Forward reaches the goal

I think sometimes we’d like to wake up, and suddenly, bam. The house is clean. The car is clean. The yard looks nice. The debt is paid. Sickness is gone. The weather is great. There is peace on earth.

Most of the time, we awake to the same day as before, if that makes sense.

One day, I would like to …

Why can’t things be …

My dreams will never come true.

And on, and on.

Our heads can trick us into thinking there is just no use in working toward our goals.

Sand.

And the incoming tide.

I watched as my kids dug a hole on the beach, carefully bringing buckets of sand from the center to reappropriate it to create the wall of their castle.

About an hour later, the water came rushing in.

The castle looked different. My children’s eyebrows furrowed as their little legs ran back and forth to try to rebuild the wall.

Dreams.

I have one friend who has seen so much in 2 years time. Hurricanes. Husband’s cancer. Death of a mother-in-law, and she was first on scene to try to revive her, but eternity and God already had an appointment.

Numerous car wrecks (her husband and and teens.)

Termites. Illness. And other things that went wrong with the house.

She does not have many days off, as she is trying to catch up.

She wants to some day be able to travel again, like she did with her parents when she was growing up. And there are other dreams.

Another friend of mine is facing possible job loss. In their line of work, they almost always have to relocate in seeking a new job.

Yet another friend has been battling cancer for five years.

I surmise that she will defeat this illness. Watching her fight has taught me much about what is important.

Yesterday, I heard a story of a young man who was playing soccer and literally got hit in the eye so hard that his sight in that eye is gone forever. His soccer scholarship likewise is out the window now. Hard news for an 18-year-old. Yet I have to wonder if this setback will propel him to something even greater.

So what’s the point?

We hear the cliches of “never give up your dreams” and “anything is possible.”

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I believe it is true. That dreams do come true.

Tiny steps forward put us closer to the goal. We will look back one day and see that all our hard work paid off. That life is better than we thought it would be. That we did things we never thought possible.

Just some encouragement today for the downtrodden.

We are always moving forward, don’t forget that.

The healing of telling

“It must be hard for you to share your story, and keep repeating it,” said someone I know, who occasionally works with survivors of sexual abuse.

Yes, it is.

But I will keep sharing it.

Not for attention, as let’s face it, we survivors get various responses from people, running the gamut from shock to utter disgust.

Then what happens is a survivor sometimes interalizes that .. like it was their fault they went through the trauma in the first place.

Yet we must understand that it was not our fault, and the reaction you get from some people is justified, as they are thinking to themselves, “what kind of person would hurt a child.”

“This is my story.”

Yes.

Over the years, I have had the chance to talk to hundreds of fellow survivors.

Some say “no way, not me, I am not telling my story.”

Others ask me “how?”

Still others say they would, except it would shatter their families if Mom or Dad knew the truth. And as such, they battle daily, trying to heal from their dark secret, alone.

Still others have been surprised when they unveiled their secret, and were received instead with love and gentleness, support and understanding, and a relentless belief that no matter their past, they will still achieve their dreams.

I know of at least two marriages that were repaired because I shared my story.

Recently, I sat in on a sexual assault awareness workshop, and I could not share with the group until it was over, as I was covering it for work. When speaking to the leaders afterwards, we had a long conversation, and next year, they would like for me to share my story, and also would like for me to get involved with what they do on a volunteer basis.

As I was listening to the content, I felt I could write a book. Then my mind went to this .. what if I could create a series of simple Facebook videos just on the

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dynamics of sexual abuse, its effect on survivors, the community and their families, the many challenges one faces on their journey, as well as sharing hopeful stories from other survivors.

The last would be a challenge, for sure.

Anyway.

I was telling this person that yes, it is hard to share. But that yes, I get a little stronger every time. My heart is turned both inward to continue my healing, as well as outward to help others.

By “help,” I am not a licensed counselor. But I can tell you that even licensed counselors and first responders have come to me to ask me what to say to a survivor when they are working with them.

Meanwhile.

I have a day off today. Am drinking my coffee slowly and getting ready to spend a day with one of my daughters who moved away in January. We have a full day planned, and it is going to be glorious.

Email me your thoughts for what you would like to see in upcoming blogs.

Have a very Happy Monday, all 🙂

Resurrection Sunday and new beginnings

“He is risen, just as He said.”

I cannot imagine how surprised and thrilled Jesus’ friends and disciples were when they realized that yes, He did indeed defeat the grave.

Even more interesting is that at least 500 people saw Him after He arose, according to ancient scriptures.

Spring, Easter, Holy Week, all launch a spirit of newness around the world as millions celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

Opening my farmhouse window facing the Shire this morning, I was immediately bathed in early morning light. I could not even see the Shire for the light.

And I thought of humanity, and all our works, of all our trials and struggles, of all our endeavors to make things beautiful.

All I could see was this light.

The sun is a powerful force. We do not see its beginning. We are hopeful that it never ends, for humanity would then have no hope.

We see it, and the reflection of its rays.

But to hold it with our hand, we cannot.

All day long, it shines upon us.

A favorite mantra of mine for when things are tough is “the sun is still shining above the clouds.” Just because we cannot see it due to the storms of life, it is there.

So this resurrection. I was not there. I did not see. And yet, I believe.

Every year, the Easter season presents with a chance to declare life and overcoming, of victory and promise.

May the joy of the resurrected Messiah be with you today, and always.

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Of eggs, bunnies, and spring

Those ears.

They are irresistable. White chocolate or milk chocolate, it makes no difference.

They are the first to go.

Easter baskets are such fun to make, and even more fun to consume. The last time I had an Easter basket, I was like 11 or so.

The bunnies.

A basket must have a bunny. I don’t imagine they make sugar free rabbits, so chocolate bunnies are out, for me.

It is 5:55 a.m. and I hear a lawn mower.

The sun is not up yet, weird.

Anyway. I actually have two stuffed rabbits at home. One is a large handmade rabbit I gave to my Grandma years ago for Christmas. And before she died, she sent it home with me. I keep it on my bed. Her fingerprints, no doubt, are still on it.

I miss her so!

The other rabbit is a gift from my bestie. Small, fluffy, with beans in its little feet. And loppy ears.

Rabbit ears are awesome.

At one point, that is how we watched television.

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Now I feel ancient.

Easter baskets themselves always brought shimmers of hope to the end of a long, dark winter.

Coloring the eggs, my great Grandma and I used to make at least 20 baskets full of candy and goodies, in preparation for Easter. Then there was the Easter dress and shoes search. Prepare Easter dinner.

The phone rang.

My oldest son, Josh, was on the other end.

He and his fiance are having a dinner at their house. So that is where I am headed after church on Easter.

Spring.

The new is here. Jasmine and orange blossoms fill the air with an intoxicating scent.

But today is the day between Good Friday and Easter.

I work today, and never know where the winds of journalism will carry me by the end of the day.

For sure, by Saturday, my system slows down. I have Sunday and Monday off. There is usually an adrenalin dump Sunday morning. What that means is it is challenging to get out of bed. Easter will be full, between ringing bells for the procession, the beautiful service, a dinner on the grounds, then driving an hour to my son’s house.

And at some point on Sunday, will in my spirit mingle with memories of the past, when my now grown up babies were young, and I told them, “Mama can’t afford an Easter basket,” and yet all four babies woke to a large basket each, full of colored

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foil wrapped chocolate eggs.

It was my way of giving them hope for the future.

Just to see them smile.

Have a good day, all.

May this day before Easter be blessed for you.

 

Loss, defined

Across the world, Holy Week services continue as Christians and followers everywhere remember the death and resurrection of the Messiah.

Good Friday is oft a mournful time. I have to confess that as a simple human being, I don’t understand why death had to be part of our holy walk.

My earliest memory of death was when I lost my sister. Without lingering on her loss, as it is still with me .. only those who have lost loved ones will understand, I admit it has affected my heaven view greatly. She is, I know, in heaven, for she passed before she even knew the difference between right and wrong, darkness and light.

There are times over the years when I panicked at the thought of her passing.

Jesus.

I was sitting in church Wednesday night, and it hit me during the Tenebrae service: Jesus saw the darkness as He walked the earth. Being in all ways man and all ways God, he not only saw all of a person’s good intentions, but the evil in the world on a level we could never see.

Loss.

His friends, the commoners who followed Him, had meals with Him, walked with Him, spent time with Him, grieved His crucifixion.

This was their Friend who was closer than a brother. He was with them on their very average day. They had many conversations, disagreements, observations. They probably even sneezed.

I know that last statement was random. But really. The common life of the common person. Fatigue, hopes, dreams, wrestling with reality and the future, uncertainty.

It is one thing to lose a friend or family member to natural causes, or disease, or sudden accident.

But to watch their Friend be killed at the hands of others .. yes. Catastrophic grief.

A few days ago.

Shared my story with someone I just met and they made the comment, “You have experienced much loss in your life.”

Survivors of abuse do experience loss in a most difficult way. Time cannot be dialed back.

A turning point for me in healing from my sexual abuse that occurred from around age 7 to about age 12 was to realize that what is done is done.

The weird thing is that until I deliberately began my healing process, decades after the abuse ended, I found I had not grieved the loss of what should not have been stolen from me.

So there was that.

And as I sat in church contemplating my life, listening (years ago) to a sermon on purity and how impure people have sex before marriage, I felt even more like a freak.

Biology class was a turning point for me. “You cannot unscramble eggs,” my professor said.

Wow.

Then there was a study on forgiveness at church by another woman who was a survivor. “There is nothing you can do that would serve as a great enough penalty for what happened to you.” She urged survivors to forgive: not excuse what happened, but instead of dedicating all of your energy to leveling the score (which for sure is perfectly natural), to instead focus on moving forward.

Truly, the stone will roll away from the tomb.

I feel something stirring in my spirit.

For a while, a very long while, I kept my secret inside, fearful of what the world would say of my terrible “loss.” Fearful of being “less than.” A freak.

Perhaps the greatest resurrection lesson for me has been that, according to my belief system, the same sacrificial Messiah died for my perpetrator. Because He was the One who holds accountable, it frees my hands, feet, mind, body, and spirit to pursue freedom and life.

What is in the tomb will look different for all of us. The secrets that lie there.

Archaeological digs have unearthed some fantastic things over the years. That is what happens when the stone is rolled away from our hearts.

The sun shines in .. a mystery is understood.

Today, I choose to fold the grave clothes of my season of loss, and don garments of praise for the season of freedom.

Good Friday, all.

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Everybody has a mantra

Today, admittedly, I am dragging. I am sure you know the feeling. Where the coffee has not yet caught up with your to-do list, and sleep seems like the best way to celebrate a brand new day.

So, a short blog today.

As you remember, my word for the year is “delight.” Encompassed by happiness and joy, the word takes on a different meaning when one is not feeling delightful.

!

Nevertheless, that word has kept me focused this year. Life is what you make it, and if you wait for it to be perfect to be happy, then perhaps you will live your whole life without experiencing it.

What is your word for the year? No worries. If you do not have one, it is not too late to start.

Spring is a wonderful time to start a new thing.

When selecting your word, think about what it is you want to pursue, a character trait, an objective.

And go with it. Maybe write it in your journal. Make an inspiration board of magazine cuttings and art that portrays your word. Look up different definitions. Look up quotes.

It is an amazing tool to help focus your journey.

Happy Thursday, all.

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The why of the what we do

Outside, the sun is up and traffic steadily builds as I drink my coffee and get ready for a new day. Tonight, at church, we have a tenebrae service, where light is extinguished in the midst of Holy Week, a chance to reflect on light and darkness, sin and overcoming, the sacrifice of the Messiah, and our own attempts at living what scriptures say should be a godly life.

Why darkness?

Darkness and light are interwoven facts of life for those who have seen trauma. We get it. We have seen darkness. We have rejoiced at the light. Relief comes when we understand that darkness, however unwelcome it may be, only makes the light, however tiny it may be, shine brighter.

Notre Dame was on fire this week. The world watched in horror as flames destroyed parts of history that although they can be rebuilt, will now look different, most likely.

The cross still stood.

Amazing.

And what Parisians did was likewise inspiring. They sang. The flames roared. They prayed. Together. In spite of.

Why would one sing when darkness seems to prevail? Why find melody midst the tears of despair?

The true test of the light within is when darkness seems to overcome that light.

“We will rebuild,” it was said.

And so we shall.

Each of us has a story. I find most people do not have perfect lives, even if it appears that way. The rich and poor suffer alike. The well educated and those who have not had formal education are the same. Everyone struggles.

May this week bring us all joy, as we press on to kindle that light within us.

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Where are the words?

It wasn’t the reading that was hard, but the writing of a summary that got me.

In second and third grade, the one thing at school that would send dread into my spirit was the assignment thereof: Write a book report, explaining the characters, the main idea, story development, and ending.

I loved to read so much that when my Mom and I visited the library together, I checked out the maximum number of books, about 8 or 9 volumes. And in two weeks, I read all of them.

I knew what each book was about. I could tell you the characters in casual conversation. But to write it down, I just could not do it.

In 3rd grade, I developed a fear of any question that demanded a sudden answer.

My teacher at the time called on me to stand before the class, and pronounce the word on the board before me.

Sounding it out, I said “cha-rack-terrr.”

She became furious, taking me by my shoulders and shaking me, then letting me go, and I flew into some desks.

Today, she would have gone to jail.

Back then, not so much. My father confronted her. He advised the principal she needed to move me out of that class, and after that year, that teacher was no longer teaching at the school.

I was relieved.

It is a weird memory, not being able to pronounce a word, being fearful, not being able to write a book report because I could not articulate the summary.

My second grade issues were not dealt with, leaving me open for troubles in her class.

Today, I do not have that issue. I have written hundreds of published articles, published a book, won a college writing competition and other awards. So that point in time is merely reflection now, for me.

That is a very long foreword for today’s blog.

“Sometimes, there are no words.”

Since I published my story, “The Brighter Side of A Darker Thing,” I have met many survivors of sexual abuse and childhood trauma.

One question I get a lot is this: how do we heal?

I am not a counselor. I do not have a degree in psychology. But as a fellow survivor, I can say that yes, healing comes, especially when you make up your mind to walk that road.

You know, I have noticed through the years .. on my personal road of healing .. you could tell a person anything from hey I grew up poor to we moved around a lot from town to town. The minute you say anything about abuse, the whole scene changes. And truthfully, it depends on whether or not the person in front of you is ready for your truth.

How do you find someone to listen to the words that are in you .. that you cannot articulate at this time?

Well, counselors do come into the mix. There are also resources (small groups, non-profits) who reach out to survivors.

Churches can .. but even in that arena, it can be a challenge. One person years ago wrinkled her nose at me, and said, “Well I have never been through that, I cannot even relate.”

Here is the unfortunate truth.

If you begin having conversations with people about your past, talking about how you are on a journey of healing, suddenly the whole forest lights up like a swarm of sparkling fireflies.

Most of my closest friends are survivors themselves, and I am proud to say that they are beginning to share their story as well.

We get through this life with the help of our friends.

Over the years, it has helped me heal by meeting others who experienced similar things I did .. yet used that story to fuel their inner talents. Artists, writers, musicians, dancers, government officials, animal trainers, cosmetologists, hairdressers, aircraft mechanics, and more.

One thing I have realized is this: where there are no words to express the feelings of hurt, inner hatred, shame, awkwardness, anger, frustration, loneliness, feeling like a freak .. there are ways of articulating that and using our pain to make something positive.

Red.

I was painting for the first time as an adult, and was not prepared for my reaction to that color.

I changed my painting several times, adding other colors, watching the swirl, eventually ending up with an olive green textured background, with a white and pink flower shooting across the canvas.

Healing.

Just a thought for today. Grab some clay, or a paintbrush, a charcoal pencil, explore. Don’t worry about what you are going to create. Don’t obsess that it will look elementary. Whatever you do, don’t criticize yourself. Let the creativity flow. Stay in touch with your spirit. Ask yourself what colors do you like, and why ..

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Happy Tuesday, all.

For those of you new to glitzyadventure.com, if a blog speaks to you, share it. Be sure to register your email as well. And feel free to email me or share things that have helped you heal. I am still, and always will be, in that healing process.

 

Note to self

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People who are always seeing to the needs of others often neglect themselves, and sometimes it takes other people to recognize that and point it out.

“You’re doing too much,” said one of my mentors, a very wise and kind friend from The Daughters of the King (a prayer order within the Episcopal church dedicated to taking care of the parish, having a daily prayer time, and supporting the mission of the church.)

I smiled and said I was fine 🙂

In a conversation with another friend, told her I made two meatloaves and wrote a blog before coming to work.

“I am tired already,” she said, laughing at me.

I thought everyone did stuff like that.

“People are saying you are a driven person,” someone else confided in me.

Driven!

“What drives you?” they asked.

Well, I like to stay busy. And there is so much you can do, and are able to do.

I like the word, “do.”

To counterbalance the do, we are told by numerous self help books to learn the art of “be.”

Well, we are, or we could not “be.”

Creatives often use this word, “be,” to describe that flow of energy between the wheels of creativity.

In other words, let the creative come naturally.

I have another friend whom I call “Little Davinci,” for the kid is into everything. While most people gravitate toward either an existence of mathematical proportions, studying the realms of science, or choosing the opposite side of the wheel, flipping out creative art of all kinds, this kid does both.

He has been told by several, you cannot combine these parts of your life.

“Watch me,” he said.

And it is not in doing all things that his endeavors suffer .. oft it is the short sighted people who say it cannot be done.

Anyway.

I have asked a number of go-getters through the years when the last time was they nurtured themselves.

One time I did this, a judge stood up in the middle of a city meeting he was attending (not presiding, obviously) and left the meeting. I smiled. He smiled.

Funny that a judge had a eureka moment about self care, right there.

What does this mean for you?

Well, my note to myself includes this: Don’t forget to write You on your own schedule.

This past weekend, I went for a mani and pedi, and felt somewhat guilty as that is a frivilous thing.

But, is it?

When my pedicure started, I put my phone down, and sank into the massage chair. I did not realize how tired I was, and how much I really needed this excursion  …

“When you work, you have to do something for yourself,” said a close friend of mine, “mi Amiga,” years ago. That is how the nail salon ritual became a thing in my life.

My Note to Self this year includes such things also, as spend more time with friends, learn more music, visit the beach and the woods often.

I think we mistake the “be” sometimes for a place or moment of inactivity. Yet it is not that at all. It is the place of mending and restoration, inspiration and rejuvenation, contemplation and creation, the playground of the soul where a million fireflies glow.

Happy Thursday, all.

Let me know how your Note to Self goes. Remember glitzyadventure.com is meant to be a shared journey. We learn from one another.

It was there the whole time

After packing lunches this morning, I made two meatloaves and heaved them into the oven so they could cook while I had my morning coffee.

Glitzyadventure.com picked up some new followers this week 🙂 Happy face emojis all over the place.

The readers then would say: What is the word of the day?

Well, this time last week (actually, it was daylight, to be exact), I was wandering around the newsroom parking lot, searching for my car key that had somehow worked its way off my key chain .. to who knows where.

For about an hour, I wandered in the wilderness, looking under my car and others as well. A gentlemen noticed this, as I leaned with a sigh on my car, and I feared he thought I was looking to break into people’s cars, although, admittedly, who would do such a thing in dress clothes in a news parking lot, of all places, in broad daylight? But then, that is how a cops reporter’s mind works, because you hear and see just about everything come across your desk.

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The guy, dressed in very pressed khakis and an oxford cloth shirt, approached me and said “May I help you?”

“This is my car,” I huffed, totally exasperated at not having a clue as to where my key went.

He smiled and said something to the tune of .. no literally .. you look like you need help.

Lol.

But of course. I explained to him the great key saga. We looked all over the place. I found a rogue rock (a rock!) in my wheel well. So that was the noise I heard when I was driving.

Later, a colleague used her boundless Triple AAA to call for a locksmith, and after totally disemboweling (is that a word?) my car, there was no key. Yet moments later, one of our editors was leaving for lunch, then suddenly hopped out of his car. “Your key!!” he said.

He had rolled over it.

It was there, in the parking lot, the whole time as I pattered around, vexed at my situation.

The phrase “It was there the whole time” reminds me of my thought of the day: Realizing your untapped potential.

About 11 years ago, a news team took a chance on me, a middle age woman with no college education (only one or two classes at the time), and hired me to do full time news. It was the first job where I sat at my desk thinking to myself, “I feel like I know what I am doing.”

Writing has always been my happy place.

What is funny is that for years, I tried to get my poetry published. My Grandma Ferguson believed in my potential so much that when she turned in my name and my children’s names for our family tree volume (a massive book!), she wrote my occupation as “poet.”

It stunned me when I saw that, years later, after she passed, when the book came to me.

Along my writing journey, I received a lot of rejection letters. I kept one from The White Pelican Review (which shuttered eventually) that said, “good luck getting published.”

I smile.

It is in each of us, this potential of the great whatever.

This year, I will be 51 years old, and I think to myself, I am just getting started.

Anyway.

I have some friends in mind as I write this, and you know who you are. Don’t doubt yourself, your potential, and whether you will ever reach your goal.

You know, I could not believe that car was on top my key.

Then again, I am glad it was. At least we found it.

Have a good day, all.

It is Wednesday all day long.