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Kinship With Cleveland

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***Caution:  There are graphic descriptions in this post.  If you are concerned about being triggered, please do not read this.***

When the news broke of the three women in Cleveland who’d been held captive for ten years, I felt a rush of sisterhood.  I was never chained in a room or beaten, so I cannot relate to these aspects of what Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry went through.  Their nightmare is a unique and horrific one I cannot fully fathom.  But there is much of their story I can relate to.

They have been heavy on my mind ever since the story ran, but I’ve been hesitant to write about them.   I’m aware the more ‘normal’ response is shock; but I feel this kinship instead.  I desperately want to be ‘normal,’ but my history has robbed me of many aspects of normal.  After much reflection, I sensed a calling to share my perspective in the hopes of giving every outraged person a way to use their anger for good. More

Puppy Love

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I admit it…I’m a sap when it comes to dogs, and puppies easily turn me into a babbling idiot.

We had to say goodbye to our last dog, Lady, a year ago.  I never thought I’d be without a dog, but we’ve needed this doggie break.  We’re not sure when we’ll fill the empty nest again, but…

To my great surprise and delight, our daughter and son-in-law recently adopted a dog from the pound, and now I HAVE A GRANDPUPPY!!!

Me and Jessie -My Grandpuppy!

Me and Jessie -My Grandpuppy!

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Life Lessons From Forrest Gump

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It didn’t take long for me to realize “Forrest Gump”, would become one of my favorite movies.  There are so many layers of raw emotion and humanity; I glean something new each time I see it.  It’s one of those rare movies that makes you laugh, cry, reflect, and quote for years to come. 

Forrest Gump

From the get-go, Forrest captures the heart of anyone who’s experienced bullying.  His best friend, Jenny, does her best to help him when she famously says “Run, Forrest, Run!” to escape his tormentors.  Forrest takes her advice and as he struggles to run, his leg braces miraculously fall off.  This is such a marvelous visual: struggling, leaving our comfort zone, shedding our shackles, and moving forward.  More

NaNo Excerpt #3 “Letters of a Lifetime”

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It’s been a few months since I shared the last excerpt of my NaNoWriMo novel “Letters of a Lifetime.”  I recently reengaged in the editing process and am excited to continue working on my novel.  Click here to read Part 1, and here to read Part 2. 
 
We pick up where Anne just finished reading a shocking letter indicating her recently deceased mother was an unwed mother in the 1940’s. 
 

Anne shook her head in disbelief.  Who was Jack, and what became of his parents? Did they know about the baby? Did Ruth give the baby up for adoption, or did she keep it? Anne’s hunger for answers and truth intensified as she reread the letter.

She sank a little further into the couch, letting her mind wander a bit before diving into the next letter.

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Easter – Your 6-Word Memoir

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It’s Good Friday and celebrations of Christ’s resurrection are gearing up across the globe.  It gives me goosebumps to think about people of all different cultures celebrating this important day together. Wow!

Easter might mean new dresses, church, and family dinner; or it could be More

“Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of all Wisdom”

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Aristotle said these words more than 2000 years ago, but I believe they ring as true today as they did then.

Knowing myself was never something on my “Bucket List”.  Frankly, it never even occurred to me that I didn’t know myself.  I was just going through life, one day at a time.  It was more than enough just to maintain family, work, and social events.

When my life began unraveling several years ago, I thought I was going crazy.   If someone had told me knowing myself would help, I probably would have just cocked my head and said “Huh?”

Truthfully, though, I think I subconsciously understood this theory to some degree.  I often wondered why some events  -or especially non-events – terrified me when it was obvious there wasn’t any actual danger.  (It took a long time for me to learn about ‘triggers’ and PTSD.)

A time I remember like yesterday was at my kids’ middle school band concert.  My husband and I sat with my in-laws, eager for the concert to begin.  I smiled and shook my head, both amused and dismayed, as I spotted my son sharing M&M’s out of his shirt pocket with the trumpet player seated next to him.  I also grinned indulgently seeing (and hearing) my daughter unsuccessfully stifling a fit of giggles with her girlfriend.  Just a proud mom basking in the milestones of her kids.

Things changed suddenly when More

Alaska, Iditarod and Fairies

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Thanks to everyone who sent prayers, emails, and other well wishes after my aunt passed away. My husband, daughter, and I went to the service last Wednesday and had our time to say goodbye. She was well-loved and it was a bittersweet time to share with her family. I’m feeling so much more at peace now. My uncle is doing well, they had an incredible marriage and were together when she passed peacefully. I’m looking forward to seeing him again soon.

The day after the funeral, we left for Alaska to visit my mom and see the Iditarod. My family has been involved with the famous dog sled race since the first one in 1973. It was very healing and exciting to be there again.  I will admit, this was my first time being a K9 Fairy!  We had to wear our dresses, boas, and jewelry on the outside of our snow gear.  That was quite an experience!

Mom told me lots of stories I hadn’t heard before, and the three of us had a good time.  She pulled out a huge box of old letters and piles of old photos, most of which I’d never seen.  It was a good step towards more healing and connecting; God truly blessed this time together.

I hope you enjoy our trip:

Circling to land in Anchorage

Circling to land in Anchorage

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My Heart is Aching

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Loss is always hard…

Yesterday I learned my aunt passed away and my heart began to break. She and my uncle were incredible sources of support and encouragment during my estrangement from my parents. They demonstrated unconditional love and acceptance all these years and I’ve been so grateful. They nearly leapt with joy when they heard my mom and I were finally seeing each other last summer. It was amazing how they could remain separately supportive of my mom and me. They let me take the journey I needed…in my own time.

They lived in Hawaii when I was growing up, so I rarely spent time with them before my high school years.   As an adult, I’ve made an effort to see them as frequently as possible, and I always took my kids on an annual spring trip to spend several days.  But of course, it’s never enough.    More

The Baby Went Out With The Bath Water

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Over the last few days I’ve realized – nearly simultaneously – I threw the baby out with the bath water and there was probably no other way I could have healed this fully.

I had dinner a couple of weeks ago with someone I haven’t seen for several years.  The estrangement from my family has affected this relationship, too.  I’d missed SB very much, but it was far too complicated to continue our relationship while I was recovering from my childhood abuse.  She reached out to me recently after hearing of my reconciliation with my mom.  I am so grateful for her compassion and grace. More

My Hometown

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Montgomery Gentry sings “My Town” with enough pride and enthusiasm to make a body want to move to “his town” and settle right in.  Reminiscing about the “good ole days” during the simple days of yesteryear is a staple of country music, and I think it’s easy to relate to for various reasons. 

The lyrics below give a vivid picture of the struggle between wanting to leave home in search of independence and wanting to stay connected to familiar roots.

Yeah, this is my town.

(Na, na, na, na, na.)

Where I was born, where I was raised.

Where I keep all my yesterdays.

Where I ran off ‘cuz I got mad,

An’ it came to blows with my old man.

Where I came back to settle down,

It’s where they’ll put me in the ground:

This is my town.

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It isn’t that I actually want to move back to my hometown, it’s more of a desire to have roots and a place to call home.  I am considering visiting my hometown someday to get some closure and fresh perspective on how isolated my childhood years were.  I’d also like to reclaim the good things I experienced that have been overshadowed by my abuse.

Aerial View of Entire Town

Aerial View of Entire Town

When I’ve shown pictures to people of where I grew up, their reactions never cease to surprise me.  They are in complete shock, even after I’ve told them it was a town of 500 people accessible by air only.  At a friend’s suggestion, I decided to share some stories and photos with you today.

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