Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holidays approach

Snow blankets the ground all around me. I love this time of year, though this year I admit I'm a little down. Such a mixed bag of emotions at the holiday time. I think this is true for many of us.

We are approaching one of the busiest weeks of the year for us. We have 2 Winter Solstice celebrations to attend, a holiday party for our homeschool co-op and then Christmas Eve with my parents. To top it all off, we've barely begun our shopping.  I'm  looking forward to Christmas day - we spend it just the 4 of us and it'll be a peaceful fun down time after a week or so of craziness.

Jenn's passing has affected me more than I thought. I think of her daily and miss her terribly. She was the one friend I saw and spent time with on a regular basis. I have internet friends that I spend time with every week, but that is in the virtual world. With Jenn we were in physical proximity, with hugs and sharing space and conversation - looking in each other's eyes. I miss that.

I'm looking forward to interactions with others for these celebrations we'll be attending this weekend. I'm hoping that I don't get too overwhelmed and become anxious with lots of people around. I suffered from a inner ear problem a couple of years ago and was housebound for about 9 months then had some serious problems with depression, so I've lost my social skills over the last couple of years. I'm very awkward in group situations and sometimes one on one. Even with people I've known for years. I've changed a lot over the last couple of years and find it difficult to trust people - even the ones that have proven themselves trustworthy. I'm craving more socialization (as are my children) and we've made a start with our new co-op, but I'm missing some of the people from my past and wish that I had the strength and courage to reach out and let them know I'd like spend time with them. I'm too scared though - afraid of being rejected or of making a fool of myself - coming off too needy or just very awkward. So instead I stay home and knit - it's the only thing that really seems to give me purpose these days. Well that and being mom and wife.

All in all though, this has been a better dark time for me. In spite of losing a dear friend recently and dealing with some heavy duty family issues, I'm not feeling as down and depressed as I usually do this time of year. I'm a little down, but no where near as depressed as usual. I have a light to help treat my depression and I haven't been using it, but I don't feel like I need to. Now I just have to continue working toward a healthier body, getting some exercise and hopefully upping my energy level. The depression isn't bad, but I could use some more energy.

In other news......I'm thinking of opening an Etsy shop and selling some handmade goods. I was thinking of selling sweaters, fingerless gloves, cowls as well as some sewn things - bags of many sorts - reuseable tea bags, produce bags, shopping bags and reuseable gift bags. First I just have to get some things made up and then I can start selling. I don't know how successful it will be, but I really feel a need to contribute financially to our household and for reasons beyond my control I can't work outside the home right now. I knit all the time anyway, so maybe I can make some money from it.

I'm feeling blessed - I'm filled with gratitude for all I have in my life. My physical balance has returned and I'm striving toward better spiritual, mental and physical balance in my life and just that journey is something to be grateful for. I'm blessed with a loving family and loving pets with a rich spiritual life and a desire for more regular spiritual practice. I'm blessed with talents that help give my life more meaning and I sit here typing in front of a beautiful Christmas/Yule tree that brightens the room and fills my heart with hope. I'm lucky - clean water, heat, a roof over our heads, enough food in our bellies, the basic necessities of life as well as quite a few comforts. We may not be able to afford a lot of expensive gifts this year, but we have what we need and that is gift enough.

Monday, December 9, 2013

journeying on and exploring old paths

Hey everyone, it's been awhile, but I really haven't had a lot to say as of late. I think the darkness that has encompassed this part of the earth has me feeling a bit down - my energy level isn't real high and I seem to be tired a lot. I'm also experiencing some apathy right now. I'm doing a lot of knitting for Christmas/Yule gifts and find that I'm more excited about that than I am about Christmas and Yule themselves. I think I may still be mourning a bit. I'm trying hard not to beat myself up about it and just make the decision to be happy or excited and I find it's working pretty well.

Yesterday was a busy day for us. In the search for some passion and real feeling - I went back to my roots or rather a semblance of it. I've been really trying to connect with my Higher Power - the Great Spirit - the Goddess - God or any other name you prefer. My spiritual journey has been very varied over the years and this time of year I often feel a pull to go back to my roots - Christianity. Perhaps it's the plethora of Christian sentiment this time of year, but I have to admit, my own Paganism (yes that is how I spiritually identify) is very strong this time of year with the Winter Solstice approaching. This time of year it feels possible to combine the two - find a way to join my roots with my current Paganism. Not easy to do I can assure you - well not out in the world anyway - in my heart it all feels the same to be honest. Anyway, we as a family (parents more than children) decided to go to the local UU church yesterday. It was a lovely service - a large congregation and I even liked the pastor, but somehow I was disappointed. I couldn't tap into that place of spiritual ecstasy that I strive for and find in my personal practice. Not that the experience was bad, just not what I was hoping for.

I'm looking forward to Yule this year because I know my observance of this holiday will bring me to that spiritual plane I'm looking for. Of course just my mediation at home brings me there often. I'm blessed that way - I find it easy (most days) to just quiet my mind and find that link with Spirit.

After church we did some errands and then went and got our Christmas tree - we celebrate the Solstice as our spiritual holiday and Christmas as a secular holiday, so we have a Christmas tree though we interchange the term Yule tree quite frequently. Anyway we cut our own and out while looking for our tree this year, I found glimpses of that spiritual connectedness and ecstasy I was looking for in church. I was reminded once again that returning to the Earth and all Her goodness is the way for me to connect with my Higher Power. Why I need to constantly be reminded of this I don't know - I guess I'm just a little distracted by everyday life. It's interesting to me that I found "God" in a place other than church - not that S/He wasn't there - S/He was - I felt Him/Her in the presence of the people, but S/He was stronger in nature for me.

Now I think I just did some rambling there, but what it comes down to is, I'm lucky enough to find my Higher Power in simple places and right here in my own heart - I need to stop looking and start being with that Spirit

I'm sitting now in my living room in front of our lit Christmas/Yule tree with snow falling outside the window and Christmas carols playing on the computer and I feel so incredibly blessed. I'm a little overwhelmed with the feeling.

Anyway these are the thoughts that are going through my head today - I thought I'd share them with all of you as a way of experiencing them myself and clarifying what is going on with me in my own mind.

May the coming of the approaching Light bless each and every one of you.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving and I'm thankful for many things. For my family and friends, for those who have supported me through the worst of times and those who left me to fend for myself. I'm thankful for the hardships in my life for they made me who I am and I think I'm turning out pretty spectacularly. I'm thankful to my pets for teaching me about unconditional love. I'm thankful to my children for all the many lessons they teach me - right now it's about letting go and letting them be responsible for their own choices - I can't protect them forever even if I'd like to. I'm thankful for my shortcomings and for all the lessons I've learned, are learning and have yet to learn from them. I'm thankful to my husband for his love, support, mistakes, arguments and just his presence in my life.

Mostly I'm thankful to my Higher Power for bringing all of these blessings into my life and helping me through it all. For giving me an attitude of gratitude and for sticking by me when I refuse to learn.

Blessings to one and all whether it's your Thanksgiving day or not.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

did you think I was lost?

Well it's been awhile since I posted. Sorry about that - I got a bit lost there. I just wasn't feeling real great about myself and didn't really have anything to share. I've also been focusing all my extra energy on knitting and writing for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). My novel is almost done, so hopefully I'll have more to write about here soon.

I'm trying to give mostly handmade gifts this year. I'm doing a lot of knitting so almost every free moment these days, I'm knitting or writing. The kids are being incredibly supportive as is my beloved.

I just returned from an OA retreat this weekend. What an uplifting experience. I was recharged spiritually. I rediscovered the joy of my Higher Power - the goddess Morrigan made herself know to me in a very real way and I reconnected with my spirit guides as well. I'm feeling very blessed and I'm planning on scheduling more time for my spiritual work from now on.

I've also become more committed to my abstinence. From now on I'm back to 3 meals a day no in between snacks and no sugar. I will no longer poison my body with the sugar that just makes my life more miserable. Will it be easy? No, but I have confidence in my goddess that she will help me through and support me and love me as I strive to develop a healthier relationship with food.

That's about all that's going on with me right now. I'll try to write more often. Hopefully I'll have more to say as my journey continues and my novel is done.

Blessings to all who read this.

Monday, October 21, 2013

ritual in community

I'm pagan - I lean toward the nature worshipper/shaman/druid side of paganism if you are looking for a label or two. I believe much of life and many of the things I do in it are ritual of a sort. Knitting, spinning, listening to music, cooking, etc. all have their places in my spirituality. I try very hard to be mindful in the things I do because that mindfulness opens me up to gratitude which helps open me up to the Divine in all things. That is my religion - love, hope and gratitude.

I've had a very varied and personal spiritual journey and I do not regret any of it. I'm where I am now and who I am now because of the various spiritual paths I have journeyed for a time. I've explored my spirituality publicly and privately, though recently my journey has been very solitary.

I've had the distinct pleasure, in the last month or so, to join some other very special people in public ritual on a couple of occasions. I used to be part of a wonderful group of people in community and I drifted away from them and until I had the chance to spend some time with them again, I hadn't realized how much I missed being part of a community.

I miss my friend Jenn terribly, but I wouldn't change a moment of the past year we had together. Not only was I lucky enough to reconnect with her, but I was welcomed into and became part of a wonderful community of folks who came together to support her and each other as she journeyed toward death. Now she has moved on and some of us have found ways to support each other and celebrate her.

I miss her and I still hurt, but I'm so very grateful that Jenn came back into my life and reminded me how important community is. Not only that, but she showed me that I'm worthy of being part of a community - I do have something to offer. If nothing else I have hope and love to share.

I miss celebrating the Divine with a group of like minded people. I miss learning about myself and my surroundings with others. I miss teaching through my experience and self. Perhaps it's time for me to find some time for myself to spend with others again.  Maybe it's time to slowly begin to allow myself to trust.

Monday, October 14, 2013

social networking

Halloween is coming up and one of my online communities on Facebook is having a Halloween party celebrating one of our favorite couples Chrolli. I'm pretty excited to spend some time with my friends celebrating together, sharing videos, pictures and stories. As a matter of fact I'm considering writing some fanfiction for the occasion myself.

I'm very active on Facebook and have come to appreciate the friendships I've developed. Many of them were found through communities like my Chrolli community. I have found some of my closest friends through groups that follow gay couples in the international television viewing audience. I consider myself very lucky to have found them. Especially those I've met through Chrolli (Christian and Olli from VL) and DeRo (Deniz and Roman from AWZ). These two fictional couples from German television have introduced me to people that have stuck through me through some of the most challenging times of my life.

I've also been lucky enough to have people from my spiritual/pagan community come forward when I was suffering. These are some of my few local friends and my day to day contact with them is also through the internet. I interact most often with people, even if it's just sharing pictures and quotes with each other, online. I know I can reach out to them to ask for support of a spiritual and mental nature and they will be there for me and allow me to be there for them.

One of the things that strikes me about social networking and the way I now interact with people is that when I'm tempted to pull away from life, I have these people's influence in my living room staring me in the face. It's harder to cut myself off from others now. That seems kind of counter intuitive I admit, but it's the truth. I've been hurt by people who I considered friends in the recent past and pulled away from almost all my friends because of it. Facebook has kept me in contact with people and has even led me back to people from my past that still care about me. I wouldn't know that they still wanted to be in my life if it wasn't for the internet. I'd be completely alone with just beloved hubby and my kids to count on.

The flip side to this is that I've started to have a hard time interacting with people physically in person. I just don't know how to act - how to talk to people. This is one of the drawbacks I guess. There needs to be a balance I suppose, but to be honest, if it wasn't for social media, specifically Facebook, I probably wouldn't interact with others at all. I'd only interact with my immediate family and the strangers I come in contact with in the supermarket, the farm market and the yarn store.

I'm truly grateful for my friends on Facebook both local and from far away. I'm grateful that Facebook brought me back to my friend Jenn so that I could be there for her the last year of her life. I was also lucky enough to reconnected with others from that support system. I'm blessed, truly.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Today I'm feeling invisible. The alarming part is that I feel as if I deserve to be invisible. I'm not sure where these feelings of inadequacy are coming from. I went to an internet OA meeting today and that seemed to help. At least I didn't feel so alone.

I've really distanced myself from most of the people in my life over the last couple of years, so I suppose this feeling of being lonely is my own fault. Most of my relationships with friends now occur online and while I'm thankful for those friendships, right now I just need a hug. My friend Jenn was one of the few people I've been able to open up to a bit and now she is gone.

I guess part of me feels as though I don't deserve to have any friends. I'm spending a lot of time in self reflection and that means in my experience beating myself up. Now, I know there are wonderful things about me, but I'm doubting all of them not to mention just having a hard time remembering them.

I've worked hard over the last few years to battle and win against depression. These feelings remind me very much of that battle. My usual tools just aren't cutting it. Maybe my grief is just overshadowing my feelings of self worth. I need to remember that I'm allowed to be sad and that doesn't mean I'm going to automatically sink into depression.

All I want to do recently is knit and watch movies and tv shows on Netflix.  On one hand I'm almost done with a sweater for myself, but on the other my interactions with my family and few friends is strained.

I seem to have lost my ability to interact normally with people and that bothers me. I've become painfully shy and if folks aren't willing to come to me I'm not likely to interact at all. When did this happen? It snuck up on me over the last few years.

I'm so grateful for my family. My beloved husband and my beautiful children keep me going. They remind me that I have a beautiful heart that it knows how to love unconditionally. Now I'm going to go back to my knitting cuz that's all I really want to do.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

knitting as a spiritual practice

As most of you know a dear friend passed over recently and I've been grieving. I'm sort of still in a weird place. Yesterday was my birthday and I started a post for all of you and then just had to abandon it because I just wasn't in the right head space. That led me to think about how I've been coping and what has helped to keep my grounded. I realized that the thing I've been counting on most is my knitting.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking. Knitting, a spiritual practice? Yes. Knitting keeps the hands busy and leaves the mind open to other things. The repetitive motion can lower the heart rate and bring one close to a meditative state. With all the feelings that have been coursing through my body and mind, I've found myself almost constantly knitting while I think about my feelings and about my dear friend and her family and friends.

I was working on a pair of socks when she passed. Here they are

I call them my Jenn socks because they are purple, her favorite color, and knitting them helped me cope with losing her. She also really loved receiving hand knit socks from me so there is that connection as well. I think she'd like them and I'm planning on wearing them to her celebration of life party this coming Sunday. I love them - they are toasty and soft and I probably would have given them to her for her upcoming birthday.

After those I immediately started a cowl that I use as a sort of topless hat to hold back my dreads, then I knit some socks for my daughter.

For my birthday yesterday my beloved husband took me to the yarn shop to buy yarn for a sweater for me. Here it is:

I'm already over half way done with the first sleeve - I always start with a sleeve - I use it as a gauge swatch so I don't feel as those I've wasted time knitting on something other than my project, but I can still easily pull it out and start over if my gauge is off. (gauge is the size of the stitches for those of you who may be interested)

Anyway, I think I'm babbling a bit. Back to the point. Knitting has been an important hobby for me for years now - I had to give up for awhile because of carpal tunnel, but I had surgery and can knit again. I'm so glad I can. Right now I spend a lot of time hanging out with the kids, listening to music (I just got a Michael Franti album - Jenn's favorite) and knitting. I think about my feelings, about my friends and I process my grief and in the end I have a beautiful handmade object that personifies my feelings, actions and thoughts. It's pretty profound for me. These handknit items are like living prayers and I'm so grateful to them for helping me through a challenging time in my life.

Monday, September 30, 2013

light and love

I really want this blog to be about light and love, but right now I'm just feeling apathetic. I hate this feeling and I'm having a really hard time getting out of it. Usually I can find ways to move beyond these kinds of feelings, but all those tools just aren't working right now.

My family and I just got back from a nice long drive in the country - this is one of my favorite things to do and it usually cheers me up if I'm feeling down, but I just don't feel any different this time. It's autumn here in Maine and the leaves are beginning to change so the drive was beautiful, but my heart just wasn't in it.

Maybe I'm still grieving from my friend Jenn's passing last week. Maybe I'm picking up on some negative vibes around me. Perhaps my filters just aren't doing the trick right now. Maybe I just need some new tools to find that light and love inside myself. I know it's there - it never goes away - I'm just having a hard time finding it right now.

Maybe I just need to let myself be sad for a little longer. I'm not sure if it is even sadness I'm feeling - I'm just kind of numb. Writing about it is one of the tools my therapist encourages me to make use of so I suppose just writing this post is probably going to do me some good.

I feel bad that I'm in this weird headspace right now. One of my greatest sources of light and love is my marriage and today is my 18th anniversary. I want very much to celebrate how wonderful it is to have been married to my soulmate for all these years, but I'm just not feeling much of anything.

My birthday is coming up in a couple of days and I want to be able to celebrate that as well, but I just don't see this feeling or lack thereof to go away anytime soon. Maybe I am just grieving. Well not just - grieving is an important process and takes different forms for different people.

I'm feeling really down on myself because I can't seem to get out of this funk. I've tried knitting my way out - using some positive visualization - trying to think of things I'm grateful for, and lots of other things. I still find myself back in this moment of self hatred and guilt. Not a fun place to be. Not a great way to feel. I don't actually hate myself - I'm just disappointed in my inability to find my way out of this funk. And now instead of this being a place of light and love it has become a place of darkness and antipathy.

I'm sorry guys - I don't mean to be bringing you down, but as Jenn used to say - I'm keeping it real. The reality is I'm not feeling so great right now. It won't last though. I'll turn it around and maybe I shouldn't be sharing this bit of negativity, but I want you to know where I'm at. This isn't it - this is just a moment in time that will pass and I'll find the light-filled hopeful Hope again soon. But until I do - this is me. This is where I'm at. This is a moment in my life and though my life is good, this moment is kinda yucky.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

good night dear friend

My dear friend, Jenn passed over yesterday. Goodnight my sweet friend. May your journey continue with great light and blessings. I know you are looking over us all sending us light and love. I wish only the best in the next life for you. I'll miss you. I was blessed to have someone as special as you in my life. I am grateful for the lessons I learned from you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

a mixed bag of emotions

Wow, I'm feeling such an overwhelming number of mixed emotions this morning. Yesterday was a very powerful day, but also very sad for me. It was also uplifting and filled with glorious blessings. I'm feeling pulled in many different directions all by what is going on inside of me.

I visited my friend in hospice yesterday. There were a number of us there to help support her and help her on to the next stage in her journey. The room was filled with love and acceptance, joy, hope and also pain and sadness. It was a blessed event and I am so honored to have been invited to be a part of it. My dear friend was surrounded and supported by love and it was beautiful to see.

As wonderful and powerful as it was - there was still a sense of sadness that soon my friend will have moved on and will no longer be present with us in the same way. I'm feeling mixed emotions. I'm sad for myself and those around me who will be affected by her leaving this plane of existence, but I'm feeling peaceful and almost happy that she is going to be moving on in her journey to the next step -something new and exciting for her to experience.

I lost my little boy 7 years ago now and while in my friend's presence and surrounded by all the love uniting us and her I was struck by the thought that he would be waiting for her on the other side. I don't know why this thought came to me - perhaps he wanted me to know that he would be there to look out for her and help her in her journey. It was a connection that I felt to both of them.

Now that I've visited her once, I feel the need to spend more time with her. Admittedly it was shocking to see such a change in her, but it wasn't as painful as I'd anticipated. She's still the beautiful, wonderful person she always was and her spirit, though not completely present, is filled with love and light as it always was. I'll miss her, I'm surprised by how much, but I'm truly feeling blessed that I got to know her and I'm blessed to be with her as she makes this journey. I just hope that I have in some small way helped her along and shown her and those around her unconditional love of some sort.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


I don't like confrontation and I don't like making others uncomfortable, angry or sad. I like to fill my environment with light and love, so when I get caught up in a situation that could result in confrontation - I run away as quickly as I can. It may show cowardice on my part, but I just want balance and harmony in my life and will do what I can to achieve that.

Now, I'm well aware of the fact that life is not all rainbows and lollipops. Bad things happen or rather uncomfortable things happen and I don't have control over what others do or say, but I can choose not to let myself be caught up in other people's drama especially if it's not my place to be.

I know that I can't always avoid confrontation, but when I am confronted with uncomfortable situations or confrontations I try to remain centered and balanced and do what I feel is best for those involved and when I can't help another with my presence then there is no need for me to stick around.

I've been abused in the past and at this point in my life I refuse to let anyone treat me as less than I deserve to be treated. I try my best not to hurt others or say things that might make them uncomfortable. I do not always succeed, but I try. I do this while also trying to be true to myself and sometimes being true to myself means just walking away. I do not have anything to prove. I will often know if I'm right or wrong and getting into an argument with another person isn't going to change anything most of the time.

I'm a big believer in turning the other cheek, so I just walk away for my sake and the sake of others. Maybe it's not always the right thing to do, but I find it easier much of the time. I try to make healthy choices and I don't always succeed, as I've said before I'm a work in progress. My life is about the journey not some destination, so I just keep moving along.

So if I walk away, don't take it personally - odds are it's not about you - it's about me taking care of me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I originally started writing this post a little while ago, but scrapped it all because it felt a bit like I was whining about the challenging things happening in my life. Making a situation outside of myself all about me, so instead I decided to change my thinking and write about what I'm grateful for.

I'm grateful that I have a wonderful loving family. That even though the kids have colds right now, they are normally quite healthy and happy. I'm grateful that I have my friend Jenn in my life and that I've been able to be there for her over the last year. I'm grateful for the lessons about dying she has taught me, but more importantly the lessons about life.

Jenn went into hospice while we were on our vacation and I've been sad ever since I heard. I'm grateful that places like hospice exist to help loving beings like Jenn with their transitions beyond this life. I'm grateful to Michael Franti for visiting my friend and making one of her dreams come true. I'm grateful that the facility she is in was open to that visit. I'm grateful to Jenn's friends and family for showing her such support and love.

I'm grateful to OA for helping me find a way that food doesn't have to run, even though right now I'm so sad I'm letting food rule. I'm grateful for the lessons I'm learning about myself through my failures and successes. Over all I choose to be grateful for life itself.

I will strive to live a life of gratitude at all times and I will fail from time to time - remember I'm a work in progress. When I'm distracted by challenges and negative thinking I will change my thought process and remember that I am grateful.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

what a vacation

Well that was a challenging camping trip. All in all it went well, but we had a couple of major melt downs that really put a damper on the trip. Both I and the girl just fell apart and had a stereotypical mother/daughter power play. Now I try very hard not to get sucked into these sorts of confrontations, but I am human and sometimes circumstances cause me to make bad decisions or no decisions and let myself fall into old patterns of behavior and I just mess up. That happened this past week while we were away. I got so upset that my behavior became irrational and I took it out on my family. I'm not proud of it, but there is my humanity staring me in the face once again. Nothing I can do to change what already happened, but I have made amends to my family and they have all forgiven me for causing an uncomfortable evening our last one of camping. All is well now and I've taken the opportunity to grow and learn from my mistakes.

It certainly doesn't excuse my behavior, but we got some unexpected news while we were away and I felt as though I was selfish and letting a friend and community down, by not being home while stuff was happening. Was my reaction rational? No - I had no control and really there was nothing I could have done to help had I been home. I just wasn't expecting it and let myself feel guilt and sadness that overwhelmed me and then led to some bad reactions/decisions on my part.

My family loves me dearly and have all proven this over and over whenever I have an outburst by forgiving me almost immediately. They never hold grudges against me. I'm slower to forgive than they are, especially when it comes to forgiving myself. I'm working on it - yes, I am a work in progress and I do not apologize for that. The journey is the point - the process is all there really is - there is no destination only the journey and I'm trying my best to journey well.

Blessings to all and especially to me - I need them today.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A chair for Sheela and a blanket for Finn

I noticed that the most popular post so far has been the one about whether to take our beloved Finn camping with us. Well, we did and now we're back, so I thought I'd talk a bit about our trip today.

We took both dogs with us - our elderly Finn who is 16 years old and our younger dog Sheela who is 4 I think. Anyway, Finn really seemed to enjoy the trip as usual. We had an old blanket for him to lie on so his old bones would be more comfortable. We set it by the fire and Finn was just such a trooper. He curled up on his blanket usually at my feet. The funniest part of seeing Finn in this natural environment was that he actually started lifting his leg to pee again. He hadn't done that in a least a year because his backend has gotten so weak. It was a joy to see him wagging his tail and snuffling around the ground. He got really cold the last couple of nights, so he'd lay on his blanket and I'd cover him with my sweatshirt - he'd snuggle down all comfy enjoying the fire and the company of his family. It was a blessing to have this time with him. It was a wonderful goodbye of sorts. I realized while away that the time to let go is close and having him with us definitely made it easier to accept this eventuality.

Now Sheela on the other hand was a handful. She felt the need to bark at anyone who walked by the entire time. She only barked at passing cars for the first day or so, but almost any little thing would set her off. It was incredibly frustrating. She's also very thin and and has short hair, so she was cold most of the time. She, however, wouldn't just curl up in front of the fire. She felt the need to be on one of us most of the time. If there was no lap available she would curl up in the closest chair and we'd cover her with a blanket. Talk about high maintenance. As my Beloved hubby says, "it's a good thing she's so cute."

We are home now and Finn has slept almost non stop since we got here. Sheela has been blessedly quiet and is currently curled up in a spot of sun on the floor - yes Sheela on the floor is an anomaly. We are safe and comfortable and clean after our adventure. It's good to be home.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Saturday, September 7th is the anniversary of the death of our dear Arlo Edward Becker, our youngest son. He would be 6 years old today if he'd lived.

It's amazing to me how much of an impact this little being had on my life when he didn't even get the opportunity to live outside my womb. His death is the worst thing that has ever happened in my life, yet I don't regret it. Losing Arlo was the most intense painful experience I've ever been through, but his spirit was just to good for this world. His very short life profoundly affected me and many of those around me. I still mourn to this day, but I also celebrate that I knew him at all.

The year we lost Arlo one of the things I did to help me heal was to spend time in nature with my other children. We went camping - just the three of us and our family has gone camping every year since to the same campground at the same time to memorialize this little life. We call it our Annual Arlo Edward Memorial Camping Trip. Every year I take the box that contains Arlo's ashes with us, so that he is with us on our trip. Gosh that sounds a little morbid, but I swear it's not. I just leave them in the car - it's only a symbolic gesture of remembrance.

We leave for our trip tomorrow - this is the 7th anniversary and I can not help thinking what fun he would have at 6 years old whacking and chopping away at his big brother and sister with sticks in the woods, throwing rocks, climbing trees, constantly being told - "Come back closer to the site so I can see you!" I think of him often, but it's only this once a year that I let myself think of the whatifs. What if he'd lived, how would our lives have been different, what kind of kid would he be. Whatifs are not particularly healthy, so I don't spend too much time thinking that way. I simple acknowledge those thoughts and move on to enjoy some special family time with the boy, the girl and my beloved.

I won't be posting for a few days, but I'll be sure to fill you all in our trip when I get back. Thank you all for reading my little blog - it means a lot to have the support of my family and friends. Blessings to all who take the time to read my words.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

bad decisions with good intentions

Hey all. I've just had to look one of my decisions squarely in the face and realize that though it was for the best intentions, it was the wrong decision. There seems to be a lot of those in my life the last few years and I have to look at myself and the situation honestly and openly. I fucked up. Again.

Now comes the part of me that starts to analyze and even though I tried to convince myself my intentions were good - were they really or was I just a coward and couldn't face the real reason I made that decision.

It gets complicated trying to analyze the reasons behind my decisions especially when I've been lying to myself and I'm not even aware of it. I don't want to admit to myself that I sometimes make decisions more because I'm scared than for any other reason. I'm trying to hide from pain - usually emotional pain.

In the past I would eat to hide from my pain - that's one of the reasons I'm a compulsive overeater, but now that I'm working the OA (Overeaters Anonymous) program I'm not hiding in food anymore. I now often make bad decisions because I'm still afraid to honestly and completely feel my feelings and deal with them. At least now I'm aware of it, so I can attempt to be better.

Trying to do what's best for myself and others is no easy feat for me. Putting myself aside and making self destructive decisions is more familiar, but I'm trying to let go of past unhealthy patterns. Now I try to make decisions with more balance for myself and others. What's best for me, usually works out being what's best for my family - imagine that. My therapist had a hard time convincing me that once I could take better care of myself, I could take better care of those around me and lo and behold it was true! Except when I'm making decision based on unacknowledged fear instead of sound reasoning and feelings.

I want desperately to beat myself up, but what would that really accomplish? It wouldn't change my decision or the pain that it caused another. All I can really do is acknowledge my mistake, apologize for it if necessary, learn from it and move on. Now I know that I can and often should make different decisions.

Today I decide to be thankful for my bad decisions and the growth that occurs because of them. I decide to not beat myself or make that same mistake again and to express my love and compassion toward myself and those around me.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

bountiful harvest

Well it's harvest time here in Maine. I just processed 3 pounds of green beans to put in our freezer and I'm feeling really blessed. Our freezer contains tomatoes and peas from last year still waiting to be eaten up as well as a little corn and the green beans from this year. For some reason we seem to be eating it all faster than I can freeze it this year, which is interesting. The kids love fresh vegis especially corn, so it gets eaten instead of frozen much of my dismay. Of course the plan is to get even more in the freezer this harvest time if possible. Love eating locally grown vegis in January - it makes me very happy.

Monday, September 2, 2013

tough decisions

Our annual camping trip is coming up, but I'm really struggling with whether or not I want to go this year. We go every year on the anniversary of the birth/death of our little Arlo Edward - we call it the Annual Arlo Memorial Camping trip. It's a special time for us to be together as a family and think of the little life that would have been part of our family - though I have to admit he is still part of us in some small way.

Anyway, this is an important trip and this year I just don't know if we should go. We are on the cusp of losing another family member and I just don't know if he's up to the conditions of camping anymore as much as he has always loved it. My Glen of Imaal Terrier, Liberty's Finn McCool is 16 years old and he is dying. He's been my best friend for years and has helped me through some of the hardest times of my life and all I want right now is to keep him comfortable for however long he has left.

I struggle daily with whether it's time to let him go, but he seems happy most of the time. He still trots out to the food dish every morning and evening even though his back-end doesn't work so well anymore. His ears perk up and I get lickies whenever I see him. He's always loved camping, so part of me is tempted to take him along just one last time before he dies. I'm torn......

I suppose we could go and if he's struggling or is obviously uncomfortable we could just come home. I don't know - this is hard. I've actually had months longer with him than I expected, so I ultimately feel blessed. In May it really seemed like we would have to let him go very soon, but he's still plugging away. He sleeps a lot, but at his age that is to be expected. He also tends to have a lot of accidents in the house, but again it's expected and doesn't really bother me all that much - we just clean it up. The little day to day hassles are worth having just a little bit more time with him.

I keep expecting that look from him - you know that look that tells me that it's time to let him go. I'm not ready, but I know and trust that I will be when he lets me know that he is. Until then, I love him and kiss him and spend time just watching him sleep. He is truly one of our family and will leave a hole when he is gone.

I guess all this rambling has helped, because I think we'll go, see how he does and if he's not doing well just come home. Phew - it's good to have that decision made. Now to run it by the family and see if they agree.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

the threat of depression rears it's ugly head

Okay, so those of you who know me - and I'm guessing many of you do who read this blog do - know that I struggle with depression. A couple years ago I had a serious bout of depression that lasted over a year that was in direct response to a physical ailment that I was struggling with. There was underlying grief from the death of my son while I was still pregnant, that had been festering for years - the physical condition was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

 The funny thing about depression is that if you've suffered with it long enough  - I have off and on for over 30 years - it becomes the answer to any out of the ordinary feelings or symptoms that come along.

Case in point - I've been exceptionally tired the last couple of days and all I want to do is stay in bed. Sounds reasonable right - I mean I've been staying up far too late reading the last few nights so it stands to reason that I would be tired. I think the appropriate response is to want to sleep more, but my conditioned brain automatically thinks -DEPRESSION! Am I depressed? No I don't think so - I think I'm just tired because I've been staying up too late, but any time I get really sleepy during the day I get paranoid that the depression is back.

Depression is a big dark scary place, but I've spend so much of my life depressed that it is almost comfortable or at least familiar. (btw as I write this the cat is snoring across the room and it's making me smile - so much for being depressed) It's been such a constant in my life that when I'm not depressed I look for it thinking something must be wrong, but it isn't. I'm happy and I'm allowed to be happy - depression does not have rule my life. I now, after many years of therapy, have the tools to fight it. If I want to and that's the crux of the matter, do I want to. Yes, I do - right now - will that change? I don't know, I hope not.

The last 3 years have been hell for our family, mostly because of my depression. Now the temptation for me would be to feel guilt about that, but I didn't get depressed purposely, so there is no guilt - anymore. There used to be - I admit that freely, but depression is an illness - one I didn't choose all those years ago and statistics show that the more often one has depressive episodes, the more likely one is to have more episodes. I have tools now to fight with  and I choose to fight for my right to happiness - and sadness too. I have the right to feel feelings in a healthy way and that is my goal in life. Another is be honest about my struggles so maybe others can learn from my experience.

I know my family appreciates all I've done over the last 3 years to get better and come back to them. I appreciate all they've done to support me and help me through that part of my life journey. We are a unit and the last three years has shown me how important we all are to each other.

Once again all I can say is that I am truly blessed.

Friday, August 30, 2013

a day in the life

Today I thought maybe I'd give you all a snapshot of a moment in our day to day lives.

Right now at this moment, my 15 year old son is watching videos on Youtube and my 10 year old daughter is making french toast for a late breakfast. Until she started cooking she was playing Minecraft on my computer. One dog is sleeping (he's old and slowly dying) and the other is pacing about barking from time to time at one of the cats who is trying to nap. The other two cats are off somewhere hiding from the dog. My beloved husband is off working. He's been away for the last two nights, but will be home for dinner. Oh and the chickens are in their pen squabbling over pecking order. My son and I are dressed, but my daughter is still in her nightgown.

It's 10 AM and this is a pretty typical morning for us. Other kids started school the last couple of days, but we are doing our unschooling thing right here at home. In a little bit it will be my son's turn to play Minecraft and I'll lose my computer for a few hours. I'll probably read and my daughter will probably watch my son.

I don't really want to refer to my kids by name on my blog, so I'll go back to how I've often referred to them in the past. I've called my son - the boy and my daughter - the girl. I guess that will do for now. Anyone who can think of a cute nickname for them let me know here in the comments or on facebook and maybe I'll use something new. That could actually be fun. Some of you know us from real life and might think of something cute - fill me in if you come up with anything.

I've been thinking about different rites of passage and watching my kids grow up. I've been lucky, because we homeschool I've been a significant presence in every stage of my kids' development. The boy is deep into adolescence and the girl is on the edge. I've tried very hard to live in the moment with my kids. I've enjoyed and appreciated every stage of development and tried my best to support and guide them. I haven't always done the best job, but their lives have been filled with love and acceptance and I think that's important. I enjoyed being the mom to an infant, to a toddler, a preschooler, a little kid, and now a teenager and a preadolescent. Every stage has been a gift and I've tried to be there for it. It hasn't always been easy - there have been some significant challenges along the way, but I think I can safely say that my kids know they are loved for who they are right now.

Trying to protect them has often backfired, but everything we've gone through - we've gone through as a family. We've stuck together through thick and thin and boy has there been a lot of thick. I do worry a bit about empty nest syndrome because so much of my life has been wrapped up in my kids' lives. How do I try to deal with the future? First and foremost, I try to live in the moment and second I work at my relationship with myself and my husband. Sometimes, often actually, I look forward to the days when it'll just be he and I in our house.

I want my kids to be happy and I honestly don't know what that means yet. Ultimately it's not up to me. They are well on their way to adulthood and I have to accept that their future happiness is in their hands. I can only be here to help guide and support them through the choices that they make. Will they make mistakes? I hope so - that's one of the ways we learn. I'll be here to help them get back up when they fall and love them no matter how big those mistakes are. That's all I can do. That's my job.

Wow, this snapshot got kinda deep.......Yes that is the way my mind works. I think one simple little thought and suddenly my mind is off and running.

One of the best parts of this snapshot is that it is always changing. The boy is still on Youtube - now he's looking up different videos about how to manipulate Minecraft and I'm trying to convince the girl that getting dressed would be a good idea. The other dog has curled up on the coach and is napping under a blanket (yep it's still a bit chilly). Cats are still doing their thing - the kids are humming some song they remember from a tv show they watched together and the chickens are still working on that pesky pecking order.

All in all - I'd have to say I'm incredibly blessed.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Iced Coffee

I'm sitting here drinking iced coffee and thinking about my life while I wait for an appointment to spend some time with some of my online friends - online. We gather a few times a week in a chat room and watch videos together and chat. It's great fun. As I sit here waiting to start I'm struck by how grateful I am. I'm so lucky to have people in my life from all over the world that truly care for me. I may never meet them in person, but that doesn't change the fact that they truly care. That means so much to me. I find that I'm so grateful for social media, specifically Facebook because not only can I keep in touch with my family and friends from near and far, I can also meet new people that I share interests with. How wonderful is that. Do online friend replace my other friends? No of course not, but I find that I have become closer to some of those friends than to the ones I see in "real life". I talk to them more often and find it's sometimes easier to share because we may be in similar places in our journeys. I've discovered that I'm a bit of an introvert, so getting out and seeing others is not my forte - I'd much rather stay home and read a book or two or three ;) and spend time with my husband and kids. I love and am grateful to all the people who have chosen to be in my life whatever way we connected or however we stay in touch. I'm a truly blessed person to have folks who care for me and who I can care for right back. This is just another way my life is good.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I have written this post twice now and I just can't seem to get it right.

I want to write about how change has affected my life recently, but it seems my life is always in flux so change is inevitable. The most recent change in my life is that therapy is ending. This is bittersweet for me. On one hand I'm excited that I've done the work and developed the skills to function without therapy, but on the other I feel a little wary of living life without that particular net. I have to admit I will also miss my therapist. I've been working with her for 2 years now and seeing her once a week, twice a week or every other week for all that time. Honestly though, I've just reached a point where I don't know what to talk to her about anymore. We catch up and she reiterates that I'm doing a great job with my new tools. She's a wonderful lady and I'll miss her, but really I don't need her anymore. I've become a strong, capable, honest person who is much better at taking care of myself. Am I perfect? No, of course not. Will there still be bumps in the road along my journey? Of course! Now, I'm in a place where I understand these bumps are part of my growth and I don't need to panic anymore or even more likely for me - shut down. I can still function and have a good life changing my way of thinking and ultimately my feelings. Yes, I've been using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and it's been a godsend for me. These tools have helped me reclaim joy and hope in my life.

I feel so blessed and so thankful. I really am occasionally overwhelmed about how my life has changed over the last three years. I've been through some things that no one should have to go through, but I've learned that not everything that goes wrong in life is my fault nor do I have to take responsibility for other peoples actions and decisions. I have to own my own mistakes, but I don't have to hang onto them and continue beating myself up. I've learned to forgive myself and move on, learning from my mistakes, but not letting them rule my life. I've also learned or rather am learning to not let food run my life anymore. All this from therapy. Now, I'm ready to do these things without therapy - I know and practice my skills without my therapist telling me to - that's what I've been doing for months now. It's time to let go. It's time to trust myself.

Am I scared? A little, but I know I can do this. I believe in myself and I know I can face any challenge and learn and grow from it as opposed to letting it beat me down and ruin me. Wow, I really have changed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

a new beginning (there are lots of those in my life)

A new me means a new blog......Yep, I'm on a journey of self discovery, I have been for a few years now. My last post on my other blog was in July of 2010, it's now August of 2013. A lot has changed.

I'm really not focused on the same things anymore - a lot of that journey was surpassed by a journey through mental and physical illness. I've worked hard to get past both and I'm discovering a new, healthier, hope filled me - hence the name of this blog - which could change by the way.

The purpose of this blog is to just share where I'm at, what I'm learning, how I'm doing and what I'm up to. Not many will be interested, but being able to write things down makes them more real for me so I'm taking this journey to a blog. I don't know how often I'll post - when I can - when I feel inspired - when something is on my mind. I'll write about a lot of different things and I'll try - as my friend Jenn says - to keep it real.

My journey has not been an easy one - the last couple of years have really shown me what I'm made of and I'm much stronger than I think. I'm far from the perfect person. I'm lazy, I have a short temper, and I can be a little selfish, but I'm also kind, compassionate, loving and I try desperately to be a good wife, mother and me.

I've been living my life in a larger body for a long time now and after the work I've done spiritually and mentally, I decided not too long ago to work on the physical as well. In keeping with a holistic approach, I'm walking a 12 step program to work toward a healthier body weight. I attend meetings in person once or twice a week and often attend on line meetings to keep myself on track. My abstinence is very important to me - I'm a food addict and compulsive overeater, so I need to be honest with myself in every way - mentally, physically and spiritually. I've had some success so far - 27 pounds down. I'm pretty proud of myself. I'll share this part of my journey here as well.

I will probably talk about my family a lot - my life is really focused on them to be honest. I have a wonderful loving husband - my soulmate and partner, a 15 year old teenaged son and a 10 year old daughter who is going on 40. They are my world in many ways, but I try to take care of myself so I can be a better wife and mother. I homeschool my two kids - right now we've been unschooling for the last few years, but we are considering something more structured per the advice of my therapist and the kids' therapists. Yep - we are a family that believes in therapy. I've been in therapy for years and the kids have been for months - we've had a rough few years and now we are working toward some normality - well our form of normality :)

Another thing about me that may seem a little weird is that I really enjoy reading M/M romances, mysteries, novels. I love reading about the self discovery of gay men and the loving relationships that evolve in fiction. I have a few favorite authors and I may from time to time write a bit about what I'm reading. I read a lot and I write a little. I also enjoy gay movies and storylines in soap operas. Those may get mentioned from time to time as well.

I also knit and sew and I will try to post about finished projects when I actually get around to finishing them. I'm teaching my daughter to sew right now and she's taking to it like a fish to water. I'm very proud of her.

This is me - this is my life. It's a good life most of the time, but there are bumps in the road. I'm learning the bumps are not the end of the road, they are just lessons along the journey. I'll try to be as honest as I can. I hope you will find something of interest as I share my journey with all of you.