Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Outside Whole Foods - they've obviously gone crazy with the fall stuff.
My newest bouquet.

Found a place for the fabulous windchime I got for my "love gift" at Heart to Heart.  It's on my back door and chimes when I go in and out.

Here I am at yoga class with my dear friend Karen who is teaching it.  I am blessed to be in a class with someone who does such gentle yoga that I can't hurt myself!

The new outline method for the book I'm writing.  Each card is a chapter.  I write for 20 minutes, and then take a 5 minute break.  Good for a disorganized writer.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I really should throw a party.  For six years I've worked on normalizing my sleeping patterns.  I've accepted them, and then not accepted them.  I've tried pretty much everything I could think of plus any suggestions any one could give me.  So for the past six months, the patterns have steadied and fallen into a pretty liveable and predictable patterns.  I'm usually up between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. and usually asleep by 10:00 p.m.  I usually go to bed around 9:00 and read or watch television.  Sometimes I need a nap in the late afternoon.  Yay!  I think a lot of the chaos had to do with ptsd, the need for rest to heal physically and emotionally, plus the medications for pain that I took after multiple surgeries. 

A lot of stuff I tried did not work:  Setting the alarm and getting up whether I wanted to or not.  This strategy usually resulted in being exhausted and kind of freaked out emotionally.  Taking medication for sleep - as I usually experience with any kind of meds - sleeping meds kept me awake.  I could go on for awhile about the stuff I tried that didn't work. 

So - here's the stuff that worked:  I accepted that I need anywhere from 14 hours to 10 hours of sleep out of every 24 hours.  It depends on how much mental, emotional and physical activity I've expended.  It's no use trying to get out of it.  Some physical activity every day helps.  Taking a hot bath (preferably with bubbles).  Taking a Benedryl at 8:00 p.m. (I have allergies that make my breathing weird when I sleep, plus the Benedryl makes me a little sleepy.)  Last but not least:  Tempurpedic mattress and pillows and learning how to arrange my body so I have very little pain.

I am SO grateful.  My days are so much more predictable and productive.  I'm glad I persisted and didn't give in to despair!  I'm glad I've healed enough to benefit from the strategies I've tried.  I'm grateful to my Higher Power.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Abundance

I'm reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance again.  There are daily readings on lifestyle which were life changing at the time I first read them which was over 20 years ago.  I love her writing style plus there are 365 little essays with marvelous ideas. 

During the month of September she's writing essays about success.  Yesterday the essay was on ambition.  She said taking action on our goals is ambition in motion - there's no success without ambition because it drives action.  She also says that ambition has a bad reputation because of it's association with pride and greed.  "When the soul is impoverished, the ego is easily seduced.  Greed is a very effective pimp for the dark side."  I love it.  I can see this everywhere in our world and even sometimes in myself.  An impoverished soul = greed.  Love and light of the soul are the answers to greed. 

Today the reading was about fear.  All of us, I'm sure, are familiar with the voices inside our head that tell us we are going to fail, make a fool of ourselves, etc., etc., etc. if we take action on our heart's desires.  I was startled to read that she believes those voices come from the ego.  The ego wants to protect itself from embarrassment so it whispers to us that we are so tired and need to take care of ourselves instead of taking action.  Mindless TV, computer games, unneeded naps, "Relax," the ego says, "There's plenty of time.  Tomorrow will be soon enough."  I knew my ego was not my friend, but I've been listening to the "It's time to rest" thing because I often am REALLY tired.  Sometimes it's my ego, though.  Thanks, Sarah, for the heads up!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stuff to be Grateful For

I'm writing this to remind me when I have a bad case of self-pity and can't remember what to be grateful for, that I have more to be grateful for than I can even ever write down:

  • Hot bubble baths (thanks to the people who did the work to make my bathtub, the hot water, the Vitabath, etc.)
  • God for giving me life, helping me live this long, helping me find recovery, my recovery from injuries.  Plus my surgeon, body work tech, physical therapists, etc.
  • God for giving me children and grandchildren that are marvelous.
  • God for giving me the stubborness it has taken for me to keep trying when things looked hopeless or impossible.
  • God and everyone else who has ever loved me and shown me their love.  (Seems like thousands)
  • Living in a country where good food is plentiful.
  • For the good luck to have a comfortable house, in reasonably good repair, that I think is beautiful.
  • For the God given talent I have for problem solving.
  • For all the people who are kind to me every day.
  • For my mother who taught me to read when I was four and reading has been both a pleasure and a great help throughout my life.
  • For my fabulous friends.
There's a fabulous start!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Cisco lounging in my bed long past time for him to get up and for me to make the bed.
Below Cisco is toasting in the blistering sun in the bedroom window.
Above is the view outside of my living room window where the bushes are blooming at last.  The blistering heat kept even these hot weather bushes from blooming until the fall caused a cool down.  Nice to see pink flowers again.
Here's part of our Tulsa contingent at Heart to Heart.  It was purple night so we all have on purple.  Below is Liz on the last morning of the retreat when we all have balloons to release.
Here Liz and I are with our new friend, Mary Pearl.  Good grief!  She is so funny!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Denial is not a river in Egypt

This saying is not a joke!  Denial kills.  I learned about denial when I was first in recovery.  I didn't have a lot of denial - I knew I had a bad problem (I wasn't sure what it was), I knew I needed help and I was ready to accept it.  Since then, I've recovered enough to work with others who are newer in recovery than I am.  Everyone has denial.  Some of us have a worse case of it than others.  Melody Beattie talks about how breaking denial is like yanking a warm blanket off somebody in a cold room.  They just yank it back and cover up again.  You have to make the room warm first. 

I'm not very good at making the room warm.  I'm a blanket yanker.  As one of the people I work with says, "Boy, you really just cut to the chase."  As I was cleaning out a bookcase earlier today, I found a book for professional counselors on managing denial so I'm reading it so I can be a better "room warmer."  I'm working with a couple of people now who switch into denial really quickly in a couple of areas of their lives.  Because of the denial, their whole lives are affected negatively and they are in a lot of pain.  But they don't think it's denial; they think it's their circumstances that are creating the problems.

The author of the book says that denial is just a coping mechanism that has developed to protect us from emotional pain.  It keeps us from recognizing that there's a problem, that it's a very serious problem that resides within ourselves, and that we have the responsibility for solving.  I've noticed that I and the people I work with usually go to blaming other people, bad luck, etc. for their problems.  They change the subject a lot.  They get mad and yell.  They attack me (verbally).  I worked with one person whose cell phone died when she was talking to me as soon as she went into denial.  Weird. 

I'm hoping I will find some answers for "warming up the room" for myself and others who are plagued with denial and whose lives are being sabotaged by it.

Friday, September 02, 2011

New Poet

I've moved on from e.e. cummings to Billy Collins - the poet my friend told me about.  He's a simple guy.  Very accessible.  He wrote one about obsessive, compulsive neatness:

The Straightener

Even as a boy I was a straightener.
On a long table near my window
I kept a lantern, a spyglass, and my tomahawk.

Never tomahawk, lantern, and spyglass.
Always lantern, spyglass, tomahawk.

You could never tell when you would need them
but that was the order you would need them in.

On my desk pencils at attention in a cup,
foreign coins stacked by size,

a photograph of my parents,
and under the heavy green blotter,
a note from a girl I was fond of.

These days I like to stack in pyramids
the cans of soup in the pantry
and I keep the white candles in rows like logs of wax.

And if I can avoid doing my taxes
or phoning my talkative aunt
on her eighty-something birthday,

I will use a ruler to measure the space
between the comb and brush on the dresser,
the distance between shakers of salt and pepper.

Today, for example I will devote my time
to lining up my shoes in the closet,
pair by pair in chronological order

and lining up my shirts on the rack by color
to put off having to tell you, dear,
what I really think and what I now am bound to do.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Excited to Wake Up

One of the things I always hoped would happen for me as an adult is to wake up excited about the day.  There were a few times as a child when something special was going to happen that I waked up excited.  But not so much as an adult.  I usually woke up feeling anxious about my to do list and always felt behind before I started.  But these days, after several years of working on losing my guilt and anxiety about how little energy I have and how little I get done, I've been able to focus on doing things that improve my quality of life.  That focus has started having an effect so that I look forward to my day and feel a little tingle of excitement. 

For the past several years I've had one of my televisions tuned in to a music channel pretty much 24 hours a day - sweet, soft music for the most part.  In my effort to bump up my enjoyment, I've started changing the music I listen to several times a day.  Right now it's jazz.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy smooth jazz.  And, of course, reading a poem a day is very enjoyable.  For a few days since I ditched cranky, depressed Emily Dickinson, I've been reading e.e. cummings.  He has such a great sense of humor and writes the best love poems ever!

your little voice
                         Over the wires came leaping
and i felt suddenly
        With the jostling and shouting of merry flowers
were skipping high-heeled flames
courtesied before my eyes
                                          or twinkling over to my side
Looked up
with impertinently exquisite faces
floating hands were laid upon me
I was whirled and tossed into delicious dancing
with the pale important
                                     stars and the Humorous moon
dear girl
How i was crazy how i cried when i heard
                                                                     over time
and tide and death
            your voice

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