent at the local urgent care center with my son, I pulled into the driveway and I was reminded of the joy underneath all this yucky stuff when I saw the pretty yellow sunflowers my mother-in-law planted on our property this year. I'm so grateful for those yellow sunflowers tonight. I'm grateful for my Yellow Joy Machine traveling buddies. I may not feel all super-dee-duper joyful this evening, but I'm turning toward the light because I know that 

"Weeping may last through the night, 
but joy comes with the morning." 
(Psalm 30:5b, New Living Translation)

Keep your face to the sunshine 
and you cannot see the shadow. 
It's what sunflowers do. 
- Helen Keller

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Miracle for Marjorie

(And I just came from the hospital where one 
of my friends is having a tumor removed from her brain. 
Please pray for a miracle for Marjorie.)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Self-Care: You DO Have Time!

Self-care is one of the most important aspects of healing, yet so many survivors absolutely refuse to take time for themselves. One of the things I hear most frequently as I meet and converse with survivors is, "I don't have time to take care of myself!" But you know what? You do! 

Self-care doesn't always have to be some big, involved production. It's nice to take myself out on a date, or lock myself in the bathroom for a really long bubble bath with candles and soft music, or to go for a scenic drive and grab some coffee at a shop a couple of towns away, but I don't always have the time or the resources to do these things. I think we all deserve a big production every now and then, but I also think it would do us a lot of good to give up this Superwoman (or Superman) all-or-nothing mentality where we think there is a "right" and "wrong" way to do nice things for ourselves. Self-care can be as simple as a 30-second deep breath!

Here are my top ten "quickie" self-care practices:

10. I stretch. I try to touch the ceiling. I touch the floor. Sometimes I lay down in the floor and stretch. Sometimes I do a couple of yoga poses. I do whatever feels good at the moment. It's refreshing!

9. I turn on an upbeat song and I dance. I only do this with my kids or when I'm alone. I'm not the greatest dancer in the world, but I enjoy movement and I usually feel great after a little boogie time with C&C Music Factory or Deee-Lite.

8. I go online and look at pictures or find something quick to read. I love looking at great art. I love to read a good piece of writing. Both are available online. When I can't get to the library or the museum... Internet!

7. I rest for a bit. 10-15 minutes in my room, timer set, door closed, eyes closed. Whether or not I sleep is irrelevant. I am still. It is enough to just be still and breathe.

6. I set a timer and clean for 15 minutes. For some people, this is like torture. Not for me. I love living in a clean house. When my surroundings are cluttered, so is my brain. Getting rid of a mess helps me feel better sometimes.

5. I write. Journaling, to me, is like medicine. Sometimes just jotting down one sentence and getting it out there is better for my spirit than an entire session of talk therapy.

4. I sing a song. I sing very loudly and I don't care what it sounds like. It's something I enjoy and it often lifts my mood almost instantly. Sometimes it's a sad song, but most times it's happy. Lately, it's been this song called "Move" by MercyMe that I've sort of adopted as my theme song:

3. I doodle. A few minutes with a pen or a pencil or a marker or a crayon in hand is like cheap therapy for me. The example I've posted in the picture up at the top of this post is a recent doodle I dug up to show you what I mean when I say "doodle". Drawing these patterns and shapes helps me zone out for a while yet process things at the same time. It's like a subconscious recharging ritual I've developed over the years.

2. I take a five minute walk. Just five minutes outside in the fresh air. Sometimes it's a quick walk, sometimes it's a lazy trip around the yard, just taking in our surroundings. This almost always leaves me feeling de-stressed and re-charged.

1. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Taking in as much air as my lungs will allow, I inhale through my nose and hold the breath as long as I can. When I release the breath, I do it slowly through my mouth... as though I'm exhaling through a straw. This is THE number one way I center myself and it is the quickest and easiest self-care practice I have ever learned.

I'd like to challenge you to come up with your own list of ten things you might enjoy doing that would qualify as self-care. Choose just ONE thing on that list every day for the next week and DO IT! It could be something as simple as going outside and watering flowers. Paint your nails. Hold your teddy bear for ten minutes. Draw a picture. Make yourself a cup of hot tea. Just do something for yourself. If it makes you happy and you choose to take the time to do it - it counts as self-care! 

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


A 49-year-old woman in the town where I grew up was recently arrested for sexual abuse. She was indicted on 14 charges of facilitation to first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and incest. Reading the three little paragraphs in our local paper about this indictment brought to mind two huge myths about sexual abuse.

The myths:

Women don't sexually abuse children.

It doesn't happen in "my" hometown.

To be clear, this woman has not been proven guilty as of the date of the publication of this blog post, but women are found guilty of abusing, molesting, and raping children more than we'd care to admit. Just search the National Sex Offender Registry. As of today, there are a handful of women in my area who are registered sex offenders.

There are so many myths about sexual abuse and rape. Sometimes I get really frustrated when people perpetuate these myths. As a survivor and an advocate, I often wonder how I can help kick these lies to the curb. I guess it's just a question of continuing to speak out until people start getting the message.

It's up to us to keep our children safe. We need to know the FACTS.

Just because your babysitter is a woman does not mean your child is somehow automatically exempt from being sexually abused or raped.

It's happening in your hometown. I promise.

Abusers depend on these myths to protect them from suspicion, and they use these myths to their advantage, often pulling the wool over society's eyes! By educating ourselves and others about the reality that is sexual abuse, we may help stop perpetuating myths and start protecting children. Keep talking. Keep teaching. Keep trying.

If you're interested in learning more about myths and facts about childhood sexual abuse, here are a few great places to get started:

Myths About Sexual Abuses 
Eight Common Myths About Childhood Sexual Abuse 
Darkness to Light: 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children

What abuse myths are you aware of? How can you help dispel them?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tech Break!

I'm taking a bit of a break from technology.

I want some time away from the computer.

I'm actually going to let the battery on my laptop die and refuse to recharge it for the next several days.

See you when I'm ready to come out of my shell.

(All is well, I just want a break from the noise for a few days.)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Memory of a Good Ol' Dad

I'm participating in the Happiness Project today, but in all honesty I don't feel very happy. I know it will get better so I keep on keepin' on. Tomorrow will be three years to the day since my father passed away due to complications from cancer. I miss him terribly, but thankfully I have a lot of wonderful memories of my "good ol' Dad" to help me cope with the loss. (When Dad was dying, he told us he'd be happy if when we remembered him we would say, "He was a good ol' dad." And he was, so I say that almost every time I speak of him. I think he'd get a kick out of that.)

The picture I'm sharing today is very special to me. Back in 2008, my mom and dad both worked at a call center providing customer service for a cell phone company (Mom still works there because she's a trooper). Some of the most memorable moments of the visitation we held after his death were the stories his co-workers told me. They gave me a glimpse of my father that I'd never seen. There was laughter and there were a lot of smiles from the people who spent break time and lunch time with him most often. I appreciated his co-workers so much that day. About a year after my father passed, a young man who worked at the call center with my parents emailed this picture to my mother:

Photo by Nick Savage

It's one of my favorite pictures of Dad because I know my dad, and I can tell that's a real smile.

To see him in a part of his world that I wasn't privy to. To see how devoted he was to doing the best job he could do (note all the Post-its with policy and procedure written all over them). To know someone outside of my world gave a hoot enough about him to say, "Hey, Ed! Let me take your picture!" To know that he was able to sport a real smile during mundane moments in his life... that makes me feel very happy.

What's making you feel happy today?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Gratitude Attitude

My family and I were without water service for a bit. There was a hillside slip not far from our home and the repair took almost three days. As easy at it would be for me to sit and whine about all these dishes I have to catch up on, I'm not gonna do it. I'd much rather crank some tunes and wash some dishes than moan and groan and complain over something that - in my book - is just not worth complaining about.

I'm just gonna be grateful that we had enough food to eat to get these things all scuzzied up.

I mean, the guys and gals at the water department just worked day and night for almost three days to restore our service, and we once again have access to clean water (according to a report from Unicef and the World Health Organization, some 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies*)... so if anything, I just came out of this situation with a greater appreciation for my reality.

As annoying as it may be to the people who don't get it, living with an attitude of gratitude is something I find a lot of joy in! I guess there's been some research done to prove that being grateful makes people feel happy. Check this out (it's only 37 seconds long):

Don't get me wrong... I complain sometimes. I think (unless you live in Perfect World - please tell me that's a real place and take me there!) refusing to vent occasionally is akin to living in total denial. I don't do denial. I just do my best to choose what's worth the grumbling. Today I choose to suck it up and sing and dance my way through this chore. How bad can it really be when I've got yellow Joy dishwashing liquid and K-LOVE Radio? (Remember the "Yellow Joy - It's Not Just for Dishes Anymore" blog post? I really did end up making the switch to Joy dishwashing liquid. Ha!)

Do you try to have an attitude of gratitude? Have you resisted the urge to complain about something lately? Were you glad you did? How do you decide what's really worth a grumble?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

*Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, Unicef, WHO (2008)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Don't Do Egg Nog

My husband loves egg nog. He buys egg nog in the extreme heat of summer and chugs it like it's going out of style. Egg nog makes him happy. It brings a smile to his face and gives him that little spark of joy that we all wanna find at every opportunity. See that egg nog in the pic up there? He bought it today. That carton is already almost empty.

I hate egg nog. I hate the smell of egg nog. I avoid egg nog like the plague. I do not buy egg nog unless it's Christmastime and/or I'm feeling particularly generous and want to sucker my husband into doing things like dishes or laundry or handling other domestic duties that I'm trying to shirk. Egg nog does not bring me joy. Egg nog makes me want to hurl and I'm not afraid to say it.

Why all this talk of egg nog? What's the point?

Different people have different tastes - not only in food and beverages but also in their personal approach to healing. 

If you try egg nog and hate it, should you stop consuming liquids altogether? HECK no! You can't live without some form of hydration. You reach for something else. You drink what you like. You satisfy your thirst in another way.

So... if you try something like guided imagery meditation or addressing the inner child concept and these things don't work for you, should you give up your healing journey altogether? HECK no! You can't make progress if you refuse to move. You keep seeking and you reach for something else. You address your issues in a way that works for you. Don't be afraid to say that something isn't working and admit that you need to try a new approach to get past your pain.

Be proud of who you are and your individual healing style.  
Do your own thing. 
Don't try to be something you're not. Don't try to fit into someone else's mold. Don't keep doing the same things over and over again if they're not working for you. Branch out. Try something new. Keep trying until you find something that jells.

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

P.S. Get that egg nog away from me and pass me the Coke!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Reading Night

(Current reads. From the top: 
the six-year-old's, 
the nine-year-old's, 
and the husband's.)

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let's Play!

I hated them when I was a kid.
I love them now. 

My kids and I enjoy board games, card games, DVD games, etc.
We played together today, which brought us much happiness!
We keep our games organized
- front and center in the living room -
so fun is always at our fingertips!

Are you finding happiness today?

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Do You Find Joy?

 "You have to sniff out joy. 
Keep your nose to the joy trail." 
-Buffy Sainte-Marie

The other day someone asked me how I still find joy after the trauma. I think that's a wonderful question - and one that would be answered differently by just about every person you asked.

There have certainly been times in my life when I've felt like I would never make it out of the darkness. I still have days when I just want to sulk and cry because of the things I've been through - and that's okay! I have MANY valid reasons to mourn the loss of what was taken from me so many years ago. But if I'm honest with myself I also have many valid reasons to celebrate my life. So one way I find joy is by choosing to focus on the things in my life that are worth celebrating. For example:

Taking a hot bath and getting lost in a good book are two things that make me so happy I could squeal. Combining those two things - reading a book while taking a hot bath - is enough to make me feel like I've hit the jackpot. Being able to lock the door and shut out the world is sometimes PRICELESS!

My nine-year-old son still thinks I'm cool. So cool, in fact, that he has been begging me to start a channel on YouTube dedicated to my (in his opinion) gut-bustingly hilarious parodies of popular songs. Truly, these parodies are full of almost nothing but jokes about flatulence and rhymes about how crazy I am (his favorite is "Electric Toots" based on the 80's hit "Electric Youth" by Debbie Gibson), but he thinks my ability to break into song at any given moment is just one of the many things that make me awesome. 

I can wrestle this less-than-spectacular body into one of those infamous muumuu-looking "mom" bathing suits and my six-year-old will seriously stop dead in his tracks to tell me how pretty I look - and he means it with every fiber of his little being! AND he will still hold my hand while we climb the stairs to the top of the water slide at the local pool as he giggles like a maniac because his mom is the only mom there who's brave enough to get soaked. (Please note: If I -EVER- get too uppity or concerned about my "image" to go down a water slide, someone PLEASE just put me out of my misery!)

My husband takes me by the arm and walks me around our property to show off his handiwork almost every time he mows the lawn. Surveying our little kingdom arm-in-arm with my handsome Prince Charming always brings a smile to my face. There are extra smiles (and sometimes a little blushing) when he bows, refers to me as "Lady Megan" and kisses the back of my hand. Very silly, but sweet and fun and a nice little throwback to all that childhood playtime I spent daydreaming about becoming a princess.

Those are just a few things that come to mind when I think of how I find joy. What brings you joy? How do you find your way out of the dark days? Leave a comment. Your coping techniques and/or ideas just might help someone else make it through another day.

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nature Nurtures

It's Wordless Wednesday!
(Welcome to the surroundings of my humble abode.
This is why I love living in a holler - that's a hollow
to all you city folk out there.)


Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where I'm From

I am from turntables, from Sylvania and white record sleeves. From album art covered in dust that when blown about glistened and danced in sunlight streaming through dining room windows.

I am from the pale yellow house on Second Avenue, from the porch piled high with stacks of old newspapers. From the big concrete steps with their pits and pockmarks and cracks that filled with water when the rains came.

I am from the Gravel Pit with its green trees, grey rocks and brown water. From hidden trails and secret coves and the sweet smell of honeysuckle in the breeze. From fishing with Daddy and bluegill and bait and tackle and bobbers and bamboo poles and pet worms and crawdads.

I am from road trips and Blevins hips, from Henry Edsel and Dawn Elaine. From a telephone technician and a seamstress. From tinkerers and talkers, mail clerks and military men, secretaries and songbirds.

I am from the keeping of secrets and the struggle to survive. From walls that couldn't talk but could tell you stories most people wouldn't want to hear.

From "but you have such a pretty face" and "hold your horses" and "get home when the street lights come on".

I am from the school of John 3:16. From prayer and thanksgiving and parables, and grace and mercy... and masks I am still learning how to remove.

I'm from Appalachia and Wales, from hills and hollers and preachers and poets. I am from bourbon balls in Aunt Bonnie's refrigerator and pot roast from Mom's old clickety-clackety pressure cooker, from wedding cakes and Nilla Wafers and saltines and 7-Up.

From the grandmother who made perfect potato candy and baked the softest peanut butter cookies, the paper beads and the button box she always always kept at the ready, and the grandfather in the big brown chair, silent and stoic and loved and adored more than he could ever imagine.

I am from the ashes of the pictures and the journals and the bridges I have burned, from the passionate soul songs no one will ever hear. I am from the snapshots saved and the inked up pages of ratty old notebooks, from the special sounds of the music I share with the world.


If you decide to try this and share it, you can link it up here: Schmutzie

Until next time, may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!
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