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Protected: My Marriage & Divorce

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Protected: Thirty Years Later

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The Aftermath of Abuse

What happens when plans are jumbled up, you don’t know what tomorrow holds, and you face the unknown?  There are no promises.  How can you do it without fear?  You can’t until you trust yourself.  Believing you have no control is absolutely wrong.  We have more control than we are led to believe.  Much of what happens is a consequence of what happened in our past.  We cannot change it, but we can look at it, own it, and learn from it.  We can accept that we did the best we could at the time.  We can ask for forgiveness if we hurt someone.  We can forgive those who hurt us.  Forgiveness cleans the slate and gives us a chance to start over.  We remove toxic people from our lives.  We keep people who feed our spirit.  We learn we have rights.  We learn to be assertive without being aggressive.  We learn how to take care of ourselves and let others be responsible for their actions and consequences.

Starting over is difficult.  Few people would choose to be knocked flat out with the grueling task of deciding what to keep and what to throw away.  What matters?  When life is good everything seems to matter… then suddenly not so much.  We become selective.  Relationships matter.  Health matters; being self-sufficient matters; feeling peaceful matters.  Once we recognize and loosen our grip on past we can move forward. It takes discernment and an openness to change.  We can have love and support, but we are alone.  No one can do it for us.  We must dig deep.  For Christians, it takes listening to the whispers of the Holy Spirit.    For others, I’m not sure what it takes, but still I’m sure it’s a solo journey.

My daughter is on that journey.  She is sharing with me things she didn’t realize until she dug deep.  I was in that past with her, but even so her journey was solo.  As she moves forward rebuilding her physical, mental, and spiritual life I walk beside her, but I can’t do it for her.  That for me is a most difficult truth.  While she is learning, she is teaching me.

 

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Ready to Vote

After much research, I know how I am going to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election.  I respect a difference of opinion.  We are all afforded the opportunity to go to the voting booth and vote our convictions.  I am a registered voter with a photo ID.  Yes, a photo ID.  We need ID to do most anything, but apparently many believe we have qualified voters who can’t manage to produce a photo ID.  Nonsense.

I believe this country needs to get back to less government, more individual responsibility and continued compassion helping those who need it, expecting those able to put forth great effort to take care of themselves.  Let’s quit coddling those with a sense of entitlement.  California, one of our most liberal tree-hugging states, is in dire straits.  Gas prices are nearly $5 a gallon and their unemployment benefits last 2 years.

This country is a mess and it has hit close to home.  I’ve lost all the equity in my home.  I have been uninsurable since 1973 and remain uninsurable.  I was forced to close an established million dollar business two years ago.  The gas prices are sky-rocketing.

Trillions of dollars of additional debt and unemployment and underemployment are causing more federal benefits to be doled out than ever before in history.  Our country is more focused on inclusion and gay marriage than facing the reality that terrorists are among us and would kill all of us given a chance.  We blame an Islamic video for an attack at an embassy killing four Americans.  I watched the video.  Hillary was not speaking for me when she went worldwide apologizing for the video and explaining our politics and freedom of speech.  It was clear we were dealing with evil.  Are we trying to get those who hate us to like us or understand us?  What is with this inclusion, and sensitivity, and fairness.

Concern with minority issues has gotten out of hand.  We worry about illegal aliens and their rights.  We consider lawsuits from those who do not have legal status.  We scream “bigot” at those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman.  We insist guns kill people; instead of people kill people.  We shun those who demand their right to religious freedom be upheld.  However we install a basin at the airport for a minority religion so its members can wash their feet.  More than 50% of marriages end in divorce and drag children through turmoil.  We have dumbed-down education, given poor teachers tenure and expect villages to raise our children.  We expose ourselves and our children to sex, violence, and selfishness without acknowledging the reality of the consequences of immoral choices..  We believe crime toward a minority is more reprehensible than crime toward a heterosexual white person.  We passed the Hate Crime law to prove it.

As far as Obama Care… there are too many hidden agendas.  We have Nancy Pelosi saying, ““We have to pass the (health care) bill so you can find out what is in it”.  What?  Congress should trust that it is “good”.  She supports it, but hasn’t read it.  She wanted to hurry and pass it because it could be a Christmas present for the American people. This is insane. Obama Care will require thousands of new IRS agents to enforce it.  It will not help me get health insurance.  The uninsurable benefit is only available to the irresponsible who go three months without health insurance. The American public has no idea what is hidden in those thousands of pages of reforms. What a mess.

Do we need reform?  Yes.  Our healthcare is too expensive, there are lots of problems and poor people die more often because they cannot afford preventive care.  Many of us are uninsurable.  Obama Care is not the answer.   Give power to the states.  States that will provide more affordable and accessible medical care,  treat their citizens fairly, provide good education, housing, infrastructure, lower their crime rates, bring in new business and employment opportunities will increase their contributing population.  Responsible hard-working people will gravitate to those states.  The states not meeting standards will continue to dole out benefits or improve to bring economic stability to their state.  Let’s get competitive and get the national government out of our lives.  We all know that once government gets involved we are at the mercy of people who are looking to keep their jobs.

Keeping their jobs is the goal of most politicians.  In 2008, Bill Clinton said Obama’s economic plan was a fairy tale.  Why?  Hillary was running against Obama.  Now, Clinton is promoting Obama as the one who will get us out of this economic mess.  Why?  Because if Obama gets another term, Hillary will ride his coattails into a presidency of  her own.  It’s all politics, politics, politics.  We’ve got people passing laws that will never affect them.  People making careers out of being politicians.  Democrats and Republicans need to be watched closely…  and it would be helpful if those voting would at least be sharp enough to listen to the liberals, moderates, and conservatives and use a little discernment before making a decision on who they are going to entrust this great country.   I believe we are a wonderfully diverse population.  Unfortunately, we’ve voted ourselves into an economic and entitlement nightmare.

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Forgiveness

The more a man knows the more he forgives.”  – Catherine The Great.

Is Catherine attempting to help us understand the human condition?  She admits she married her husband because of his crown.  She was unfaithful.  Her husband was unfaithful.  Her oldest son may have been illegitimate, her additional three children were illegitimate.  Did she need forgiveness?  Was she trying to forgive?

Studies show that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments.  A recent study at the University of Wisconsin found the more forgiving people were, the less they suffered from a wide range of illnesses. The less forgiving people reported a greater number of health problems.  Illness after illness has been blamed on stress.  An unforgiven offense is reportedly a top stressor.

Rather than unforgiveness, could it be the offense that makes the cardiovascular and nervous systems unsteady?  Why is lack of forgiveness blamed?  Does this not add insult to injury?

I was once told by a marriage counselor concerning my husband’s affair, “If you can forgive, you can save your marriage”.  Now, twenty years later I think about that statement and the counselor’s followup, “Don’t bring up the past or your marriage won’t work”.  I was assigned a double burden, “forgive and forget”.    

I wonder, what is forgiveness?  Does it mean we forget?   Can we simply choose to forgive?  Are some things too horrendous or hurtful or evil to forgive?  Could it be some things only God can forgive?  If we do not wish harm or retribution is that forgiveness?  Does forgiveness remove the stress or pain caused by the offense?

I have talked to lots of people about forgiveness.  I frequently meet people who struggle with aftermath of failed marriages.  They are trying to recover from decades of stressors that may  have included physical or emotional abuse, neglect, alcoholism, lies, infidelity, or financial ruin.  They face dilemmas over children’s emotional issues and custody battles, health and medical insurance, support payments and division of properties, loss of security, friends, customs and traditions.  Not only are they sad, hurt, bitter, scared or angry, they are pressured to forgive almost immediately.  The scare tactics used against the non-forgiving add to the pain of recovery and finding a new normal.

I tread lightly when talking about forgiveness in support groups.  Are we commanded to forgive?  Yes.  Did Jesus forgive?  Yes.  Are we as perfect as Jesus?  No.  Do studies show forgiveness is healthy?  Yes.  So, I go back to “What Is Forgiveness?”

Could it be forgiveness means letting it go, not dwelling on the past, and not wishing harm or unhappiness to the offender?  That is about the best I can do.  There are no warm fuzzy feelings.  I am not fool enough to maintain friendship or trust with an offender who clearly does not change behavior, acknowledge wrong, or ask for forgiveness.

I do not need scientific studies to tell me my health is as risk because I can’t forgive.  My health was more at risk when I spent 20 years continually forgiving an offender that showed no remorse.  Today,  I’m a whole lot more gentle with myself.  I do not stress over forgiving.  With God we have no secrets.  If we are open to his guidance…we will get where we need to be.

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My Thoughts for Jill Jan Dee Henry and Ruth

I write for my children and grandchildren because I hope I can cover enough that they will not need to guess my thoughts after I’m gone.  My grandmother and mother were gone before they were able to gather the wisdom that comes with old age.  I only have wisdom of nearly 60 years.  I cannot imagine how much more I would know if I made it to 90 years.  I’ll keep writing until I die, but as of now I have no idea when that will be, but it will be the perfect time in God’s will.

Worry…  My highest worry times were when I thought I could control things.  I figured if I worried enough the right answer would come and I could FIX someone or something.  Some things cannot be fixed and people cannot be controlled.  It is a waste of time to try to change someone.  Decide whether they have enough good qualities to keep the relationship.  If not, remove them from your days and mind.  Choose carefully what you worry about.  Worry is stressful and stress is unhealthy.

School…  Past the primary grades, school is a challenge for most all kids.  Parents play a major role in the success of their child’s academic and social life.  Good parents want their kids to take studies seriously, but don’t expect 100% effort at all times.  No one gives anything 100% 24/7 unless they are miserable or neurotic.  Bad parents are so wrapped up in their own dysfunction they forget to look at report cards or attendance.  Good parents stay out of their kid’s drama at school.  Bad parents are in the drama and battling with other parents or teachers frequently.  Good parents talk to their kids about how to handle difficulties.  Kids need good parents to be able to focus on getting along with peers.  Having a group of decent friends is most important.   Kids need to feel they fit in somewhere and that they are valued by peers.  This is most difficult because we all lack confidence when we are young.  Even the kids who appear to be most popular are insecure.  It’s a given when in school.  The best way to have friends is to smile a lot and be nice to everyone.   Never bully or pick on someone; if you do it will never be forgotten by the one you hurt. 

Remember what you worried about last year?  Did the worry change the outcome?  It seems that the things we worry about are not the things we ultimately experience.  While we are worrying about this… that happens.  Don’t worry.  Be happy.

  

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White Supremacist

The great thing about America is we are able to voice opinions, take sides, grow, brainstorm, and generate ideas.  Some are happy every four years and some are disappointed.  But the election of Barack Obama spurred fear in some of the most ignorant among us.   White Supremacist.

You do NOT represent the white race.   I am about as white as you can get.  I denounce everything you stand for and your pitiful belief that because you were born white you are supreme. Seriously, do you still cling to the notion that only a WASP has the right to hold that office?  Do you believe you have the right to kill?  Are you that fearful of losing control?  Instead of spending so much time worrying about the future of white power, why not go back to school and get an education.  The more you know, the more you will realize you are an idiot.  I pray the families from the Sikh temple who lost loved ones because of your group’s hatred are able to heal and not live in fear for the rest of their lives.   

P.S.  Your white supremacist member didn’t know the difference between a Muslim and Sikh, not that it would make a difference.  Your purebred whiteness is not better than black, yellow, or red.  You are not better than gay, female, Catholic, Buddha, Muslim, or Jew.  You are no better than any other human being on this planet and chances are you have a little something flowing through your blood that would make you cringe!

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My Friend Mr. H.

Every girl needs a man in her life and if she doesn’t have one then she can find one.  I found one through the Wishard Volunteer Advocates Program.  After background checks and extensive legal and medical training, I was awarded legal guardianship of Mr. H. in 2010.  I will be with him until the day he dies.

Mr. H loves me from the depths of his soul.  He lights up each time he sees me.  He makes me feel special and needed and beautiful.  We have promised each other that whoever goes to heaven first will open the back door and let the other sneak in.  I believe our souls will always be friends.   I want him to die first because I could make it alone easier than him.  These are the thoughts I have when I think of Mr. H.

Mr. H., is a 59-year-old moderately mentally retarded schizophrenic loaded up on drugs. He lives at Rural Healthcare in a world of delusions believing he is dead, frequently checking his pulse. We have a well-established routine. He sees me enter the facility, screams “Nancy” and stretches out his arms for a hug. My name is Debbie, which he uses for the remainder of the visit. We have the same conversations on each visit. He immediately wants to know what I have brought him. It’s always a bottle of Sprite and either 3 sliders or one double cheeseburger.  He finishes his mini-meal then wants a dollar to go to the vending machine and buy another drink.

I visit Mr. H once a week. I believe he had a fiancée who died of ovarian cancer decades ago. He still misses her. I know every job he’s held, the details of every one of his broken body parts, and can nearly recite all of his imagined diseases. Each visit we talk at length about the food they are serving that day. He wants to know my age and if I’m married. He has told me many times if he wasn’t so fucked up he’d ask me to marry him. Almost every time I leave he tells me he wants me to find a husband to take good care of me. He likes for the other residents to think I’m his girlfriend.  Some think I’m his wife.

On Monday, the social worker from his facility called me and told me Mr. H. came to his office crying. He told the social worker I had not been to visit him in three weeks and that he wanted him to find Debbie. He used my name instead of Nancy. I had not been to see him for 11 days. I told the social worker to tell Mr. H. I’d be there that afternoon. The social worker said he didn’t want to promise Mr. H., because if I didn’t make it he would be too disappointed. I said, “tell him.” I hurried through a few things at work then headed to the facility.

I was there two hours later. I talked to Mr. H. about my absence. My grandson had surgery the past week and a few other unexpected things came up, which loaded up my schedule. I asked Mr. H. if it would have helped him if I’d called the social worker so that he’d know that I was going to miss my visit with him. He said yes. I assured him I never forget about him and I will keep coming to see him. I also told him that I was glad he had the social worker call me. That took a brief few minutes and we were right back into routine.

Robin Bandy is Wishard Volunteer Advocate Program director.  What she has done for the poorest and most helpless of us all is more than money can buy. For Mr. H. she has given him a friend. I am blessed that it is me. Without Robin, we would have never met. I have been a volunteer all of my adult life. Never have I felt that I’ve made such an impact. This volunteer position gives me the opportunity to help someone feel loved and valued. It is shocking even to Mr. H. that we should be so lucky. He asked me one time how much “they” pay me to visit him. When I told him I am not paid, he wanted to know why I did it. I told him because we are friends. I was waiting for a big smile or a hug or thank you, but instead he looked momentarily surprised then asked if I had a dollar; that made me laugh. I laugh a lot when I visit Mr. H. He laughs too.

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Tangled Ruffled Enraged Feathers

The CEO of Chick-Fil-A voiced his opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman.  It’s his religious belief.  He closes his establishment on Sundays. He puts his money where his mouth is…  how could he have answered that question any differently??  Rosanne Barr voiced her opinion,   “Anyone who eats at his establishment deserves to get cancer.”  How could she have voiced her opinon any differently?  She is a vile-mouthed disrespectful uneducated idiot.

I don’t get into debates over the rights of gays and civil unions. But, I will state my opinion on same-sex marriages.  I guess I should be careful.  The mayor of Boston is going to try and get Chick-Fil-A out of his city.  This is insane talk. I know unions between same sex couples will never be recognized as the  sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church.  So, should all the Catholic Churches be kept out of Boston?

If the gays want to be “married” why isn’t there a universal contract that gives them the same rights as married men and women, such as health care, division of assets when the partnership ends, and whatever else they need.  Why isn’t there a mandate including gay-partnership health benefits in Obama Care?  I don’t get it.  Why all the screaming?  Mr. Cathy is not trying to stop any “gay” legal rights. He does not discriminate in hiring or serving gays.  He simply answered a question the only way he could answer.