Tag Archives: living

Ups and Downs

What a remarkable morning it’s been!

A fellow blogger at Life Continues shared some vintage photos complete with captions. I enjoy photography and I relish those times when someone else’s mind wanders in some of the same ways as mine. And I especially enjoyed her closing shot. Happy sigh.

I needed that. During the short, dark winter days we can be more sensitive than usual. Isolated by weather, spirits can easily take a nosedive.

For example, lately I’d nursed the sting of a clearly unintentional offense from DearFriend (not to be confused with DearOldFriend 😉 ). In fact, because of something else DearFriend said offhandedly a couple of times, the molehill had become a mountain in my mind. Soon I had to “walk it off” before I could spend my usual quality time with God.

Some days finding the peace that passes understanding* takes longer than others. ‘Ya know what I’m saying?

But this morning I was free of any gloomy feelings and was determined to not allow any negativity about anything – period. Then what promised to be a sunshiny day turned dark and overcast before I loaded the days’ firewood. With that disappointing change, once back inside I went to the WordPress Reader instead of working, seeking fun and lively headlines.

Comically, I was going to skip over that post. The title was a tad ambiguous so I kept scrolling. As I scrolled, I began to feel the days-old sting – DearFriend saying in passing that one of my post Headlines as it appeared on Facebook sounded negative to her. Since she’d just been through one of life’s wringers, she didn’t bother to read it.

Ouch!

But the timing this morning couldn’t have been better. I sure showed DearFriend… I scrolled back and read that new post. So there!

In that unfortunate conversation with DearFriend, time restraints did not allow for us to address my concerns for her – or her opinion of my writing. Later in my unchecked imagination, since one of my biggest fans no longer read my work I was ready to throw in the towel!

‘Fact is, I’m blessed with great friends that are consistently supportive. They understand that if I’m out of sorts there’s a good reason. DearFriend never implied she didn’t read any of my posts or that the one actually was negative. She said she had an issue on that one particular day.

Working through CPTSD issues, it’s easy to get stuck in a present day scenario. Often a moment can last for hours or days. Unable to see through the temporary fog – what would otherwise be a natural, reasonable response to new experiences – sometimes survivors can quickly slide down a slippery slope into the profound sadness of a past event or depression.

In those situations forward motion can falter and the joy of life can seem temporarily absent.

This is why friends, community, support networks, (ahem) the blogging community are essential to healing and recovery. One hand washes the other, people.

So, something I’ve learned this past year is to roll with occasional negativity, but don’t run with it. I’m learning to ask myself what I’m feeling and why. Often all I need is a simple momentary distraction:

  • Toss a ball – even better when there’s an obliging dog to chase it,
  • Positive affirmation. Say out loud, “I can do this,” “I can look from another perspective” “This is a test”
  • Step outdoors for a minute or two, loose those endorphins.

If in moments some happy possibilities don’t emerge,

  • Pick up the phone and shout out a simple, “Hey.”

Most times only God knows the grief or fear one may have just relived. More often than not with the sound of a safe, friendly, familiar voice, I’m happy to simply be alive and far happier than I imagined I could be.

Now and then we all need a little help and simple, healthy distractions may not always be ideal. Most of the time everyday life on the ranch keeps me in balance. My methods are by no means a cure-all to traumatic events or depression and sometimes distractions don’t help in the long run. After years of working with experts I’m learning to recognize when I need a life-line, so I don’t hesitate to ask for help.

I’ve also learned I actually can handle sad times. What happened back then was then. It’s not now. I can now enjoy today. The sorrow, terror and pain doesn’t actually last forever. By learning to help myself back up, I learned to help others up too.

 

What’s more, when the time is right I can enjoy acting silly with my friends, at ease with the rest of the world. Of all God has shown me over the years, I am most assured that nothing can interfere with His plans for my life – not even me.

 

“O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone!”

Jeremiah 17:14 (NLT)

 

* “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7 (NLT)

 

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Passed St. Pat’s

No matter where in the world my siblings ever were, on St. Patrick’s Day we always celebrated our heritage, our family and our life together. ‘Tis tradition, don’cha know.

I admit, I did not celebrate this year, my first year back home. Three years ago, almost to the minute I’m now writing, my younger brother Seagh’s heart ruptured, he laid down his Harley, shook himself off and then walked into The Great Beyond. That moment changed everything.

We all adore our darling Seagh. Even as a small boy, he demonstrated extraordinary wisdom. We all came to depend upon him, especially when emotions ran rampant or hard times made our choices seem vague.

Over the years Seagh was always my greatest comfort, my touchstone, helping me make sense of the madness that seemed to be constantly lurking nearby.

 

 

After the years he roamed the globe he came home to the family and finally the ranch. For the brief season we were all here together I was entirely contented. I wanted us to stay together and to never leave.

But Seagh always knew something, saw something the rest of us missed. He insisted I stay close to our baby sister, Roan; “She’ll crash and burn without you.” Eventually I resigned to move on to Texas with her. Weeks later I understood why he sent me. Seagh already knew he too would be moving on soon.

Two years after his passing Roan and I were settled in Texas. Then I moved on again. We remain connected across the miles and continue on together – but differently now. Seagh dying when he did seemed to make the world a darker, sadder place and I couldn’t fix that.

It seemed.

Cole and Seagh 2012

Now Roan has Opal and her entourage in Texas. I am at home here at the ranch. I walk where Seagh walked along with Cole, Kendra and Eleven-Year-Old.

Sometimes I believe I can see the world as Seagh saw it. Very often I think I can see his unmistakable stance in the lot or where the patio used to be, one hand in a pocket, the other holding a mug, always taking in life deeply. Sure, I miss hearing him speak his few, pointed words daily. But I hear him.

I can’t conjure up his image on demand. But in the still, quiet of a peaceful day and in the midst of turmoil, I remember his words. When I don’t expect it, they come to me like rain on parched ground. Looking skyward, I soak them in, “You shouldn’t wonder about my soul. God and I are good now.”

Seagh’s death did not end him. Love lives on.

Absolutely.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. … And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1: 3, 6 (NLT)

For Seagh:

Feature Image courtesy of Gigi @ A Warm Hello.com

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On Love

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I believe in living by example; doing everything in such a way that what I believe is clear to all. Even when people misconstrue or they just don’t get it, God does.

I believe Jesus said it best:

“So now I am giving you a new commandment. Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 (NLT)

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Filed under The World According to Roo

Nothing But Love

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This week is all about love.

Sdale 1981 001

In my life I’ve experienced tremendous, extravagant love. Coming from a large, close family of origin and then raising four humans, least to mention the friends and fur kids that enhance our experiences, that’s easy for me to say.

Sdale 1981 001The flip side of that coin is I’ve also experienced innumerable disappointments, tragedies, more pain and heartache than most everyone I’ve known along my way. Whether measured, like on a Richter Scale, counting the scars on my body and my mind or by the number of incidents, the figures are staggering. Experts have told me more than once, “you’re a miracle, even if only by surviving.”

Unlike flipping a coin, in my life love wins every time.

For a long time, any form of love barely stood a chance with me. Out of fear and ignorance I couldn’t trust that goodness actually existed in the world. But God sent the right people at the perfect times to break through my fortress before I self-destructed.

Even now I can’t boast about my checking account balance, properties or an 800+ credit score. Writing about the unfortunate, cruel and some nefarious events I survived would shock most people, disgust many and enrage some. I suspect a new list of such things would cause many readers to miss the greatness I’ve experienced, the joys, the heroes in my life, and especially the love.

2014 Galveston

Much like scores of survivors, those before me and those to come, I’d be pretty arrogant to consider myself more than any other human. Some of the moments of my life that I wish I could do over all happened when I felt most alone and deprived. And who wants to relive that? While I did the best I could, that doesn’t make a great person. It makes us humble, and I’m real good with that.

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Of all creatures humans are an amazingly complicated species. We are profoundly affected by elements like weather and toxins, with variables from our gene pools, our histories, present experiences, pain, comfort, affluence and more. Combine all that with circumstances, each and every person is absolutely unpredictable from moment to moment.

I’m also convinced an unmistakable distinction in people is in their response to the presence of God’s Spirit.

Now, I am certainly no Joan D’Arc, Corrie Ten Boom or Mother Theresa. Nobody would mistake my work for that of Anne Graham Lotz, Joyce Meyer or Beth Moore – yet. Not your average, everyday Christian either, I’ve narrowed my bio to that of a loving, seasoned over-comer, a grandmother and a yet-obscure writer/blogger. But I’ve learned one thing above all else is most important. Just one:

Love is a choice.

Once we get Love firmly planted in our souls, nurturing it, feeding it more of God’s love from the Source, His Word, it takes over in the most marvelous ways; forgiveness flows, envy ebbs, offenses lose their grip on us and we stop taking ourselves too seriously. We learn to love God, so we can love ourselves and better love others. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I’m living proof love wins.

 

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)

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Present, Future and Past

I agree for the most part. As with most of life, it’s all about our next choice. I recently heard James Reeves say, “If you haven’t dealt with your past, then it isn’t your past, it’s your present and your future.” Sometimes we get stuck in the past because we left a stone unturned. Sometimes we can kick stones out of our way. And sometimes we simply walk on. We choose what we do next.

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Filed under A Door Ajar