Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wave of Change

Hi guys. There is not really anything exciting to report, but I am feeling really hopeful about my life. I am doing hard work in physical therapy and also in emotional therapy.  It is not easy to analyze yourself and all your dysfunction, but it is what you've got to do to get better. However, at the age of 44 I am finally getting it right. I started with my most difficult issue first... my rape at age 13. Those who have been reading my posts might already know about all that, and those of you who have not read it... well it's back there. You can look it up if you want. My point of bringing it up again though is to say... I started with the hardest stuff first. Everything after that is not easy, but everything after that wasn't as hard to deal with it. It just takes a long time. You have to be ready to deal with the things that make you who you are. You have to deal with your experiences, the ones that make your heart ache, your pulse race, and your mind tangle with fear, or worry, or fills you with the uncomfortable tension that comes from keeping secrets from those you love, respect, or from the people you put your mask on for, and the ones that you change yourself for to fit into their group.
I can tell you though, from experience, that you cannot live that way and have a semblance of happiness.  I changed everything about myself to fit in with the (in) crowd. I ended up running with the wrong people. I  ended up conforming to the party crowd. I changed my clothing style, my hair, my makeup, even my laugh and the way I spoke (using inappropriate language). I changed me.
It was NOT worth it. I listen to people now a days and the language is so foul and so disgusting that I try very hard to be mindful of what I expose not just my family to, but to my control what I am exposed to. For example... I love old movies. I love old television shows. I love documentaries, because now a days the vulgarity, gratuitous sex scenes, and the subject matter and casual attitudes toward how you treat yourself, your family, your friends and even strangers is seriously disillusioning. I remember when even the simplest of swearing was bleeped out, or taken out. I don't want to take away free speech about important matters, but I don't want my kids watching a show and hearing the "F-bomb" left and right. I don't want them to see disgusting, demeaning, or gratuitous commercials between their programs.
Now I understand that I might be called a prude, or a nut, but I promise you... I am NOT. I used all that language once upon a time. I degraded myself, sacrificed my values, and lost myself to that sort of lifestyle. I struggled with everything that our teens face and more. I was not popular in school, in fact, I did not even have a click... I was that out of it. I changed ME, and you know where it got me... NO WHERE GOOD! I lived with shame, guilt, and self-loathing to the point of attempted suicides (many times). I was miserable. I was lost, I was alone... even in a crowded room at a party. I sacrificed everything I was ever raised to believe... all to get the attention of people who... where are they now... are no where to be seen.
I live and almost died of shame. However, coming back around to me... I am now a great mom. I work hard to spare my children the pain and shame of my mistakes. I am making the changes that make me find myself. I am facing my demons. I am opening my heart and mind. I am untying my knots, and taking off my mask. I have to if I want to be me. I am finding that I am a good person. I can be a good friend. I am a good mom, and becoming a better wife. I am gutting myself to find and heal my heart and mind. I am doing my best, but like it has been said, "It is lonely being good." Isn't that sad though? Why should I be ashamed now. I have renewed my faith, my commitment to my God.
I have decided that my values are good and worth living by. Too often I see people around me using escapism to dodge those difficulties in their lives, instead of dealing and healing. It is not fair that I have to be made fun of, or be belittled, or bullied because I do not want to continue to live my life in a way that will continue to make me miserable. In my mind... that takes courage.
It takes bravery to stand up for what you believe. It takes courage to say.. I want better for myself and people I care about. How has drinking improved your life? It only got me into trouble. It put me in dangerous situations. It linked me to people who used and abused me. Why should I subject myself to that... because it make me popular, or have friends? I lived that way... and the moment you stop living that way... you no longer fit in. No one wants to be lonely. No one wants to be left out. I get that. I lived that way too. I choose and have the right to choose another way. I do not have to excuse myself... to anyone... but there is tremendous peer pressure... even among adults... to live your life a certain way... the wrong way.. just to fit in. How sad is that? I have lived my life that way... I was absolutely MISERABLE. I was so ashamed and so full of sorrow that I dared not live.
Luckily for me... God stepped in, helped me to find love, and friendship, and blessed me with knowledge, recovery, and loving children who rock my world  on a daily basis... in all the right way.
Do I have to excuse myself? Or do I live my life with freedom to live the way I have a right to? No one has the right to make me feel bad. I have all I need and none of those people who I thought were my friends are here. Not one of them.  I found love... if that makes me a loon, a nerd, a prude... then I guess I have earned the label, but it does not mean I have to be ashamed of it.
Our country was founded by good people who wanted freedom. I have been blessed with freedom of religion. I have freedom to live my life the way I decide. I have the right to be what I want to be, but there are so many who claim to know better and to know me... my mind... and my heart. I am not doing this blog to shame anyone, or belittle anyone. I am not trying to tell you how to live your life, or tell you that you are making mistakes and you are wrong. I would not do that. I am simply expressing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences in hopes of reaching out to someone who might need to hear what I have to say. I DO NOT think that I am better than anyone else. I would be a fool to think that. I am only stretching my arms and opening my heart to try to comfort someone, encourage someone, inspire someone, and/or teach someone. I don't want to live with sorrow, shame, fear of my secrets being revealed... as so many of us do. And I ask... is your life making you proud, or do you find yourself living with secrets and excuses? I am not telling anyone how to live their life. I would not presume to do that. However, I am saying that if you have the courage to be true to yourself... you just might find happiness... better friends... better relationships... more joy. I am taught that my God has a plan for all of us, and it is called "The Plan Of Happiness". God does not want us to hurt, be miserable, or be weakened by our trials. He wants us to grow and experience a good life and develop yourself and your talents and lift up this life.
Look around... you see it on the news everyday.  The world is becoming a miserable place. It is full of angry, self righteous, contentious, vulgar, and rude people. Drive to a local location, be observant, watch how people interact with each other and think about what you hear, and see. Do you see kindness, consideration, love, generosity?
You have to decide... what kind of life do you want to live? What kind of teacher do want to be for those around you? I have walked a path that I would not wish anyone to traverse, but there it is.  I cannot change the past. No one can. It is done... there it is.  It is done. For me... I have learned things. I am a better me... because I not only survived, but I learned. This is the entire point of doing my blog. No one has to agree with me, but if you listen to my message and that gives you courage to do better for yourself and your family... then I have done what I set out to do. I don't believe that God punished me with difficulties and trials, but I do believe that he had to let things happen (by my choices) to me... to teach me. He NEVER gave me more than I could handle, and I trust that he wouldn't do that to me. That does not mean that he has not taken me to the brink... the edge of my sanity, but he never let it go to far. If you have faced something horrible, but have survived... then there you are. If you told me in my youth what I would go through in the future... I would have crumbled and quit... or laughed.  We cannot know what we can handle before we face it. Why do we put ourselves through more struggle than we have to? However, who in their right mind want to accept responsibility for their choices and mistakes? Who wants to admit that what they do... impacts the life, the relationships and so on negatively. No one I know. I did not want to either.
However, in some religions you have the opportunity and responsibility to repent or confess in order to find salvation. Even God knows that we are going to make mistakes. He knows that our carnal man is going to sometimes get the better of us. He knows that we will fail, and stumble. We have AA, and other addiction clinics to help us. We have medicines to help us, self help books, and support groups... why? Because we all make mistakes. Why do we have to hit rock bottom before we take our own care seriously? It is because... most of the time... partying is supposed to be fun... until it no longer is. Who  is accepted more...  the man or women who is respected for admitting they had a drinking and/or drug problem and getting help to quit by entering rehab, or attending support groups and keeping a medallion on their neck or wherever that signifies the act of recovery, or the person who takes a stand and decides not to allow those vices into their lives. I guarantee the person who hit rock bottom and got back up, over the weirdo who said no in the times they are offered a drink or drug. Just let that simmer a moment.
If I say I can't drink... I have a medical condition.  I will always be cut slack over someone who makes that difficult choice. It is not one person being better than another. I would never say that, but can you see my point? Our life is ours to live. I wish I could be accepted and respected by my decisions rather than be accepted only for the vices that make me more socially acceptable.  I was a smoker. When I was smoking I was accepted by people who did not want to stand outside by themselves smoking. No one wanted to stand out in the cold alone.  That is why quitting is so difficult. Smoking is not only addictive physically... which it is..., but it is also socially, and psychologically. You fit in. You have friends who bum your smokes or need your lighter, and have smoking in common with you. That is the fastest way to make a friend... at least one that will last about five minutes or until a crisis arises and they can't deal with it, or don't have it in themselves to help you through it. This is just my experiences. I understand getting stressed and feeling the temptation again. I am not judging anyone... not for a second. I am not... I promise, but my life since I changed all that and began to make better choices for myself. I find that food tastes better. I can smell the flowers. I can breathe. I am happier. I do not have to be a slave to my addiction. For example... I don't panic if I don't have a lighter. I don't panic because the last cigarette I was sure that I had... is not there and I have to rush to the store, or borrow a smoke, or money to get more. I have been there. I know what it feels like. I get it. I do not want to live that way anymore. I want better for me. I watched my grandmother die from cancer and emphysema. I loved her dearly, but I watched her suffer, wither and die. Could her life have been longer, healthier and maybe more enjoyable? I can't help but wonder. I want more out of my life, and I do not need more friends who don't really care about me. However, I also don't want to be judged because I want to live my life the way I chose. I tried the popular lifestyle. It made me miserable. Now I am happy. That is all I can do... is tell you what I have experienced and what I have learned... for me.
I want to emphasize... this is my life and what I have learned and how I have decided to live it. I have that right. I hope that this reaches someone. I hope that someone hears me.  I hope I will give someone courage. I wish you all well, but don't dare to assume that you know my mind and my heart because I am a white/woman who you might think is middle class. We are living a disabled benefit life on a fixed income. We are just struggling along like everyone else. Some of the best friends that I have ever had were strong, faithful, black women. I see it as a privilege that they let me into their lives and I was blessed to have them in mine. I hope that whatever you are going through... you might find strength in me.

Superman Man of Steel 1:4 Scale Statue by Resinworx Sculptures

Hi Friends. I wanted to let you know about a new video posted by my friend SammyG. He does these fantastic YouTube video's about Marvel and DC comic memorabilia and statue review. He is super smart and really well versed in these figures. He does an amazing job of reviewing the details, and features on the figures. I am really excited about his channel and the informative videos he is putting out. I would really appreciate you sending our friend some love and support. If you aren't into that stuff you could pass it on to someone you know. That would be great.
Thank guys. Have a good one.
*SammyG on YouTube

Friday, September 9, 2016

Awesome Reviews Of Comic Characters, Statues, Action Figures and More. Check it out.

My husband's friend is beginning a new YouTube channel and I want to throw in my support for him. He is a smart, talented, articulate, passionate lover of hero's, villains, and all things comics. It is a really well done channel. It was a joy to check out his informed, step by step  review of this incredible statue. I hope that you will give him a chance and if you are not into it... maybe you can refer someone you know who likes this kind of thing to his channel. My link is on the border of this blog. SammyG Super Hero and Villain Action Figure and Statue Reviews and More. You can find him on YouTube. This particular one is called Xtreem Sculptures Superman. So Cool. Please support my friend.
SammyG on YouTube

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Painful Loss

 This past Friday my family lost one of it's treasured members. I'm afraid he died of an undiagnosed heart condition (we believe). We are deeply saddened and pray for his wife. We love them both dearly.
I will definitely be writing about this later as it is a deep and painful subject that I know all too well. I want a little time to grieve. We loved you Mark. We miss you already.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sanctuary, "God Bless This Home"

Searching for Home

  Have you ever had enough and wished that you could just retreat to a bubble where no one can ever bother you, upset you, or hurt your family in anyway? Home is something that almost everyone longs for at some point in their life. Home is something that I long for with all of my heart. It has been years since we had one of our own. We had a home, that we eventually lost when my husband became crippled with Chronic Fatigue (Fibro-Mialgia) and herniated disks. We lost everything. We also had emotional baggage that made our life and especially our marriage an intense struggle. We did not have the tools to heal. So we uprooted our family and moved across the country in search of healing and home. We are finding healing... with the help of an absolutely amazing therapist. She is helping us let go, forgive, and heal. and move forward with healthy communication.
  My advice... for everyone... is to learn how to communicate. it is truly the only way to have a good, productive, happy life. You have to grow and develop a way to feel without hurting those around you.  I had reached my limit of sorrow, pain, frustration, and fear, and I believe that God said... "Okay, you have had enough.  It's time to heal." This is when we felt inspired to move on. We had to get away from everything that was hurting us... our past... our baggage... our trauma... and the negative influences in our lives. Off we went. We are almost completeness passed our individual therapy and we are moving on toward healing our family. It feels like we are ready to move on to a happier life. Now though... I am longing for home. I am truly struggling to know where to go next... do we go back to where we left? That is the hardest decision. Do we risk going back to where we struggled the most in our lives and hope that we are strong enough? That is what we are trying to decide.
  I need a home. My oldest daughter dreams of having a family of her own. I ache over that. It is not my greatest desire.  I love my children so much... I do not want to be separated from them, but at the same time I want to see them grow and add to our family and our capacity for love. I dream of grand babies, but I struggle with letting her go.  I lost three of my children to Muscular Dystrophy... She is the one of the ones who stayed. How do I part with her. I love to hear, "I love you", and "Mom... can I talk to you." Those are some of my happiest moments. To know she still needs me. Being a parent is not easy.  There is so much sacrifice and reward, and it is worth every moment, but it isn't always easy.
  Home... I need a home. I am so very grateful that we have a good, solid home that shelters us from weather, trauma, struggle, and life. It is our sanctuary from the world, but it is not ours.  We can't make it ours. I long for home. I want to grow our family, and have a safe place where we can love, learn, laugh, and grow. I need a home. Maybe the hardest decision is where do we go, and my greatest fear is... can we find what we need? Can we find that home that will give us all that we need? I dream of home. I just pray we can find it.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Pain and My Search for Relief

Hi guys. Sorry it has been a while. I have been recovering from my spine stimulator implantation surgery. I have struggled with chronic, sever, and constant back pain from a number of crippling conditions. This has not been easy. I have had years of injections, radio frequency, physical therapy, etc, but nothing has ever relieved the pain to the point that I could live any sort of a normal life... outside of my bed. I did the trial for the implant, and it was great. Now... my (emotional) therapist has a theory that the idea of hope causes a false sense of hope, because when it was all said and done... it helps, but it is not the same as when I did the trial many months ago.
The pain was excruciating, Surgery pain, plus the normal, crippling back pain that I have every day was way to much.  I did not think that I was going to survive it.  I also had the difficulty of working with the pain clinic that I had used for my relief for almost 2 years. The front desk "Pit bull" as I affectionately call her gave us a ton of trouble... claiming that I was misusing my medicine, because I had to ask for more Morphine and Percacet because I asked for another prescription.  Mine had run it's course and I was due for another one. They were under the assumption that my spine stimulator was turned on right away.  It was not! I had to go to the surgeon who did my surgery and we explained our situation.  They had not taken into consideration that I would need to ween off of the heavy medications that I had been taking for years. It was an all around humiliating, frustrating, painful, and confusing situation. I ended up having severe withdrawals and wanted to strip off my own flesh to get relief. It was a nightmare. I have great sympathy for people who go threw
withdrawals; it was truly horrible.
Sadly, once I healed for 2 weeks, they turned the stimulator on for me.  I struggled for the next 6 to 7 weeks, but now I am finally healed, only now I am still in an incredible amount of pain. I am back on my medication and I use the stimulator as needed.  It helps a lot when I am out and about.
Now I want to put out a disclaimer that I am NOT saying that this would not work for other people. I cannot predict what would happen if you think that it is right for you. I just feel like I need to share my story.
I will say though that my general practitioner has had many patients who got the stimulator and had the same results. One woman went as far as having it removed.
It does help my recovery (a little), and it does help when I am out (a little), but I cannot claim that it is the same for everyone.
Anyway, I am sort of back to square one, but my attitude has changed. I am trying to move forward. I try to learn, and develop my talents. I found a wonderful chair that has a great padded, curved shape. It is a chaise so I have leg support all the way through. I also have an orthopedic pillow that relieves the pressure on my coccyx, which is the end of your tailbone. So I continue to struggle, but I am living my life more fully now.  I am grateful for my life, my loving children and husband, the talents that God gave me, and the ability we have as humans to learn and grow. I am grateful to live beyond my pain.
I know that some of you are back to the grindstone with kids back to school and such, but what I want to ask you is... "How are you going to be spending your time? Are you going to make yourself a better person, or are you going to settle for your life and circumstances or are you going to try to learn something new about yourself today?"
What do you have to lose?
Good luck my friends. -Gail

Friday, April 22, 2016

If You Could Walk In My Shoes

  Today... even if just for today... try to look on another with new eyes, a new attitude, and with new love, understanding, patience, and forgiveness. Please, if only for today. You never know what might happen.

Chronic Pain

 The reason that I wanted to post this... is because I live with chronic (daily and constant) and extreme pain every moment of every day, despite the highest dose of the strongest medicine I can get. I long for my life to be given back to me. I miss my husband.  I wish I could be a more complete mother for my children. I wish I could go to the bathroom without a walker, and a cane. I wish my outings weren't limited to doctor appointments, and procedures, but I can't ask for more than that, and the love of a good man, and my children.   I just needed you to know that I am not lazy.  I am not bored.  I am not doing this for attention. I am not doing this for sympathy, because frankly... this very little to be had. My husband had to buy me a walker and shower chair this past week. I can only lay in one position and if I behave... every two days I get to sit up on my bed for about 15 minutes, and maybe get a walk to the bathroom with, or without my cane. I am so grateful for those days. I use a tens unit (which is a device that you use with electrodes on your back that attach wires to a remote that gives you different settings of electrical pulses that ripple through your body in an attempt to loosen your muscles. In the past these would have been considered unspeakable, medieval, inhuman tortures. They just made it more medically friendly. lol.
  I want to live, and I miss my life.  I miss being a normal, healthy wife to my husband. Actually, I tell a lie. If you have read my blog with any thoroughness you would know that my sweet husband and I have never really had a healthy relationship. However, despite our problems, he still loves me and tries every day to show me how much he loves me.  I thank God for knowing who I needed to love me and for me to love. I am blessed, but daily now, I get sad, angry, frustrated, and sadder still. I have gone from great strides in physical therapy to barely being able to move at all within just a small number of weeks. My heart and body is broken, and frankly it is difficult to hold onto my mind. 
  I have hope... some. I am due for surgery soon. I wait impatiently for my spine stimulator to be implanted. Man, that does sound like a medieval torture treatment, but it has been like waiting for a Christmas that always changes it's date of arrival. There is no guarantee for me, and I have a 6 to 9 week healing time, but I need to hold onto hope. It won't help my hips, but I am hoping for something. It is all I have left, besides my love for my husband, my kids, and my God.
Please, think before you judge someone before you know the situation they are in, and what they might be going through in silence or in private.  You can never understand what someone is going through, unless you try.
  To anyone who is hurting or struggling with whatever pain you are in,whether it be physical, emotional, or mental.  Hang in there, and know that there is another person out her in our universe who understands what you are going through. Good luck and take it easy on yourself. Do what you have to do.

Friday, March 4, 2016

My Sacred Temple and Other Random Thoughts about Religion

While I was on facebook, I saw a post asking for pictures of your favorite temple and why it is your favorite.  I posted this.  It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Washington, D.C. Temple.  This is a very special place to me.  In our faith, we believe that it is possible to be sealed together as an eternal family.  When I went to the temple with my family, it was me, my husband, my daughter who was only nine days away from her second birthday.  There was also my son, who was three years and nine months old.  If you have read anything that I have written before... you would know that my first child, my son Anthony, was born with a very rare form of Muscular Dystrophy.  We later had another daughter with the same disease, four healthy children (though my son has Aspergers Autism), and we also had a stillbirth at twenty-seven weeks along. That is a story for another time.
My husband was a convert from his Catholic faith.  He told me that we answered a lot of questions that he was not allowed to ask. It seemed to be an easy, and natural process, but he is like that.  If he finds the truth... it comes easy for him to accept.  I also want to say that... I NEVER pushed him in any way to convert.  My father introduced him to the missionaries, and then he did the rest.  It was all quite a surprise to me, because during my teen years I struggled to hold to my faith. In fact, I fell away from the church all together. I believed in God, but I believed that I did not deserve his love, or forgiveness.  Again, that is another story.
We had to wait for a year before we could go to the temple. Of course it took us a bit longer than that... almost four years. For Tony it was important that he had an understanding and faith about what we were going to do, and that he want to participate in the wonderful things that are done there, like baptism for the dead (which is done to give loved ones a chance to accept the church... if they did not have the opportunity in this life.  We fully believe in the afterlife, and the beauty of this process is that they do not have to accept it.  They have choice... even in heaven.
Things that are done in the temple are sacred... not secret.... not secret.  That is something that I really would like to say.  We do not talk about them much, because they are special, very special.  They are God's work and we treasure the work we do there. Have you ever had something that meant so much to you that you would do your very best to protect it..? Have you ever had a moment that you knew was special... and might it just change your life... if you let it?  That is how it is with the promises we make to God and ourselves when we go to the temple.  So for us... what we do there means everything to us.
We worked hard to get there.  We prayed, attended our church meetings, and studied the scriptures and words of our church leaders. We had to prepare before we could go.  It is not about the day so much as it was about making our family permanent and forever. I have been to Catholic mass for those loved ones that we loved so dearly.  Understand, that I fully respect the Catholic faith.  I have no problem with their belief system, however, my only issue, the one that made me so very sad, was when the priest expressed his hope that one day we would be allowed to see our loved one again.  He could only offer hope that God would allow us to know them again.  In my faith, it was not only possible to know them again, but it was possible to be sealed, sacredly as a family... forever. I would never again have to live without my husband and my children... three of which has since passed. That is a comfort that cannot be replaced.  I have faith that this is so.  If you have ever had the opportunity to go through the temple... during the open house... that is open to the public for a walk through... I think that you would have come away with a feeling that you have entered a special place.  It is a place that is set apart, blessed and provided as a place where wonderful, spiritual, and eternal promises are made. This means the world to me and my family.  I miss my children every day.  I long for them in my life, and because of the promises (or covenants) that I was able to make with my family and God... I have hope of a glorious reuniting of not just me and my children, but of me and my family... and all who went before us.  That is a hope and treasure that I do not want anyone... especially not the haters of the world to stomp on.
I have never understood peoples need to crush someone else's spirit.  I don't understand why there is this absolute, all consuming need to hate.  When the pilgrims came here... it was for religious freedom (among other things), but they came here for freedom.  If you do not agree with me... fine.  If you had an offensive experience... I'm sorry for that.  If you dealt with someone who hurt you, or advised you poorly... I am so sorry for your pain, but that is not me. I have not done that to you.  My church has not done that to you.  There are good and bad individuals in all walks of life and in ALL faiths. That does not mean that we are all bad or evil, or have ill intent. That is to say that if person is purple, and they treated me wrong, I do not discriminate against all people who are purple. I want the freedom to choose... that is all.  I just want the freedom to decide that for myself.  I have no problem with you if you do not believe in a God, because that is your choice, whether I don't understand it or not.  That way of thinking does not bring me peace.  That is not something that helps me to sleep at night,,, when I think of my children, who feel so far from me.  Maybe you would feel differently if you had walked a mile in my shoes. If you had felt the desperate, heart wrenching pain of losing three of my children.  I HAVE to believe in something, or I might lose my mind all together. In fact, after the experience with losing my daughter at a twenty-seven week gestation, I almost did lose it all.  I have an eight month period that I cannot account for.  Even for all of my faith and belief, I still could not handle the loss of one more of my precious children. I don't know if that would even matter to you.  Would that make a difference in the way that you think? I don't know.  I can only speak for myself.  This is my blog, about my life, which includes my faith and my growth.
I know that this image... to the right is a bit dramatic, but I believe that we are forgetting.  We are forgetting what hatred can do.  We are forgetting what evil can come as a result of intolerance and prejudice. I have a maybe morbid curiosity about the Holocaust.  I feel like I need to know their stories. Maybe it is because in my own way... I have tragedy too.  I do not compare myself to them.  What they lived through was horrific, and unacceptable. It was evil. Just plain evil, but it is also the result of someone not wanting someone to exist in their own faith, lifestyle, birthright.  It breaks my heart to learn about what happened to them.  I will never understand their fear, sorrow, pain, terror, desperation, and heart wrenching loss. My heart is with them, and I don't want people to forget them.  I also want for people to know that it is not okay.  If you do not understand us... that does not mean that you have to hate me.  I do not understand the atheist point of view, but that does not make me hate you.
I hold my religion to be sacred.  I want the freedom to believe the way of my conscience. I have that right.  Even if there are those who don't want to let me.
Did you know that the "Mormon", (our nickname) is the only faith to have been pursued and mobbed from state to state, until they came to a land that no one wanted.  We are the only ones to have an extermination order put out against all Mormons, by the Governor of Missouri Lilburn Boggs.  There is history and he said, she said about the circumstances.  My point is... that we have not learned that this type of history is wrong.  When all is said and done... the Jews are still Jewish.  The latter-day saints are still Mormons.  We cannot continue down this path of pain and sorrow.  Frankly, it is ridiculous. You can have your belief system... whatever that is.  I just want the freedom to have my own.  It seems that our world is becoming a hotbed of different beliefs, faiths, secret organizations, and lifestyles. This world is getting smaller and smaller and there is no room for hatred anymore.
 Now, when it comes to my faith, I do not ask that you take this all on my word.  I do not expect you to believe me.  I do not expect you to do anything other than give me the chance to live my faith and live by what I have come to believe is my right and is a blessing to my life.
  Back on topic, when we were finally able to go to the temple to be sealed as an eternal family... it was one of the happiest days of my life, and continues to be my salvation and my daily strength.  It might not mean anything to you, but my knowledge, because it is more than faith to me now, I know that my children are waiting for me.  They are safe, and together and waiting for us to be together again.  Why would you want to deny me that?
I was sealed to my husband and my children on Sept. 28th, 1996, ten days before the death of my first child, Anthony.  My heart is forever with him in heaven.  That is a comfort that cannot ever be taken away. I wish you peace, love and tolerance, as you change throughout your life, because there will be things that will happen in your life... that will change you.  I love my family.  I love my gospel.  I love my God and He comforts me and gives me strength every day.  I wish you well, whatever you believe. Whatever you need.  I wish you peace.

Friday, February 19, 2016

My Really Good Day! Kind of a Miracle Day!

Today was an amazing day.  It did not start out that way but eventually it did get there.  I dragged around this morning, taking my normal diet of monsters... every pain pill I need to get me back to feeling slightly able to get out of bed. I fired up my heating pad and prepared to take my voyage steps toward the bathroom.  Chronic pain can really make the simplest things feel as though you have to a mountain to climb.  So the day started.  I worked on school with my littlest one, and made sure that everyone had breakfast, brushed their teeth and so forth.  Everyone had started their day.  A few important chores were completed, (I supervised) like the dogs were let out to pee.  Their food and fresh water were prepared and then the carpets were thoroughly vacuumed; something that HAS to be done when you have a number of big, slobbery, wonderful dogs. The kids got their work done, while my husband and my oldest daughter went to Cosmoprof to get some hair supplies.  If you saw my past post you would know that my daughter recently did a color melt of deep blue to teal on my hair.  Well, that gave my 13 year old the courage to get her hair done too, but like so many processes in life.... there are a few hiccups. She needed to go and get a specific toner to work with my daughters lightening of her naturally dirty blond hair.
  Long story longer... my husband brought back lunch and we had a picnic in our room.  We've had to adapt a lot of things with me always having to lie down with the heating pad and meds.  We sometimes put on an old monster movie on the weekends and everyone hangs out with me, and some buttered popcorn of course. lol.
Anyway, I got off topic. So we had lunch... my daughter got started on my other daughters hair, my son had finished his homework and online work for the day (we do online schooling). If you are wondering how that works... we have an online planner on which we receive the assignments for the week... month... and so on.  We have book, workbooks, and computers provided by the school.  We have teachers, one for my elementary age daughter, and many teachers for middle school and high school.  My oldest daughter graduated from high school (ceremony and all) and then she graduated from cosmetology school (Toni and Guy),  It is basically public school at home, with homework, live lessons, and supplies.  We love it.  Today my 8 year old got up slow, wore comfy clothes, and was able to work at her own pace.  Wow, now I'm really off topic, but I thought someone might be interested.
So... we completed our day... I got myself ready for physical therapy (at 3:30 p.m.) By then, and I really don't know why... I was feeling very hyper and full of anxiety.  I tried to lay down, take my afternoon doses, and listen to some relaxing music on Pandora (with my headphone), and it helped, and by the time we got to p.t. I was feeling quite a bit better.  
Now this is important.  On Wed. the 17th of Feb. I had gotten another round of shots in my hips.  It was a bilateral, S.I. joint injection.  Basically, I got a lot of painful shots in my hips and around my tailbone. When you receive this... you feel pretty good when you get home. However, eventually that wears off.  I did feel relief in my hips (pain that is on both sides and mostly effects my right leg right now). When the sedation wears off... you have to manage the injection site pain.  That passes after just a day or two.
So back to today, I was a little sore, but was doing great.  I think a mistake some people make is that they get injections, you get immediate relief, but if you rush your activity... you are going to be back to hurting... badly.  I try to rest for the first few days in order for the medicine they injected to have time to do what it is meant to do. I cannot emphasize this enough.  You have to learn to pace yourself when it comes to pain relief, or pain management. That is what I did, and it finally paid off.  I have had p.t. for quite a few months.  When I started... well I could barely walk, and when they started my with the simplest of exercises I thought to myself... "This is pathetic.
 It's going to take me years to make any progress".  However, they would monitor my progress and when they thought I could do it... they would up my challenge level.  They gave me a stronger exercise band with a greater resistant level.  They have quite a few different levels of resistance. They would also give me a new exercise.
They would have me try to use weights, Ride the stationary bike for a few minutes.  I started at two minutes and I'm now up to 5.  So I was making progress.  I tried to work out at home, but found that after one day of work out... I had to rest for 2 or 3.  I had workouts 2 times a week. It was hard to keep believing that this was going to do anything for me.  Then a few months later we come to today.  A day unlike any other, except that this time I walked in feeling pretty great.  The shots had worked. I was virtually... well almost... pain free. I was struggling with muscle spasms (which always happens when one area of pain is relieved.  It is like my muscles go into freak out mode).
Nevertheless, I went in there and was feeling pretty good.  Little did I know how good I was.  I was able for the first time.... EVER... I was able to do every single exercise they ever wanted me to do.  It was amazing.  I felt like a new person!  I was over the moon and high on happiness.  I couldn't wait to tell my kids how well I had done.  My husband was there with me, but it felt amazing to have him be proud of me. I hurried to the kitchen, got a snack and ate a baby kosher dill pickle.  I spent a few minutes petting my dogs and just absolutely reveling in my joy.  I even took a few minutes to snog my husband. A problem that people who live with extreme chronic pain is that your love life tends to suffer... greatly.  If all you feel is pain, and your meds. barely give you relief, you don't really feeling kissing and anything else... is near impossible.  But today I felt so good, I just had to give him a little catching up time.  Now, I might pay for this day... in fact I know that I will, because it is all beginning to flood back into me, but I am not going to let it stop me from believing that there is still a chance for me. By the way... wheelchairs don't work for me... I cannot sit (especially without my orthopedic pillow) for any real length of time. Bed it is for me. I can have horrible days, when I don't have any hope, but every now and then... a miracle is possible.  Today was that day.  So, I have made a very grand decision.  I am going to take my days one day at a time.  I am going to realize that I might hurt so bad that I cannot function, but that does not mean that everyday is going to be like that. I am meeting with a surgeon on the 29th of this month.  I hope that after we meet... it won't be long until we can implant my spine stimulator.  If it is successful... I could be pain free, or at least pain manageable for many days at a time. I also realize that I might never be able to go without pain medicines completely, but now... because of today... I have hope. I am not going to let any setbacks, that might actually start tonight...get me down and take away my hope.  I will always try to remember to have hope. Even if I have to make a giant sign to hang on my wall. lol.
 I wanted to pass on this crazy... jumbled... long... windy path that is my life and my story in order to help someone who might be going through the same sort of situation that I am in. I hope that by somehow passing this on to you... whoever you are... or anyone who may be trying to find some hope, encouragement... or whatever... I hope that this might bring you some comfort at least. Try to remember that you are not alone.  I suffer from chronic and extreme spine, hip, neck and leg pain, but I am not going to be giving up on a better quality of life any time soon.  I wish you all good health, relief from what ails you, happiness and hope. I hope that you will find that thing that inspires you.  I hope that you will find that thing that brings you comfort and can give you your life back. Remember, that if you need to... you can search for a second opinion.  If your doctor is not filling your needs...don't be afraid to ask for what you need to make your quality of life better.  Most doctors become fairly offended if you ask them to refer you to someone else.  A good thing to do is look on the internet.  Often you can find reviews from patients letting you know how good the quality of their care was.  You can also talk to friends, family and other people in your life like that.  Unfortunately, I didn't find the help I needed until we took a big step and moved to Arizona.  We prayerfully went to where we thought the climate might be best for our various ailments.  Now we both feel so much better. (my husband suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other conditions).  I do pray that you can find those people that will help you find comfort, the kind that I needed so desperately. Good luck you guys, and remember that if you are at your wits end... there is prayer.  If you have never prayed before... then please try.  God is listening.  
DISCLAIMER: This section contains my faith and religious belief.  If you don't want to read that part... I won't be offended.  If you do read on... I hope my advice helps.  I just feel like I've got to try.
For me... we always begin by addressing the father. Say, "Father in heaven... I come before thee in prayer to ask... Then end with, "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." It is that simple.  You can fill the contents of your prayer any way you want... and no one ever need know... unless you want them to know.  But from experience... I can promise that He hears you.  Just talk to him like you would a loved one, because I do believe he loves you.  Anyway, this is me. This is my life. This is my belief, and it has worked for me so far.  I do hope that you will have love, comfort, encouragement and hope.  Talk at ya soon. Later.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rape (girls, women, boys, and men)...

Okay... this is my train of thought for today.  This is not an easy topic for me, but I believe that someone out there might need to read this. I have recently become aware of some "celebrity" YouTubers using their fame to harm young women.  They say they were just pranks, or just mistakes.  Once is a mistake. Doing something repeatedly, and creating a channel doing it as a basis for your vlog is horrific.  There are a few people trying to draw attention to this problem.  I think that it has to be done.  When one person tells their truth, despite the risks, then you can... sometimes inspire others to tell their truth... creating a chain of awareness and healing. It gives all of us to see these monsters for who they are also, because that is what they are... MONSTERS!  Truth is hard to say though, so here is mine.  I was 13 years old, and I snuck out to meet an older boy who I had a huge crush on.  I was so excited and thrilled by even the thought of getting time with him.  However, he had other plans.  He was older than me, and he knew exactly what was going to happen.  I was blissfully innocent and ignorant.  I did not understand what the consequences of doing what I was doing could be.
 That night... we met up... he said that he wanted to go see his cousin for a minute, before we went out.  We went in. He introduced us.  He took me upstairs to show me something... and then he proceeded to... rape... me.  When the night was over... I felt like any ounce of me that I once had, was gone.... buried... never to return.  I continued to make one poor decision after another.  I started smoking, drinking, lying, and other unhealthy practices. I am now 43 years old, and I am just now beginning to heal.  I have suffered for 30 years. I have struggled to define who I am.  I lost all my innocence that night.  I lost my self respect. I lost myself.  I had nightmares for many of those years.  I couldn't even hear the world rape without dying a little more inside.  I could not have a healthy relationship with my husband, a man who truly loved me.  I had spiraled in to all sorts of bad, and self destructive behavior. I was no longer that little girl with a crush.  I was a shell, a hollow, empty, lost, lonely, heartbroken shell.  I was stuck in my own private hell.
I think of the millions of kids out there who make decisions like that every day. Some of you are lucky. You come home stupider, but safe.  I was not so lucky.
The young men, not boys, but young men who do this degrading, disrespectful, and disgusting acts to women (for what they claim to be entertainment) are predators, vicious, selfish, perverted predators. They use their celebrity to lure you into a choice you might not have made if you had never known them. Some of the women were touch against their will. Some of them had to endure being flashed by the naked male... in public.  Some of the girls were asked to do things, perform tasks, or "sext" them back and worse.  Some women were sought after because they were drunk.  Now that is an entirely other topic for me, but NO ONE deserves to be assaulted.  NO ONE!  Of course there are things you can do to lower your risk of this happening to you, but the truth is... If a boy or man makes a plan to do this... there is not much you can do to stop it.
However, if we talk about it, it makes more girls aware of the risks.  I was too young to understand the ways of men and women.  I did not really even know what sex was or how it worked.  In one minute all of that innocence was gone.  It was terrifying, it changed my life for the worse, and it never left my thoughts.  The worst part of all of that there are lots of fans of these men who harass, threaten, belittle these women. They abuse them and defend the predator... even going as far as to say that it's harmless and funny! THAT IS INFURIATING TO ME!  What is worse, even than that, is that there are women and girls out there who also defend these men, harass, and belittle the girls and women who come forward. Of all people, women betraying women is inexcusable.  I do not understand this.
This does not make me a prude.  It does not mean that I am an idiot who cannot think for myself.  It does not mean that I am ignorant of the ways of the world.  I am more aware than most. I am a victim, and now... I am strong enough now to tell you... RAPE IS NEVER OKAY!
We used to have censors... who tried to keep the moral code for our society.  To say there are censors now... is a joke.  I know that that will get people fired up against me, but I don't care.
WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT! There are shows today... that see no harm in glorifying rape and violence against women and men.  You know which ones those are.  This is unacceptable, but because the moral compass of our world is skewed it will continue to be shown... and it will happen more and more... the more we accept it.  Everyone says we can choose for ourselves.  That is true, but our "modern" way does not seem to be improving things. We have so much power, but we don't use it.  Shows, movies, even musicians cannot do what they do, be who they want to be, or be as successful as they are if we don't stand for it.  I believe in free speech, but there are so little things to be proud of today. I believe in free speech.  I truly do, but some things are not okay.  Some things are not supposed to be put up with. I would never assume to tell you how to live your life, but for an example of what I am talking about.
EXAMPLE: I have known people who lived their lives without a parent in the house.  There home was full of chaos, drinking, drugs, cheating, and underage and unmarried pregnancy. No one was truly happy. I thought, "This has got to be better than my home, where my parents had rules, responsibility and morals. Where is the fun in living for them, and following their rules,"but I was wrong. I was miserable.  I felt lonely, scared, lost, and so, so sad.  It was NOT better. After a couple of weeks, I finally went home. I was safer, but I did not do much better. My damage had been done... beginning with rape.  For all the love I got, it didn't heal my heart. I was broken, because I took a risk and paid the price. It wasn't until I got married and started to have kids of my own that I found out how wrong I was, and how much pain I was in.
Now, I am no fool. Realistically, I don't have a clue if this will help anyone. I will probably be bullied, harassed, or told I should just shut my idiot mouth, but I don't care. I have freedom of speech too, and I have nothing to lose by speaking my peace.  I have no problem dealing with the consequences of my blog post.  I will defend broken women for the rest of my life. Those things that you are suffering will eventually take over who you are... changing you, making who you once were a forgotten shadow. I am taking my power back! I did not say anything then, but I am saying it now... "You DO NOT have to suffer in silence.  I have to apologize though, I don't know how the legal system works.  I do not know how to handle interviews with the police department.  I do not even know how to tell your parents.  I never did any of that.  I stayed quiet.  I suffered in silence.  I was bullied, sought after, and was frankly... never the same.
I now have a daughter who is 13 years old. I am shattered to see her innocence, and realize what I lost.  Her life is healthy, peaceful, fun, and happy.  She is scared about growing up and the changes that she is going through, but she is safe.  I never will get that back.  Once upon a time... I was a happy, innocent 13 year old.  That night I was a victim, robbed of everything I held dear.  It took me 30 years to find peace, and to feel safe again, although I fear every time my daughters leave the house, and I will never live with no less than 2 English Mastiffs.  I will never live again in ignorance, and I will never stop being there for girls and women who might need my story.  We have to make a world where girls and women who are assaulted, raped, and touched without their consent have to be afraid, bullied, and victimized.  We have to stop those who are find it allowed, or worse yet funny.  We don't have to be silent victims anymore.  STAND UP TO YOUR ATTACKERS... no matter the risk!  You only give them all the power if you don't tell someone.  They will use your silence to hurt another.
If you are a victim of rape... please tell someone....please.  Don't suffer alone.
I am putting this hotline number on my post to help you if you have no where else you can turn.  Sometimes it is easier to tell a stranger than someone you are afraid won't believe you, or will hurt by this knowledge, but please... please... please don't be afraid.  Get help.
There is strength when you have the support you need. As long as I am alive, you will know that you are NEVER alone. You are in my prayers, my thoughts, and my heart, but do not suffer in silence. TAKE BACK YOUR POWER! Don't wait.
Do it now.  I love you. Please pass it on. If you are not a victim... do what you can to make yourself a helper.  It could change someone's life.  This is the National Hotline for people who suffer from a sexual assault/sexual molestation... so on.
I want you to have an option to help you get the help that you need.
Need help?
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
How can the hotline help me?
Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:
  • Confidential, judgment-free support from a trained staff member
  • Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams
  • Someone to help you talk through what happened
  • Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery
  • Referrals for long term support in your area
  • Information about the laws in your area
  • Basic information about medical concerns
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is a safe, confidential service.

P.S.  Men CAN be victims too.  It is not a joke, and I can imagine that for them it must be even harder to get help.  I can imagine that there is less help for them than any of us.  Please, if you are a boy or man who is suffering in silence, please do not remain silent.  Take away their power over you and ask for help. Please. There are women's prisons for a reason. Men can be hurt, abused, degraded, bullied, and harassed as well.  This post is also for you.  Get help. Don't stop until someone listens to you.  Tell your story.  I know it is embarrassing, painful, humiliating, and not supposed to happen, but if it has, please get help, even if it is a confidential help. Many therapists are trained in rape (for men and women). Ask around. If you have a church you attend, you can privately ask for advice, you don't even have to tell them why, just ask who your church might have available.  You might know a friend, or acquaintance who might have a person to suggest.  You can also ask your doctor.  You never have to be specific when asking for help.  Something I learned in therapy is that YOU NEVER HAVE TO HAVE AN EXCUSE, or GIVE AN EXPLANATION for why you need this help, but please get it. Use the number I have provided above. It does not say Women Only.  Please get help. You deserve to be heard, and you deserve to be able to heal and take your life back.  It will be okay.  You are in my prayers. (that might not mean anything to you, but it does to me).

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lost Friendship, Treasured Memories... and Risks Without Regret...

Okay, so this is either a midlife crisis, or this is me.  Personally.... speaking for myself, this is me.  The me inside of me that has been to afraid to show itself. I attribute this to the hard work I have been doing in therapy.  Yes, therapy.  I am NOT afraid to say it.  I have had to have a lot of therapy, and I am not ashamed.  I would never be ashamed, because it is giving me my life back.  I am finally finding myself, the self that I hid for all of these painful years.  I know that if you think back to when you were a kid, when you were innocent.  When you were simple, not yet jaded by life.  I want to be that person again, and I think I am finding it.  If you were a kid and your mom said... sure you can dye your hair blue... would you?  I remember saying stuff like, "When I'm a grown up I'm gonna eat as much junk as I want.  I'm gonna watch cartoons until my eyes fall out. I'm gonna stay up late and never take a bath." Okay that last one was a bit much, but do you know what I mean?
So I'm  43 and I decided that no matter what people might say, which was really hard to do, because I fear judgement, I was going to do my hair funky.  My kids actually helped me search for a color they liked.  I grew up with blue is for boys and pink is for girls, so blue was a hang up of mine, but you know what... my birthstone is sapphire, so I thought... just go for it.  What do you have to lose.  Because of my life events, tragedies, and the chronic back, neck and hip pains that I have suffered with for years has made it impossible to make and keep friends.  I am so glad that I have my husband and my kids, because without them... I would have no one.  This is not a pity party (as we used to say when we were kids), this is just my truth. I think I'm a nice person.  I am shy, but nice, and obviously secretly crazy, but that is not a reason not to be my friend.
Anyway, what got me started today was that I got a message on facebook from one of my oldest and dearest friend.  She is one of a small group of girls that shared my life in my most difficult years.  We haven't talked since we all turned 18, but I miss them more than I would ever express.  However, there was a lot of thing's I was afraid to tell her.They did not know the horrors I was going through at the time, not because I did not trust them to love me through it, but because they were my safe place at a tragic and difficult time.
Do you remember what it was like to turn 13?  Do you remember the way it felt when you were thirteen (girls) going through all of those changes?  Our bodies were changing into these strange and alien things, and we were beginning to leave our childhood behind.
My daughter is now 13 years old and I see her tenderness.  I am helping her through her fear.  I am supporting her through this scary time in her life, and it crushes me to see her fear.  Then I realized with the weight of a ton of bricks landing on my heart that that was the same age that I was when I was assaulted (raped), a word that up until a few months ago I couldn't hear or say without losing it.
Because of therapy I can finally deal with it.  I wish I could have told my friends, but I was not sure how they would react.  I went from an innocent 13 year old, to an adult in a split second.  I did not have time to enjoy my life. However, the only time I found any peace and joy was when I was with my friends.  They made me complete.  They made me laugh until I hurt. They gave me hope and peace.  I can never thank them enough for the friendship and love they gave me so freely and easily.  How do you express the love you have for what they unconsciously did?  I don't know, but I pray I can find them again.
Now, I realize that life happens. I know that family can make little time available for other people, but in my heart I truly hope that somehow we can find a glimpse of what we had.  That would make me happier than I could ever say.  I don't resent any of them.  I don't have one ill feeling toward any of them.  They have and will always be that spot in my heart filled with love, friendship, joy and some of the best memories that I have ever had. Even if I never get the chance to see them, talk to them, or be in their lives again... they will always be in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers. I have nothing but joy, gratitude, and treasured memories when I think of them.  Which is so strange, because so much was happening to me at that time.  They were my absolutely safe and happy place. How do you let go of friends that you love so much? Well, you grow up. You have different paths. You need each other less and less.  We move... we live... different paths can split up the closest of friends.  I considered them sisters, but just like my daughter preparing to live her life without our constant care, we all have different lives to live.
I just want you to think for a moment about those you love, what they mean to you, and be grateful you have them, even if it is only for a moment.  I will forever be grateful for them.  God bless guys and be grateful for the loves in your lives. This is my one request of anyone who reads this is that you live... laugh... love... with pure happiness.  Hang on to those who think you are interesting, funny, sweet, smart, and who share your sense of wonder and love for who appreciate you for who you are. There are so few people who can find that kind of love and friendship. I am lucky enough to have found not only the love of my life, but my very best friend.  Thank you Tony for being here for me in the aftermath of my life.  I love you and I thank you for supporting and loving me through it all.  I am so happy to be sharing my recovery with you too.  You are amazing and I don't think I would have anyone, if I didn't have you.  God bless guys.  Hang in there and love those who are closest to you. Later.