Sunday, May 10, 2015

Short bursts

I don't want to post everything as a blog post, so I'm going to try using the FB link feature on Kindle to make comments on books I'm reading there. Also may try using Facebook on the fly when I find some things worth sharing. It's all public on my Facebook page, no friends or groups. Click on link to the right ---->

(Yes, I'm aware there are no readers here, why should there be readers there. Whatever.)

It's Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day. Somehow I'm able to simultaneously forget that and know it at the same time. My mother loved this movie, she loved and identified with Mary Tyler Moore, she thought this movie perfectly expressed her own frustration at how my sister's death upset her and changed everything in the family, she thought the mother in this movie was the quiet martyr trying to hold everything together, she never saw the mother was tearing her own house down around their heads.

I saw this movie one time in the theater, I think we all went together. The strain of impending horror and unspoken truth was more than I could ever do twice, although I think she watched it whenever it came on. It is a brilliant movie, I don't know if I'll blow a month depressed and confused trying to get over all the flood of memories by watching it again
.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pages

Looking things over - the past few years, what I wanted, what I asked for. Seems like Norah has more than a few songs on that sound track, so here's one more on a spring night, waiting for the light of a spring morning.



Sunday, April 12, 2015

I'm a terrible cook,


not because I have no tastebuds, but because I have not nearly enough experience, and I forget one meal to the next time I cook that meal. So I'm writing things down and printing them out in a great big office sized notebook. With Christmas on the cover. 


I had a bit of involuntary Internet down time a couple weeks ago and realized I've got so many recipes pinned or loaded into my recipe program, but if the electronics fail, I'm toast. So, I'm going old school with the ones I've tried and will use again. I've set my notebook up with labeled dividers, slid the printed pages into clear sleeves (really cheap to do now), and fixed a nail and a clip to hang one from the cabinet while I cook. Totally Pinterest worthy and works great. 

The ADD issue comes in when I try to coordinate a whole bunch of recipes to come together at the same meal. I had to scramble eggs three times to have hot ones at the same time everything else was finished this morning, so... I'm making a schedule of what to fix in what order for next time I do this - like a recipe! 

I really do need that kind of specificity, but it can't be someone else's order, it has to be mine, because if I don't understand it, I can't make it work. And if I don't write it down today, I'll forget by tomorrow. Maybe I could write recipes for getting myself properly packed and out the door on time for a road trip? I don't think I'm ready for daily life recipes, those just turn into endless to-do lists aimed at perfection, and I have no shot at that. I'd just like to enjoy my time off without the stress and failures that are my usual fare. 

Even so, breakfast did get made and I decided to pull out an old favorite and make it a full brunch. I can't remember where I got the recipe, but it makes some very tasty scones. Don't forget to wash the orange with dishwashing soap and a sponge before you zest it, produce is coated with wax for shelf life. 





Cranberry Orange Scones

Yield: 8

Ingredients:

- 2 C flour
- 1  T. sugar
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2  t. salt
- 1/4 C butter
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1 C sweetened dried cranberries
- 2  t. orange zest
- 1-2 T. sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425. Grease a cookie sheet

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter or margarine into dry ingredients until butter is size of small peas using a pastry blender or fork. Add remaining ingredients, mixing just until dry ingredients are moist. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Pat into a circle about 9 inches across and 3/4 inch thick; cut into 8 wedges. Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar.

3. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. 



Sunday, March 22, 2015

The kettle is singing


"You can do all I couldn't do...so now its up to you.  For both of us, now it's up to you."

When I first I referenced this song here, I didn't really think much of the prologue phrases, it seemed a bit grand or presumptuous. Five months later and perhaps a little growth, a little healing, and I hear something more. I still very much believe my sister was there in spirit with me, singing with me, reconciling and speaking a blessing over me, and the sweet, unasked for generosity of the LORD in granting such a grace causes the tears to roll down my face even now. Sometimes I put the song on especially when I'm working in the kitchen first thing in the morning. That's what I was doing at the time and it's something of a memory that she and I now share together, no matter how far apart our present circumstances. What is more now is that I feel a bit of prodding that "you can do all I couldn't do, now it's up to you."

Let me show you a couple of people from Humans of New York, a photographer who has an amazing gift to get people he's only just met in New York, most often out in public places, to open up a little window into the most vulnerable areas of their lives and then share just a flash of it on his site and on Facebook.

One fellow had this to say: "I have a very clear memory from just a few weeks after I was born. I was lying in a basket and people were making funny faces at me—like they do to children. And I remember thinking in my head: ‘What stupid creatures.’ Only I didn’t know how to express those thoughts until I got older.” 

Another lady related this account: "When I was six years old, I had a vision where I saw everything that was going to happen in my life. Jesus showed me that my life was going to be very tough, but if I stuck with him, and prayed, and cried when I needed to, and ate lots of chocolate, I'd be OK."
"Where were you when you had this vision?"
"At the feet of my foster mother. She was kicking me in the stomach."


 I have this little memory here: "I've always remembered that incident, even tho the photograph did not reappear for about 15 years. I remember it from the inside looking out of my eyes, thinking my thoughts, working my little ice cream plan. I remember being irritated that Mother was interrupting my plan by calling attention to it, I was trying to keep it on the down low, just let that ice cream cruise right over into my mouth. I remember her going to get the camera and returning with it, giggling about how cute I was to Dad. I remember thinking, "I'm going to be burdened with her until she dies."





 As I said before, the thought turned out to be true, and perhaps my concern about that thought kept me fighting to be as kind and generous as I could find to be, lest the thought turn into an unbearable resentment and I betray my Friend's trust.

But now...

So much can change in those two words, can't it?

But now, I'm free to do all or anything neither my sister or I could do when we were bound in the chains wrapped around us as children. Obviously, as this whiny little blog often points out, the progress out of old habits goes slow, but this morning I heard my sister's challenge to courage and responsibility. She never could break free, but I've managed to outlive the terror and now I can do so many things she never had the chance to do, if  I will step up and do it for the both of us.

"It's a winding road when you're in the lost and found."

 Zac Brown's Colder Weather doesn't only describe the typical co-dependent's experience or ideal of love, it describes our experience with so much of our lives. We want, we are afraid we can't have, we get tough and run away, then we come back endlessly around again because after all the emotions play out we know there are relationships and experiences in life that make the rest of it worth living, that make us who we really are underneath everything else our circumstances demand us to be.

"
He said I wanna see you again
But I'm stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be better
Can I call you then."


"When I close my eyes I see you
No matter where I am
I can smell your perfume through these whispering pines
I'm with your ghost again
It's a shame about the weather
I know soon we'll be together
And I can't wait 'til then
I can't wait 'til then."


 


Always winter but never Christmas, always waiting for the good times that never come, frozen with indecision before the effort is ever truly made. It isn't my mother who is the witch in Narnia, it's shame and fear. But I've come a very long way, in time and knowledge and experience, and I see signs that Aslan is on the move in me. It's one thing to see Him moving for other people, or even on the evening news, but it is a frightening thing indeed to watch Him move me, almost like a chess piece on a board, move after move, in a strategy that I don't grasp. He is both patient and implacable. He waits, He does not move, then I am moved.

I think I forget that both the children who received the dagger and arrows and a sword of war from Father Christmas were the same children the night before who had never heard of Aslan or their place in the story being told. We think we are who we used to be and forget we are who we've become, and can't comprehend at all that we have nowhere to go but the battle ahead. Enchanted sleeping is useless now, better to wake up and deal with it all in the relentless daylight.  It isn't safe at all, but it is good.


I wish I were more like Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Perhaps they should be my patron saints, that I might become more practical, earnest, and relentless in living.

 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Gah!!!

I hate dealing with this shame crap. You have to keep going back to it and uncovering more shit and then you feel like crap but the only way out is to go thru it all and then you have to deal with things about yourself that are true but you just never did because really no one ever wants to deal with some bits but because you are all so special in your codependency/C-PTSD stuff that you get to face up with things and be all honest with yourself and shit damn fuck shitdamnfuck SHIT DAMN FUUUUUUUCCCKKKKK!

That is all. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shame, money, art, journaling






Just this minute found this article on how shame triggers impulse spending and debt, and the ways she is dealing with both.  I swing ever between don't buy anything and small impulse purchases that have added up to quite a bit. The kitchen renovation was the buy I made to bring my mother into my home, there HAD to be a plus side somewhere in the bargain, but that always sets off a whole house spruce up. 

 DANGER! DANGER!
DO NOT GUT YOUR KITCHEN IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO REDECORATE THE REST OF YOUR HOUSE!
IT WILL HAPPEN!!!!!

There. Public safety first, you know.

As I was saying, my way of running up debt is to make small, on really good sale, purchases on my credit card, then pay for it later.

Well.

You know.

So I found this woman's article not only helpful to bring out the shame element at play, but her lead photograph above is from her journal, which she apparently does in an art journal mix. I've always admired art journals, but being such a wordy girl I haven't really understood an approach to bring art into it. The only ones I've seen before are by super talented real artists who could draw - and I'll never walk thru that room - or perhaps super organised scrapbooker types, but I haven't the OCD for that either. The closest I ever came was a couple of journals that I decorated the covers with stickers as I progressed thru the pages

This picture above I could do. Sometimes I map out words and understandings and revelations in like manner on super sized post-its that can be hung on the wall. I like to have it up at eye level, I can add to it as I pace or pray, and it helps my vision to be able stand afar off and look the whole thing over. Perhaps I could transfer those word maps into simple drawings like this one. It would elicit forms and colours out of me, and in the way the word maps often uncover connections I hadn't known were there, perhaps adding simple visual contexts for the words to inhabit will reveal what I haven't seen before. 

You know, the hardest thing about ADD and C-PTSD is I am constantly moving in response to impulses inside of me that I can't feel or have forgotten. I'm constantly churning in complete surprise to things I can't see, yet those things keep popping up!  

My brain behaves like it is its own secret garden. There are mazes of little gates that I've locked behind me to keep the fears and losses contained, yet the weeds keep blooming. I keep sneezing and fighting off the sinus infections, and the little weed seeds keep jumping the walls to ruin every precious new planting with their trash. Maybe drawing out the lay of the land as I discover it will help me open it up to the Great Architect's eye so He can do something with it. I so want flowers and bowers and fruit trees and maybe even candlelight suppers that I can hardly stand it.

 Because flowers:

Happy St. Patrick's Day. 
May God open the gates and drive all the serpents from our gardens.





p.s., you really should click on "suppers" above. Hyacinth is a real hoot! :D

Friday, March 6, 2015

Drops in the pudding

While I spend way too much time on Facebook, it does yield up treasure that I might not have found otherwise, to wit, Brené Brown.  I didn't find her thru her FB page, but thru this little video someone shared about empathy:




I thought it was beautiful and went looking for more, and after about ten more videos thought her work was something I needed to contemplate awhile. And after about two more days thought I needed to order some of her books, which I did after a couple more days.

Why mention the gaps? You see, in between all the video watching and contemplating, if the material is on target for me and is effecting some change in my soul, it makes me feel ill. I get thick headed, a wee bit nauseous in some back corner of my frame that isn't quite my gut or even my heart, just somewhere behind me in that place I can never see with my own eyes. It reminds me of that Dr. Who episode where Donna Noble has that alien thing attached to her back that she can't see, but others sometimes do.



I'm sure therapists have some name for the process, but all I know is I just have to hold steady and not move from where I am for a bit, may be hours, may be days, just until I've got a new equilibrium and the truth is settled into me and the old lie disabled and resigned to the process of extraction. Some old lies I've clung to for a very long time indeed, since I was a little girl for a few of them. I noticed one the other day that if I give it up, I'll end up changing all sorts of habitual behaviors - if I remain conscious of it and persist in removing it. I can see why people defend a belief based on a falsehood, I'm really going to miss the grief that leads to mac n'cheese with chocolate chasers night. The pain is real, but the balm that makes it bearable is really, Really tasty!


At the core of Brené Brown's work and research is shame and vulnerability. The good news is that exploring the nature of shame and learning how to handle vulnerability leads to creativity and Much better friends and friendships. I've heard more than a few explanations of shame, but they were chiefly definitional and no speaker ever wanted to explore or accept the nature of the beast. Most people, like me, just want to pass the multiple choice questions about shame at the end of the lecture and bounce right on to the good stuff about life without shame. Of course, anyone who is afraid of shame is still living in it, probably covering it up with a lot of pompous chatter, and quite possibly trying to transfer their own to anyone vulnerable enough to take it off them. (h/t Pia Mellody)

To my surprise, the way Brené Brown is explaining shame is making the subject tangible and plainly visible to me for the first time. It's ugly, but I'd like to go on and get a grasp on it and do something about it. She promises we only have to walk around the edges of the shame "swamp," not wallow in it, so with a good torch by night and the promise of a much brighter day at the finish, I'm going in. 

These two videos touch on the key points in her work that I would recommend to others. 

Key spot for me in this one was the difference between "fitting in" and "belonging," especially in our family of origin, located at 5:05 to 9:10 mark.




The second is a short video of her speaking to a group, entitled "Shame is a Self-Worth Injury." I had never, ever considered shame an "injury" before, especially since I first learned about shame from sermons. I had tried to learn about it theologically, but it isn't a religious concept, it's a psychological/medical trauma - and if you understand that, then Jesus our Healer starts to make actual sense. Don't worry, Brené doesn't talk about religious cures at all, she's a therapist, let her do her therapy thing, it's good:






About the blog post title? I'll explain it later, gotta run now.






Sunday, January 18, 2015

Because I'm a little long winded

I've created a new blog as a companion to Sweetbriar's because I tend to be a little long winded when it comes to the things of God, and I enjoy it. There is no end to His beauty and wisdom, and I could go on forever about everything I find in Him - but I have no outlet for that.

....and you can read the rest of it here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Saturday tradition

And then there are other dreams.

Yeah, I know I just said I couldn't sleep for the terrors in the night, but those are my brain vomiting out what has poisoned it, the daily housekeeping of the mind that I might live. Thankfully, there is a sleep just before the alarm sounds that is both the deepest and the most interesting, usually with dreams I wish I could record in every dimension.  I can't count the number of times I've had ones that were just peculiar until I described them to myself, and then translating them from images to words made everything sensible, like the one where the guy broke off from doing something and went over to pick up the telephone. He was just "phoning it in." Get it? Oh, well...

So, anyway, yesterday morning I had a very cool one, the last bit is the only part I still remember today, although the whole thing was good. There were maybe about 15 women sitting around talking casually about their lives and the things of God, all to one another, and I suspect they were all parts of me even though they were very different in appearance and natures. A young woman perched on the chesterfield turned to me and asked, "So how do you keep your 'verve' ?" I can still see her lively concern, speaking with her hands, trying to stir the word up into the very air. And I answered her. "You have to pray in tongues every day."

And about there I woke up.

The Lord has been talking to me about this for years, but I just couldn't "get it." Oh, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit WITH the evidence of speaking in tongues about twenty years ago (yikes! that long ago?!), but I never could quite grasp the recommendation many of my teachers in the faith have made to pray in tongues every day for no other reason than just to edify myself. (I Cor 14:4, Jude 20) It just seemed a bit abusive, or perhaps turning the gift into a rote parlour trick. I just didn't have a handle on that aspect of it yet. But since I had that dream, I understand it and I understand why I need it.

I'll let you know one day how it turns out for me.

Until then, I can still recommend by experience my usual Saturday morning habit, which is to crank up the music and worship God while I clean house. Usually there's more worship than house cleaning, but that's just because it restores my soul worn ragged with a week of work in an unhappy world and the house can wait! I sat down here to fire off only a word about how sweet it is to spend the morning in love with God, but as you can see, I've gone much longer and rather further afield than I had planned. Just the same, here's a link to a great worship song that kept the terrors of real life from overwhelming me one long dark night a few years ago, and a video of another one below.

There's no one like Him, no one anywhere. Seek Him. He's waiting eagerly to be found.  This post needs a full rewrite and a photo, but I can't stay away from Him any longer. 



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

FB is useless

No one is ever around for the nightmares, and you wouldn't dares ruin someone else's sleep with them if they were. I wish it would rain, just for a bit. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fighting fire with kerosene

I like Miranda Lambert. She can write a honey of a song. I've been liking this one for awhile but I had to play it for awhile to remember why.






Thankfully, the next song on my rotation was Kerosene.







When I posted this photo on FB, the song I linked to there was The House That Built Me. That was about two years ago when I was still collecting family photos and trying to uncover the whys and wherefores. Last year I went to a ship reunion with Dad and his wife, and one day just he and I went to find the house we lived in then, drove by the church I was dedicated in, and tour the base where he was stationed during one of his favorite duty assignments. The street had been renumbered, so we couldn't be exactly sure, but it was a sweet day remembering the things that once had been. 





Because we were a Navy family, all the moving and loss of friends and connections made me think for decades that if only I could go back and find those people and places again, that maybe I could resolve the swells of emotion that would just come up, and for which I had no answer. We never had pictures out or displayed, my parents never maintained contact with anyone from anywhere in the form of letters or visits, family history and personal history always disappeared into a black hole. Like the song, I thought if only I could touch those places again I could find where I disappeared, I could find myself. 

Complex PTSD and Emotional Flashbacks

I guess you could call it a memory issue, but it isn't really unresolved grief, it's unresolved emotions of every kind. Here's a video and a link to a fantastic article about it. Just gotta keep working thru it, but it's been really comforting here lately to begin to recognize it for what it is, instead of just sinking down into it like blindfolded hostage and letting it rule over me. 
"Life ain't hard but it's too long 
livin' like some country song"



Flashback Management in Treatment of Complex PTSD, by Pete Walker







Right thru the heart

This video just caught me off guard. It's beautiful. It's the way it should be, not every day, but some days. I didn't know that until I was in my 40's, and that makes me so ashamed - for my family, for me, for everything that was lost.

It's the voices of the mother and the daughter.






When I was about that little girl's age I chose to stop calling my mother "Mommy." It was the only way I could push back against her constant, consuming encroachment. I only called her Mother from then on.

She never noticed. Ever.

It isn't that I stopped loving her, I never stopped loving her. It's that my love never mattered, she never wanted it. I wasn't important enough to her that my love was desirable and something to be cultivated and earned and rewarded, she was well satisfied just using me.

Living that way at home teaches you to settle for living that way with friends and "lovers." It's no good.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Passionate? About what?






Since HGTV won't give me a Sarah fix, I went looking for what I could find on the youtubes, and found this little video. If you aren't a Sarah Richardson design fan, don't bother watching, but listening to her talk while I clean house (a very Sarah thing to do,) I finally got why I never went after a particular career goal and why I still have trouble saying I'm "passionate" about anything.

Passion is about having a strong feeling or desire that you will not have denied. No matter how much work it takes to satisfy it, no matter how long the hours and great the effort you have to put into it, if you are passionate about it, you will persist.

If while growing up you are not permitted to feel your own feelings, if you can Never say "I want this and Not that," but must tend to and obey and satisfy and attempt to regulate someone else's feelings for fear of the repercussions if you don't - then you will give up on your own feelings long before they are satisfied. Or, for some people, you'll redirect your feelings into something else just to get to feel something. It could be addiction, or rebellion, or just something other than what the original emotion was all about.

A vocational career that aligns who you are to what you do comes out of experiencing your own feelings and desires as they come and making your own decisions on how you will act in response to them. If you have spent years chasing around someone else's ideas of what is delightful, you may find many of those things truly interesting, but you'll never be passionate about them. It's a nine to five job that never ends. 

I'm in my fifties now. That's a hell of a time to start finding out what I really like and enjoy doing. I'm way past dropping everything and starting over. But I also think that there's no other way to be comfortable in my own skin anymore. Trying to be a fictional character, a mental construct of someone else, is a killer. I really believe I was headed for an early grave, not by suicide, but by the stress of it all.  Apparently who you really are must come out.

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Blooms in winter



A word before sleeping, posting from my iPad from the first time. It's cold tonight and I want to keep my feet tucked under the covers and my words brief. Sometimes speaking ruins the mind. 

Having a bit of a time getting this bunch of flowers to bloom out, but they are lovely as is. I don't even think I retouched the photo, it's just fuzzy from the iPad camera. It's difficult to say if the house is getting more organized, but some things are happening. After I got home from errands this evening, I went looking for some books I promised to send to a friend. I couldn't find one of them, but instead ran across a little paperback of Like Water for Chocolate, and seeing it takes twelve chapters for the twelve months I thought I'd start it and at least do the first one for January.

I've not read any fiction in decades. I used to read loads of it, right up thru my twenties, but I somehow lost the desire for things that just weren't true at 30. It's alright, we all go thru phases. If you've read the book, you'll know it's short, and I finished it in about two hours. If you remember the story, you'll know it's dead on the mark for the things I'm working thru these days.

I'll tell you my little story that's like the book. There's a photograph of me where I'm about two, still in a diaper and it's almost bedtime. Dad has come home and he's eating ice cream out of a glass on the couch and I'm doing my best bird imitation trying to get him to feed me the ice cream instead. It was a good ploy and it worked fairly well. Mother is the one taking the picture. 

I've always remembered that incident, even tho the photograph did not reappear for about 15 years. I remember it from the inside looking out of my eyes, thinking my thoughts, working my little ice cream plan. I remember being irritated that Mother was interrupting my plan by calling attention to it, I was trying to keep it on the down low, just let that ice cream cruise right over into my mouth. I remember her going to get the camera and returning with it, giggling about how cute I was to Dad. I remember thinking, "I'm going to be burdened with her until she dies."

I wasn't saved then.

Having had that thought always bothered me. It was a very strange thought to have, I was always afraid that it was true. And it was. So now you can see how I found that little book of fiction very interesting. If you haven't read it, just read the first five pages standing in the book store. 

Now I'm going to sleep and let the whole book percolate in my dreams. Should be interesting.