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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

Journeys of Healing & Discovery

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When I started my road to recovery, I felt incredibly alone.  My circle of friends at that time were not interested in things like feeling pain, speaking truth, or self-reflection. Who could blame us, really?

I had myself tightly knit with people who lived in denial, thus allowing me the freedom to do the same.  I didn’t even realize the cocoon I lived in until I took several steps away. It felt natural, and safe.  Little did I know just how wrong I was…

Joining the blogging community has been such a completely different experience.  I’ve found so many people who are interested in growth and healing of all sorts.  Some from physical issues, others from emotional, mental, or spiritual ones.  My own journey of healing and recovery was catapulted with the discovery of such a rich world of genuinely caring and tremendous people.

There are several such bloggers I’d love to highlight on this ‘blog hop’ I’m on, but today I’ve narrowed it down to two, plus a thank-you for the invitation to join in The Hop.

As part of The Hop, I’ll also answer 4 burning questions at the end!  😉

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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

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

Grateful, Even in the Waiting

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Thanksgiving Day has arrived here in the States. 

A sense of gratitude arrived with it early this morning.  It blanketed me ever so softly with comfort and peace even as I sit with uncertainty.  Calm such as this truly is a gift from God.

I had my mammogram recently; a few months overdue.  I know… I know it’s important.  But it hurts.  I don’t care how many people say it doesn’t, it does.   

The same tech who’s done my mammograms for over 15 years flattened my breasts into pancakes once again.  Each smashing was accompanied with apologies and assurances it would be over soon.  “Be still and hold your breath, hon.”   We did this several times and I waited for the okay to get my shirt back on.  She scrutinized the screen with a practiced eye, then dismissed me to the dressing room.  When I pulled the curtain back, she said “You’ll get a call in a few days saying everything is fine, or you need to come back.  But you’ll get a call either way.”  I guess this is to lessen the anxiety about seeing your doctor’s number on the incoming caller ID.

Sure enough, I got a call last week saying they’d seen something ‘suspicious’ and wanted me to come back for a re-check.   More

The Unexpected Visitor

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While on a family vacation in Hawaii three years ago, a surprising event reminded me God never takes vacations.

My husband and I had rented a car for the day and driven around the Big Island with our two grown kids.  We’d been exploring the island all day and were ready to just relax on the beach and enjoy the sunset. 

We found a nice little spot north of Pearl Harbor along Highway 93 called Maili.  There wasn’t anyone else nearby on the beach, although some divers were fishing not too far away.  We put out our umbrella and bright beach towels, definitely looking touristy. The picnic basket held snacks and some forbidden beer and wine.  Like rebellious teenagers, More

How to Overcome Shame

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Have you ever felt worthless, damaged, or unacceptable?  If so, you may be struggling with shame.

There are two types of shame;

Guilt and Embarrasment.

They both have their place in society and relationships, but when they are out of balance or undeserved, either can be destructive.

A healthy example of Guilt is More

Living Life Forward, Understanding it Backwards

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www.illuminatedlife.hawaiiedu

When we want to move forward, sometimes that’s the very best time to look backwards.

“It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived
forwards.”~ Søren Kierkegaard

.

Focusing exclusively on the past isn’t helpful, but neither is ignoring it.

More

How To Forgive The Unforgivable

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…and How Forgiving Brings Freedom…

The decision to forgive my dad was borne of a long labor.

Although I’d always felt and said I wanted to forgive him, I couldn’t seem to actually do it.  Maybe my mind hadn’t transferred the abuse from something to survive into something to forgive yet.

spirituallythinking.blogspot.com

spirituallythinking.blogspot.com

I’d hidden the abuse for so long, it became acceptable in its own sick way.  I compartmentalized the abuse and split my dad into two people.  There was the dad who abused me; but then there was the dad who played cards with me, taught me to fly his plane, and took me fishing.  As children, we are dependent and vulnerable; we have no choice but to find a way to accept the abuse in order to survive.

All I ever wanted was to have a happy, loving dad/daughter relationship. It took me years before I admitted to myself just how wrong and destructive his abuse was.    I wanted to forgive him, but for a long time I thought I could only forgive if I had his apology first.

Through a long, difficult journey of self-discovery and spiritual maturing, I began to realize forgiving him didn’t even involve him. More

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

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