sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘new perspective’

Story of my life

Have you ever seen the video for the song, Story of My LIfe, by One direction?

I have always liked the song and having just watched the video, I like it even more.

And I am very picky about my videos. My favorite song currently is Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill, but oh my! I really dislike the video. It just does not do the song justice. I find the video cheesy. But I will focus back on the video I like…

Story of My Life by One Direction

Today is my half birthday.

Crazy? That a 48 year old woman is celebrating her half birthday?…

Maybe…

There is no cake or anything. I just always think about it when it arrives, 6 months prior to my next birthday.

And today, I am using the date to focus on me and my life for my blog.

What better song to use and after watching the video, I knew it was perfect.

Do three links to the video impress upon how much I want you to watch this video?

I will superimpose my blog within the lyrics of the song today….

“Story Of My Life”

Written in these walls are the stories that I can’t explain

I leave my heart open but it stays right here empty for days

April 15, 2018

I am 48.5 years old today. My 49th birthday is 6 months away. It is also “tax day” but being Sunday, I guess that will really be tomorrow.

I am very happy with my life right now. I would not have said that last year. Two years ago, I might have, but several years prior to that, most likely not. I have had more than my share of challenges over the past 11 years. Somewhere in all of it, I lost myself but have been working to uncover myself again. In doing so, I have discovered that the truest part of me has been lost for far more than 11 years.

The last time I remember being this confident and happy with myself was when I was 10, 11, and 12 years old and living in Bethel Park, Pa. I lived there for 3 years of my life: September 1979 through the summer of 1982. I made some wonderful friends in those 3 years and have some of my best childhood memories from that time period. I was a Girl Scout, a safety guard for the bus stop, part of the writing crew for a child run and produced news show that ran on the local channel and was facilitated by my 5th grade teacher at Washington Elementary School. I learned to play the clarinet and was in the band which continued even after moving across the state and when entering high school. I played softball for a church league and was a catcher and learned to hit the ball and even got a home run! I played softball the year before we moved to Pennsylvania, when we lived in Ohio, but we later found out that I really needed glasses and this explained my not hitting the ball for an entire season of softball. It is much more fun to play softball when you can see.

She told me in the morning she don’t feel the same about us in her bones

Seems to me that when I die these words will be written on my stone

I received my first journal, “dairy” when I was 10 years old. My sister gave it to me for my 10th birthday, October 15, 1979.

I still have that diary and every one after it that I have been writing in for the past 38 1/2 years. I have been a writer for as long as I an remember. My 6th grade language arts teacher was the best. I can remember creating a book of poetry in her class and I vividly remember her sitting down to review it with me. She encouraged me and praised m writing.

We moved a year later and somehow, my vision of myself as a writer changed. Somehow, when I was in high school and thinking about college, I never thought of pursuing a career in writing. Looking back at my life now, I see how everything I did was perfect to bring me to where I am today. I would not change going to E-town College and majoring in Occupational Therapy. Nor would I change all the places I have worked as an Occupational Therapist. Even the job I held for only one month. It all brought me to where I am now.

I used to say “I am a writer that got detoured by a career in Occupational Therapy”.

I don’t know that I would say that anymore.

I am a writer AND…

I am an Occupational Therapist.

Both are a large part of who I am.

And I’ll be gone, gone tonight

The ground beneath my feet is open wide

The way that I been holding on too tight

With nothing in between

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

I give her hope

I spend her love

Until she’s broke

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

Any love song I listen to now, I often think about loving my inner child.

Nourishing the part of me that got lost, my true self.

I have been actively working to nurture my inner child for over 14 years ever since I began practicing EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique with Jan Luther.

I did personal work and went on to study EFT further and earned a level 1 and level 2 EFT training certificates. I also received level 1 and level 2 Reiki training. I am a student of Conversations with God. That goes back even further, I believe to before my oldest child was born over 20 years ago. I remember hearing Neale Donald Walsh speak at Unity of Charlotte when I was pregnant with my oldest child. I have read many self help books as well and engaged in classes on spiritual health and growth. I went to counseling with my husband when we fist met and before we even had a first fight. I attended further therapy on my own and joined a women’s group and continued to be in touch with those women for several years.

Written on these walls are the colors that I can’t change

Leave my heart open but it stays right here in its cage

I know that in the morning now I see us in the light upon a hill

Although I am broken, my heart is untamed, still

Depression has been a part of my life since my teenage years. I did not struggle significantly until my senior year of college at the age of 22. Although, high school was difficult for me and I lacked self-confidence and could not wait to move out of highschool. I excelled academically but socially was a very different story.

Moving out on my own after graduating college was a shock to my system. Somehow I envisioned that experience to be an extension of college, but it was not. I had challenges but found my way.

I met my husband in March of 1993, just four months after moving 600 miles south to North Carolina.

I can still see the add in my OT magazine for the job, it read,

Shouldn’t you be in Charlotte?

It spoke to me.

I am glad I listened. That is one “should” that benefited me!

Married in May of 1994

First big job change in August of 1995 with significant pay increase and less stress

First child born November of 1997

Changed to part time work (from full time) in January of 2000

Moved to new larger house in April of 2001

Child number two born February of 2002

Home full time in Summer of 2007, something I had desired since February of 1998 when I returned to full time work leaving my 12 week old son home with his dad

Spring of 2008, expecting my third child and when three months pregnant,

…Back to work because my husband was reduced from full time employee with salary to contractor paid commission only

January 8, 2009 my third child is born and I choose to stay home for a full year because that is why we had waited to have a third child…

So that I could be home full time

Our financial struggles began in summer of 2008 when my husband lost. his job, but never collected unemployment because he still had a job, as a contractor, paid commission, and he even had to collect the money from customers.

I sought work but it took a few months to get hired and worked many weekends ad other days as needed until December when I felt I was too pregnant to continue. I had worked up to the day before for my first two children, but this time I was 39 years old and very tired with this pregnancy.

I returned to work at that same job in spring of 2010 when my youngest was just over a year old, working “PRN” on a part time, as needed basis. I continued at that job until recently.

I could continue to list life events from this point on and yet, that would take hours.

I already have many blogs written about the challenges overt the past 10 years.

The important part…

Is that I am on the other side now

I have walked through the mud

Swam the swamp and come up for air

Hurdled the obstacles with bruises and scars

Badges of honor abound

And courage…

I am stronger because of it

I am also who I am because of all of my experiences

I am NOT what has happened to me…

I AM who I now as, as a result of my choices I have made about what has happened.

And I,’ll be gone, gone tonight

The fire beneath my feet is burning bright

The way that I been holding on so tight

With nothing in between

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

I give her hope

I spend her love

Until she’s broke

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

And I been waiting for this time to come around

But baby running after you is like chasing the clouds

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen

The story of my life

I give her hope (give her hope)

I spend her love

Until she’s broke (until she’s broke inside)

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

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Changes…and dreams…home!

My life has taken a big turn this month. I sit down to write on this Sunday morning and my Writing Inspiration playlist echos my thoughts…

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’

‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older, too

I have been with one job for 8 years and now I am moving on. The universe has slowly been nudging me to move on and yet I resisted for so long. But I love my co-workers and I know the building, the other staff and even the families, it feels like home to me!

I have said these things over and over again over the years, yet I have been left stagnant, my soul in dire need of change. Sometimes we need a big PUSH to move on in life. I am grateful for a big push.

Tomorrow I start a new job.

The funny thing is that I have worked at this “new job” before. I worked for this same company, in this same building, for the same boss and with several of the same co-workers several years ago. My ego can not argue about change when I am moving to something that is familiar to me and is not really new.

It feels right to move to this new job. And it also is scary. Change can be scary.

I feel excited, yet anxious, eager, yet apprehensive…

Do most people feel these things when starting a new job, or anything new?

For me, I get eager to get that first day over with….

I know once I complete my first day, it will get easier, and once I get used to the computer system and the documentation, and the people…. Part of me wants to jump ahead a few months, knowing it will be easier then and I will have less anxiety then.

Yet, there is joy in the new-ness of the beginning of a new job, a new relationship….

I can feel free to ask all my questions.

I have permission to not know exactly what I am doing.

I enjoy meeting new people and the early questions and conversations with new people.

Discovery

A new job can be like an exploring mission to a new land…

Changes

More than a new job is happening in my life

My life is full of many changes right now.

Don and I attended SHIFT Charlotte yesterday. We are embarking on a new journey together. We are going to speak on conscious parenting. We are embarking on a combined business endeavor.

Child-led Learning and Family OCD are coming together under Focused Healthy Families.

We have been working toward this for a long time.

I have been working toward this vision for 20+years, since I became a mother, and since I first envisioned, “Mommy Daddy STOP.com”.

Mommy, Daddy, STOP.com was the website I first created with the tag line: Consciously parenting our children, our parents, and ourselves.

Once upon a time

Once when you were mine

I remember skies

Reflected in your eyes

I wonder where you are

I wonder if you think about me

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

When I listen to songs like Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues, even though it is a “love song”, I hear the message of speaking to my soul, my true self that was lost for so long.

I wonder if you care

I wonder if you still remember

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays

And when the words are touched with sorrow

When the music plays

I hear the sound I had to follow

Once upon a time

I feel reconnected with my children.

I feel recommended with myself.

I feel that Don and I are on the path that I envisioned nearly 7 years ago when he was born again, May 4,2011.

I had big visions when Don was in the hospital for 12 days in May of 2011, recovering from a massive heart attack.

I have had dreams since I first became a mother on November 10, 1997 and from when I returned to work in February of 1998.

I had dreams of finding a way to work from home so that I could be a full time mother and earn a living.

Today is Sunday, March 25, 2018

20 years + 1 month ago, I returned to work after my first child was born,

It was the most difficult thing i had done up to that point in my life. My husband was building a business, working from home and we had made this plan long before I had become pregnant. He offered to find a job again so that I could stay home full time. Yet, I knew that we had chosen this path for a reason and him building his own business was a big part of our vision which included him growing the business so that I could work less hours, and eventually even be home full time.

I remember sending away for work from home information.

I got a large roll of ribbon from one company, to make tiny bows.

This was pre-internet, 1998, when I found out about working from home from snail mail resources.

I never made those bows.

Yet, I kept searching for a way to work from home…

I started Charlottehomeschooling.com in 2008, just months before my third child was born.

I began this blog in 2012.

I began Child-led Learning blog in 2014.

I have been working toward a new endeavor for a long time and magically, my husband has evolved his career multiple times into what is now a coaching business working with families with the focus of helping people overcoming anxiety.

Here I am now after 20 years…

Bon Jovisays it well

I spent twenty years trying to get out of this place

I was looking for something I couldn’t replace

I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known

Like a blind dog without a bone

I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone

I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold

I been there, done that

But I ain’t looking back on the seeds I’ve sown

Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone

Who says you can’t go home?

I AM GINA….One Week Later: Creating a New Life for Myself

I am

Powerful and creative energy

I am

I am ready to take my experience and skills and more to new work.

I am ready to use my skills as an Occupational therapist to begin a business in well- care, instead of sick-care.

Sundays are now writing time and planning time and goal setting time.

I can embrace my new Sundays.

I am also ready to see the $350 I typically earn (or used to earn) each Sunday, showing up in my life in new ways…

..so the bills can be paid.

I am ready universe.

I am open to new possibilities.

I am a writer.

I am Gina.

I wrote that one week ago

Wow

I have experienced so much since I wrote my post last Sunday.

I am home on Sunday and have time alone to myself in my own home.

Jason and Don are at my sister’s house 3 hours away for an agility trial.

I had an interview this week, a job offer and I set up another interview for Monday and got a phone call about another job.

Wow

I am amazed at how fast I am finding other work options. It used to take so long for that process.

Or maybe I was dragging my heels and that is why it took a long time

Now

I am

Creating

A new life for myself

There are many job opportunities in my area and my field right now.

I have found many job opportunities very close to my home!

I am looking for work at higher rate of pay and closer to home.

I am finding that!

I am amazed at how powerful creation is…

I am! Is such a powerful and creative statement to the universe.

I have known this truth, yet experiencing it happen this quickly and strongly in my life right now is just…

Wow

I didn’t realize it until I read my post from last Sunday.

And I read my post after I had written in my journal this morning.

After I have been struggling this week with feelings of “I should have done …” and “I wish I hadn’t done…”

I wrote in my gratitude journal and through writing, embraced the beauty of my mistakes.

I am grateful for this experience…and ALL that happened and unfolded- I have learned from it. It happened and hear I am now so much better Because of it!!!!

I am grateful for the mistakes I have made in my life!

We regret what we don’t do- not what we do.

I spoke up!

I spoke my truth!

I also wrote:

I am grateful- I spoke up for myself!

I am grateful

-I am not perfect

_I make mistakes

I am HUMAN

And being HUMAN is beautiful!

I am so grateful for this experience

I can “let it go”

And release all the “I should have done…”

“I should have not done….”

Blah blah blah

I am so grateful!

I am grateful for

Right Here

Right NOW

I AM GINA

Bipolar Depression: When Life Just Sucks and the bills need to be paid

I have been on prozac, 20mg, 9 months now. I have birthed myself a new life.

Unlike the last anti-depressant I tried 2 years ago, I feel that the Prozac is helping me and not causing side effects and mania.

It makes me wonder, why didn’t I try this medication years ago?

Here I am now. And somehow it is all perfect and in perfect order.

It can be challenging to really believe that.

The idea that life unfolds, or we create it, just the way it needs to be.

And it is what we do with what happens that matters more than what happens.

We create our life….

Yet, there are those times when it really feels like life is happening to me

Sh#t happens

I work PRN as an Occupational Therapy in geriatric rehab.

PRN means no required hours and no guaranteed hours.

I sign up to work but they can “call me off”if they don’t need me something that can happen the night before or the day of…

I am employed with 2 companies, one for almost 8 years and the other for 4 years.

PRN also means you get paid a “higher rate of pay” because you have no benefits.

Healthcare changed in 2000 and greatly for me in the field of Occupational Therapy.

I had a pay cut and salary caps happened and jobs were hard to find for a while.

My work is very different than it was when I graduated college with my Bachelor of Science Degree in OCcupational Therapy in 1992.

All those Medicare cuts and changes that happened at the beginning of this century, mean I now make less money than I did 20 years ago. I worked PRN 21 years ago in addition to a full time job. At that time, my PRN rate of pay was double my rate as a full time employee. IT was $50 an hour. The current average rate of pay in the area where I live for a PRN OCcupational Therapist is now $45 an hour.

I now have 25 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist and yet 21 years later, I am making less money.

PRN means no increase in pay.

This is healthcare.

Or better named, sickcare.

I vent about this all the time to my husband and close friends and family.

It is time I write about it.

I began asking for a pay increase 4 years ago at my job I had been with for 4 years when I found out the current rate of pay for new PRN employees, therapists, was $5 more than I was making. I got told I would get the pay increase and then called back the next day and told, “I didn’t know there was a hold on raises. But you will be the first to get a raise when it changes.”

I asked again almost 2 years later, I was told I had to wait until the fall (it was early spring) when they do reviews.

As a prn employee, I had never had a review done.

First of September, my boss schedules a review for me. Wow!

I get told I will get the “pay increase”, in other words, they will now pay me what they are paying everyone else who was hired after me.

It will be in my December pay check.

December comes, no pay increase.

I was told that the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.

Apparently, they can only do raises one time per year.

I inquired about my options. I won’t even share that here because you would never believe it.

And I know my boss went to bat for me for the raise and then after the raise didn’t happen. I appreciate her efforts.

Much to my surprise, a year later, I get the pay increase!

After nearly 8 years working nearly ever week and most weekends for this company being available for most weekends and also being called off work when the caseload was too low, I now am getting paid what they should have been paying me at least 4 years ago.

$50 per hour

The rate of pay I made 21 years ago, when my hourly rate as a full time employee was $25 per hour.

GRATEFUL?

Sure I am grateful.

I feel like i finally made it happen!

Because PRN employees don’t get raises, pay increases, nothing.

I have been told that by my other employer, where I have now worked 4 years.

Why am I prn?

Because in order to be part time you have to average 20 hours per week.

They don’t have that many hours to give me at either place. I often work 20 hours between both jobs.

Many companies only have full time and prn employees and not part time employees.

So this is all good right?

Now the company is choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.

A secret policy that I have only learned about through the grape vine.

I have been called off work as a prn employee and I get that is part of being prn and the status of healthcare.

But now, I am called off work more and more.

It doesn’t matter how many years I have been with the company, nor my experience, nor the fact that when they do my quarterly relives now, I get glowing remarks on what I great employee I am.

What is the point of the glowing reviews?

It feels like a slap in the face!

I began getting the glowing reviews after I was told my raise wasn’t happening, because the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.

Now, just 3 months after my raise went into effect….

I am finding out not from my boss but from my co-workers, that the company is now choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.

Why am I writing about this and not going to my boss?

I have gone to her multiple times.

I have had many sit down talks with her about my concerns and issues.

I have reached out to her to find out about these rumors I am hearing.

She chooses not to fill me in and not respond to my phone call or repeated questions about the changes.

Each month, I am asked to give my availability for working weekends for the coming month.

I typically let them know I am available most Sundays for a full work day and most Saturdays for at least a half work day. On average, I tell them I am available for 6 our of 8 weekend days, every month, for nearly 8 years.

I find out about how much I am needed for on the Friday afternoon or night before the weekend.

I find out if they are calling me off work on the Friday before and sometimes not until 10pm the night before.

This is the nature of prn work in Occupational Therapy. (PT and OT work in adult and geriatric rehab)

I have been told, that despite my years of experience and time with the company, that if there are no evaluations, I will be called off first rather than the COTAS (OT assistants with a 2 year degree).

OK

It is a financial thing, they tell me.

Something I have never been happy with.

When I am needed for evaluations, they need me. But I am the first to go when the caseload is low.

That in itself sucks.

But what sucks even more

Is the company deciding to use prn employees as little as possible and not sharing this information with the prn employees.

Not openly sharing it.

We all know because we talk to the full time employees

Who are now required to rotate working weekends.

Not because they want to but because they have to.

Sometimes life just sucks.

I have seen that I am being called off more often and despite really liking my fellow co-workers and the facility as a whole at my weekend job, and have been looking for more work hours elsewhere.

My other prn job I work one or two days during the week as well as Saturdays when needed also has a low caseload right now.

And that is a crazy story with its own issues but I will save that for another time.

That being said,

I now have two prn jobs with very little hours for me to work.

And I have been looking for more hours and have let them all know that I am looking for more work hours.

Instead of more hours, I am getting far less hours.

In January, I earned enough to meet and exceed our expenses, to help pay down our debt.

My February pay checks totaled $1000 less, not quite meeting our basic expenses.

So far in March, I have worked a total of 5.25 hours.

It is only March 4, but I have only worked that many hours from Sunday Feb 25 through today, Sunday March 4.
I signed up to work full day last Sunday and today and for 5 hours yesterday and got 0 hours.

The 5.25 hours came from my other prn job.

But I may have 0 hours this week at my other prn job.

The caseload is low and instead of referring patients to our in facility outpatient therapy program, the facility is referring patients to a home health company who is trying to establish a monopoly in the facility, despite our company having a contract with a different home health company.

So I shared a little of that drama…

This is the nature of health care…

Sick care

I usually work at least 15 hours per week, 20 hours per week meets my expenses.

Sometimes I work 25 or more hours per week and other times 10-15, and it balances out.

But working only 5 hours in 2 weeks won’t pay the bills.

I have been asking about other prn work and have a number of companies to call and…

I updated my resume

Today, I am applying for other jobs. I have had that on my to do list for several weeks.

Now it feels urgent

When I began looking around for other work and asking my fellow prn employees and co-workers who work prn, I was looking to give myself more options and to seek work at a higher rate of pay.

I was looking for a third prn job to have the upper hand.

To be able to tell my weekend employer,

“NO, I have other work and work where I won’t get called off the day of or the night before at 10pm.”

I enjoy the jobI work weekends, I enjoy what I do as an Occupational Therapist, the patients I work with, and my co-workers, and the facility.

But I also value my sanity.

And, heck, the bills need to get paid!

Part of the reason, I have hesitated to find other prn work, more prn jobs…

Is because I am also a writer and actively working

To grow my writing, and turn Child-led learning into a paying gig

My husband, Don, and I are making plans to speak together on conscious parenting.

I run a local homeschool website, Charlottehomeschooling.com

I run Child-led Learning blog and facebook page and my goal is to grow that into a community and to also work as a child-led learning consultant.

I am ready to take my experience and skills and more to new work.

I am ready to use my skills as an Occupational therapist to begin a business in well- care, instead of sick-care.

Sundays are now writing time and planning time and goal setting time.

I can embrace my new Sundays.

I am also ready to see the $350 I typically earn (or used to earn) each Sunday, showing up in my life in new ways…

..so the bills can be paid.

I am ready universe.

I am open to new possibilities.

I am a writer.

I am Gina.

I am creating a new realization, a new experience, for my life

…and for my family.

My Journey out of Depression, Rising up:October 15,2017 – February 25, 2018

I have traveled far on my life journey. The past 4 months, since my birthday adventure to the beach, have been life changing.

I don’t even know where to begin to describe the experience.

I am now getting up early every morning excited for the day and ready to have some quiet time to myself. I head to the kitchen and get something to drink and often a cup of tea and maybe a hot pack for my neck or back and sometimes an ice pack for my achey hip. I have a purple bag that holds my iPad, keyboard, gratitude journal, pens, current inspirational book I am reading, and a few other things. I have my Bluetooth ear buds and my iPhone for listening to my music.

I begin sitting in the quiet and writing in my gratitude journal. Grateful for all that has transpired in the past day and also for all that is yet to come.

I then listen to music and write, or sometimes I stretch and exercise first.

Today after writing in my gratitude journal, I decided to take an early morning walk. Today is Sunday and most Sundays I work. Today I was called off work and the weather is beautiful. NC’s early spring with 50+ degree temperatures and sun rising. Years ago, I started many days with a morning walk and stretch, an activity I have been working to get back in the habit of doing. Yet, I have managed to walk on occasion maybe 1 or 2 days in a week but often go weeks without doing so.

Today, I walked for an hour!

It was 7am when I started and then my favorite local radio program, Resurrection Sunday, came on the air, 106.5 the end, at 8am and I enjoyed being outside stretching, walking around my yard, and then walking our dog, Olive while enjoying the retro music.

I started with a sweatshirt when I headed out at 7am but half way through my walk, I had removed it. I have spent much time outside this morning in this wonderful weather knowing that rain is on its way today. I got the brilliant idea to write outside and where better to write than sitting on our trampoline with a husband pillow at my back. Rain spits on me and my screen as I write, hoping to get some writing completed before the sky opens up.

Today is February 25, 2018 and this is how spring begins in NC.

Walking this morning, I enjoyed the Bradford pear trees beginning to bloom along with forsythia, daffodils and other blossoming trees. I took a close up picture of 2 small purple flowers that grow on vines in my front yard. I reminisced looking at my barren back yard, remembering how we used to have a collection of purple flowers that bloomed around April. But 3 years ago when we had to have our septic fields redug, the entire yard was dug up, taking out the giant oak (or was it a maple) tree, it had the helicopter seed pods.

Rain!

I am writing inside now from the top of my daughter’s bunk bed. I call it “my new office”. It’s quiet and I have a view out the big widows in her room and can only see her inspiring wall hangings and not the clutter below. The rain chased me inside today. Yet, I now know I can enjoy sitting outside on the trampoline to write. I enjoyed spending time outside this morning.

Fresh air feeds my soul.

I need to plant more purple flowers to replace the ones we lost in our backyard. I searched for my snow crocuses but couldn’t find them.

We do have daffodils blooming in our yard. When I lived in. Canton, Ohio from 1971 through 1979, we lived on Daffodil Street. I have fond memories of our home in Ohio including our kitchen with giant yellow and orange flowered wall paper that inspired me to paint my current kitchen bright gold. Our home was about the same age as the home I am living in now that was built in 1969. We have the same streets paved with gravel, tar and a steam roller. We have dead end roads that end in woods.

I am finding that as I do the inner work through EFT along with Jan Luther and the amazing groups she has created, that I am bringing to live my inner child. I am enjoying life and easily remembering what I felt like as a child. My inner joy is shining through my 48 year old self and all the trauma and challenges that have been a part of my life.

When I try to remember when I felt this excited and energized by life, I think the honest answer is when I was a child before the age of 13.

I will end with quoting a song that feels so true to the adult life I have lived. Even though it is not easy to be me, I am now happy to be me! And I will retitle the song, Wonder-woman. Thank you Five for Fighting for creating this song.

It is more powerful if you listen to it….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O87shD-FpvU

I can’t stand to fly

I’m not that naïve

I’m just out to find

The better part of me

I’m more than a bird,

I’m more than a plane

I’m more than some pretty face beside a train

It’s not easy to be me

It may sound absurd but don’t be naïve

Even heroes have the right to bleed

I may be disturbed but won’t you concede

Even heroes have the right to dream

And it’s not easy to be me

Life with a dog… 11 months and counting

Our dog, Olive, came to live with us in late October of 2010.  She was our neighbor’s dog.  We met her as a cute little puppy and got to know her as we assisted our neighbors with dog sitting on occasion.   My daughter, the animal lover who has wanted a dog of her own, enjoyed helping take care of the dogs across the street.  She then had opportunities to take Olive for walks and got to bring her to our yard for visits.  My neighbor described that when Olive would hear Abby’s voice outside their house, she would get all excited and come running to the door.  Olive became my daughter’s best friend.

Then in early  2010, my daughter’s irrational fears, nighttime difficulties  and over hand washing grew into full-blown dysfunctional Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  It was a crazy time for the entire family.  Through the most difficult times, she begged for a dog, saying that a dog would “make it better”.  We realized that a dog would not really make it better but as we learned to cope and help her navigate this disruptive anxiety disorder, we considered the idea of a dog.  We did witness how our neighbor’s dog, coming over and at times into Abby’s room could take her from a state of rage to a more calm and rational place.

Then in October, we learned our neighbor’s were moving due to a job change.  They were looking for rental property and could not find any that would allow all 3 of their dogs.  They came to my husband and I quietly and asked if we wanted Olive.  We did not have much time to make a decision.  We choose to take her temporarily and they agreed and had others who could take her if it did not work out for us.   We told our children it was only temporary to give us time to figure out if this was going to work for us.

I have had cats since I have lived on my own and am clearly a “cat person”.  My husband grew up with dogs but dogs who lived outside.  We would have been happy to continue through life without a dog.  Cats are self maintaining.  They bathe themselves and use a liter box. They can even be left home alone for a few days with plenty of water, food and clean liter boxes.   We have always been able to find someone to check in on our cats when we have been away.

So just prior to Halloween, 2010, Olive came to live with us and a few days later we watched our neighbors drive off in their moving truck- off to live several states away.  Olive was on her best behavior when we first got her.  I vividly recall that first night as we ate dinner, she sat quietly at a distance from the table.   We had to fix our fence to be able to let her run in the back yard and I can recall standing outside with her on a leash in the dark before bed.   Sometimes, I was happy to be standing outside in the quiet of my yard at night.

Somehow, after Olive came into our home, her place with my daughter changed.   The first few nights, Olive slept in my daughter’s bedroom but then something changed.  I am not sure what, other than Abby’s OCD- the part of her brain that is not functioning as it should and giving her false messages of danger. Olive was no longer an escape from her anxieties and fears but now part of our family and part of her issues.   Because we took Olive in on such short notice, we had no expectations for our daughter as to her role in caring for Olive.  We hoped she would take to caring for Olive and it would become her activity, something she enjoyed.  Yet, as time passed, we saw that Abby’s irrational fears and anxieties and inability to touch things now included Olive, feeding Olive, taking her outside, and even petting Olive.

We made our first trip with Olive over Thanksgiving and even my non-dog mother declared her a great  dog and she was welcome at her home.  Olive is a great dog with a wonderful temperament.  She is an ideal dog for a family with a toddler.  She gets along great with our cat who I think despite her air of superiority, is happy to have an animal companion.  She gives that away when she hides from and then jumps out at Olive, running from her, knowing despite being much smaller, she the cat with claws, has the upper hand.

At times, I do grumble about having a dog because I feel that we have the dog for my daughter and yet she can not usually do the simple things like feed her and take her outside.  Things are much better than those first few months~for Abby and with Olive.  Abby has participated in Canine Good Citizen Class with Olive and my sister has been coming about once per month and spending time with Abby and Olive with dog training.  Olive is more comfortable and now begs at the table and follows us when we have food.  She also is attention seeking at times and has wiggled her way between Jason, the toddler, and another person to get affection.  She likes to sit in our lap even though she is about 37 pounds.

Olive has become our family dog.  Jason calls her “my dog” and enjoys giving her treats- often many treats- but this makes for a good relationship with the two of them.  She barks a lot when she is outside.  She didn’t bark at all the first week or so that we had her.  She rarely barks in the house.  She is a great dog.  Yet, I do ask the question, “Why is there a dog in my house?” at times because I am still a cat person.

We are going to take our first trip where Olive can not come and so we needed to find someone to watch Olive.  Before Olive came to live with us, and we contemplated getting a dog for our daughter, we figured our wonderful neighbors across the street could dog sit for us.  The ones who gave us Olive and moved several states away.

I found a homeschool family with a young daughter who loves animals so much she started her own pet sitting business.   We had met them  several months ago and so they came over to meet Olive and will be coming over to take care of her when we are gone.   It feels good to hire another young girl who loves animals like my daughter with a mom that I know and trust.  I am not sure how Olive will do with us gone as she is so used to us being here during the day.  It is rare that we are gone for more than maybe 4 fours at a time.  Olive’s previous owners, our former neighbors both worked full-time and so she has lived that life.  Yet, she has been with us for almost a year and has grown accustomed to us being around.  I know we will pick up all the toys in the living room.  She has chewed a few toys on days when we were gone for a long stretch of time but only one toy per incident and I would say less than 5 times total.

I have come to appreciate aspects of life with a dog.  The happy, tail-wagging greeting whenever we return home.  Her unconditional love and acceptance of us as we are.  She listens well and can be trained easily with treats.  She does come when you call her (unless she is in pursuit of a cat or rabbit) and tolerates bathes and nail clippings as well hair cuts in a calm manner.   She is happy to go off in a corner when given a good bone.  She has learned to get off the couch when people are sitting on it~ well, will move as told, we are working on this.  Our youngest, Jason, has learned to be gentle and loves Olive.  Our oldest has learned to tolerate a dog in his home and even has helped to care for her.  I think having pets is wonderful for children.  We had a dog when I was young, but my sister, like my daughter, loved the dog and took full care of our dog.  I was very sad when our dog ran away from home and we never found him.  We only had him for about 3 or 4 years.

Olive is really a part of our family now even though some aspect of me still resists this.  When my husband had a heart attack and was in the hospital for 12 days, it seamed that Olive sat at the top of the stairs, almost watching over us but also waiting for him to come home.  I think my husband has bonded more with Olive than I have.  That part of me that still resists having a dog has not fully accepted that she is with us permanently now.  When our neighbors were still trying to sell their house, across the street from us, there was this possibility that they would move back but once they sold the house and new people moved in, that door closed.   It has been about 6 months now since that time.

My husband’s heart attack happened just shortly after our new neighbors moved in.  So now, that we are getting back to “regular life” do I find myself reflecting once again on life with a dog.   I feel that I am only now beginning to step back and reflect on life with a dog.  I know I could re read this post and likely want to re write it or start over.  Writing the post has propelled me in to thinking about it from a different perspective.  This post reflects where I am now (or where I was as a wrote it).  In my commitment to writing on a regular basis, I will share it for all to see.  Know that even now, I see it with a new perspective and possibly an altered title.  It is what it is: life with a dog, 11 months now and counting.

Getting Unstuck: No more “trying to”

Recently,  I decided to let go of my story of loss.  I wrote out all of my losses over the past several years, all the big ones and decided I would let go of “my story” of loss.  What does that mean? I don’t know but what comes to mind is Debbie Ford.  And so I googled to jog my memory and found this wonderful interview with Debbie Ford.

I wrote all about the letting go of loss in another blog entitled, Letting Go of “My Story”…of loss.

Today, I would like to talk about the part of the interview that first caught my attention; getting unstuck in “trying”.

I was immediately drawn to read more of this part of the interview because I, too often, find myself saying that I am “trying” to do something.   I have had ideas and even visions of what I would like to do with my writing and yet, find myself frequently getting stuck.  Even though I was reading this interview to learn more about letting go of “my story”, I knew that what I was reading was extremely relevant.

At the above link, if you scroll to page 5, 3rd paragraph,   the interviewer, McGee,  speaks of something Ford once said, “Don’t say you’re ‘trying’. You’re either doing something or you’re not doing it.”  and asks her “How do we get unstuck in “trying”?”

Debbie Ford answers:  quoted from the text

I use the analogy in The Right Question of a car trip.  If you just say, “I want to have a better business,” that’s like saying, “I want to go to the South.”  Where in the South?

How much better do you want your business?  You need to get really specific, and yes, you may have to modify your course.  You need to start with a very, very strong vision, because then you can wake up every morning and say, “What do I need to do to get there?”

If you were going on a road trip, you wouldn’t look at your map once a week or once a month.  You’d look at it every day.  Say, “This is where I want to go.”  Then, ask yourself, “What can I do today to get there?”

That is where we’ve got to go with people.  Whether it’s a New Age retailer or an individual, we’ve got to inspire them to have clear and concise vision.  And know you can change your vision.  Maybe I say I’m going to New York, but all of a sudden I wind up in New Jersey and I love it. That’s  okay-you can change your vision. 

We need to be clear about it.  We have that picture, and we hold it in.  We have the intent to get there, and we’re taking those steps. We’re taking really good, strong steps.  I don’t think the universe can guide us.  I think our souls know. 

The above information  is taken from an article in the  New Age Retailer from Jan/ FEb 2007.  The author and editor in chief is Kathy McGee.

After reading that, I had the idea of creating a plan for my vision in the form of a map.  Instead of listing out goals and objectives in outline style, I need to create a map of my vision.  A map that I can write on and amend as my vision unfolds. Unlike, a travel map with clear highways to travel on your route, this map needs to be ongoing.  I can write out my vision with as many descriptions and specifics including financial aspects and then, I can either work backwards and add in possible things I need to do to get to the final destination.  Or, I can just start from today and list what I can do now to get to my destination.

My brain is busy with possibilities of how I can create this map.  I do need to let my right brain, my creative side, take the lead.  My left brain has already made the list, written goals, objectives and daily tasks, only to find myself not able to follow through in that format.  I think I need to keep this visual and start with a vision collage of what I would like my life to be like.  From that vision collage, I can then create my map.  I believe I need to plan to do just that and stop thinking about it, because then I am once again, “trying”.

So, I will make a vision collage.  This You Tube Video gives a good explanation on Vision Boards.    I also found this blog that describes the idea well, How to Make a Vision Board.  After I make my vision board, I will let you know where I went from there and how I am making my map.  Maybe you might be interested in doing the same or something similar.  I would love to hear about your vision collage, or road map to where you want to go.  Please share, for the benefit of all.