Sunday, December 14, 2014

The many faces we put forth....

First let me start with this....A couple years ago I had years of blog posts turned into a book and then took them down from this blog. They are actually saved as drafts, because I just couldn't hit the delete button. Last night I sat and read through some of that book....Little ones struggles with social anxiety date back which was revealing for what we are going through currently. This is not a new obstacle for her.

I read about when my mom was dying and my girl came home to help me take care of her. How beautiful that time was, but in time my girl drifted away once again. I read one post in particular that made me cry, about what my mom gave to my girl. Maybe I will post it again. It was beautiful....the story...not my writing in particular. I am so blessed to have had such a real human being for a mom, who understood the dark side of people and could see beyond it to understand that there is always more than just what we see.

I am going to share it here....this was going to be a different post altogether, and I will go back and work on that one some more about the many faces we put forth into the world, the ways we feel pressured to "present" in certain ways other than what we authentically are, because that is raw and leaves us vulnerable and  its down right scary because we don't feel like we are "enough." 

But for now......this is from August of 2011. My mom died July 28, 2011. My mom was my first alcoholic, we had years of struggle in our relationship but we were close. You know how those things go. lol Taking care of her while she passed away at home was one of the most profound and miraculous experiences of my life. Its right up there with giving birth 4 times. So here you go......

                                                       What my Mom Gave to My Girl.

Today H and I went to a dr appointment together. While there, my mom's passing came up and how H had come home to help take care of her. The dr said, "Tell me more about that." So I did. It is a beautiful story of two imperfect women who loved each other.

My mom and H had very similar issues. My mom *got* H in a way I never could. She understood the deep regret and guilt that accompanies the life decisions that they both had made at various times. She had deep compassion for H and would tell me, "She probably hates herself for the things she has done. I know what that feels like." It broke my mom's heart to watch her beautiful grand-daughter make many of the same mistakes she had made. She felt responsible in some irrational way....because she hadn't stopped the cycle, but instead had been a part of perpetuating the cycle to continue for many years.

I think for H to see my mom living a life of sobriety, watching her be compassionate to others, filled with humility, seeing the scars on her body, left over from years of abuse...by herself and others, let H know she isn't the only one. That life, despite its many twists and turns can also be filled with redemption and love. There are also lost dreams and wreckage to deal with, some of it leaves its mark forever....but you can continue to build a life filled with the best of what you have. People who love you. A relationship with God who never leaves your side. You are never alone. You are forgiven much so able to forgive others.

When H was taking care of my mom, and then I would come in to relieve her, my mom would tell me "She has so much good in her heart. She takes *perfect* care of me, paying attention to every detail. She thinks of everything." My mom gave H a chance to rise to the occasion, a chance to shine brightly, to focus on someone else. One day H walked in while I was with my mom. H came around in front of her to say hi and my mom looked up at her and said, "There she is, our Beauty." Soon after my mom went into a coma and then died. What a beautiful blessing of words to leave my girl with.  My mom loved my girl.

Today is a good day. I've been reminded of some precious interactions, my girl and I had a decent day together. I am praying that tomorrow will be more of the same. Many blessings to be thankful for.
Annette




Thursday, December 11, 2014

Big storms, Christmas, and essential oils.

We have prepared all week for what is supposed to be the mother of all storms. We have pellets stocked up for the stove, gas for the generator, batteries and candles ready, flash lights all located and ready to go......and so far its only raining with some wind. I didn't have to go to work today so I am getting to stay home during one of my favorite kinds of days!

So I have stepped out into the journey of learning about essential oils. Its really been quite fascinating and I love all that I am learning. However, it appears that essential oils are also quite controversial. I have never been a joiner and multi level marketing companies always have never set right with me. They are actually quite cultish in my opinion....I am using the word "quite" a lot! lol

I decided early on, like, last week, that I can only share my personal experience with the oils. I will not jump onto the bandwagon of another man's cause....unless its also my own.

So how it all began.....my sweet friend/client invited me to her oil party. I went, promising myself that I wouldn't get caught up in the moment and make any impulsive purchases. After the class/party she asked me what I thought and if I was interested in buying the "Premium Starter Kit."

"Sure!" And I was off.....

Since I "joined," I am now a distributor! I have no interest in building a business but being the bulk shopper, cheapskate that I am, I really wanted those wholesale prices. My focus was/is on emotional health and well being and the Dad's chronic pain. So far I have found some things that seem to be helping those issues significantly.

I have been using their (Young Living Essential Oils) Progessence Plus Syrum Oil blend... 30 drops diluted in about 2 ounces of carrier oil, rubbed onto my face and neck morning and night, and I made it through Thanksgiving, on my period (sorry! I know....tmi) in tact and dare I say it....happy! I was genuinely calm and at peace.  This has been a battle I have fought monthly since I was 12!!!

The dad who has lived with chronic pain for as long as any of us can remember, has degenerative disc disease, has had surgeries, shoulder pain from an old motorcycle accident, kidney damage from taking years of anti-inflammatories, and is 56 after all.... has been finding tremendous relief with a "morphine bomb" capsule that I make up for him. 2 drops of coipaba, 2 drops of balsam fir, and 2 drops of frankincense. 1 in the morning and 1 at night. He said his pain is gone! He calls it my crazy voodoo magic and tells little one if he dies to have the capsules tested by a toxicologist. lol

My next venture is to make a roll on of some oils in carrier that will help hold anxiety at bay.

If nothing else comes of this, I have to say that this has been so much fun. I get together with friends, we make potions and mixtures, bath salts, sugar scrubs, chest rubs for a cold, toothpaste....and we laugh and laugh. Its not recovery focused, but it is health focused...so it holds merit and makes it worth investing my precious little time in. Its nice to have a break from everything that swirls around helping my girl get better and how we can healthfully relate to her.

Talking about my precious little time.....I quit my farthest away client. It was 2 full days a week. I love them, its a great place to be and they are wonderful to work for....but I have a 13 year old at home who needs her mama around more. When I let them know that after the beginning of the year I wouldn't be coming back and why, they asked if it could just be a leave of absence for 6 months. Very sweet. I will still do respite work for them....the client's medical needs are complex and it takes a good chunk of time to learn them and be comfortable with all of the machinery and processes.

So life continues on. I am getting ready for Christmas....a friend of mine sells Christmas trees to support her military veteran support group so I usually buy from her. I called her and told her to hang onto a tree for me, I would be right over to pick it up. I flew in, picked one and was gone in about 5 minutes. Ran home, little one helped me put it in the stand and put the lights on. I added some decorations.....ta da! Every year I say I won't decorate other than the tree.....but then I see all of my cute vintage stuff and I do.
Ok All, much love to everyone who is out there putting one foot in front of the other! Thats exactly what I am doing too. Lets keep viewing the world through eyes filled with grace and love.

Annette





Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bullying

Bullying is often in the forefront of the news these days. Last week, a few towns down our mountain, a 12 year old boy who had been bullied, to the point that his parents took him out of school, killed himself.12 years old! A child, with the sweetest little face....so desperate to stop the pain of his rejection that he took the most desperate of actions. It is tragedy personified.

At little one's school they have an annual assembly on bullying. This year she asked me what I thought of her sending the teacher who leads the assembly an email sharing her thoughts on bullying. Little one is a sensitive and intuitive girl and she watches all around her. She see's the middle school girl drama going on, she watches some kids who fit in like they were born to be the middle school hierarchy.....and then the others who don't.

She felt it was important to talk about all of the ways and some are subtle....you are left knocked off balance but can't describe exactly what just took place....that kids bully and mistreat each other. Its not just words. She wanted this teacher to address "the potential repercussions" of bullying...such as suicide, feeling hopeless, depressed, self harm, wanting to isolate...

I don't think she or any of my kids have actually been bullied. But they all have seen it take place and that by itself is disturbing. Watching and wondering if you are next, what should you do? If you step in you could be the new target. If you don't step in you have to live with the guilt that you didn't help a fellow kid. You have to wonder if you were selfish or afraid.

Today I went to a memorial service for an 18 year old boy. I have known him since he was 5. His mom and I were in the same homeschool group. He was kind, sweet, unique, so intelligent, and he was brutally bullied beginning at the age of 14 when he chose to attend public school for the first time. He refused to give in and he hung in there day after day. He went on to high school but by that time something had shifted inside his spirit and he couldn't do it anymore. The family left the area for a job in another state and he returned to homeschooling.

He was a skateboarder, a musician, a dirt bike rider, an older brother by 10 years to a little sister whom he cried at the arrival of, he loved the cosmos and quantum physics. He fed the homeless...someone who he worked with at the homeless shelter shared during the service, "He never hesitated to grab a hold of the dirty and worn hand of his homeless friends who were reaching out." He was troubled by the unkindness he saw in this world. He couldn't understand why people would treat other people so poorly. In the end this world was just too much for him and he ended his own life last month.

How did we get so stuck in our boxed in thinking....this is ok, that is not. You are ok, but you are not.  How has it come to be that in this age of great diversity that our children don't *appreciate* one another's differences rather than attack them? We have all of these man made systems set up and if you don't fit within the parameters of an arbitrarily made up set of societal rules....you are persecuted. Sometimes to the point of death.

I of course thought of our kids who are addicted to drugs. Again, I don't think my girl was bullied.  I remember the girls all wanting to be her friend and her not being very interested in them. I think she didn't feel comfortable in her own skin, I think she worried about making the wrong move and all of a sudden the tables would turn and the ones seeking her out, would be the ones pushing her away. It was too risky so she would just stay home, thank you very much. I think that in a lot of ways this world is just too much for them too. They choose to escape each day in a foggy haze, sticking their head out of their shell for a minute here and there to see if it feels any better, any safer, out there.....nope, not yet , so they dart back into where it feels safe and they can hide in their drug induced cocoon. Ahhhh, its better now. They have no intention of dying. They just want relief. Just like my 18 year old friend did.....he just wanted some relief.

Annette


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Relaxing = feeling peaceful and rested

This has been the most relaxing holiday. I am just finishing up five wonderful days off and its back to the "grind" later tonight. I am tired of all of the driving.....I wish I could teleport! LOL (I had to ask little one what that was called.)

I prepared for the holiday for a couple days, but I didn't flip out about company cleaning and I just kept repeating, "we are who we are." "It is what it is." This year I felt a lot of acceptance for where we are at in life, and not because everything is so wonderful. Quite the contrary. However, despite the challenges and obstacles that we face, it was rather nice to just stop obsessing and let it all be. When I can acknowledge my powerlessness and that *I* will not be the one who changes anything for any of us it helps me to stop trying and to just live in the moment of what is.

So the new boyfriend came but his mom opted out at the last minute. She has a lot of physical ailments and I think maybe she got nervous. We told the young man, its ok. We understand getting nervous, feeling anxiety, and maybe she just didn't want to come.....we get that! I told him we will try again when its not a major holiday.....just casual, pop in (after you drive 40 miles to get here) and have a cup of coffee and a treat.....laid back, no pressure to be our holiday best, for any of us! Hopefully we can meet her one day.

My girl came too and it was a nice visit. She had dinner, took a nap in my bed, and then went back out to her people. I sent tons of leftovers with her and it was ok. The whole visit was what we have for today and I was ok with it. I miss her and I thought about last year when she was the house manager at her recovery house and making a little money and was clean and sober for several months.....we met for breakfast in the city and went Christmas shopping. It was the most perfectly normal day.....an adult daughter out Christmas shopping with her mom. She chose gifts for everyone and bought them with her own money. We talked recovery, we shared our hearts, we laughed, we had fun. Part way through that day I thought to myself, "Imbed this in your memory. This day is a treasure and you don't know how many of these you will get."

Oh one more thing.....my essential oil journey. It is really fascinating. The dad says he really is feeling better. I have been giving him a capsule with 5 drops coipaba, 5 drops turmeric, and 5 drops rosemary in it. One in the morning and one at night. I have also use it on him topically. The dad has degenerative disc disease and herniated discs. He has had some repaired surgically, but there are still some that are in bad shape with nerve damage. After years as a skiier he took up snowboarding to be with little one and his hip has now been hurting. He has lived with chronic pain since his early 30's and to his credit I have to say, he doesn't take pain meds. He has anti-inflammatories but is concerned with the long term effects on his vital organs....so takes them very sparingly. We know so many people who hurt their backs and then got addicted to pain meds and their lives were ruined.....ruined marriages, careers, on and on.....we all know the stories. I respect him so much for not going there. Our kids have grown up walking on his back to get the knots out, buying him those vibrating cushion things for gifts for his commute, changing his diet (which he is not very co-operative with) to reduce inflammation...his back stuff has been a big part of our lives since Molly was born when he had a major injury that ended his construction career and set us off in a new direction with technology. Who knew he was naturally gifted in that field and that what seemed to be so awful, was actually a blessing in disguise.We just never know how everything will play out and that.....is my hope. A miracle could be waiting right around the corner for any of us.

Many blessings.....
Annette


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Acceptance for the holidays....

My blogger friend Ron wrote an excellent post for the holidays. You can read it here.

My girl and her friend are invited to be here tomorrow. We will see if they really come. I hope so but I have no expectations of how the day will go. Molly is bringing her new boyfriend and his mom whom we've never met. Even with that added dynamic, I am ok. We all are coming to the table as we are.....flaws, dysfunctions, physical ailments, emotional brokenness, and hilarious senses of humor, and I think that however it goes, it will be ok.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my dear blogger friends...parents like me who are finding their way the best they can each day.

Bless us all......
Annette


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Proposition 47

Recently Prop 47 was passed in California. Let me start by saying I am not political at all. I vote, but only on the measures, propositions, and bills and people I truly understand and have an opinion on. (If that is even possible....I only have the information presented to the public.) You can read more about prop 47 here. It is a proposition written to drop non-violent offenses, drug crimes, theft crimes, to misdemeanors. The money saved from housing all of these non-violent offenders will go into the newly created "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools" fund.

I have mixed feelings on this. First, OF COURSE, if my girl were to be arrested for a drug related offense, I would love for her to not be a felon! I would love for a lot of kids I know here and in real life, to not be in danger of becoming a felon. Having a felony on your record shuts doors like nothing else.

On the other hand, I feel like, isn't the state of CA. almost enabling drug addicts to continue in their use by making the punishment for carrying, using, and selling, a slap on the wrist? The bottom line is its all about money. Drug addiction/abuse is a raging firestorm of an epidemic and our jails can't afford to keep housing these people. So rather then lets try to find a solution for the root, lets just pretend its not a big deal.

We as a society tend to normalize behavior that we don't understand or can't control. How many of us, BEFORE our children's addiction had strong opinions on addiction and drug related crimes and drug addicts themselves? As our children got going though, how many of us said, "Well its just pot or beer." "Wellll they are just struggling, trying to figure out who they are." "Wellll the teachers don't know how to teach...thats why he/she is failing everything." As we got in deeper and deeper with our kids issues, we let more and more of our standards go *to make it bearable, manageable, comprehendable* for ourselves.

I feel like that is what the state of Ca. is doing. They can't control it, they can't afford to really fight it, so lets say its not that big of a deal and we will book and release now and give the money saved to an organization that will help promote safe neighborhoods and schools. But HOW will they do that if the drug epidemic isn't being dealt with? In some real and humane way?

As usual lots of questions with no good answers. Its such a sad state of affairs.
Annette

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holy Moley!

I left for a 3 day job and all hell broke loose. It seems to happen every time I leave for a few days. I was thinking that it must be a God thing....either He is protecting me from the drama, or he is *eliminating* me from my role as buffer and manager so that everyone can experience the stretching and growth that takes place during a crisis.

Really, it is *almost* comical when I think about it all.....

1. The fridge broke and needed to be replaced.

2. The day after the new fridge was delivered, the washer broke and needed to be replaced. (My biggest frustration with that is missing out on the discount we could have gotten from buying multiple appliances at once!)
 
3. My girl's little world is crumbling all around her and there is not one thing I can do to help her. All of her misdemeanor legal issues have been cleared up for about 18 months...but now they aren't.

4. Little one has been going to school for half days since August, transitioning just yesterday to full days. Yesterday and today I received secret text messages (because she's not supposed to use her phone in class....I have a feeling her teacher is looking the other direction) all day long stating that she needs to be picked up "RIGHT NOW!" I have droned on and on about what a strong girl she is, that even when things are uncomfortable they are still doable and the more we do it, the more comfortable we become. "NO, thats NOT working!" I am tired of my own positive thoughts!

5. The dad texted often as we ran ideas past each other about how to handle various situations that came up. Often.

6. The chocolate fudge icing on the cake was the sweet happy woman I was with who was convinced that "the President of the United States of America" was coming to see her personally. Every half an hour or so she would say, "Annette, don't forget the President is coming!" She is truly adorable and happy as can be in her own little world....but really, I had to laugh. The chaos of my world is swirling all around me but I had the blessed distraction of this sweet thing and making sure her hair looked ok for his visit. 

And a side-note.....a friend is teaching me about essential oils. I am so excited! My big focus is calm and peace and anti-inflammatories! lol I will keep you posted on how that turns out. If nothing else the house will smell good.

God bless us all.....
Annette