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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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Anger -Constructive or Destructive?

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Anger with a D is Danger.  That’s the kind of anger I used to have.  The Destructive Kind.

Anger was my best friend.  Always accessible and purposeful, it was my go-to response to many of life’s situations.  It didn’t take much to justify unleashing on all the irritating people of the world.  And those irritating people were everywhere!

Anger suited me well –I felt strong and powerful when I was angry.  People kept their distance and I was safe.  I got kudos growing up for being angry; as long as it wasn’t with anyone in our house!  I’d come home with stories of mouthing off at teachers and be commended for it.  Dad would laugh and give me the rare praise I coveted.

It wasn’t until I finally heard myself More

The Best Way Out Is Always Through

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Robert Frost
March 26, 1874 -January 29, 1963

 

I used to plead with my therapist for an easier way to process and heal my past. Feeling the feelings is really hard work, and incredibly painful. I wanted a short-cut, some magic wand to fast-forward me to the finish line.  I Wish.

Turns out Robert Frost had it right all those years ago. The best way out really is through.

If we don’t feel the feelings and process them –at least enough to heal and move forward they will continue to haunt us in hidden and mysterious ways.

I’ve learned and re-learned the frustrating truth that we can know something in our heads, but if don’t know it in our hearts it doesn’t translate to change.

Without a doubt it has to start in our heads. We need to think, consider, and chew the facts a while. But the only way I’ve seen knowledge migrate from the head to the heart is through feeling the feelings. Processing emotions like loss, anger, and truth is draining, even excruciating at times, but it’s eventually very freeing.

The most tangible way I’ve seen my life changed

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Going to the Dogs

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We have a 4-legged addition to the family!

Hubby and I adopted a Catahoula Leopard mix from a local rescue organization last week and it’s like having a toddler in the house!

(We’d never heard of this breed before, but are quickly becoming educated.  She’s a mix, so considerably smaller and calmer than a pure-bred.)

She’s one year old and full of vim, vinegar, and mischief.

(Except when she’s passed out, recharging her batteries!)

Tuckered Out

Tuckered Out

 

 

 

 

Learning to sit

Learning to sit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mommy’s Green Dress

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When I was a little girl, my mom had a beautiful green dress hanging in the closet of our guest bedroom. She’d worn the dress to parties in the post WW2 era. It was exciting just hearing her talk about the dances and parties.   I must have shown too much interest at some point, because I remember being forbidden from touching or playing with it.

Well, once it became taboo, it might as well have had a Denise-magnet sewn into the fabric. I really wanted to wear that dress. Green was my favorite color back then, so that made it all the more alluring. And that sheer fabric over the satin, oh how it beckoned me. Mom rarely got angry with me, but when she did, she meant business, so I only admired it from the closet door.

Until it became worth the risk.

The summer I turned seven More

Rocks of Reclamation

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Following a 14-year absence, my husband and I went to Alaska to visit my mom last year. Dad had passed away in those years, while I’d still been estranged. His passing allowed me the freedom to return to my roots and rescue my younger self in a very tangible way.

As part of my healing, I brought some rocks to leave behind.

 

 

For me, rocks symbolize strength and power.

Think David and Goliath, Alcatraz, Stonehenge, the Pyramids.

My rocks were that important to me. They would declare my presence, my survival; even after I departed once again. More

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

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