Share Your Blog 2019

This post is inspired by the brainchild of a popular blogger, Paul, at  https://captain’sspeech.wordpress.com  Check out his post, Share Your Blog 2019, I could never express this idea the way he can.

I would share his post here for you but he received way too many comments in response to his challenge/request. If you do visit his site, you may end up joining his thousands of followers, which would be a good thing.

Basically, his idea is this – as a blogging community we need a shot in the arm. He claims most of us have been moving along sluggishly, if at all,  in 2018. He’s right, we’ve all seen it. Interest seemed to drop off dramatically and it’s been getting harder to find something interesting to read on a regular basis.

Paul’s idea also appeals to every blogger’s need for better stats; more views and more followers. Today’s challenge is something proactive to increase our numbers.

Apparently there was a time when WordPress promoted community by encouraging the idea Paul is suggesting, and it worked. Now, we need to take the initiative to promote community this way.

Paul invited his followers, and anyone else who happened to stumble upon his blog, to introduce themselves and promote their blogs in the comment section of his.

I’ve gone back several times to see what the response has been like. It has been amazing. Many of us have never commented on his site before but many did this time. You could see that the introductions were getting lots of attention too, and conversations were  sparked when like minded bloggers discovered each other.

Paul always encourages comments and interacts with people when they do, which is entertaining in itself.

Comments have never taken off on my site, probably because of my tendency to hide where it’s safe. Also, I’m an introvert and struggle with stilted small talk. Honest reactions though, I can handle. I’m looking to change it up a bit in 2019 and encourage  conversations. If I manage to inspire you in someway, hopefully there would be a little bit of conversation to be had with some honest feeling in it.

So, here’s today’s challenge: introduce yourself in the comment section. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog. What is it about and how/why did you get started?

I don’t know if Paul’s stats improved any in this exercise but I know mine did (Welcome! to the new followers) by speaking up on his site. I know yours will too, if you comment here.

So don’t be shy, speak up, you never know who you will get to meet and, your stats will get a shot in the arm. What have you got to lose?

I would value the opportunity to learn more about my followers, so I’m personally  looking forward to seeing your comments on here too.

Go for it!

Janette  (I’m coming out of hiding in 2019)

P.S. I’m grateful for those of you following me on this blog, you keep me posting.

Wilma Derksen – writer, communicator

I want to share another awesome writer with you.

We were privileged to have a local celebrity, Wilma Derksen, as speaker at two of the writer’s events I attended this spring. Hearing Wilma was a first for me, and I was impressed. She is wise, has a sweet spirit, and relates well to her audience. I can see why she is popular and in demand.

Wilma’s writing career started with a tragic event in her life, the disappearance  and murder of her young teenage daughter, Candace. The purpose of the first book was to help her make sense of the tragedy, and to assess it’s effect on her family. Publishing and making it publically available brought help and healing to many of those facing similar circumstances. It was also found to be a good resource for those working with victims of serious crime.

The first book was Have You Seen Candace. It was followed by three others, all dealing with other aspects of the coping process. Wilma is tenacious and forgiving, willing to share her secrets with us – and did, in these books. The Way of Letting Go, Confronting the Horror, and Unsettled Weather.

Have you seen Candace   The opportunities as a result of these books have been amazing. She’s had invitations to speak in unexpected places. Her books have been used as educational and training resource material. She’s been given many, and varied, teaching opportunites. There have even been awards.

I’ve had the privilege of reading two of her books, so far, but will list the rest of them for you anyway.

The Way of Letting Go   The Way of Letting Go: One Woman’s Walk Toward Forgiveness

Confronting the Horror   Confronting the Horror: The Aftermath of Violence ….. The Victim’s Journey Through the 15 Elements of Serious Crime

Unsettled Weather  Unsettled Weather: How Do I Forgive . …. a group study on forgiveness using a story telling method

 

The next two are the ones I’ve read, and will probably read again. Unlike the first books, these two are novels. Story seemed to be a good way to share some of the wisdom she’s  gained walking through this life of hers. In case you are wondering, these books are not biographical. I know, it feels like they are.

Path of the Heart  Ava Series – Path of the Heart book 1 …..  is the beautiful story of a neglected little girl who loves and feels loved, by her grandmother, a wise woman sought out by many in the community. They come by way of a special path through the forest, knowing she can help them because she has seen an angel.

Echo of the Soul  Ava Series – Echo of the Soul book 2 ….. there is oppression in the community. An overbearing man, and his wife, have moved in and taken over. The man, secretly a liar and a cheat, has bullied people into following his dictates. The path has never seen this much traffic, so many coming to see the wise woman who has seen an angel. She has had many answers for them in the past, they are convinced she will have an answer for this too.

These last two books are already available on Amazon. It’s hoped the rest can be made available soon; as well as the new book that’s about to be released.

I hope these books will inspire and encourage you in your journey.

Happy reading, for a brighter tomorrow.

Some things need to be talked about

I am convinced there are some things that need to be talked about. There could be a number of reasons for this. Maybe someone shares a similar experience and needs encouragement. Maybe  someone feels lumped in with the abusers and needs reassurance. Maybe someone has the false impression that all abused women hate men and need to know that’s not true. Or, maybe it’s just to help me figure out some things. It could be for any number of reasons that haven’t even occurred to me yet. Whatever the reason, I feel pretty confident there will be some good come out of a discussion.

This post is a continuation of some things I have shared recently, regarding men and my trust issues. Men have been both a blessing and a curse in my life. In spite of the good, I’m still left with trust issues that creep up on me in a way that makes no sense sometimes. Although, maybe it would make sense if I could uncover the old memories triggering these reactions and deal with them somehow.

Today was one of those days. My niece has the sweetest young husband and I met him for the first time. They stayed over night with me as they are travelling back to Western Canada, they were easy to have around. We found lots of interesting things to talk about, it was a great visit. In the morning though, when it was time for them to leave, it was awkward. I wanted to hug them both good bye but I just couldn’t bring myself to initiate a hug with him. I cannot explain to you why that was, there was just something holding me back.

I am still beating myself up over it.

He could have hugged me and I would have responded, but he didn’t know that.

This is an ongoing issue with me, it happens all the time with my son-in-law, whom I love dearly. I want to hug him like I do the rest of the family, but I just can’t. He could hug me but I sense he has some of the same trust issues I do. It seems we end up hugging with a look.

So, getting back to the initial thinking behind this new post.

There is a question I have been asking myself for the last couple of weeks – how can I have empathy and distrust all at the same time? It seems like it should one or the other. Black or white.

For a short while, I was worried there was something emotionally wrong with  me, and that was distressing because I didn’t want it to be true. The concern over this idea was quickly relieved when someone shared a video on Facebook about a five year old brother comforting his little sister. In a flash, it struck a deep cord with me. I realize I learned to love at a very early age, even while I was learning to distrust.

I am the oldest of three with two brothers. There are five years between the oldest and the youngest and there has always been a strong bond between us.  Until now I have never really questioned why that is. I can see that I need to start asking more questions.

When I was thirteen or fourteen, living with my grandparents, I was asked to babysit, briefly, for several families with young babies. These were people I had never met. At the time I wondered why they would consider me, but it didn’t occur to me to question why I felt like I could do the job. Now it occurs to me to ask the question.

Why did I feel confident I could comfort a crying baby or change a dirty diaper? Why did  Grandma have enough confidence to allow me to take the job? There were no babies in our life with her, any experience I had with them would have come from another time.

At this point, looking back on our family dynamics, I can see my mother pressing me into service with my youngest brother. I’m sure Grandma would have been aware of this fact. I have no memory of any of it, but then, I don’t remember a lot of things. It turned out I did indeed know how. I still do.

me and Jax may 2017 WPG

My youngest brother’s great grandson Jax. We’ve just met for the first time (a year ago). His mother took this picture.

There’s more….

Lately, I have been having conversations with my older brother about our life in the early years. He remembers some things I don’t (my mind has buried all of the painful parts) and hearing what he had to say tells me – life was even worse than I imagined. Among other things, he said Dad was not a nice man.

He told me a number of things about those days but there was one story that shook me.

It was about Dad driving on the railroad tracks running behind our property, he was playing chicken with oncoming trains. I had heard these stories for years  and used to laugh, thinking it was something my crazy risk taking father would do. What I didn’t  realize at the time – my brother was with him, scared out of his mind. That’s one of the reasons why Dad did it, it was his perverse way of trying to force this kid to grow some courage. It finally stopped  when my 10 year old brother made up his mind he wasn’t going to let his fear show anymore. I’m horrified Dad would do that to a kid.

We also talked about another time I do remember. It was Dad beating my brother with a piece of hose, in front of all of us. A tool was missing from his work shop and he was convinced it was my brother’s  fault. I can still remember the distress of watching this happen. I could never understand why Mom did nothing to stop it.

One thing I’ve learned, by first hand experience, boys suffer from abuse as deeply as girls. That is the genesis of my soft heart for men, surviving life alongside my brothers, recognizing the pain in their life.

My oldest brother is the reason I’ve left denial behind and have taken ownership of the abusive early years in my life. He adamantly insisted that I must, even if the memories were shadowy and I couldn’t remember the actual events. He wanted to know why I thought I would be the favoured one, to escape abuse.

All three of us have blocked painful memories, but deep inside, we will never forget.

Our story does have a happy ending in spite of the terrible years. All three of us have grown into well adjusted, productive, loving people. We’ve left behind the bitterness and rage. A miracle, really.

One thing I’ve loved about this process of discovery – the heavy load of old baggage seems to grow lighter with each breakthrough experience.

 

 

I want to tell you a story

I want to tell you a story, hopefully, one that will build on my last post, and clear up some misconceptions.

It’s about one of my cats. Kitty (as I called him – mainly because my landlord called him Sylvester, a name I didn’t like and didn’t have the courage to try to change), Kitty had been someone’s pet, an abused pet, one who learned to be terrified of all things human.

We discovered him living in the bushes across the back alley, wild and hungry. He could be coaxed out with food, if it was placed somewhere he considered safe, so we fed him.

I found it hard to see him in such distress and set out to woo him into trusting me. It worked, gradually his trust grew to the point that he was eating inside, then living inside – sleeping on the furniture, and finally, on my lap. His trust grew to extend beyond me to my husband, and to our landlord.

Kitty learned to trust the three of us but that was as far as it ever went. He was gone in a flash if anyone else came around, and he was like that for as long as we had him.

The thing is, he didn’t stop to make a judgement call. He had no idea if encountered humans were good or bad, and he didn’t care, he wasn’t taking any chances.

His fear was the result of what had been done to him in the past and had nothing whatever to do with anyone in the present.

That’s the spot I find myself in today. My trust issues and panic attacks are the result of what’s been done to me in the past. The present can inadvertently act as a trigger but other than that, it has no bearing on anything.

Triggers aren’t restricted to strangers, either, they often happen in the presence of people I know and trust, they can even happen when I am alone, maybe reading, thinking, listening to the news, any other activity, really. On top of all that, most of the time I have no idea why.

So, when my talk of trust issues has you worried you are being labelled as a bad guy, please, let that worry go. I don’t stop to make assessments and then act on my findings. Triggers happen when they happen, for reasons all of their own, and they create awkward moments.

Like the one that happened on a day when I was hurrying across a lobby. I spotted a man standing by the door and stopped dead in my tracks. I have no idea what that was about. I had to do some quick, and tough, self talk….don’t just stand there, keep walking.

I can tell you, there were no assessments made that day. He could have been a very good guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Man He Never Was: A Modern Reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde

I have been thinking a lot, this week, about the good men in my life. I’ve never thought like this before, not really. It seems like the after-effects of the bad men in my life have completely taken over; you can tell this because I’ve mentioned them to you more than once with nary a word about any of the good guys.

I’ve never before thought to question how I knew from an early age that not all men  were bad. Now, I realize there has to be experience behind the knowledge, it doesn’t just happen.

There are very few childhood memories left to give me clues, however, I do have adult memories of Mom’s stories. She talked often about leaving us with Aunt Jenny and Uncle Donald. Uncle Donald was Grandpa’s brother. He was kind, smiled a lot, and cared about kids. I have teenage memories of him and can see how the little me would have loved being with him.  Grandpa was reserved and didn’t smile a lot but I felt safe with him too. I could let down my guard, and did, when we lived with him as young teens.

There were two separate camps in my early life. The good guys, and the bad guys. Now. as I take the time to think about it, I realize how blessed I was. Not everyone has the privilege of experiencing the good with the bad.

Since then, there have been other good guys in my life, too,  and I treasure them all.


I am going to leave you with just one book this time.

James L Rubart is a favorite author and I hope to do a feature on him soon. There are a number of his books in my kindle collection and I need to tell you about them sometime.

He has a unique style of writing but is not alone in it as there are several others sharing a similar style. Frank Peretti is one of them. There is always a bit of fantasy in his stories.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

the man he never was  The Man He Never Was  – James L Rubart….. Toren Daniels wakes up one day and feels like a different person. And has no idea why.

He was a professional football player with a raging temper that finally got him kicked out of the league. Without the usual outlet, his family bore the brunt of his temper tantrums and they were about to kick him out too.

Toren disappeared one day, was gone so long everyone thought he was dead, and his family moved on with a feeling of relief. They were not happy to see him on the doorstep eight months later.

Now, he has two things to figure out:

  • Where was he for eight months and what has been done to him?
  • How does he convince his family he has changed, so he can get them back?

A story well worth the time.

Happy reading!

I hope you have some good people in your life too.

 

 

It’s complicated…but I feel better now

It really is complicated, and it’s causing discomfort – like a pebble in my shoe. The pebble moves around a bit and there are periods of relief, but lately it’s been sitting in a tender spot and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move on.

This latest state of discomfort started with a conversation back in December, just before I left on my winter road trip to British Columbia to spend Christmas with family.

I was telling a friend about some of the people I hoped to see along the way, including some of my work clients I’ve never met in person. I was startled by her quick response – but you are still married.

My instant reaction was an emotional – what’s that got to do with anything? I felt like I was being wrongly accused of something.

I haven’t been able to get this conversation out of my mind and it has become the proverbial pebble in my shoe.

There are two things troubling me about the conversation – the thought patterns behind her comment, and the trigger behind my reactive response.

My weak and ailing marriage fractured more than two decades ago and I have been on my own for at least half that time. The relationship is dead and buried. Divorce is not a reality only because I have been reluctant to address it, (the reasons behind that need to be explored, another day) so I am not sure why she thinks the lack of a divorce is a relevant issue.

Also, as I’ve shared in other posts, I have major trust issues with men and have been actively avoiding any chance of another relationship. My friend knows this too, so – where is her thinking coming from?

I feel bad about my reaction to her because it is not one she has ever seen from me. I expect she felt a little like she’d been punched. That’s the trouble with triggers, reactions to them are unpredictable and often painful to the person on the receiving end.

As I think about all of this, I am reminded of similar conversations with other people in other settings. Conversations that were distressingly perplexing because I couldn’t figure out the reasoning or motivation behind them. In every instance I felt like I was being wrongfully accused of something. And, in some cases the conversations became quite emotional.

Maybe that’s the trigger, feeling wrongfully accused. I will have to think some more on this, at a later date.

Now, after a week of letting all of these thoughts simmer, I expect my friend has moved on and forgotten all about this brief conversation, and I need to do the same.

The exercise of thinking and writing my way through this issue has been more than beneficial. The proverbial pebble in my shoe has ceased to be a bother. My original thoughts on this subject have been replaced by today’s much more coherent offering and I am left with new, and healing,  insights into both sides of the conversation.

It occurs to me that the thoughts expressed by the other party in these conversations may have stemmed from the space they are in personally, and had little to do with me at all. Maybe I need to stop making everything about me. Maybe I need to pay more attention to the pain of others and give greater consideration to things going on in their lives.

The benefits of understanding have also been reinforced. Understanding why seems to take the heat out of certain thoughts and emotions and allows me to move on to a healthier place.

This has been a productive exercise. It looks like I will be doing it again soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harassment?

Two weeks ago, I got back from a 5,500 kilometre road trip. It was a lot of fun, at least it was from my point of view.

I live in the middle of Canada, there is a marker on the TransCanada Highway at a point west of me saying Longitudinal Centre of Canada to prove it. I was  planning to take a month and go as far as Vancouver Island on the West Coast.

I’m originally from British Columbia and have family and friends there. It’s a few years since I’ve been back and I had big plans to visit a lot of people, in a lot of places. The places part worked out.

The trip went surprising well, in spite of the fact it is winter in this cold and snowy land. There were a few rough spots along the way but they usually had more to do with wrong turns and trouble finding addresses.

Like in Regina Saskatchewan, the first night. I’d planned to go farther but major highway construction with detours made for confusion and the wasting of some hours. Thank goodness for cell phones and Google maps. My daughter bailed me out and figured out that I’d better go back to Regina for the night. The light of a new day, and a different angle, made all the difference and it was easy to find my way to Calgary Alberta.

I was excited to be stopping in Calgary for a few days, I was going to meet clients in person for the first time. It didn’t turn out quite like I expected but my time there still worked out well and I was looking forward to the return trip when I would spend another work week before heading home.

Armstrong, BC was the first stop on my continued journey. It’s famous for it’s Armstrong cheese, and Highland Grog flavoured coffee – at least in our house.  Roger’s Pass through the Rockies was interesting. I love the mountains in the winter. From there I went south to White Rock, via the Coquahalla Highway. The Coq, as it’s known locally, is a 6 lane highway through high mountains, with a speed limit of 120km. It was an icy trip, but at least it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen.

White Rock is a popular resort town on the ocean, south of Vancouver. It’s small in area but beautiful and fun to visit. Nothing else around it is small though, the growth since I was there last is amazing, the city is closing in.

While there, I also had the opportunity to make an overnight trip to Victoria, BC’s capital, to visit family. And as always, the ferry ride was beautiful, so was the city. If you enjoy travel I hope you will Google these places and see for yourself , you may even be tempted to visit one day.

The highlight of my trip was time spent with family and friends, I loved every moment.

Roger’s Pass is the usual way to get to Alberta so the return trip followed the same route.

While the trip itself was long and challenging, it wasn’t the biggest hurdle I had to face. The bigger hurdle was in the mental/emotional area. And it turned out surprisingly well.

I’ve mentioned before that I have major trust issues when it comes to men.

One of the side effects of my current lifestyle is the near complete lack of interaction with men. There are sightings now and again but not much else. Add to that the magnification of my trust issues caused by truths I’m facing on the journey to wellness and it’s double trouble. So, there were two parts to the angst I was feeling about the nearing end of this wellness journey, and the possible/probable interactions on my trip.

How in the world would I ever become comfortable around men again (since there are none anywhere in my life, except family), and how would it work to be out-and-about if I couldn’t manage it.  Then, the more immediate question – will my triggers make an in-person meeting awkward? We have a comfortable working relationship on the phone but I’m worried about seeing this client of mine in person.

As the days of the trip went on, my confidence grew, and I was ready to be more relaxed about things. I didn’t see Bill (not his real name) until the second week I was there. By now, it seemed like everywhere I went there were male people. It was like being thrown into the deep end of the pool…… and I found I could swim.

Bill was a major player in my second week there, as he arranged the use of one of their empty offices for me. Their office staff was four men and one woman. Out numbered everywhere. It was a comfortable stay and I think we parted with pleasant memories of the week. At least I did anyway. They were very kind.

Back home, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my experience and to think about the reasons for the confidence I’ve found.

I think the biggest change in me has been centered around the thought that I had to stop expecting men to change how they treated me. Instead, I needed to decide what I would or wouldn’t allow. The result of this process was a clear set of hard and fast boundaries, in my head, and it has been a freeing experience.

There is so much more that could be said, and maybe should be said, with all the conversation over sexual harassment these days.

For now I will just say this. There are many things we, as women, need to do to keep ourselves safe but the most important thing, I’ve found, is to have set boundaries. It has changed the way I act and react.

Predators are looking for the weak. Boundaries give us confidence, and with confidence we appear strong. When we appear strong, men tend to change direction and back off.

Boundaries have allowed me to lower my protective walls (the ones that keep everyone out) and it feels good.

 

A Listening Ear, Connection

There are several things I hope to talk about, in regard to the month long road trip I finished two days ago. The one foremost on my mind right now, has to do with conversations, and time spent, with several people I had never met before.

The first one was a man, a client I have been working with, from a distance, for a few weeks now. He is a self-professed Chatty Cathy, has gotten carried away in phone conversations a few times, and invariably said I don’t know why I am telling you all this as he shared about his job history, family, health, and whatever else came to mind in the moment.

This connection has been both interesting, and concerning because I have major trust issues with men, issues that have been growing steadily over the last decade or so as I face the deeply buried truth of my early life (a conversation for another day). It’s fairly easy to be relaxed hiding behind the anonymity of a telephone conversation but a face to face conversation is another story. Would my triggers create an awkward situation in the meeting I knew would happen soon?

Thankfully, he was as respectful and easy to talk to in person as he was on the phone. I felt relaxed and our conversation was honest and natural. He was still a Chatty Cathy and still had occasion to say – I don’t know why I am telling you all this. It would do my ego good if I had the idea he shared because he thought highly of me, but I knew that wasn’t it. I think the truth simply was – I was willing to listen.

The second person was the waitress in a Husky Restaurant. It was a small town on my way home and it was getting close to closing time when I stopped for lunch. There were several tables of local boys having coffee and the rest of the tables were empty. I took a seat at a table near them and after a time of quiet, their conversations returned to the easy relaxed way of friends. The seasoned waitress seemed to be the instigator of many conversations, that was her thing.

Usually I have my protective walls firmly in place and don’t easily engage in conversation but things have changed on this trip. As I went to the cash register to pay my bill I decided to attempt a few comments, to open the door a little, and what followed was a full on conversation about the town,  her family, jobs, commutes, and the first trip in 40 years to the next big city. We would have talked longer but she had to finish closing up.

The last person was the desk clerk when I stopped for the night. It seemed to be a slow night for her and she wanted to talk. We talked about her weight problem and all of her concerns, which were many, around that subject.  I learned a lot about her family and their health issues. We talked about living in the country while working in town and the things you have to do to make that work. The last subject we explored had to do with recycling and the inventiveness of her father in using everything and anything as building material. Other guests were looking for her attention several times and I finally took the opportunity to slip away, I had to go – if you catch my drift.  I came away from the conversation feeling bad, and I still do, because she obviously didn’t want me to leave, and seemed to feel deserted when I did.

I can relate to the way she feels. It is not often we find someone willing to take time to listen to us. Many of us seem to be starving with the need for a listening ear.

Then, there are two little people who come to mind in regard to connection. I’ve noticed their unique need many times over the years and make a special effort when I meet little ones. Probably because I remember being that age, somewhere in the buried memories.

The two little boys are 4 and 6. A great nephew and a grandson, visited in different towns. Eye contact seems to be the key to connection for kids, they don’t do deep conversations but have a need to know they have been seen. I had a good time connecting with both of them.

micah and I train track

He has my undivided attention while we are trying to give mommy space to get some things done. It was an unconventional layout for a train track but, hey, we were having fun. Pretty much everything in the room has a function, he remembers what it is all for and explained in detail as we explored one of the bins. The mattress behind him is his dual function trampoline/punching bag. Grandma got to hold the punching bag upright while he practiced his Ninja kicks and chops. It was a challenge but I managed to stay upright myself through it all.