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There are so many times I deal with flare-ups for no reason at all.  This one is worth it.

Hello dear reader.

I got home yesterday from my visit with my daughter. It was incredible to get to spend time with her and my son-in-law. I’m extremely thankful that my pain levels stayed where I could push through them for the majority of the visit.

The pain started getting bad the day before I left. I don’t know about any of you, but I can usually tell if it’s just a bad day or settling in to stay for awhile. This was the settling in kind of pain. My daughter and husband both asked me about staying one more day to see if it would ease up, but I didn’t think it would help.  The drive home was not fun.  Wednesday was painful, but yesterday was much worse.

There are so many times I deal with flare-ups for no reason at all.  This one is worth it. I got to visit Louissa. We spent the weekend just hanging out around the house and talking.  We have many of the same interests, so that itself was worth the drive.  I got to go meet a couple of her kids on Monday, which was a lot of fun.  When we left the school she brought me up to the Holy City .  Here’s a link to pictures and the story of it in case you missed it:  The Holy City of the Wichitas .  Then Tuesday evening I got to go to the school’s 4th of July pageant.  It was great!

I’m planning to spend this weekend sitting around the house with Tim and the dogs and taking long naps.   I’m going to read (or listen to) a good book and relax.  I think that’s part of finding life too.

We’ll be checking in on the Escape Book Club the beginning of next week.  Check that out if you haven’t gotten involved with it yet.  We’re going to have a good time with it.  Here’s our first book:  Escape Book Club Book

Until next time…

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Hardly Children by Laura Adamczyk, a book review

The stories seem random, but have an underlying theme of innocence being lost.

Hello dear reader.

Hardly Children is a series of short stories about children who have to deal with adult issues. The stories seem random, but have an underlying theme of innocence being lost.
I found some of the stories difficult to read because they seemed very harsh. That said, I was compelled to keep reading.
Some of the stories stuck in my head and I found myself thinking about them long after I finished reading them. Laura Adamczyk writes bluntly from the children’s viewpoints and has the ability to draw you in quickly.
I’d recommend this book as an interesting read. However, I feel I have to add a trigger alert for people who had, for lack of a better word, difficult childhoods.

I was given a free copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hardly Children will be available November 20, 2018.

Until next time…

Mental health issues

I’ve come up with a few ideas to try to combat what’s happening in my head.

Hello dear reader.

Before I begin, I need to make clear that I am NOT a mental health professional. The things I say are from my personal experience.

Good. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk.

I’ve spoken a lot on this blog about my physical issues. Today, however, I want to speak about my mental issues.

I’ve been diagnosed with chronic depression, PTSD, GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), and ADD. I’m being treated for all of these, and have been for some time now. Another thing you need to know about me is that I’ve spent most of my life fighting for children. So the horrific actions being taken against immigrant children is really eating at me (see Father’s day Nightmare). I feel helpless to do anything. I find myself reading and watching everything I can find about it.

I’ve been noticing the symptoms of my mental illness getting worse as this situation continues. I’m feeling high levels of stress and anxiety. I feel a weight pressing me down. Everything feels dark and hopeless.

I’m certain I’m not the only one being affected like this. I’ve come up with a few ideas to try to combat what’s happening in my head.

  1. Turn off the news. TV, internet, social media, etc.
  2. Find a distraction. Listen to music, read a book, watch a movie.
  3. Replace the negativity with something uplifting. Make the distractions pleasant. Read a book that’s heartwarming or funny. Choose a comedy for a movie. Listen to a comedian or watch a sitcom.
  4. Ask for help. Talk to your spouse, therapist, friend, blog. Don’t try to handle it alone.

Those are what I’ve come up with so far. I’m doing #4 right now, asking for your help. Is this affecting you too? How are you handling it? What’s worked (or failed) for you?

If you’re reading this on Facebook, Twitter or another site, please click on the title of the post. That will bring you to my site. At the end of the post is a comment box. Please put your responses there so they become part of this post. That way everyone can see them. I want this to help as many people as possible.

Until next time…

Father’s Day Nightmare

What’s happening to them constitutes nothing short of torture.

Hello dear reader.

I normally keep my political positions to myself, but I just can’t stay silent about the horror that is going on right now. I’m talking about the immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. I don’t know where to begin saying how many ways this is wrong. I’m appalled that something like this is happening in this country.

These people are being charged with a crime for trying to find a safer life for themselves and their children. They’re being incarcerated for this. Some have tried to come into the country illegally out of desperation, but many have followed the law to ask for asylum. For this they’re labled criminals. Their children are being taken because they can’t be incarcerated because of a crime their parents committed. Instead they are taken forcefully from the parents and incarcerated in a different facility. This is insane!

These children are being psychologically damaged in ways most of them will never recover from. What’s happening to them constitutes nothing short of torture. I can’t overstate the cruelty of this. Why is it happening? It’s happening as a political tool. Think about that for a moment, let it sink in. Children are being tortured and permanently damaged so our so-called president can get his way. Permanent damage

I’m ashamed that this is being allowed to happen. Many articles I’ve read are seeking lawyers to help these poor children, which I’m not. I want to help these poor children and the only way I can think of to do that is to speak out against this. I don’t have a huge following, but I’m using the small platform I have to do that. I wish with my whole broken heart that I could do more.

So today, on father’s day, hold your children close to you and say a prayer for the fathers who’ve been stripped of their children for the crime of trying to give them a safe life. Say a prayer for the roughly 2,000 children who have no idea what they’ve done wrong to cause them to be removed from their parents and jailed. Say a prayer for them as they sit in a detention center wondering if they’ll ever see their parents again. Please.

Heartbreaking,

If you’re in a position to do more than say a prayer, then do more. That’s what I’m trying to do here.

Until next time…

Breaking news!!

https://www.texastribune.org/2018/06/20/trump-order-immigrant-families-together-separated/

Thank God!!!

Lessons

Some lessons are more important than others, some are easier to learn than others, and it’s a life-long endeavor.

Hello dear reader.

I hope all the mothers out there had a wonderful mother’s day. I had a very emotional day. I spent quite a bit of time talking with two of my children, my mother, and my mother-in-law, which was great. I also spent a lot of time feeling how much I miss the two of my children who aren’t speaking to me. I always miss them, but it hits me harder on holidays and birthdays. I’ve tried to turn it into a learning experience, though probably not the way you’d think. I’m not going to go into the whole mess about why the situation is the way it is except to say that most of it was beyond my control. The biggest thing I’ve learned from it is that I can’t hold myself responsible for other peoples’ behavior, only how I react to their choices. I can’t force my will on anyone else. I can choose to stop putting myself in situations that open me up for further pain. That was a difficult thing for me to understand. Lesson learned.

Here’s another situation that’s not nearly as important, but is still a learning experience. I read over my last post and realized how scattered it was, definitely not my best writing. I think it turned out that way because I was trying to fit in too many things. I was more concerned with it not being overly long than I was with clarity. What did I learn from that? I learned that clarity needs to be priority. I should have either let the post run longer or split it up. Lesson learned.

Some learning experiences are a work in progress. I’ve learned them in my head but struggle with learning them in my life. For example, I blew my back out yesterday. I’m in a huge amount of pain today and can’t walk at all without my cane. I guess I need to quit doing crazy things like vacuuming the floor. The lesson I’m struggling so much with is that I have no reason to feel guilty. I know for a fact I didn’t do anything wrong, yet I still feel guilty for not being able to cook dinner for my husband. I feel guilty about having to cancel a doctor appointment I had scheduled for tomorrow. It’s five hours round trip and even if I got someone else to drive, the ride would be absolute torture. I have no reason to feel guilty, yet I still do. Lesson in progress.

Some lessons are more important than others, some are easier to learn than others, and it’s a life-long endeavor. What are some of the hardest/most important lessons you’ve learned?

Until next time…

Lessons learned

I find it quite ironic that by the time we (parents) finally figure it all out, the children are no longer there to benefit from that knowledge.

Hello dear reader,

The last time I wrote I was trying to explain how St. George is one of the positive things in my life.  I got sidetracked (as usual) but that’s part of who I am and the things I deal with.  One last thing I want to explain about the meals we cook five days a week is that everything is donated.  This makes cooking there different from cooking anywhere else.  Normal cooking involves deciding what to make and gathering the ingredients to make it.  Cooking at St. George is the exact opposite of normal.  When you get there you see what has come in and what leftovers there might be from the day before and you figure out what you can make with what you have.  This involves a lot of creativity and experimentation.  But somehow it always works.  I’ve been working with St. George for over 11 years and there has never been a time we didn’t have food.  We feed, on average, 50 people a day.  One last thing…nobody will ever ask you to come to church, preach at you, ask you for money, etc.  The meals are simply a place where people from all walks of life gather over food and create community.  Isn’t that cool?

Okay, enough about that.  My kids have really been on my mind lately.  They always are, but some times are harder than others.  This is a harder time.  I miss them like crazy.  I would give anything to go back to when they were little and all home.  I can look back now and see so many mistakes I made in raising them, but I did the best I could with what I had at the time.  I didn’t have a “childhood” like many people.  I spent those years wishing and waiting for the time I could leave home.  I was determined that my children would have a childhood where they would be able to look back and remember those days as happy and fun.  I wanted them to have good memories of growing up.  My only guidance in how to parent my children was to do the opposite of what my parents did. 

I do not believe in physical punishment.  All that does, in my opinion, is teach children that if someone isn’t doing what you want them to, then you simply hurt them until they do.  Let me be very clear here…I believe children need discipline and structure.  It makes them feel safe and secure.  They know what to expect and they don’t live in constant fear never knowing what will happen.  I do not believe in physical discipline.  I can honestly say that my children were very well mannered and well behaved children.  I heard that from many people.  Off on another sidetrack. 

The point is that kids don’t come with instructions and even if they did you’d need separate ones for each child.  Hindsight, as the saying goes, is 20/20.  I would have loved to know then what I know now.  My children are all grown and have lives of their own.  That’s what we try to prepare them for, isn’t it?  While I know I messed up a lot, they’re all living happy and successful lives.  They all know how to give and receive love.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s the definition of successful.  So I must have done something right. 

I find it quite ironic that by the time we (parents) finally figure things out, our children are no longer there to benefit from that knowledge.  I think the biggest lesson I learned was how important it is to listen, really listen to our children.  A five year old telling you in detail about everything that happened at school today (who got in trouble, who they played with at recess, what they drew, what they had for lunch and whether they liked it or it was gross, what movie they watched, whether or not they slept at rest time, you get the point) can seem very trivial, even irritating, especially when you’re trying to get something else done.  However, ten years later when they want to talk to you about the pressure they feel from their boyfriend (or girlfriend) to have sex or use drugs, now that’s important to us!  The thing people don’t seem to get is that in your child’s eyes they are equally important at the time.  Here’s the real kicker….if you didn’t stop to listen to them when they were five and what happened at school today was important tothem then by the time what they have to say is important to you they’ve given up trying to make you listen.  The bottom line is that the dishes and laundry and other housework is always going to be there.  Your children aren’t. The things that matter to them are important, no matter the age or topic.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these things. So please feel free to hit that little comment box and tell me how you feel about it.

Until next time….

Please help

Hello dear reader.

Today I’m going to use my blog to ask for your help.  Any of you who know anything about me know how important the work CASA does is to me.  Children are given a voice they wouldn’t otherwise have, someone to be in their corner when he world as they know it has fallen off it’s axis, and someone to make sure they don’t simply fall through the cracks. In many cases, the CASA is the only stable thing in their lives during (and sometimes even after) the time their parents are getting treatment, therapy, or just trying to learn how to be a parent. The majority of work done by this incredible organization is done by volunteers, but there are still a lot of things that cost money, and that’s hard to come by in the best of times. I’m copying a letter I received today. It explains what’s happening and how you can help. Please. It’ll only take a moment of your time and it won’t cost you a dime. Children deserve to have someone on their side.

What’s Happening:

The CASA program has been called a model volunteer program for abused and neglected children. Volunteer advocates now work with over 230,000 children a year throughout the US. But this is only 35% of the children who need a volunteer. Federal funding has been the most significant source of support for reaching more children who urgently need our help.

Now, Federal funding for this crucial work is in serious jeopardy. Earlier this week the House of Representatives slashed millions of dollars from the authorized funding for CASA – recommending just $3.5 million for CASA advocacy in 2014. Next Tuesday, July 16, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee will meet to determine the 2014 funding level for the CASA program. This is our only chance to save funding for the CASA program. Thousands of abused and neglected children are at risk of losing the most trusted adult in their young lives. Your help is urgently needed!

What you can do:

First, see if your state, or the state of someone you know, is listed below:

State Senator to contact Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (Vice Chairman) Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski Arkansas Senator John Boozman and Senator Mark Pryor California Senator Dianne Feinstein Delaware Senator Chris Coons Illinois Senator Mark Kirk Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu Maine Senator Susan Collins Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski (Chairwoman) New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy

Second, take these two easy steps immediately:

1. If your Senator is listed, email or call to urge him or her to appropriate the authorized funding level of $12 million for the CASA program. 2. Forward thisalert to your network of friends and colleagues in any of the states listed, and ask them to join you in taking immediate action for the children.

Here’s how to reach your senator:

Go to http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/

Enter your zip code (only) and the site will take you directly to the contact information for your members of Congress. Click on the “Contact Form” for your senator, and it will link you directly to him/her, from where you can submit your request.

Here’s a Sample Message to send to Senate offices:

Please restore full funding of $12 million as authorized for the CASA program in the Violence Against Women Act.

In a Justice Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder on June 6, committee members noted that $6.9 billion— a full 25% of the Department of Justice budget proposal for FY 2014— is taken up for federal prisons. And the prison population is ever-increasing.

CASA advocacy is an important strategy in criminal prevention efforts. A study by the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, has found that children who have been abused or neglected are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles. And foster youth are 30% more likely to become violent criminals as adults.

The Department of Justice has recognized the CASA model as a model juvenile delinquency prevention program. More than 400,000 children still need CASA advocates to protect their safety and bring stability into their futures.

With the continued rise in the prison population, and its impact upon society, restoring funding for the CASA program is neither controversial nor debatable. It is a proven solution to bring stability into vulnerable children’s lives, and to prevent far more costly consequences for their futures and that of society.

Thank you for your attention and support to this critical issue!

Your name Your Address Your City/State/Zip Your email

Thank you! If you have questions, contact carmelaw@casaforchildren.org

If you’re taking the time to do this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you’d like to know more about what CASA does, I have a post entitled “What is a CASA?” which will tell you from a volunteer’s perspective, or you can follow this link to the CASA organization itself… http://www.casaforchildren.org.

Thank you again.

Until next time…