Book Escape Club

If you haven’t gotten involved yet, you still have time. You really don’t want to miss out on this!

Hello dear reader.

Books have always been an escape for me, and I love hearing others’ thoughts about them. So I’m very excited that the Book Escape Club is going to happen! 😄 I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. If you haven’t gotten involved yet, you still have time. You really don’t want to miss out on this!

I’ve been thinking about how much time we should spend reading each book. I know everyone has a lot going on and I want this to be fun, an escape, not something that causes pressure and stress. So I’m thinking flexibility. A week after we start a new book we’ll all check in to see how it’s going. We’ll do the same thing the next week. No spoilers allowed. When everyone is ready, the questions will be posted and we’ll discuss them for the next week. I think allowing a month for each book, reading and discussion, should be good. That’s about three weeks to read and one for discussion. Again, however, it’s about flexibility and fun. I’m totally open to any suggestions about what will work best.

I’ll announce our first book at the beginning of July. That choice will be made by someone different for the next book so everyone gets to choose a book. Is that okay with everyone?

I’m very excited about this. I hope it turns out to be something we all enjoy.

I’m even more excited that I’m leaving tomorrow to go visit my daughter! I miss her so much and can’t wait to spend time with her.

Until next time…

Book Escape

My daughter and I share a love of books and read some of them at the same time. We can (and do!) talk for hours about books we’ve read or want to read.

Hello dear reader.

One of the biggest surprises I’ve had since I started writing this blog was how many people are dealing with pain, physically, mentally, or both. The intent of my blog is to find ways to enjoy (or just live) life while dealing with pain. I wrote a post not long ago about things I use to distract me from pain. One of the things I listed was reading and/or listening to books. My daughter and I share a love of books and read some of them at the same time. We can (and do!) talk for hours about books we’ve read or want to read. I was thinking about that today and got an idea. It would be fun to have a book club of sorts. Here’s what I’m picturing…

We take turns choosing a book, so we’ll have variety in genre. Once a book is chosen we set an appropriate length of time to read it, understanding that we all have other things in our lives. I’m thinking a month. The book can be read or listened to (audiobooks). When the time is up, the person who chose the book comes up with ten questions and posts them. Everyone who has read the book answers the questions and we discuss it. We can do it in the form of a blog post or in comments. Those of us who do book reviews can do that as well. I know that many people who follow my blog don’t have one of their own, so I’ll gladly be the “voice” for those people. Simply email me and I’ll put it into a blog post.

This isn’t limited to people who deal with pain. Anyone who’s interested is welcome. I think we could have a lot of fun with this!

What do you think? Who’s in?

Until next time…

This should be fun!

Reading is one of my weapons. I can escape the pain, let the story take me to another place. I’ve used books for that all of my life.

Hello dear reader

I’ve talked a lot about things that Chiari has taken away from me. Today I found something new that I can do whether Chiari likes it or not! I should probably slow down and make some sense here. I’m just really excited.

OK, let me back up here.  I love to write. My life’s goal is to be published before I die. The best thing anyone who wants to write can do is read…anything and everything. This is great for me because I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember.

More recently, I’ve been reading some different authors. I’ve come across some books that have been total disappointments.  But I’ve also stumbled on some incredible books!  And when that happens…it’s hard to explain. It’s like finding treasure.  It’s surprising and amazing and you don’t want it to end.

Some wonderful surprises include Christopher Moore (A Dirty Job), Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni), John Green & David Leviathan (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), and most recently Carolyn Kepnes (You). I’m sure some of you are (have been) aware of some of them. But I wasn’t and my life has been improved as a result of my discovery of them. By the way, if you don’t know any of these, I’ve just given you your summer reading list.

That’s all good, but still not clearing up what the excitement is about, right? Well, today I made another discovery. I found a site (actually more than one) where they give you books for free. You choose a book to read and then you write an honest review on it. The only requirement is that you have to have a place to put the review. So this isn’t just awesome for me, it’s great for you too. The reviews go right here on this little blog for you to enjoy or debate or whatever you’d like to do.

I started this post by saying that I had found something that Chiari couldn’t take from me. What does any of this have to do with Chiari? Reading is one of my weapons. I can escape the pain, let the story take me to another place. I’ve used books for that all of my life.

I know this isn’t really that big of a deal, but it’s a positive that I can see. It makes me happy. And I’m going to do it!

I have one final thing on this topic. I’d absolutely love to hear about what you’re reading (besides this, of course ;-O). And as always, feel free to tell me how you feel or ask a question.

Until next time….

Hot Coals

Hello dear reader.

My last couple of posts have been a bit different from what I usually write about, but they’ve been things I’m very passionate about…domestic violence and giving children a voice when they need one.  Today, however, will be a little calmer.  I promise.

I found a quote the other day that really stuck with me.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned”
Buddha

I’ve believed for a long time now that holding on to anger and refusing to forgive, gives the person who wronged you power over you. It hurts you, not them. Buddha just says it better. No matter how it’s said, it’s a truth that a lot of people never grasp.

When I was a child, I wanted more than anything to be grown so my abusive mother and step-father would no longer have control over me. When I was 15, I simply could not deal with it any longer. I was literally losing my mind. So I left. The police found me after a week or so. They gave me a choice between going to Juvie or going home. I thought about it and decided, better the devil you know……right? So I went back. Nothing got better. Things actually got worse. So when I left again a few months later, I had a plan. The plan worked. Instead of sending the police after me, they told me that they would call the police on me if I showed up there. I was free! At least, I thought I was.

Many years went by while I hung on to hurt, anger, hatred, and guilt. Why guilt? Because I had left my four siblings in that hell hole. When I left, I planned to get them out as soon as I could. But I was living in an abandoned car out in a field. In Louisiana. In the summer. I knew I couldn’t take custody of them while I was living like that. It was four years later by the time I had a home of my own, not staying at someone else’s house, and a steady job. By then…..anyway, that’s where the guilt came from.

I went from bad relationship to bad relationship to worse relationship. I was angry, depressed, and felt like a victim. But I didn’t have a clue how to change things. I had gotten away. But I wasn’t FREE. My life still felt the same. I changed geography and who was abusing me, but other than that it was the same life. I’d reach a point where I simply could not deal with it any longer and I’d run, over and over again.

The first time I tried to commit suicide I was 10 years old. I knew that it was dangerous to take more Tylenol than it said to on the bottle, so I swallowed an entire bottle of Tylenol before I went to bed. I completely expected to die during the night. Boy was I mad when I woke up in the morning! That was the first of many attempts throughout my life. I simply could not deal with my life any longer and I tried to run.

It’s a funny thing about running. No matter how fast or how far you run, you are still there with all the pain and anger you try to escape. It took me more than 40 years to figure that out. But I still didn’t know how to change it. I couldn’t erase all that had happened to me. I had tried to forget, but that never worked. I had to let go of it. I didn’t know how to do that.

When I had my first surgery for the Chiari, I truly didn’t know if I would survive the surgery. I wasn’t scared of dying, but if I was going to, I needed to do it with a clean slate. I had to forgive so that I could be forgiven. It wasn’t about letting them off the hook, or in any way condoning what had been done. It was about me being able to die with a clear conscience. So I started calling people…my mother, my ex-husband….people who had hurt me the worst. I called and told them that I was sorry. I was sorry that I hadn’t been a better daughter. I was sorry that I hadn’t been a better wife. I was sorry that I hadn’t been a better person, a better sibling, friend, mother….so many things.

I was shocked at what happened. My pain and anger toward people went away as I apologized for my failures in the relationship. I was able to let go of my hurt. With every person I talked to, a little bit of light shined into places in my heart that had never been anything but dark. It was incredible! They didn’t have any more power over me. What they had done to me no longer controlled my life.

Let me be very clear about one thing here. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. I would never leave my daughters alone with my parents because I knew what could happen. I let go of the pain they had caused me. I didn’t become stupid. What I did was for me, not for them.

I did survive the surgery….obviously. But I had my clean conscious. My past no longer ruled my future. I’ve worked hard every day since then to try to be more forgiving. The things that happened to me are still a part of my life, but now I try to use them for good. I work with children who have been abused or neglected. I work with victims of domestic violence. I am very passionate about those things. But I am no longer a victim. I am a survivor.

That hot coal did a lot of damage to me while I tried to throw it. I still burn my fingertips from time to time when I reach to pick it back up. But now I’ve learned to drop it.

I truly hope that I (and Buddha) have given you something to think about today. Put something in comments at the bottom of this page and let me know. You are welcome to share as much or as little as you’d like. Please feel free to pass this on. It’s truly life changing.

Until next time…