Here’s to you

If you are reading this blog, then it is proof positive that you have made it.

What does that mean?

It means that regardless of what you suffered, in spite of any effort of the universe to take you out, no matter what you have seen or where you have been .. you are here right now.

How long has it been since you celebrated you?

I was once at a spiritual retreat designed for singles (it was co-ed, kind of like church), and the speaker was doing a lesson on loving yourself the way God loves you.

Out of a few hundred people (I was not even sitting in the front), he called me up to the front of the room, and asked his wife to help me stand on a chair in front of everyone.

Mortified!

Worse.

He asked me to then tell everyone how special and beautiful I was.

He said it in such a way that it literally turned on the faucet to my pent up pain and low self esteem.

Tears, yes.

His wife wrapped me in a hug, and I sobbed.

Though for sure it was vulnerable for me .. there was not a dry eye in the room.

He said, “you see, she cannot do it.”

And went on to talk about how something, somewhere, impacted me so much that I literally loathed myself.

Why do we as survivors hate ourselves so?

I think of my beautiful babies and my grandchildren. How I adore them. Their pictures are on my desk at work, in my phone, and all over my room at home.

Cherished. They are my world. There is not a single moment of my day but what I am thinking of my family.

The same applies to us. I know everyone has a different world view. That is the power of choice.

I believe in the Creator. As the created, I look around at others and think, you know, I am not as good as they, as smart as they, as pretty or talented as they .. are.

One of the hallmarks of experiencing trauma as a child is self hatred.

My counselor years ago asked me if I would talk to my children the way I talk to myself, and I said no way.

He told me to take the little girl inside me by the hand and be gentle with her.

I still struggle with self hating thoughts at times, but am making great strides.

The concept that I am a unique creation, deliberately fashioned, by God, has been healing in many ways.

I do art .. writing, sewing, crocheting, drawing, painting, snipping, pasting, singing, song writing.

I love art because it is organic and unique. Something I created.

Today, remember that you are not a mistake. You are precious in the sight of God. You have gifts and abilities. Talents you do not even see. But others do.

Today, celebrate you. A hard exercise, it is true, but entirely possible.

What does that look like?

My name is Kathy Leigh. I love God, my family and friends. Little things mean a lot to me. Simple things amaze me. The whirl of dry leaves in the breeze on a fall morning, the smile of a baby riding in a stroller at the grocery store, the sound of the ocean and the memory of its thousands of secrets, sunrises and sunsets, starry nights, fireflies, glitter left behind by a child decorating a city sidewalk, rows of cows line up by a country fence. Beauty. Everywhere.

I love coffee and drink a pot of it ever

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y day. Long walks in the country inspire and refresh me. I laugh every day, because life is too hard to frown all the time. I make many mistakes. But also learn from some of them. I always thought I made friends easily, yet inside always worry about being a burden. I love to read and listen to music. The contrast of light and darkness is beautiful to me .. candlelight and mini-lighted topiaries make me smile. I don’t like arrogance. People that are full of themselves are a big turn off, yet also I see they may have morphed that way because their childhood was rough too. Perhaps. My heart breaks for people who have nothing, those who are alone, the broken and the needy. I have compassion. Bitter? Yes, I have also fought bitterness at times because of my road.

Today I celebrate me. My purpose is to be a blessing. That is all.

Here’s to you, today. Make a list of your accomplishments and beliefs. The things you like and don’t like. And always, look .. on the Brighter Side.

 

Now, what?

After my last post, I was contacted by a fellow survivor who told me they decided about four months ago to start therapy in an effort to heal.

Here’s the deal.

One person who decides to seek healing can impact others in a big way.

I would not have believed that, several years ago, for I pretty much felt like there was no way telling my story would help anyone else.

I feared the moment I hit the send button on my computer, that my life would change and everyone I knew would walk away from me because of the secret I shared.

I feared that people would change their opinion of me, since after all, I felt, like many survivors do, like it was all my fault.

I told myself I could have stopped it at age 7, I could have been strong enough to fight him off at age 9, that I should have, should have …

Truth is, I did fight, but hey when you are age 9, a tiny little girl, it is hard to fight off a man who was a heavy labor worker.

And I know now that if that had happened in Polk County, Florida, these days .. well you know. People are aware now, and those who have been abused often see some justice.

So the sharing has helped me in ways I never imagined. I get phone calls and emails, letters and thank yous for what other survivors say is “being brave.”

I do not feel brave.

But it has helped me to share with others, and in turn, I have found so much help along the way.

If you have not shared your story with someone, I would encourage you to do so. Yes, it is hard to trust others. And you fear the outcome. If you are currently in the situation, I know you will get immediate help if you report it to law enforcement. Times have changed.

And if you are an adult, and this happened as a child, and you have a hard time trusting others, one thing I have found is helpful .. a test of trust .. is you ask the person you would like to share your story with how they would handle it if they had a friend who was abused reveal that secret to them.

If they seem kind and merciful, then share. If they seem like, well, people just make this stuff up, then move on until you find someone who will listen.

I first revealed my pain to church youth workers. Then to my parents.

Since releasing my story, I have found that instead of condemnation, I am blessed by others who encourage me on my healing journey.

Although it is my belief that healing is lifelong, every day I celebrate little victories.

You are the Brighter Side.

Remember that.

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It starts with a desire to heal

How are you today? Fine, you say. Very well, thank you. Typical response. We are conditioned in this world to be society, business correct.

Yet underneath the mask, there is an entirely different world going on.

Yes, you say. Everyone has issues.

We know that.

Then, walk with me, please.

Here’s the deal.

The deeper your secrets, the more tragic your pain, the more trauma you have experienced .. the larger the challenge is to heal from it.

We think that we have overcome, when we stay with the cadence of life, put on the smile, do and say all we should do and say.

When I first started writing my story, The Brighter Side of A Darker Thing, I determined at that point I wanted to heal from the pain of my childhood.

So many people I have met have said, you know I had no idea you had been through all that.

“Wow, you cannot tell,” another person said.

So we find we live to tell what we could not tell.

The first step in healing is formulating the desire to heal in the first place. Who has ever been to a doctor, ate up with the flu, and said I am here but I have no desire to accept the help you can give.

Some never reach the point where they say “I want to heal,” and instead become martyrs of the past.

A lifetime victim.

I love the quote from the character of Olivia on a cops TV show, a member of the Special Victims Unit, she told a woman who had been raped, “you were strong enough to survive the abuse, you will be strong enough to survive the recovery.”

Your first step may look different than mine. For me, my instrument of declaration to begin my healing journey involved a pen and paper. For you, it may be art, music, building a boat, fishing, a silent mantra you dedicate to memory, or an inner resolve you share with no one, that this is it.

“I seek healing from my past.”

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So think about that today. Remember that this is a journey, not a five year plan to graduate. Every day we will face the truth, some days we will rejoice, others we will just keep stepping, wondering when the breakthrough will come.

Brighter Thought of the Day: Begin.

 

Happy New Year!!

May 2019 be your year of blessing! Wishing you light and sparkle, dreams come true, and all things wonderful this coming year!

Glitzyadventure will be exploring new things this year .. I will be writing more blogs for survivors of childhood intimate abuse, including topics such as meditation, redirection, reflection, inner growth, creativity, and allowing your light to shine. And if there is something you would like me to share or address on this blog, send an email my way.

Tonight, celebrate you, your New Year, and most of all,Β  remember you are so special to the God Who created you. An intricate being, you have gifts to bless the world. Your life has reason and purpose. Maybe this year you will explore a new hobby, visit a new place, listen to new music, and get lost in the beauty of just being.

Whatever the year holds, we will explore it together.

Happy New Year to you, your family and friends!

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Free refills please

It has been said that the more you pour yourself into helping other people, leading, reaching the world and so forth, the more you need to focus on keeping your own energy up – you cannot pour from an empty cup.

Everyone loves a restaurant that gives free refills on drinks. Especially in sunny Florida.

How do you refill your cup?

One of my family members used to use the same tea bag for days.

“Eeeuww,” I said.

I tried it, and it just did not work for me. That second and third cup were not as strong.

Sigh.

Everyone has their preference.

Refill. The opposite of running on empty.

Unless you have a smart car, you will need to get gas at some point. And that is not a free refill.

When my kids were little, like most families, we struggled to make ends meet.

My mentor told me I needed to refill my cup, so to speak, so I could continue to give my children my best.

This mentor was an artist, a registered nurse married to a busy doctor, a Bible study leader, who also found time for spiritual renewing every day. She prayed.

She also had her hair done on a regular basis (I used to cut my own hair). She kept her home in order and set times to listen to music, read, and talk to friends.

This is where I discovered how many things in life are free. It all depends on what makes you happy, I guess.

Sure, it would have been nice to take my kids to theme parks and fancy summer vacays.

Joy became the pitcher that refilled my cup.

While hanging 100 cloth diapers on the line to dry one day, I looked at the sky. Billowy clouds looked like fluffy cotton against the deep baby blue horizon. The wind, warm and tropical, was a comfort. Salt water was in the air. The beach was near.

My children laughed as they played in the sand. Precious.

Coffee became my afternoon friend when my daughter gave up her naps.

One large cup was usually enough to carry me through to bedtime.

What is it that helps you feel renewed?

Let not the busy interfere with the sacred moments of renewal.

Have a blessed day, all.

My betta fish, Ralph, swims happily in his bowl this morning. It is chilly, and I wonder if he is cold as well.

After all, fish do not wear sweaters.

That is all.

πŸ™‚

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Wings

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A jet streamed across the sky, leaving a path of exhaust behind it, destination known to its passengers, but not to the common eye below.

Wings.

I was hanging 100 white cloth diapers on a clothesline by 8 a.m. every day when my children were babies.

Days consisted of rising at 5 a.m. (only way to drink coffee without company, smiles), preparing food, washing dishes and clothes, cleaning the house, bathing the children, reading to the children, answering their questions, hugging them of course, soothing boo-boos and breaking up skirmishes between them from time to time, organizing our home, grocery shopping, and more.

At that time, we lived in St. Augustine, across from the airport, the train track, and a noisy highway.

A single-wide mobile home, with no air conditioning, on a pile of sand in the Florida heat was all we could afford for our large family.

The only way to keep it cool was to prop open windows and run two box fans for as long as we could in the evening. The neighborhood was not safe enough to leave them open all night. Eventually, my grandparents bought us a little air conditioner, which only really cooled the kitchen.

Those were hard times.

Wings.

I looked up at the sky often, perhaps as a way to escape my daily struggles to “just do life,” in poverty.

The airport became a portal to everywhere. Who flew in, who took off, what air show was going on (you have not truly lived until one of the Blue Angels flies just above your head while you are hanging clothes! Loud and fast, they raised the hair on my head, and I was like, wow!)

Wings.

A passenger jet, high above, seemed like a silver needle, threading its way from one end of the horizon to another.

Wings.

I hate to fly.

Boarding a plane bound for Rhode Island for vacation one year, long after my kids grew up, I took one look at the pilot, which calmed my nerves.

Former military, it was obvious. His shoes shined, and so did his hat. He was young. We took off and landed like he was accustomed to launching from an aircraft carrier. Straight up and straight down.

Butterflies.

Make me happy.

So do birds.

Planes are fun to watch.

And fireflies? Best of all.

Wings.

The ability to fly above your situation. To pursue a higher goal. A change of scenery.

My thought for the day.

Where are you headed?

The sanctity of silent

With only an hour before sundown, I entered the farmhouse to get ready for bed. Hurricane Irma passed through, and we would be without power a little while.

A generator kept the refrigerator and kitchen lights going. The rest of the house was dark.

Opening the window, I sat on my bed as the sun set. And it hit me, exactly how noisy our lives are .. even the sound of the air conditioner fills up space.

I heard crickets and katydids. A barking dog. Occasional cars.

But nothing else.

I found it fascinating, this silence, this moment where the stars sparkle from the indigo sky, and all is well on earth, without the help of automation.

Screens.

Thankfully, we still had screens.

Florida mosquitoes would have carried me away.

Somewhere in the night, I thought I heard a cat meow outside.

But it was dark. Quiet.

Surprisingly, I slept pretty good that night.

The stir of the morning air awakened me the following day. Daybreak

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.

Still quiet.

And I wondered, what are we missing with our busy, hurry-up lives? Can we even hear our soul speak?

This morning, a rooster crows. The neighbor’s dog barks. I am up early and enjoying the peace.

A sacred moment.

Have a splendid Sunday, all.

 

Celebrate this day

He had tattoos on his large, tan arms, a Harley Davidson sleeveless T-shirt, and lots of gold bling. When he signed in for his cancer treatment, he threw a loud greeting to the nurses and away he went to get “the party started.” His wife was accustomed to the production he brought when he came for chemo, and just stood quietly, smiling and shaking her head.

He decided to do this disease on his own terms.

Of note. The bling.

His large gold necklace, extravagant ring, and stellar watch gave him an aura of “the party guy.”

When you look death in the face every week, and come to the fight with a smile like that, no matter the ending, you have already won the battle.

While many of us are not necessarily dealing with a potential terminal illness, any day holds who knows what.

And what is the question. What are we going to do with this day?

I know I have sometimes let silly things get to me. Things of no consequence. When you have a nature that desires the sandbox view of “why can’t things get better?” you find quickly that life is going to roll with or without you, and how well you weather the day is entirely up to you.

I think my Harley friend has the right philosophy. Wear your bling. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Greet the world. Dance and care not of the stuffshirts who shake their heads. Laugh at your own jokes until your side feels like it is going to split. Color with the crayons at the restaurant. Blow bubbles at the park. Stand up for yourself when someone gets snooty with you, then add the sweet southern “bless your heart,” and we all know what that means πŸ™‚

Listen to music every day. Find things that make you smile and tell others. Talk to God and believe He is real. Pretend you are royalty and “better” than the discouragement in the world.

Celebrate this day.

The time is now. Our time.

Happy Friday all.

Light up this dark world with your enthusiasm. You never know who you might inspire.

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A mindful moment

The busy sometimes meet themselves coming and going, it has been said. One more goal added to an already full list. One more idea. One more phone call or one more visit. How much are you doing, and what are you really accomplishing?

I wonder, sometimes, if we do not make too many goals. So many, in fact, that none will be reached.

Why are we afraid of simplifying?

Those with multiple giftings find themselves thus challenged. A night like Davinci. A morning like Thoreau. Somewhere, between, perhaps, is balance.

It has been about a month since I blogged. Friends wonder when my words go silent. The unspoken is worrisome.

Yet those silent times are gathering times, when a writer, like a sponge, absorbs life.

Mindful.

We mind our schedules. Improve our mind. Make our lists. Press ahead with gusto.

Then we are tired and wonder why.

Times of refreshing come when we sit in the place of ponder. Moments occupied by gazing at the flicker of a candle and the dance it makes against the darkness.

Somewhere, there, between the glow and shadow, resolution comes. Renewal of our spirit makes everything else, it seems, fall into place.

burning-candlelight-candles-564901May your mindful moments make sense. Grab a journal and a pen. A paintbrush or an instrument. Revel in your purpose and where you really are meant to be.

Connections

Her laugh makes my day. “This video chat is better than text messaging!” Mama says.

She is in Indiana. I am here. And it will be next summer before I can see her.

Amazing technology has made it easier for us to connect.

Meanwhile. Went to pay a bill at lunchtime yesterday. Was mid sentence on the phone when the connection dropped. Bam.

Really?

Yes, really. So I dial again, and a very nice medical rep says “oh I see you were talking to Lee,” and asks if I would like to transfer or if she can help me. No transfer, I said. Gave her my card number, paid my bill.

Both of these instances in one day.

Connection is very important to me. It is as simple as someone remembering I drink black coffee or that I have 4 grown kids. Or a cat named Molly.

I am so blessed with some close friends who actually move past the word hello.

And those closest to me know that surface conversation seems so phony to me.

Yet sometimes that will do, lol.

“Hey the weather is terrible,” is a great entrance. I do believe the next time I hear that I am going to say, “Well the sky was purple when I woke up, and now dazzling unicorns are falling from the heavens.”

!!!!

A former publisher of mine (journalism days, yet he is a lifelong friend), noted he would like to sit in a doctor’s office, and when his name is called, act surprised, and say “You can see meeee??”

I laugh every time I think of that statement.

Truth is, we want connection. We want to be included at times. And yet, in some situations (usually the workplace, organization or other body of people where you regularly assemble), it can, for a time, flee us.

Connection.

In times when we feel unconnected to our present surroundings, it is a good move to make sure we are connected in other places.

Phones, texts and video chat make that possible.

I love that in the middle of my work week, our church has a fellowship dinner, choir and bell choir (or mass for anyone who would rather have a Bible lesson and prayer time.)

People are like hey girl how are you? Hugs are abundant. We talk about our lives and the latest.

Connection is a beautiful thing.

Here’s to a splendid day, all πŸ™‚

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