my daughter-in-law’s sweet tribute to her grandmother, she will be missed

“Grandma had a minor stroke, but she’s recovering,” read the first message. She’ll get better, I thought. I know my grandma. “Grandma is having a hard time eating and speaking,” the next message read, “but she’s out of the critical period. Baby steps in forward motion.” She’ll get better, I thought. I know my grandma.…

via Just Like My Grandma — Bamboo Sketches

A tell-all chapter

If I were writing a memoir (which I’m not, at least not yet anyway) most readers would be looking for tell-all chapters. This might qualify.

In the last post love my flowers…. and books I mentioned that I am an introvert and if the neighbours were to see me trying to take pictures of the flowers in my yard, it would be a tragedy of epic proportions. At the time, I said this somewhat tongue in cheek, but, as I thought about it later, it felt honest rather than dramatic, and honest felt really good.

One thing always leads to another, in my mind anyway, and this line of thought lead me to consider the possible impact the early years would have had on my introverted self. I wouldn’t say those years were the cause but I can see how they would have  contributed.

Both families moved many times over the years and eventually ended up in the same town, that’s how they met. Dad was a friend of one of mom’s brothers. It’s ironic that they were both born in Alberta, Vegreville and Youngstown, if I remember right. It seems like the they unintentionally followed each other around a bit.

Secrets have been the trademark of both families so I am short on details and have to speculate about some things.

I suspect mom was still living at home when they started going out together but don’t know for sure, I assume dad wasn’t living at home but don’t know that for sure either, I think his parents moved back to the States somewhere in that time frame. Also, I have no idea what the length of their relationship would have been, but it must not have been too short for mom’s brother to have been part of the scene. I’ve always assumed, from the information we were given through the years, that they were married the year before I was born, recently we discovered this was incorrect, they were married 13 months after I was born.

Both grandparents were strong in their faith, at least the grandmothers were, dad’s family was Catholic….church attendance was very important, Mom’s family was Protestant…… her step father was the pastor. Religious differences were a big deal.

Back in the 40s conceiving a child out of wedlock was a major scandal, both inside and outside the church. This would have been a huge  blow to mom’s dad,  personally as a minister, and could have been the reason for his retirement, given church rules at the time. It could even have been a forced resignation made to look like a retirement.

The second scandal would have been living arrangements, for the duration of the pregnancy and the 13 months of my life before the wedding, putting 2 and 2 together with little bits of information given out over the years, I suspect they had no alternative but to live together.

One of the reasons I think this was the case,  with them trying to fly under the radar, was again, bits and pieces from mom’s stories about my birth. Wearing dad’s shirts as smocks. Taking herself to the hospital only to be told, come back in six months and maybe she would have something, (staying small would have been to go unnoticed). Then a few hours later giving birth to a 6 pound baby girl. Upset because the father of her child was out partying with her brother, when he should have been there with her.

I don’t know much about the wedding plans either except that one of dad’s sisters stood up with mom, and mom had a beautiful dress. They were married in the Catholic church after she promised the priest their children would be raised Catholic. In my experience dad was not a church goer so I’m guessing this was an empty promise. We weren’t brought up in either church.

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For religious reasons, this marriage was  unacceptable to both sides of the family, but with children involved what choice did they have.

During pregnancy and beyond, our home would have been filled with angst. Dad wasn’t ready for marriage or kids, his actions showed that, and it would be pretty safe to say  mom wasn’t ready either. My birth was not the happy occasion it would have been under normal circumstances. If babies hear while in the womb, and pick up on emotions, there would have been lots for me to hear and feel.

Apparently, the introvert in me surfaced early. There were stories. About how, as a baby, I didn’t warm up to dad and he wasn’t happy. About how I would cry if anyone looked at me when we were out in public. About how I wouldn’t go to  anyone.

Not such a great beginning, for any of us.

There were other things, besides the events of my birth, adding to my desire for invisibility, but we will save them for another tell-all chapter.

I’m sure other family members have heard stories over the years and could shed light on some things. I would love to hear your stories sometime.


Well, we need a few books now…to lighten things up a bit

The Amish Bishop Mysteries – What the Bishop Saw book 1 – Vannetta Chapman….. this was one of my favorite books this week…. the Bishop has a gift that is more of a burden than a blessing, tragic happenings prompt him to overcome his reluctance to use it, to help find answers.

The Sisters of Sugarcreek – Cathy Liggett ….. an elderly aunt dies leaving a knitting shop to her untalented niece, a fire destroys a church and a way of life for one charitable woman, the same fire kills a fireman leaving a widow without the skills to deal with her everyday life. Three ladies drawn together to form an unbreakable bond, each one having something the others need. I really liked this book of healing and restoration.

The Teacup Novellas – At Legends End book 4 – Diane Moody….. This was another favorite this week, I always enjoy Diane Moody’s books and this series was a favorite. A beautiful B&B, in an old house with tragedy in it’s past, the question on everyone’s mind…does the legend still hold true? I was happy that in spite of the Novella tag it seemed to be a regular length book.

An Offering: The Tale of Therese – Allison Pittman ….  this was a short, but good, story about a little girl and how life changed for her.

I have a string of unfinished books this time too, so they haven’t all been great, which only makes me appreciate the good ones even more 🙂

There are a lot of good books out there and I hope you are discovering them.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

love my flowers…. and books

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I have to share a couple of pictures of my yard. I am blessed with beautiful flower beds, thanks to the previous owners who were avid gardeners. Lucky for me there are many perennials and flowering bushes, saving me from having to figure out what to fill the beds with each spring, and a bonus, their flower choices still grace the yard each summer.

I would share more pictures, more often, but photography is not my strong point. There is a good reason for that, aside from the fact I have a smart phone and no camera. I’m an introvert, someone might see me, standing about, looking for the perfect angle. That would be a tragedy of epic proportions. I check to see if anyone is out and about, or has their curtains open, then take my flower pictures as quickly and discreetly as possible. Once in a while it works out. This next picture isn’t one of those times. 🙂

I had a visitor last night. Don’t know who he belongs to but he decided this was a good place to groom and settle in for a nap. I could have taken my time setting this up, it was a long nap.20170715_191327.jpg


I haven’t mentioned books read in the last few posts, so this is catch up time.

A Story of Second Chances – The Heart Mender – Andy Andrews…. This is one of my favorites this week, from one of my new favorite authors. It’s a story of life, loss, and reconciliation. Unlike any other story I’ve read, I like that.

Out of Egypt Series – Counted With the Stars book 1 – Connilyn Cossette … Another favorite this week, the story of Moses and the Red Sea from a different perspective. The protagonist is a beautiful young Egyptian girl, used to a privileged life style, suddenly sold into slavery to satisfy her father’s debts.

Life Unexpected Series – Safe in His Arms book 1- Melanie D Snitker…..  a beautiful girl running for her life, I expected it to be a rerun of a familiar theme, I took a chance and it wasn’t. I liked this book a lot too.

Sunriver Dreams Series – A Love to Treasure book 1 – Kimberly Rose Johnson …  another familiar theme, the protagonist’s grandmother passes leaving a last request. This book also didn’t meet my low expectations of a rerun. It turned out to be an adventure, with twists and turns to keep things interesting until the end.

Southern Hearts Series – Blown Together book 4 – Janet W Ferguson …. two main characters, each with issues, blown together when a tropical storm rages through. This was a good read, a book I would read again and enjoy.

Ray Elkins Thriller Series – Shelf Ice book 4 – Aaron Stander ….. this book has excellent reviews and I agree with them, it definitely held my attention. I’ve never read anything  with shelf ice before, an interesting touch.

Courage to Dream Series – Irish Meadows book 1 – Susan Anne Mason …. this was my least favorite book this time but it was still worth reading. It didn’t flow well at times and was frustrating in spots, I did make it to the end though and was glad I did.

Windswept Bay Series – With This Ring book 6 – Debra Clopton …. this was a fun book. A little boy is determined to have the father he asked Santa for. Makes for some interesting twists and delightfully embarrassing moments.

Elite Guardians Series – Always Watching book 1 – Lynette Eason …. a psychiatrist and radio show host has a stalker, his concerned father hires an agency to supply a body guard, an agency made up of strong, well trained, women.  A thriller.

Cowboy Fairytales Series – Once Upon a Cowboy – Lacy Williams …. I’m not a big fan of contemporary retelling of fairy tales but this one worked for me. It was well done and interesting. I wish it had been longer, with a chance to more fully develop the last part of the story, the ending felt hurried and cut short. It was a good read though.

I am currently reading Once in a Blue Year by Michael Durkota, it was a book reviewed by the RedheaderBooklover   her glowing review enticed me to check it out to see if I would agree. So far, I am agreeing but will wait for the end to say for sure. 🙂

Hopefully you will find treasures too, in some of these suggestions.

Happy reading! Until next time.

Those of us who don’t believe in divorce…..should.

I think, those of us who don’t believe in divorce should believe…. there is no accountability or consequence without the possibility of divorce.

It seems to me, in this world of no divorce, we live in a bubble outside of reality.  Our lives have to look perfect to prove we are real. We have to live behind masks to prove we are not phonies. Appearances matter and we become experts at keeping them up.

The truth of the matter is; not one of us is as perfect as our image leads others to believe.

We need to allow ourselves, and each other, to come out from behind our masks and let truth be known. It is possible to love God desperately but stumble and fall, get sick, go bankrupt, or have unruly kids. It is also possible to give the appearance of loving God, with a put together life, while not loving Him at all.

I think, we end up behind a mask because we are afraid of what people will think, we are afraid of being judged and ostracized, we put unfair pressure on ourselves and each other.

Sometimes our masks cover destructive behaviours;  some that affect our families, some that happen to our families. While all of us are good at keeping secrets, some of us keep secrets that would have us sent to jail in the real world. The wearing, and the acceptance, of masks makes it possible for this behaviour to continue unchecked.

Consequences may or may not cause the offender to change their behaviour but it would be worth a try.

I think God is sad when He sees divorce for frivolous reasons, but His heart is broken when He see abuse.

 

Married & Alone: a review, and a story

Last week the book review was for Intimacy Anorexic, this week it is for Married & Alone, the companion book by Doug Weiss PhD. The truth of these books will turn your world upside down, as new understanding dawns.

Several posts ago, in regard to my life’s journey, I mentioned that although great strides had been made, there were still areas in my life needing answers. Many decades into the process, sadly, the end was not yet here.

No matter the number of contacts made, books read, or the time invested in understanding dynamics, things were still unclear for me.

One possible reason for his lack of interest in me; could he be gay? I entertained this possibility more than once through the years but was never convinced it could be true. Too many indicators to prove otherwise.

I knew he had thick, high walls of protection I’d never been allowed behind. He had  a passive way of deflecting so the walls were not a blatant issue. He had a passive/dismissive way about most things, which meant it was hard to grasp hold of what was really going on. It was hard to get an exploratory discussion going because it was like smoke and mirrors, it isn’t solid so how can it be discussed.

I knew for sure there was no connection between us, living with him was beyond lonely.

Occasionally, other questions cropped up. Like, why is there a sense of competition between us, why would he feel threatened by me, even though I make sure to stay away from those areas he claims as his.

Or, why would he throw me under the bus, in front of other people, wasn’t he supposed to be my protector? If he loved me, wouldn’t he stand up for me?

I was frustrated because we were pretending to have this perfect happy marriage.

I was frustrated because of the deep inexplicable pain no one, including me, seemed to understand.

Eventually, I heard about this book, Married & Alone, and I thought, THAT’S ME.

I wish I had read it when I first heard about it but things sometimes happen only when the time is right. Reading the book now has filled in the blanks and answered  the questions.

Here are some of the treasures found in this book:

  • Clear definitions of  the Intimacy Anorexic and the effect on the spouse of such a person.

It is validating to know I’m not crazy, it isn’t my imagination, it isn’t my fault, and, I couldn’t fix any of it – no matter how hard I would try.

  • Clear descriptions of what the recovery process should look like, and what it looks like if it isn’t happening.

Believe actions, not words. Know the signs to show actions are happening.

  • Clear information regarding credentials and qualifications of professional help, and questions to ask in determining your needs.

I’ve never seen this information laid out as clearly and concisely. This section alone makes the book worthwhile.

  • Clearly shows the path from discovery point to the end question,  what now – stay or leave?

Rather than offer opinions or directions, Dr. Weiss offers questions to ask and truths to consider. His purpose is to help guide us through the murky and confusing world that is our life, helping us come to a place of understanding. With understanding, we have the tools to make a decision about the right course of action for our unique situation.

For me; it was wonderful to get to the end of the book and realize that, with God’s help, I had done everything Dr. Weiss laid out as steps toward healing. I had no previous idea about any of this but earnestly prayed for wisdom and direction, then when things occurred to me, and seemed logical, I did them.  Therapists, books, and knowledge, may not always be available to you, even then, help is still available from the One who never leaves us or forsakes us, the One who can teach us, and guide us to all the help we need.

I now have a clear picture of what was going on, I know everything that could be done has been done. There is a feeling of closure as this part of my healing journey is finally complete.

I hope you will read both books, the understanding gained will change your life and the lives of those around you.

The take away in regard to recovery: no more secrets; and each one must be willing to do the hard work.

These, and other helpful books, can be found at dougweiss.com or on Amazon

There is also a dedicated site   intimacyanorexia.com


There will be more posts in regard to this subject, I feel sure. The last step in the twelve step program charges us with the responsibility of helping others reach this place in the journey. Everyone needs someone to come alongside. We don’t journey alone, we are in this together.

 

 

 

 

 

Intimacy Anorexia: a review

Intimacy Anorexia: Healing the Hidden Addiction in Your Marriage by Douglas Weiss PHD.

Up until recently I knew of this book only by quotes I’d read. They were helpful but for some reason I never did read the whole book. Now I am wishing I had, much sooner.   Questions that have plagued me for years, and questions I hadn’t thought to ask, have been answered. At the start of the book I had questions in mind about one relationship, at the end, there were answers about 4 or 5 relationships.

Pondering  my new discoveries, I realize; this is not a new dilemma in families and relationships. This is an ancient generational issue.

In the introduction, Dr. Weiss mentions how he and his colleagues began to notice, in their practices of treating sex addicts, a type of client they couldn’t clinically explain.

This person, usually but not always, a male, was addicted to sex but was not having sex with his spouse.

Eventually, Dr. Weiss and his colleagues realized this practise had more to do with avoiding intimacy than it had to do with avoiding sex.

In case you think this is something that couldn’t be affecting you, Dr. Weiss mentions 25% and higher, as the number of people living with this.

You might be wondering, too, how this situation could fit so many relationships in my life. It turns out, avoidance of emotional intimacy affects not just the spouse but the whole family, in varying degrees.

Most statistics are based on information gathered. Many of us keep the family secrets,  what would stats be like if we didn’t?

In this book, the author will give a definition, characteristics, causes, patterns and strategies, and much more. This information will be helpful to both the addict and the spouse. There is also a companion workbook with exercises and a twelve step program to help with recovery.

If you read the book and need more help than it provides, they have phone in counselling sessions that can arranged. They also have three day, intensives, on site at their counselling center.

As Dr. Weiss says, their goal is to promote healing of this unique addiction process that is devastating so many marriages.

This book, and many of his other books, can be found on Amazon.com  Amazon.ca and probably other Amazon sites as well.

Books can also be ordered directly from his website  drdougweiss.com

A companion book to Intimacy Anorexia is Married and Alone and focuses on the spouseI hope to read it soon and post another review.

If any of this strikes a chord in your heart and mind, I hope you will pursue this information more quickly than I have.

Also, if anyone wants to talk about this, the best place is probably on my Facebook page Janette McCormack-Blogger. Either a comment or a message. Keep in mind though, it is a public site.

May you find needed healing, and blessings, in these resources.

 

 

 

Should we care what people think?

Is this a question you ask yourself when you write? I have been asking myself this question, again, the last few days, partly because of my own up and down emotions, partly  because of recent bloggers comments. It seems we all wrestle with this recurring question in one form or another.

I can remember the turmoil, before taking the plunge into blogging. I worried about  how, or even if, I could handle opposition and nasty comments. The comments on Facebook and news sites were nasty, I assumed this was a universal reaction to blogs everywhere. Happily, it seems the opposite is true, judging by the comments, or lack of comments, on this site. We are polite and kind to one another, which is a pleasant surprise. Or maybe it’s the filters built into this site protecting us. Either way, it seems to be a safe place.

The question of honesty and openness is big enough to be left for another day. But, in regard to the aspect of caring what others think when we share honestly- I am coming to  recognize that people are free to choose when to read and when not to read.  If this is the case, we can stop beating ourselves up over possibly offending our readers. If they don’t like how we think they will move on. The circle of people surrounding us will appreciate our thoughts…. unless they are simply there to build up their own numbers, in which case they probably don’t read our blog anyway, so it’s all good. At least that’s what I tell myself.

The plus side of sharing honestly, whether anyone reads it or not, is the self discovery that comes by laying things out in a logical and clear fashion. Moments of realization.

I’ve had a few of those recently, they would account for the up and down emotions of the last few days.

A time of sharing will come after a time of processing these new discoveries. Preceded by a time of thinking about who will be offended by the sharing.

The self discovery is worth it, I can tell you that, no matter what anyone thinks.

If you, too, are struggling with this question, I hope you will forge ahead with writing honestly, to experience more of your own moments of realization and the freedom it brings. Chains falling off.


 

Check out some of the good books read this last week or so.

An Avery Black Mystery – Cause to Kill book 1 – Blake Pierce ….. a strong female protagonist with a broken and scandal ridden past tracks down a serial killer. I enjoy Blake Pierce mysteries.

Detective Madison Knight Series – Sacrifice book 3 – Carolyn Arnold … a young man washes up on the shore, there are forces at work to hinder the investigation.

Called to Serve Series – Deployed book 1 – Mel Odom….  a strong female protagonist

Deborah Jones Crime Thriller Series – Miami Requiem book 1 – J B Turner ….. a determined reporter trying to track down the truth about a murder before the death penalty is carried out.

A Nuts About Nuts cozy mystery – A Tough Case to Crack – Cindy Bell…… a move, to a new life, only to find things are not as expected

Sullivan and Broderick Murder Investigation – The Rock book 1 – Robert Daws

False Identity – Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole…..   romance

The Sweethaven Circle Series – A Sweethaven Summer book 1 – Courtney Walsh….. four inseparable friends are drawn back together as adults, after many years of separation.

Montana Skies Series – Cry of My Heart book 1 – Linda Ford …. adults faced with brokenness, a result of their childhood loses, and how it is crippling their adult lives and a love that started in their preteen years.

Here’s to discovering Good books to read!