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Me, and A Lady in France

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It’s satisfying to know I reached my goal of reading 24 books this year.  I like saying goodbye to 2014 with a tidy check-mark on my list.

Some of the books were ones I’d meant to get to over a long period, and others I simply stumbled upon. More

Birthdays of My Dad and My Father

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Dad’s birthday is today; gone now nearly 5 years, he would be turning 92.

He hated Christmas.  Apparently his birthday was forgotten every year in the midst of Christmas preparations when he was growing up.  The pain of being forgotten never seemed to leave him.  He would not allow us to put up a tree until his birthday had passed, and even then did so grudgingly.

I know now Dad’s Christmas experience is only a tiny window into his life story. More

Exposing Skeletons in the Closet

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With Halloween around the corner, ghoulish decorations are beginning to pop up alongside gargantuan pumpkins, bumpy gourds, and colorful leaves.

A plastic skeleton swinging in the wind recently reminded me of the saying about keeping skeletons in the closet.

My closet is no stranger to skeletons. Some have represented things done to me, others symbolized things I’ve done. Shame and fear were the hinges on my closet doors. Strong and secure, they kept my secrets tucked in the dark.

Or so I thought. More

PCT -Bears, Canada & Back to Reality

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My daughter’s epic summer journey on the PCT ended on September 9th.  She hiked from the Columbia River, at the Bridge of the Gods, to Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia.  It was done in sections, two alone, one with her husband, and one with her dad.

At the Columbia River, Oregon/Washington Border

At the Columbia River, Oregon/Washington Border

 

 

 

 

Canada Border 507 miles

Canada Border 507 miles

 

I dropped her and her Dad off at Stevens Pass on August 26th.

They saw 9 bears between there and the next time I resupplied them at Rainy Pass.  More

Throwing Stones

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It would be easy to make a poster-child of Adrian Peterson.

A powerful man hitting a defenseless child?  What a lowlife, coward, and disgrace.  Let’s all throw stones at him.

But wait.

What if…

What if Adrian Peterson was simply parenting the way he’d been parented.

How can we be expected to do the right thing if we’ve never been taught what the right thing is?

I am in no way condoning or excusing this behavior, nor that of any version of domestic violence.

But I believe there’s more to the story.  Much more.
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PCT Hike Update

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My daughter’s hike on the Pacific Crest Trail continues…and I am more amazed at her tenacity every day.  I’m so grateful she has a GPS device that allows her to send messages in addition to ‘pinging’ her location when she has service.  She has been faithful to let us know where she is each day, and we’ve seen her about once a week when she crosses into civilization and we resupply her.

She’s grubby and hungry when she walks off the trail, and we’re sure glad to see her!

After a 26 mile day near Mt. Rainier

After a 26 mile day near Mt. Rainier

She craves fresh fruit the most!

She craves fresh fruit the most!

Grubby Tootsies!

Grubby Tootsies!

She hit mile 325 when she made it to Steven’s Pass over the weekend.  We picked her up there and brought her home for a 36 hour rest and resupply.  She’s done about 275 miles alone, meeting some interesting characters along the way.  Her husband did a stretch between Mt. Rainier and Snoqualmie Pass with her.  They experienced rain, thunder, lightening, hail, and a new forest fire! More

The Difference Between Feeling Better and Getting Better

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Feeling better seems to be a universal goal of humankind.

When we’re experiencing physical, emotional, or spiritual pain, the instinct to feel better can take on a life of its own.  Most of us don’t even realize our subconscious is in overdrive doing whatever it takes to avoid bad feelings.

The problem is this:  what makes us feel better usually isn’t what makes us get better.

Feeling Better More

Lessons From Dad

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His lessons about life taught me no one is trustworthy.

His lessons about love taught me to control or be controlled.

His lessons about tolerance taught me no one is smart enough, good enough, or fast enough.

His lessons about security taught me danger is around every corner.

His lessons about confidence taught me if I didn’t think his way, there was hell to pay.

It’s taken years to undo the damage from those lessons.

But it was his lessons about stubbornness that backfired on him.

It was the one trait he taught me that actually saved me from him.

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From Estrangement to Reconciliation

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Estrangement stories cross my path often lately.  It’s a painful and sensitive topic, for both sides.  Some people are hurting because they’ve chosen to estrange themselves, others because they don’t understand why a loved one has estranged.  Still others long for the relief of estrangement, but the pain of setting that boundary is clearly too difficult.

The journey of coming to terms with why we need to estrange ourselves can be grueling, depressing, and exhausting.  Desire for belonging to family is strong, and it took considerable pain – and 3 attempts – before I was finally able to definitively draw my line in the sand.  More

Change Of Plans

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In 2009 my husband and I realized time was running out for taking a family vacation –at least for our existing family unit.  Both kids were seriously involved with their significant others and we knew it wouldn’t be long before there would be wedding bells.  Change was fast approaching for family as we knew it Happy for our soon-to-be-growing family, the vacation would be a bitter-sweet and symbolic farewell to the existing family structure.

Thus began the plans for what seemed like a fantasy trip for 4 to Scotland and Ireland.  None of us had been to Europe and we all agreed experiencing a bit o’ Irish sounded like a lot of fun.

The planning was both exciting and stressful, as vacations are prone to be.  However, stressful took on another level when my dad died during the planning stages and my PTSD symptoms exploded.  His death launched an entire new wave of nightmares and flashbacks.

I struggled mightily to focus on planning the trip, not wanting to disappoint my kids.   My mental state became fragile, my work suffered, and I spent many hours crying on the couch trying in vain to figure a way to escape my anxiety and not give up on the trip.

Somehow we got our itinerary finalized and bought the airline tickets.  Three days later the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Iceland.  The volcano may as well have been inside my head because my brain felt like it exploded too.  I hadn’t realized how close to the cliff I’d been until the volcano blew. More

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