Thursday, December 29, 2016
"Smile, breathe and go slowly." - Thich Nhat Hanh
After a rough week, things are looking up. It has been 2 years since my daughter was diagnosed with PTSD and the fight to help her recover has been marked with ups and downs. Part of the process is dealing with the grief and unresolved loss, because when a family member suffers an illness and resulting disability, there is no moving on. You are just stuck in this endless cycle of coping with what at times is a very overwhelming situation. Unfortunately, like most mental illnesses, there is no cure for PTSD.
But I am grateful for the small things, like the fact that I still have her after someone tried to kill her. I believe that it was the power of her families' love that helped her survive that situation, and it is our love that is supporting her now.
I'm grateful for other things, like having a job I love, friends that listen when I'm overwhelmed, kind and good children, a husband who loves me, my animals and their blind devotion, bookstores, coffee, wine, and good cheese. I'm grateful for nature- trees, animals, mountains, beaches, and streams. So for 2017, I'm just going to "Smile, breathe, and go slowly."
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
I'm not gonna lie, it's been a rough week, which is why this quote resonated with me.
"Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath, and a glass of wine." - St. Thomas Aquinas
With that thought, we will soon be wrapping up 2016 and looking forward to a new year. What will it bring? Sometimes that can be too overwhelming to contemplate, so I'll take each day as it comes.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
"The best things in life aren't things." - Art Buchwald
Animals bring me such comfort. My whole life I've been an animal fanatic, and now I watch them slowly begin to heal my family from a difficult situation. Both the animals in the picture are rescues from the humane society, and that cat has more personality than any animal I've ever owned. They are both very spoiled and loved, but especially him.
Recently I started watching a series on Viceland call Abandoned. I marathon watched the entire season. This is the kind of television that I like to watch because it explores social changes and digs deeper into the changing world around us. A lot of people from outside the United States have been watching what's happening here and are confused. To them, they have no idea why people are wanting "to make America great again".
I lived in South America for 3 years doing volunteer work, and being an American there made me a bit of a rock star. Just because of where I came from, people admired me. After the 3 years of living there, I came back to the U.S. and was grateful for the simple things, like reliable, clean, running water. But life in the U.S. has changed in the mere 20 years since I've moved back, and while it is still much better than many other countries, Abandoned shows a shocking side of the American life style that most people abroad don't know about, and has been very hard to explain.
That being said, I think the reason people here are unhappy here has nothing to do with who they are blaming, and watching the rising wave of hatred, distrust, and violence is alarming, to put it mildly. It's giving me anxiety that's for sure. To balance it out I spend time cuddling my animals and being outside, loving my family and having faith in God.
Sometimes, you just need to breathe, and be grateful for that!
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Time to share our progress and insecurities again!
I have not completely stalled while writing, but pretty close. The memoir I'm writing is the second version- the first one was scrapped at about 50,000 words. I have about 13,000 words right now, but it's just really, really hard to set aside the time to write, especially when my family is scrounging through unfolded piles of laundry for underwear and socks!
Despite where my writing is right now, this blog has been a great way for me to practice, experiment, and connect with other writers, and it's still evolving.
One thing I've been thinking of, and wondering, is how other writer's view the responsibility and impact of WHAT they write. The reason this is important to me is because my daughter was the victim of a violent crime, and the perpetrator was directly influenced by things that were written on the internet. (They were classmates) Imagine writing in the horror genre, and inventing stories of gory violence, only to find out that a crime was committed linked directly to what you wrote.
Just curious as to how you writer's out there feel about this delicate issue- because where do we draw the line between entertainment and just plain sadistic and disturbing stories?
December's ISWG question is where do we see ourselves in five years, and how do we plan to get there?
In five years, I hope to at least have a book in the process of being published. In other words, the memoir is finished and I have an agent. Maybe it will already be done! I just want to get myself out there and be established as an official writer, instead of how I feel, which is like a wannabe.
On the lighter side- my quote for the day is
"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong." - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Taken from the Daily Peace by National Geographic. December's theme is simplicity- who couldn't use simplifying in their life?
Thursday, December 1, 2016
"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too." - Paulo Coelho
This quote is for you, Michelle Wallace! From the author of The Alchemist.
Being a nurse, I see people in their rawest, most unguarded moments, and trials like sickness and death bring out the best, and the worst, qualities in people. In those moments, it doesn't matter what material possessions they have acquired, but the depth of the relationships of those around them. It's really hard to stand by and watch as families abandon each other and walk away because it's too hard and inconvenient to continue to care for someone.
I understand the sacrifice of being a caregiver. I found myself unexpectedly in that position two years ago, and am still there now. But every moment I give up for myself, I am repaid in love and gratitude many times over. That gives me the strength to continue, even when I get discouraged or tired.
We will all be on either side of this equation at one point in our lives- whether as the caregiver or the sick one, and how we treat others will make or break us. That being said, I do understand how complicated relationships can be. It is certainly easier to care for someone who is appreciative than one who is demanding and abusive, even taking into account their pain and suffering.
Take the days one at a time, don't be overwhelmed, take joy in the little things, and love those around you.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
"One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others." -Lewis Carroll
What does kindness mean to you?
To me it means treating every living thing- whether person, animal, or the Earth itself, with respect. Among people most of all, it doesn't matter what socio-economic class they belong to, what race, religion, or political group they identify with, what language they speak, or what values they hold, even if they differ from mine, I think to be treat them all with kindness is the right thing to do.
It's not always easy, especially when people can inflict hate for no apparent reason at all. Sometimes kindness means intervening when hate begins to encroach on other people's human rights.
Being kind is not weak, rather it is having the strength to be good, and choosing the right thing, even when outside influences may make that difficult. It means being able to sacrifice some comfort for myself, so that others can be more comfortable.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
"Always be a little kinder than necessary."- J.M.Barrie
In a divisive world full of hate, intolerance, and prejudice, it is possible to be kind, and that has a way of being paid forward. My job affords me plenty of opportunities to be kind, and sometimes it's the small things that count as the most important.
One act of kindness this week that I had the chance to do was hold a hand during a distressing procedure. My patient clutched my hand throughout and was deeply appreciative of my willingness to be there at the moment. Sure, I had other things to do, but sometimes the sacrifice for another human being's comfort is worth it, and it gives their life worth too.
Maybe this post can inspire you to an act of kindness today? Pay it forward.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
The evil character of fiction is not just in books. Sometimes reality can be worse than fantasy, and sometimes I look around and think, does no one see what's going on? Is there no good left? Because people seem intent on being the three monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil, as if by doing so will make it non-existent.
I read the book, "Without Conscience" by Dr. Hare awhile back and suddenly the rose-colored glasses were lifted. I liked to think that there might be good in all people until I read this, and then everything made sense to me. I was reeling from finding out my daughter was the victim of a violent crime, and the louder I cried out for justice, the more society turned it's back. I don't know which was worse, the actual crime, or society's reaction to it. This is in part my platform that I am writing about.
So what is a psychopath? They are the wolf in sheep's clothing. They have a facade of being like everyone else, with one serious exception. They have no conscience. That means that they can do whatever they want, and they don't care what other people think or feel. That may sound harmless, but what if they are greedy and want to be rich? They will find a way to con or steal, regardless of how it affects their victims. What if they like to hurt people? Think serial rapists or killers. One example is the new one in S. Carolina. He raped a girl but his mother said he shouldn't go to jail because he walked her home afterwards, therefore he couldn't be the monster he seemed. He did go to jail, but on his release he then ran a successful real estate company and they now believe he has killed at least 7 people.
Just because a person says they are a good person, and only act for the greater good, do you believe it, despite obvious evidence to the contrary?
The opposite of a psychopath is kindness and empathy.
My quote for the day is:
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." -Dalai Lama XIV
We must care about not just ourselves, but everyone else, and our beautiful planet Earth. It's our responsibility, and I will live my life to my dying day under that philosophy.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
My post for ISWG Wednesday. Join us !
I must confess! Since my last post I've done absolutely zero writing! My life has been insane and I can't keep up with anything :(
A window into my life is working close to 30 hours a week, driving sometimes 100 miles a day to commute to work and appointments. I take my daughter into therapy twice a week, plus now therapeutic horseback riding lessons, and this week an additional doctor appointment on top of that. We started homeschooling our youngest child, so I have to check on things related to that (thankfully she is very independent). Then add the usual household things like grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, cooking, and caring for my mini-zoo of 3 dogs and 2 cats.
Every time I think things will settle down, they don't, but every once in a while I get the urge to write and then go at it for days on end. Plus the story I'm writing still has no ending so I have no urgency to finish immediately. But I know this is true for others out there too- we all truly live crazy lives in this rat race.
I've also been posting quotes from a book by Nat'l Geo called Daily Peace, and the theme for November is kindness. The quote for today is,
"It is the heart always that sees, before the head can see." - Thomas Carlyle
I love the theme for this month, but I fear kindness is a dying quality. Our environment and social climate has nothing to do with the greater good of all, but is driven by greed and selfishness. I see it every day in big and small ways, but it is not all gloom and doom, because I believe God will step in someday and save us from ourselves. I highly recommend the documentary Before the Flood with Leonardo Di Caprio, if you want to know what I'm talking about.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
"I do not understand the mystery of grace- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us."
- Anne Lamott (quote from Daily Peace by National Geographic)
I'm not really sure what the context of this quote is, but taken in a spiritual sense, I have to say that with all that I've been through recently, if it were not for my faith I don't believe I could have survived. I've come out wiser, sadder, but not bitter.
I just finished reading this book, (see my review on Goodreads). The author was forced from her farm in Zimbabwe under the Mugabe government, and proceeded to rescue horses from abuse and neglect, shuttling them from place to place until they finally came to Mozambique. To me it's another important story that needs to be told of how we have failed our stewardship of this beautiful planet.
Also finished the second book in this combo, Shadows on the Grass.
Read any good books lately?
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
"Don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life." - Dolly Parton (From Daily Peace by National Geographic)
Of course that's easily said by a multi-millionaire in the entertainment world, not that I don't agree, but in the real world, it's hard to find a balance. In the modern world with all the "conveniences" that are supposed to make our lives easier, why are we struggling to find time to spend with our family and do the things we love?
Not everything is in our control, but I've been working to simplify our lives. If there is less stuff, there is less mess to clean up. Neither my husband nor I have ever been big shoppers, but we have kids, and that means an endless cycle of buying clothes as they grow and cleaning out the old. Same with toys, and I have to admit I give in to buying more than is necessary in that department.
Streamlining my life leaves me more time to read and of course, write.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Here's to being consistent and not getting kicked out of IWSG for non participation!
I've been writing off and on for years, submitting even less, and stopping altogether for long periods of time. I'm back to writing and have a great start on my book, which is non-fiction. But time and life get in the way and it's hard to stay on track. I'm looking forward to more consistency and progress, and connecting again with people who understand the challenges and continue to be supportive!
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
My post title is a quote from a calender hanging in my house. It's my new motto.
I've been subscribing to the backpacker's magazine for over a year now but I'm no closer to actually going on a trip. But no worries, it's not such a stretch for me. I've camped my whole life, although it has come to camping in a fully equipped trailer over the past several years. I've also hiked my whole life, but not both together.
The thought of backpacking, while conjuring romantic pictures of sitting in a flowering meadow on a mountain while holding a cup of steaming coffee, is probably going to be pouring rain, bug bites, and shivering through the night and wishing I packed that warm sweater. And that scares me. That and my limited budget. Buying every conceivable need is expensive, so my plan is to start with baby steps. Small trips, purchases well thought out, and getting back into physical shape.
Does any of this involve writing? Of course it does, but mostly just finding some way to disconnect from the frantic life I lead and find peace again. I long for that.
So what are your plans?
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
"You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance." Kahlil Gibran
Quote from Daily Peace book by National Geographic
I've revamped my blog and deleted a lot of personal posts that I had written as my own therapeutic way of dealing with a crisis. While my crisis is far from over, I've learned not to live it day and night, and that escape is good too.
I have been journalling, and for the first time in my life I actually finished out an entire book! I've been to one, sadly yes, just one meeting of the local writing association, but the speaker had an idea that I really liked. It was a 5 year journal that each page was divided into 5 small sections, and each entry was a small excerpt of what happened that day. At the end of the year, you go back and start over, filling in the next section and having the fun of seeing what happened exactly a year ago. Of course I bought a journal, and there it sits, empty on my nightstand.
Time to get started again with writing and connecting-