Dreams and all that December 18, 2021

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I’m writing this in an effort to work my way out of this morning’s brain fog. There are many things on my mind these days but nothing coherent. Not clear enough to write a decent post anyway and I’m in a fix.

Some of this extra brain activity was showing up in crazy dreams this morning. But what do they mean? That’s the mystery. I was sitting here at the dinning room table looking out the narrow window by the front door when a delivery man from the country of residence for my son walked up, turned the knob and entered. I had no idea who he was, why he was here, or if I should be afraid. I screamed anyway and woke up.

Two nights ago I decided it was time to change sides of the bed. I have been sleeping on the same side for decades and was rather attached. I’ve entertained the thought of moving many times over the years but it was never an attractive idea. This time I made the decision and suddenly it has become a life changing moment. I have no idea why. I feel like I’m taking off on a new adventure.

The reason for the change was nothing earth shattering, it was simply to make use of the unused quarters of the mattress that were still like new.

I’m enjoying this sense of a new chapter in my life. I have no idea what it means or what it will look like but that doesn’t dampen the sense of anticipation.

So back to the dreams.

When overnight visitors come to my house and are shown to their room they automatically turn left to mine, which is kind of funny because they can’t see in the room yet. So, my door is closed, I open it to go in and someone has taken over my room, sleeping in my spot. What am I supposed to do now? Rather than try to boot them out I closed the door and left. I need to work on that.

Then, a recurring dream popped up.

I’m living in a big house. The main floor is large but the downstairs is larger. It has six or eight bedrooms, the floor plan is divided up into three main areas, each distinct from the other. All of them interesting and unique. I’ve dreamed about this house many times. No idea why.

Maybe all this dream activity is related to my son, his wife and daughter. They are planning a trip home for an extended visit after a number of years away. Their boys arrived in September and are living with their aunt, uncle, and cousins. Usually the family settles on the west coast using it as home base. Maybe this time they will settle here in the middle of the country. Maybe it will be my turn to host them.

We will likely find out tonight on our regular zoom call.

Instead of falling back to sleep I should have stayed up this morning after turning up the heat.

But then I would have missed out on all the fun dreams.

There were more but I’m sparing you the details.

OK, I’m awake now, the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. I should get ready to see what else the day can hold.

We will talk books in the next post.

A little bit of nothing December 04, 2021

If I don’t want to break my posting streak… I’d better write

I have nothing to say so this is where I just start talking and see what comes out.

Today was our regular monthly writers group meeting and I was planning to go. I’d signed up for read and critique. I read, they critique. I was looking forward to it and it turned out better than hoped. Now, I’m looking forward to the rewrite. I’ll share soon.

The theme was Christmas.

I’ve been reluctant to write about family traditions, memories, and all of that. With my dysfunctional and abusive childhood, I don’t have many memories, never mind good ones.

This year it seemed it was time to write something.

I have to say, the exercise turned out to be an uplifting experience. The piece started on a somber note and ended with a lighthearted vibe. It wasn’t until I reread it before the meeting that I fully appreciated the transition to happy.

It’s easy to get caught up in past memories, forgetting about present blessings.

Life has been good to me. It hasn’t been perfect, it never is. But when I think about the way life could have gone post-abuse, I’m grateful.

There are many reasons why life turned out so well but I think the main one had to do with choices.

Years ago, a visitor looked around our house and her comment left me stunned. “Why do you get to live in such a nice place.”

I’ve since considered that comment many times. Eventually I could verbalize some things. We weren’t special. We weren’t living in a higher price range with something they couldn’t have had. It all had to do with choices.

Cheerful is important to me. I can handle the tough parts of life if my surroundings are visually pleasing.

We chose to hold out for the right place. We looked at a lot of places before finding the one but it was worth it.

Don’t settle. That’s my motto. Hold out for pleasing.

This day is nearly over and time is running out.

I can’t leave without saying, there have been no good book suggestions today. I have been reading an enjoyable collection, though.

Sadly, the collection is from last year and no longer available on Kindle.

I’m not sure how I missed reading it last year.

There are a few still available in paperback.

Well. I fulfilled my promise of having nothing much to say, don’t you think.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Happy Reading.

This and that November 29, 2021

At this moment, I have to share the encouragement I’m needing and enjoying tonight.

This last week has been busy with house guests. I’ve loved having them. Now I’m going through withdrawal being alone again, although in spite of it I’m feeling upbeat. At the same time I’m experiencing annoying physical evidence of the stress of it all. It feels weird because I have been happy having people around. To have itching skin rashes and aches and pains that only appear when I’m stressed just seems so wrong when I’m feeling good about life.

To help me get through this season I discovered a new music video in my feed, it has favorite lyrics that settle me. It’s actually a compilation of several videos I’ve owned for some time. This is very cool because I know all of the songs so well. It adds an extra dimension to my emotional settling when I can close my eyes and sing along. The words slide deep down into my heart and bring healing.

The theme of the video is Thanksgiving, what could be more uplifting than that? I’ll share it at the end of this post.

The other cool thing that happened today was the experience of tackling a task I’ve been dreading. In the end it turned out to be a positive part of my day.

The challenge was to write a piece for reading and critique at our writer’s group this coming Saturday. The theme was to be Christmas memories. The trouble is, there are not many good memories coming out of my childhood. I couldn’t imagine how I could find enough material to write something with any sort of a positive vibe.

It turned out so much better than I could have imagined and I felt upbeat and grateful having such a good writing experience. After it has been critiqued I will share it with you all.

Here is the video I’m listening to as I write this. It features a wide variety of favorite and talented award winning artists.

Life is looking up and I’m grateful.

Now I’m going to grab supper while this video finishes.

A good evening to you all. I hope you are experiencing some bright spots as well.

Notes from Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt Nov 16

There is so much in this book. I’d have to quote the whole thing to share every shred of life giving wisdom. Since that is not possible, I’ll share a few nuggets. You will have to get the book to fill in the blanks.

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Page 16: When we seek to love God, love ourselves and love others, we can learn to love despite what happened in the past. We can mend brokenness that has plagued our families for generations.

Page 17: Many of us fail to realize that what matters most in life is relationships. (not power, fame, riches, social standing, things)

Page 26: To move forward you have to let go of the past. … If you will reach for a new day, God will begin, little by little, to release you from the past. … This means loving so intensely that it overrides all your natural instincts for bitterness and revenge.

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Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt: Hope, Healing and the Power of an Open Heart

I feel like the little bit I’ve shared from this book doesn’t begin to fill the need for explanation.

Love heals is something I’m hearing from many directions these days and I’ve found it to be true.

Love and hate can’t exist in the same body, at least not very well, it’s just not possible. As we work on growing the love portion in us the hate part will diminish and disappear. The best part of it is: the peacefulness of love makes life worth living.

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The discussion in this book is relevant to some of the conversations I’ve been in lately and that is very encouraging.

Enough so that I will be back looking for a few more nuggets to share next time.

Seriously, get the book if your life needs to hear these words, you won’t be sorry.

Wishing you the very best on your journey to wellness.

Bargain book November 12, 2021

1531 Entertainment has a mystery suggestion from an author popular on this site. I’m looking forward to this read.

Security Detail: Faith in the Face of Crime (Secret Service Agents Book 1)

GUARDING THE FIRST DAUGHTER 

Stopping to pick up a file late at night, former president’s daughter Kayla Harris discovers her law office has been ransacked—and the culprit is still there. But undercover Secret Service agent Conner Thorne comes to her rescue, and he knows exactly who is after her…just not why.

Conner and Kayla go way back to their time in the White House when she was the rebellious first daughter and he was the rookie who saved her neck. Now Conner will put his life on the line again to keep Kayla away from the mobster he’s investigating. And it’s about much more than his job, because this time the woman he’s sworn to protect is also the woman who’s claimed his heart.

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Yesterday we had grandsons experiencing snow and snowmen for the first time. This dude is used to winter and snow. The locals know how to dress.

A tradition in this town

Current read November 11, 2021

This current read is working for me, it is turning out to be a favorite read.

Double Exposure: An Inspirational Private Investigator Romantic Suspense Novel (The Justice Agency Book 1)

Discover the exciting opening story of The Justice Agency series from Susan Sleeman!

The Justice Agency: Family and law enforcement go hand in hand

Photographer Jennie Buchanan unknowingly captures a drug cartel meeting on film. And now she has become a killer’s next target. Even worse, her only protection from the danger that threatens her life is the man who threatens her heart. Dodging bullets almost seems safer than facing the feelings stirred up by seeing ex-FBI agent and ex-boyfriend Ethan Justice again. Ethan vows to safeguard Jennie from the deadly men on her trail. And for a second chance at Jennie’s love, he’s willing to risk anything to expose the truth—about the drug smugglers, the past and the future together he still wants.

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This is one of those early winter kind of days where we are getting a hefty dose of rain and snow mixed. The roads will be slippery. I’m glad not to be out in it.

My newly arrived grandsons lived in a moderate climate where they had no snow to speak of, this is an exciting time for them.

One thing about wet snow it makes good snowmen.

I have to say they did an awesome job with what they has to work with.

Once the snowmen were finished they moved across the street to the park to build forts. They have plastic molds to make bricks. This snow would be perfect for that. No pictures have been shared yet but I’m sure it will be impressive.

The wind is whistling out there tonight and the rain has turned to snow. Everything is starting to turn white seriously now.

A good time for me to go back to reading.

Happy Reading y’all.

Cheeky boys Nov 06, 2021

Everything I post must be dated; how else will I remember where it belongs in the grand scheme of things whenever it gets a fresh like. Just sayin’

So, back to my cheeky boys.

I was relaxing with my game, watching a music video, and my gaze landed on my treasured Merry Christmas blocks.

There’s not too much I can say because everyone takes a turn at it. Even me sometimes, it’s fun.

I have to admit, these guys have quite the imagination. This is the cheekiest one yet. It is now the proud gold medal holder.

This all happened while I wasn’t looking last time they were here.

Their mom was watching though, and I can’t be sure but I think she enacted her power-of-mother veto on whatever wild and hilarious phrase they came up before they settled on this one.

I’m pretty sure I need to be saying thank-you.

Boys will be boys.

I’m still wanting to know what they had that was so funny before this one.

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Oh well,

It’s 10:25 PM. Do you think it’s too late for pie and ice cream?

Me neither.

Pie and my book, what could be better.

I’ll sit and eat my pie where I can look at my Merry Christmas blocks and dream about something wittier.

I think their gold medal is pretty safe at the moment.

Maybe I’ll just eat and read.

C-PTSD conversation October 22, 2021

FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness, or the lack of it, is a roadblock to a peaceful life, unforgiveness impacts the victim’s life more than it does the abuser’s. The abuser does not deserve to be forgiven and probably doesn’t even care about having it one way or the other.

There is a full spectrum of emotions to be had as a result of holding on to hurt. At one end – I hate him and will never forgive him (or her,) at the other end – I know I need to forgive and I want to but I keep taking it back. The level of peace or distress we have depends on which end of the spectrum we fall on.

Unforgiveness can act like a cancer. The harder we hang on to it the more it takes over our life. Bitterness and a host of other emotions can take root and grow to gigantic proportions. There is no peace to be had if that happens.

I guess if we have been severely abused and feel dispassionate about everything we don’t have raging emotions to deal with and we can live what appears to be a normal happy life. But sooner or later something will trigger a reaction, maybe even something gigantic. That’s me and my life.

It has taken many decades but I have forgiven my dad.

His abuse took on many forms. It started a few weeks after conception, rage at imminent and unwanted fatherhood. All of the years long abuse was fueled by rage, addictions, and immaturity. He wasn’t my only abuser, he allowed others access when it suited him. I can figure out about 6 of them, including a pedophile, but there is a knowing that I can’t escape, even though I want to, there were more, maybe even many more. You can see why all my memories have been repressed. There are a few vague memories, puzzling thought patterns, and many triggers, all leaving clues. And then a brother who insisted I admit I was abused.

You can also understand why, when I was 18 and he was found dead, I was glad, relieved.

After many decades I have forgiven my dad and the changes in my emotional well being have been dramatic. I’m grateful.

There were other significant abusers though and the forgiveness process for them is still ongoing, with no end in sight. I haven’t been able to forgive yet but at the same time I choose not to hate. That in itself has made life a better place for me.

They say that the abused often choose a spouse similar to their abuser. In my case he was nothing like my dad and I thought I had done well.

Dad’s abuse loomed large and took over the whole conversation. It took decades to figure out what was going on with these other two relationships. Emotional abuse is difficult to identify even though the damage is greater.

Emotionally unavailable was the problem. It manifests itself in a number of different ways, all of them hurtful. Physical abuse, I could have said I’m done. But in this case I couldn’t see any workable way to deal with the problem.

Inability to name the issues responsible added a whole new layer of hurt, in both relationships.

Eventually I knew I had to take the bull by the horns and force some sort of decision. We’ve been living apart for nearly two decades. The most distressing and ongoing issue was I still couldn’t figure out why. I needed to understand.

I’ve been praying about forgiveness toward him for years and gotten nowhere.

The other morning was a breakthrough moment for me. In a moment of clarity I suddenly recognized that the parent I patterned a spouse after was not my dad but my mother.

I married a man like my mother.

That thought made so much sense, it was like chains falling off. It’s that simple and I don’t need to figure anything else out.

There is still a long way to go but I don’t think it will take decades now. There is freedom in forgiveness and that will be enough when it comes.

I’m still praying though, because I still need help.

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What I wish I could have had.

More to say about thinking. October 17, 2021

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I can hear someone saying, if he was with you why wasn’t God with me when I was being traumatized?

He was, but there are a few things that make a difference.

I had elderly relatives who knew the situation, at least partially, and were talking to God about me every day. They were also loving on me and telling me about God every chance they had, which wasn’t often. I knew about him and knew to look for him in the room I’d run to in my mind. Escape from the horror.

On top of that, though my parents were running away from God he was still a topic in our home. Dad’s family was Roman Catholic and church attendance was an important and significant part of their family life. Before they were married Mom had to promise the kids would be raised Catholic.

Mom’s parents were Protestant and Grandpa was a pastor. There was angst in our home due to mom’s guilt over living a lifestyle that was heart breaking to her parents.

We never did go to church anywhere and the three of us kids were sent to public school.

I was always a super sensitive kid. Without God I probably would not have survived.

God is with all of us, always, but if we aren’t aware he exists we wouldn’t know to look for him.

God didn’t keep bad things from happening to me but I know he kept things from being much worse than they could have been.

After my third child was born Mom got back together with God. One day she shared with me about looking back over the days of her rebelliousness (oh yes, she was rebellious.) Even though she did whatever she wanted, God was still looking out for her. She could see many places in her life where he had rescued her.

As healthy parents, we never stop loving our kids (at least most of us don’t) no matter how how badly they behave.

God wants a big family and he is aware of every single child that is conceived. He loves them all. That’s mind blowing.

He’s been with you every single day, even if you don’t know it.

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I’ve been thinking October 17, 2021

I’ve had this post in mind for two days now but it was on forgiveness, a comment yesterday changed my trajectory.

The observation was that I love books but people?… not so much.

At first I agreed with that assessment. It’s true I do have deep trust issues and live a solitary life on a day to day basis.

This morning I woke up feeling an overwhelming love for people. This is not uncommon. I’ve experienced this most of my life.

This last while, I’ve been troubled, not able to identify how both could be true, trust and distrust. Especially when it came to men. My dad was abusive. I have two brothers, they were abused. I hated my dad but loved my brothers? Is that what’s behind it? It doesn’t seem to fit but if not that, then what?

Take for example, my neighbor: I’ve shared with her some of my story. She has first hand knowledge of my struggle with trust issues and triggers. I’ve accepted her event invitations and cancelled at the last minute because I knew men would be there and I couldn’t make myself go. And yet… if we were standing in her drive way with her husband and he cracked a joke I was relaxed enough to laugh. I could tell by her body language that she was not happy and was now doubting my story. Which is true? The uptight or the relaxed?

So, how can I love and not love at the same time?

This morning I’m reminded, a survival tool for the severally abused is compartmentalization.

When I’m conscious of me and what I’m feeling, and people get too close – triggers happen, I’m reacting and not liking it.

When I forget about me entirely and my focus is completely on the other person, I feel empathy and love. I’m open and relaxed.

Where does all of this come from?

This morning I’m recognizing, it’s coming from my inner circle, the place where only three humans have ever been, or should have been. It would be truer to say they should have been there but all three chose to live outside of it, emotionally unavailable to me. One of them chose to visit the inner circle occasionally but only physically and in an abusive way.

Now, when I struggle with relating to people as the focus is directed toward me, I’m realizing it’s the result of the trauma inflicted on me by three. That’s one compartment.

There is another compartment where God shows up in the inner circle. This was my place of refuge in traumatic times. God was always there and has continued to be there, emotionally available to me my whole life.

This is how I can love and not love at the same time.

Wherever possible, I choose to love with the love I’ve experienced with God in the second compartment.

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The original thought for this post was – How could I be forgiving?

That’s a big question and I still want to share my story. Soon, maybe.

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