Thursday, August 4, 2011

Positive Changes

There's a saying, "Recovery is a journey not a destination". With learning and changing happening every day then this makes sense. It's been months since I've written. The reason is two fold: it seems that no one is reading it and depression for two months. I'm working on the part of recovery that is for me breaking it down to basics one day at a time. I follow these simple steps daily: get at least eight hours sleep, get up, brush my teeth, shower, dress and go out side for a walk no  matter the weather. This simple activity is so hard, but necessary, on the depressed days. Performing these tasks can keep me from having my depressive symptoms get worse.

I have a new volunteer job at the office where the program I am in originates form:Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA: Delaware County Consumer Recovery Investment Fund, Self Directed Care Project. Volunteering is a huge part of my recovery because it gets me out of the house, makes me feel like I am contributing to the helping of other people and will look good on my resume. I fell into this job by just going in to see my recovery coach; she put me to work after our time was finished! I have several projects I have been working on. The one I just finished involved collating and decorating recovery calendars for folks who come by the office to volunteer and for a homeless center for women and children in Philadelphia. The decorating was as fun as being back teaching preschool again. My boss wants me to write stories of people's recovery that are in our program with the hope that other counties and places will catch on to the uniqueness, freedom, dignity and power that CRIF offers those in recovery from mental illness. Yesterday I went with my boss to present the program to Chester County, PA. It's exciting because people from as far away as the Netherlands are becoming interested in implementing the program in their communities. For me the presentation was empowering; a panel of mental health providers (including some NAMI people) were audience to my story of recovery and participation in the program. It went really well.

My goals have changed a lot since I first got into the program in January. Currently I am planning a visit to family in CT and a move back to CA at the end of September. I could not have accomplished these goals without the freedoms funds and support provided by CRIF. I have been away form "home" here in Philly for 7 years now and I am so happy and excited to be moving back. 

For more information on how to bring this impoartnat project to your mental health community please contact: 

Erme Maula, RN, MSN, CRRN, Cetified Peer Specialist
     Program Manager
Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA
     Office: 267-507-3873
      Fax:  215-525-9698

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pheonix Rising

     I really crashed and burned soon after that last entry and am just now coming out of that relapse into depression. It was hard to hold onto that I am even in recovery, because often the depression felt as familiar and as deep as it's ever been. That was frustrating enough, but to add to the torment, I lost my connection with God--or at least that's how it felt. A number of situations contributed to my biochemical plunge. For starters I had a complete falling out with the church that had come to mean so much to me. I wasn't getting paid at my job, (as of now I have only been paid for half the time I worked and it took months to get) I became highly irritated in the Bible classes by the most arrogant man/teacher I've ever met constantly talking about himself instead of staying on topic and last, but not least, the woman pastor was sending out the message that if by the end of her preaching you didn't feel moved by the spirit and inspired then there was something wrong with you. To summarize my experience, I found that although the church was open and accepting of all people, I sure did not feel accepted for who I am as a person in recovery from psychiatric disability. The lady pastor whom I so respected did not in turn respect me. Chalk it up to one of life's many disappointments. The problem was that I took it so hard because I had put "all my eggs in one basket"; my work, my worship and my socializing was all in that one place.

     Another relationship development was that I tried yet again for a friendship with the woman who believes that gay equals sin. I just kept thinking that she would be able to put her belief aside, but she can't because she is sure that only her interpretation of God and spirit are correct; in other words she is a bigot, by definition of the word itself. Although sending out friendly signals, she just ended up slamming me and rejecting me once again for not agreeing with her. I went through a lot of grieving about the loss of her frienship for good and although the toughest part is behind me, I'm most likely not done grieving. As I've probobly mentioned before, it's been 7 years and I left CA to build a life with her. With the church contacts gone, I have zero friends where I live and no family. I realize that would be tough for the average person with no depression issues.

     Fortunately I have strong family ties and support albiet long distance. I've made the decision to move back to CA sooner than I had thought I would. October (at the lastest) is my projection. So I had to think of something to give me energy to manage this move. I joined Curves (women's gym) and it really is helping already. I also plan on going to the local Metropolitan Community Church. That's it in a nutshell for tonight. I'm really tired, but I feel good just by becoming visable again here at my blog. To all the mothers, I hope your day was lovely. God Bless you and yours. Good night.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Let Go Let God

     Once again I was at the end of my rope; I let go and God held me up. I was so discouraged because I had planned on getting into this Certified Peer Specialist training program, but I was turned down because I don't have a year's worth of consecutive employment history recently. That was a blow, because I was so sure I'd be accepted into the training and that the challenge would be getting a job after completing the training. God had other plans for me (knowing how much I need to learn patience); I am the kind of person who wants everything yesterday! So I had to put the brakes on my peer counseling plans until next year.
     In the meantime, I figured out a solution for a problem that has been weighing heavily on me at my job with children at the church nursery. I know I didn't figure this out be myself! Then the last thing I felt like doing was starting a class today all about job and career choices. I don't feel well (have been trying to kick some sort of virus), but I dragged myself to school anyhow. Was I ever rewarded by hearing one encouraging testimony after another about how much this particular class helped people change their lives for the better! More to follow about the class; right now I just need to go space out...:-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chocies , Ideas and Spring Even!

     I'm not Irish, but green is my second favorite color so I got into wearing my green today to my new class orientation. I'm taking a career choices class in order to explore what direction I most want to move in. At the moment I work part time as an infant/toddler teacher and I'm seriously working on my book, but I know there's more ahead for what God has planned for me. In late May I hope to do a training to become a Certified Peer Specialist; after that I'll explore what job choices there are in that field. It's been many years since I have felt well enough to commit to full time work; it's very exciting and just short of miraculous that my time is finally here. I may even get my college degree(s) finally; they say it's never too late. I do need some guidance organizing what to do first so I eagerly await the beginning of class on March 28. While I'm already on campus I may do some sort of computer class as well; there's always so much to learn in that field even if just for my own personal use. Besides all these great ideas buzzing around in my head something even better happened today; there blooming in a corner of the campus court were a small group of white, yellow and purple crocuses. That scene made me estatic because the sun was out full fledged, it was 60-something (warmish for March here) and Spring has become a reality, not just a prayer!

     I was also relieved today to have my birthday be over. I had a good day yesterday, but it's always a challenge for me to be long distance from family on that special day. Yesterday I was really missing family and California seemed even farther away than usual! I'm grateful to feel the beginnings of a church family, but like most of us, I want it all! Why can't I have everybody I love in one state at one time where there is also the best job, climate and economy available?! Seems this world is just not meant to be so easy.


Friday, March 11, 2011

I Quit 30 Days of Truth List!

I'm not particularly inspired to write about anything at the moment. Just wanted to make it official that I'm done with this list of topics. I did watch a great basketball game tonight. UCONN Huskies beat Syracuse in overtime and have a great chance at becoming Big East Champs tomorrow night versus Notre Dame. If they win, then both the men and women would be reigning Big East Champs. I get excited about it all since I grew up there and went to UCONN for awhile.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ways God's Love Has Touched Me through the Earth

     I'm taking a GREEN CLASS at church, offered to help facilitate the building of a new GREEN CHURCH for Drexel Hill Baptist Church. Part of the homework for this week has been to think about God and my relationships to the earth. I am to make a list of the ways God's love has touched me through the earth; here's what I've come up with:

*  Great and joy and exhilaration of giving BIRTH
*  Healing and joy I feel at all OCEANS and especially in N CA coast
*  The energy of breathing while walking through TREES, esp. Redwoods
*  The FUN of playing in the woods growing up in Ashford, CT
*  LOVE from my pets especially Teddy Bear; all cats from Angel to Kee-Kee
*  Joy of growing, smelling and seeing FLOWERS and SPRING
*  SUNSHINE every day it's out replenishing my body and spirit

Next I was to list choices I've made regarding above list.

*  To spend as much time as possible at the beach getting the supercharge of air, ocean, sunshine and sea critters.

*  Want/need to spend more time walking through trees.

*  Taking the time to notice, grow and photograph flowers.

* Keeping/affording pets

*  Starting recycling (better late than never)

*  Member of Sierra Club and Green Church

Now choose 2 places that "grab" you and write a paragraph about each.

      The most extraordinary experience I've ever had in relation to feeling connected to the earth is when I chose to have a natural birth back in 1977. I felt really connected to the earth that we all come from during the process of being pregnant, eating healthily, finding a midwife and planning a home birth. The day itself was nothing short of miraculous. I got to spend transition in one of my favorite places, the bathtub! All my friends were there to support me. We had a special bath for the baby ready as soon as his chord was cut. The whole idea was that he have a peaceful and healthy entry into the world. I had not one pain reliever and I was fine with that. We even buried the placenta later in the garden. 

      Second is a hard choice, but I'd have to say my time at Big Sur coastline in Mendocino County, CA. My sister, my then six year old son and I made the journey. I was so excited I could hardly stand it; I didn't stop taking photographs until I was out of film. We stayed all day everyday and until after the sun set. We never wanted to leave! We camped out nearby and didn't mind the tent and uncomfortable ground; the fire was just right for toasting marshmallows.

Does your conclusion through your own experiences lead you agree with Psalm 24:1: "The EARTH is the Lord's, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it"? Simply answered, YES. I like the second verse too:  "For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the currents and the rivers".

Have you experienced any natural disasters which made you wonder about God's goodness as Job did? No, but I sure wonder about all the floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. that other people in the world have experienced and been devastated or dead as a result.

What feelings do you have about how the expansion of our cities, highways, and industries are affecting the land? When I recently read a Forbes list picking Philadelphia for the top of the most polluted cities list, even though I don't give Forbes much credence in their research, I felt all kinds of emotions ranging from sadness, powerlessness, anger and fear. I'm angry when I see litter on highways, side roads and even behind my own apartment building. I'm angry when oil spills occur causing animals to get sick and die and disturbing the whole echo-balance of the food chain; I'm even more angry when major oil companies take no responsibility for their actions and if they do it's too little, too late.I never liked the taste of the drinking water here so I'm annoyed that I have to buy and cart water in jugs home. Lastly I feel guilt like the Catholics taught me to--guilt about how long it has taken me to get back on this train since I fell off sometime in my 20's!

     To end on a positive note, I'm so excited about everything I am learning in this class and the blessing of being a part of the building of the first Green Church (that I know of). I enjoyed sharing about it here. ;-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Something I Wish I Hadn't Done in My Life~Truth Day 22

      I wish I didn't miss going to my Dad's funeral. I was not well between severe depression and the flu, plus I would've had a long plane ride, but somehow/someway I will always wish I was there to say goodbye, to pay my respects, to see everyone that turned out for him and to support Mom and my brothers and sister. It makes me so sad that I couldn't be there.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Truth Day 21~Your Best Friend...

and you got into a fight an hour before she had a car accident. What would you do?  PRAY and then keep on praying. I bet I would feel guilty and sorry, but what I could do to add some power to the situation is to ask God to intervene. I would then go to the hospital and see if there was anything I could do. I would contact her family and see if they needed anything. That's about it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

American Indian Roots

photo, mabel mckay - Google Search
      I just finished the story, Mabel McKay, WEAVING THE DREAM~by Greg Sarris. This book was such a page turner for me because it is about the American Indian history of much of  Northern and Central California, including: Santa Rosa (where I lived for about 12 years), Sonoma, Lake, Yolo and Mendocino counties, Ukiah, Sacramento, Rumsey, Nice. Colussa, Cortia, Potter Valley, et all. Not only that, but it is the unique story of the last woman of the Lolsel Cache Creek Pomo or more commonly Wintun/Pomo tribe as told to the author, who in the process of telling her story discovers his own Indian roots and family history. Mabel is so inspiring as a craftswoman, medicine woman, mother, grandmother, sister, Auntie, friend and neighbor, that I wish I had Indian roots to check into. What I've gotten so far is half Hungarian, (I definitely am in touch with my inner Gypsy) Polish and (from my grandma on my mother's side) nebulous ancestors whom she claimed came over on the Mayflower. As far back as I've gotten with my genealogy is great great grandparents and that's not going back far enough to get Mayflower info. I would not be surprised to discover some Indian heritage crossing over because of my great grandparents, the Wilsons. I am more motivated than ever to do that research now.

     Getting back to Mabel's story, the author has a hard time getting her to tell it in "white people's order"; eventually he gives up and the piece emerges as beautifully as one of her baskets: hand picked, gathered and woven together. "It's more. My life. It's not only one thing. It's many. You have to listen. You have to know me to know what I'm talking about". 

      I feel I got to know her very well indeed. I was fascinated by her craft, doctoring and how much she moved and traveled around usually with no transportation of her own. She worked hard for her money at the old apple cannery in Sebastopol, in the fields, housekeeping and washing clothes for white people, down by the river with her Grandma Sarah (who raised her). She danced and sang for hours, sucking the disease out of the people she doctored. When she married she let her husband know in no uncertain terms not to follow her or impede her from her work, which kept her traveling and away from home often. Charlie McKay was a gentle hardworking soul in charge of raising their adopted son, Marshall. In later years she would be adopted herself as a sister to Essie Parrish of the Kayshayah Pomo tribe; in the old Indian ways they were closer than blood being linked together through their Dreams experienced both awake and asleep, where the Spirit told them how to lead their lives and sometimes even what to expect in the future.

     This story is a must read for anyone interested in memoir writing at it's finest as well as those curious about the Indian culture of old and their history. I can't recommend it highly enough.***** b. 1907-d. 1993

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alcohol and Drugs~Truth Day 20

     My prayer/dream is that all alcoholics and drugs addicts would face today that they are addicts and get into a recovery program voluntarily. In my younger days I partied too hard, but have never believed I had a problem with either substance. I feel blessed to be an occasional social drinker, because I particularly enjoy good wine with a special dinner. I am not into any street drugs at all nor am I in favor of  those who enjoy getting high on prescription drugs. Most people must realize that combining drugs and alcohol can cause death yet those who are addicts just plain don't care; they seem not to value their own life nor anyone else' life.

     Drunk drivers should be punished under the full extent of the law, because too many innocent people are killed and injured. Forced recovery is better than none, but it is much harder if the addict does not choose to be in recovery. Even one person killed by a drunk driver is too many! I don't know the statistics, but I'm sure they are depressing. If you enjoy partying please be responsible; how would you feel if you were responsible for a life--possibly someone on their way to store for milk or bread? Remember that your instincts and reflex responses are impaired even when you "feel fine". For younger people the thought, "that could never happen to me" is just mistaken denial. I know this world is tough and people cope however they can at times. It is to these people that I plead with to give the support of a recovery group a chance.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Religion & Politics~Truth Day 19

     In past posts I've made my position clear on religion. I think (in particular) that traditional Christian religion is dangerous and harmful when it is so often used as a way of oppressing people and causing them to fear God (and not just in a reverent way) and to not accept/love themselves and their neighbors. This is the first Commandment after loving and serving God that we love and accept ourselves and each other. It's very clear to me that Jesus would have it no other way. I recently got email from a woman who is convinced that all pastors/priests are child molesters. Although extreme, as a gay person she is completely turned off to any kind of religion whether or not they are open/accepting of all people, she like so many gay folks can't trust even a hint of it all. Gee, I wonder why? It could have something to do with all the so-called Christians that use the Bible to tell gay people that they are a sick abomination, unloved and unaccepted by Jesus or anyone's idea of God or Holy Spirit.

      Moving right along to politics...It will be a surprise to no one that I'm a left of center Democrat. I consider myself to be more moderate than liberal, because I just don't want to be grouped with the ideas people have about liberals. I grew up in a Democratic family; my Grandfather served in the Ct State House of Representatives for 14 years. He served on the then "Mental Retardation, Welfare and Labor" Committees; he was appointed by then Governor Ribicoff (about 1960) to help in the placement of Hungarian refugees. In his own traditional way, my grandpa worked to attempt to right some of our society's wrongs. Undoubtedly I am so proud of his service to our country via politics and also through the Army in WWI. In later years he was Chairman of the Town Democratic Committee and Registrar of Voters. I never forgot all the years I hung out with him at the polls on voting days and those trips to the state capital building, which to a little girl appeared to be a palace! In my view Democrats are, with very few exceptions, more progressive thinkers than Republicans and care more about injustice and the poor. Lately every time I write one of these "truth" entries I think about how unpopular I most likely am. Good thing I'm not running for any office; I'm just me! ;-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marriage Equality~Truth Day 18

If I could write in rainbows colors I would! If you've ever read my blog before you know what ground I firmly stand on regarding this issue. This is perhaps the most important controversial issue of our time; sadly it divides so many even among Christians. I believe this is the new civil rights movement and I pray I live to see marriage equality become legal and accepted world-wide. However, I am in contact with reality and the chances of the whole world flying the rainbow flag in my lifetime are slim to none. Just here in the US is enough of a challenge, but I do believe I will live to see the bill pass in California. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll simply say that all people have the right to love who they love regardless of anything else! I 'm not politically active on this issue, but I sure respect those who are doing that work. I look forward to participating in Gay Pride celebrations in Philadelphia with Drexel Hill Baptist Church this summer. I have not been to such a celebration in many years...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Truth Day 17~An Influential Book

Steps to Recovery From Bible Abuse, by Dr. Rembert Truluck, has truly changed my life. I now have a solid foundation to believe that God is good with being gay; in fact God is good with anyone under any circumstances who has pledged his/her life to Him. All books I have read were not convincing enough; always lurking was the fear instilled by traditional prejudiced and judgmental religion that being gay was "unclean" and "unworthy". After all the Bible clobberers love to point to passages claiming "abomination"; every day for three years two Fundamentalists best friends had drilled into me that gay equals sin and my eternal destination was without a doubt, hell. as long as I gave my support to such a cause. I am well aware that there are huge numbers behind their way of thinking and that I am in the minority. Yet there's nothing new with that; ever since I learned to think for myself as a teen I've been in the minority. Still as I write this I'm thinking I will not win friends and influence I'm still a bit afraid of rejection, no matter how much courage and bravado I throw out there. My purpose is to be real so I will just have to deal with my vulnerability.

In my model of recovery it's a process that is self-determined and holistic where growing and learning never end. Dr. Truluck illustrates steps to recovery based on the AA models of 12-stepping; it's a time proven useful model to help people in recovery. His beliefs and insights are always backed up with clear examples from scripture in the Bible and especially the four gospels of Jesus. Since Jesus is our role model as Christians for who we most aspire to emulate, it makes perfect since to take your cues from His time on earth as recorded in Matthew. Mark. Luke and John. The rest of the Bible is not ignored nor thrown out, but the gospels are emphasized. Here is a list of the steps:

1.  Admit You Have Been Hurt by Religion
2.  Turn to God for Help
3.  Examine Your Faith
4.  Face and Deal with your Anger
5.  Avoid Negative People and Churches
6.  Confront the Scripture Used Against You
7.  Find Positive Supportive Scripture
 (Note:  No, it is not invented it is found in the Bible in its' own words.)
8.  Read and Study the Gospels
9.  Come Out and Accept yourself
10.  Develop Your Support System
11.  Learn to Share Your Faith
12  Become a Freedom Missionary
13. Give Yourself Time to Heal and Recover, Let Go and Live!

Included is information about how Jesus faced religious bigots in His time, how Jesus handled anger, how Jesus defined family. how He wants Christians to live free from fear and full of His love and hope.There's a lot to absorb here so it is recommended that you join or form a small study group to work these steps and discuss this book and the correct Bible correlations. I plan to start such a group in Philadelphia. Meet-Up groups already exist especially within Metropolitan Community Churches; I specifically found one in Sacramento, CA.

Love, faith and hope on your journey,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

100 Things I Can Live Without

I've gotten inspired by Emily Suess' love of 100 things lists so here goes...

1. war
2. anger
3. fear
4. depression
5. most psychiatrists
6. bad drivers
7. Philadelphia driving
8. active alcoholics
9. active drug users
10. idiots
11. closed and condemning Christians
12. most TV
13. housework
14. bad attitudes
15. judgements 
16. judgemental people
17. snakes
18. flies
19. misquitos
20. oil spills
21. tarrot cards
22. psychics
23. constant cell phone users
24. people who text while driving
25. drunks
26. rude lane cutoffs
27. flambouant gay men
28. cross dressers
29. elitists
30. people who find money most important in life
31. the devil and demons
32. comedians who are not funny
33. nosiy neighbors
34. dysfunctional loud neighbors
35. bad areas in Chester
35. bullies
36. gangs
37. extreme macho behavior
38. traditional religions
39. "airy fairy" personalities
40. bad parents
41. abuse
42. sex offenders (never let them out)
43. criminals
44. guns
45. republicans in general
46. slow computers
47. editing
48. snow
49. ice
50. temps below 60
51. racism
52. KKK (should all be shot)
53. rednecks
54. did I mention closed minds?
55. people who think they have the only "truth"
56. people who believe they're always right
57. untamed dogs who jump up
58. clutter
59. dirty houses
60. call waiting
61. Maury Povich
62  popes
63. illiteracy
64. violence
65. rap music
66. opera
67. stepping in poo
68. people using eff word constantly
69. disrespect
70. did I say hate yet?
71. memory loss
72. complainers
73. BO
74. crowded airports
75. tiny airline seats with no space
76. long car rides/drives
77. televangleists
78. the word "homosexuality"
79. homophobia
80. laziness
81. dishonesty
82. people who won't/can't/don't listen
83. hard core loud rock and roll
84. most country/western music
85. over or under cooked food
86. canned salmon
87. greasy chinese take out
88. guys who spit on sidewalk
89. gossipers
90. cheaters
91. back-stabbers
92. "Christians" not practicing what they preach
94. bigots
95. poverty
96. Georges Bushes
97. Sarah Palin
98. tea party politicians
99. loud cell phone talkers
100. worry

Phew! I'm done. That took longer than I thought it would, but was fun! If I've offended you I'm sorry; I hope no one takes my list personally.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Truth Day 16~Could Live Without

...freezing cold winter weather and snow. Yes, as lovely as a new snow looks, I aim to live eventually in Sonoma County, CA where winter is very seldom below 40 and never below 30! I have to admit I like snowy days more than drab grey rainy days, I just don't want to deal with the consequences of snow, such as: shoveling, digging out my car, scraping off my car, cancellations due to bad weather, all the extra layers of clothing, real possibility of taking a digger on the ice, etc. I'm sure many who even choose to live in the snow hate some of these things. Or do you live in the snow not by choice, but because it's where you're settled, where your job and family are? I guess I've always been one open to a move, but it's not easy. I've had to leave behind family in both CT and CA to live in PA. It was/is very hard for me to miss out on huge chunks of my family's lives in CT as well as to have Dylan see so little of them.Then there's the expense of visiting from one coast to the other--yikes! But would I do it all over again--yes. What surprises me lately is how much I am enjoying living in PA despite the winter weather; you've gotta take the winter to get the beauty of spring flowers and the fall spectrum of colors. Now in summer I can certainly live without the humidity as most of us can! (There's little of that in CA too.) The bottom line is that I can put up with any weather for love. Have I mentioned that I am working on how much I romanticize my love relationships? I'm growing up now and I like who I'm becoming as well as I accept who I've been. How about you?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Truth Day 15~Can't Live Without

This one is a no brainer for me; I can't live without Jesus and I have certainly tried. Truthfully I have seen one miracle right after another since I've begun to really focus on making sure serving Jesus is first in my life. Recently I was offered a job teaching infant/toddlers when I wasn't even looking. When I was singing in praise(I so rarely do this that the cat ran in to check me out!) at my desk the phone rang. I got the good news that I didn't have to continue with my appeal for the proper medication amount since the insurance company decided to approve it the day before the hearing! These are not small nor coincidental happenings in my life.
I grew up in a Catholic home, attended church regularly and prayed real hard  to be the best I could be, but that was never quite good enough. In high school when Jesus Christ Superstar came out I was mesmerized; I had quit going to church regularly, but that musical sure got my undivided attention. For years I didn't identify as anything but Spiritual. I took Recovery seriously (mostly Al-Anon); I never stopped believing in God, praying and working on myself.

I first accepted Jesus as my personal Savior on Easter seven years ago. I had a very hard time getting into the Bible and I was baffled as to what my problem was. I had positive experiences when I went to church, in terms of feeling His spirit, but when alone and depressed I couldn't feel Him and therefore I couldn't hold on to believing. Yet I did still keep trying once my mood shifted out of the pit. So briefly what happened is that I never was able to understand the Bible until I started to attend an open and accepting Christian church. I didn't identify as gay or straight; I was always uniquely just me, but it became very important that I give my support to all people as Jesus did when he was on this earth. Ever since I found Drexel Hill Baptist Church my life has been transformed. Believe me it's like no other Baptist church traditionally experienced in many ways, but loving and living as Jesus lived is front and center.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Truth Day 14~My HERO

who let me down is Nelson Mandela. I still think you're fabulous Mr. Mandela, but your autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, is boring me to tears! I have not given up yet because I hold you in such high esteem; perhaps a different mood will allow me to get into it...

Jesus Christ (forever my superstar) MLK Jr., the Kennedy brothers (all assassinated--horrible!) and my grandfather, Joseph J. Zambo Sr., are high on my list. 

I used to be more in touch with my women heroes: Amelia Earhart, Maya Angelou, Rosie the Riveter, Hillary Clinton, (to  some extent) Stevie Nicks, (as you found out yesterday) Dr. Jeri Williams and Larry Williams, (Pastors at the incredible Drexel Hill Baptist Church) Mother Teresa, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Angela Davis, Harriet Tubman, Patricia Fletcher (best therapist on earth)....I'm sure I'm forgetting many, but it's a start.

I also have animal heroes: Teddy Bear (dog love of my life), Dustin (mellow boy white cat), Pumpkin (queen Tortie  kitty of Dylan's boyhood) Jessie (Collie I grew up with), Angel (my very first kitty~Calico), Guido, (Dylan & Sandra's dignified boy cat) , Elli (huge black dog I liked more than boyfriend, Phil) and Dancer (only Pit Bull I'll ever love). Dancer passed recently; she was very brave, sensitive and resilient---may all my fallen heroes both human and animal R.I.P.

You're all "the wind beneath my wings"! (Thanks Bette Midler)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Truth Day 13~My Famous Special Someone

Dear Stevie Nicks,

Your ethereal music, words and dress style have been inspiring and enchanting me since your early days with Fleetwood Mac. To say that I can't wait to see you again in April is an understatement! I look forward to the ecstasy I naturally feel when I start hearing all your beloved familiar songs. There's no one else like you, Stevie; I'm sure all your fans would agree. I must admit I'd rather hear you with Tom Petty, but Rod Stuart is no one to complain about. I wonder if you and Tom are still friendly and did you see him for his big 6-0? Congratulations on your new album; you should be pleased with yourself for putting out new creations at "our age"! I'm sure I will have more profound things to say after the concert so I promise to write you again. Wonder what you'll be wearing? I'll be that speck up in the high rows with the binoculars...


Saturday, February 5, 2011

No Compliments

Something that I never get compliments on is ??? my trim figure! I've lost  somewhere around 50 pounds, but I'm sure not trim nor have I ever been! I wasn't even trying to loose weight last summer when this began, but I was so sick and having various side effects from medications (including extreme nausea) so my appetite was down to nothing for a few months. When I began to feel better I decided to keep loosing weight for the sake of my health. I've been eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while watching my carbs and sugar especially. It seems like I've been almost allergic to any kind of exercise long term and would do anything to avoid it, but now I'm even walking about every other day. It's a start! I have to admit that it feels really good to wear smaller sizes. It's all good for my physical and mental health, but a boost to my self esteem as well. ;-) True confession: caffeine is my biggest vice, but I'm giving "Energy" Vitamin Water a shot as it's supposed to have natural caffeine. That sounds like a contradiction in terms so I'm still keeping my Diet Coke and Chai tea close by!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Compliments/Truth Day 11

Something I have always gotten compliments on is my writing. It started when I wrote an article for the school paper in third grade, "My Baby Sister, Terry" (OMG she's pushing 50 now ;-) ) Teachers would often compliment my essays and reports. One year I got honorable mention for the annual Lincoln Day essay contest at my grade school; I remember feeling a little guilty because Mom really helped me a lot on that project! I've always kept a journal for as long as I can remember. One whole bookshelf directly to my left is full of them from age 20 to now. So here I am blogging again, which is good, but there's something even better: I've started working again on the exercises to develop the memoir that I've always dreamed of publishing. I figure there's no time like the present to make my dream a reality. I feel so good about working on it again, because it's very cathartic and the words are pouring out onto paper like someone just removed my plug! Friends throughout my life have encouraged me to keep at it; more recently my chief supporters are: my Mom, my son and my friend, Patti. Their reminders are finally paying off; winter is the perfect time to dive into this project. I'll keep you posted on my progress. If you pray, pray for me that I really finish it this time around! Thanks and God bless~

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Finishing Letting Go

To finish up on letting go...I'm just not ready to dredge up all the memories of who made my life hell! It wouldn't be healthy for me at this point. About someone I'd like to let go~there was Kristin; for about a year I obsessed on how much I wished I could get rid of her! I finally did, but it took some time because I needed her to give me rides to Philadelphia to the Depression Research Center. Kristin was my "case manager", but really she was more of a "case" than I was! Her specialties were talking on her cell phone, texting while driving,  grooving to her loud music, filling out endless paperwork documenting nothing and total apathy regarding how severe my depression illness was. Finally I decided taking the train into Philadelphia was better than riding with her. I managed to find a private psychiatrist that my insurance covered (small miracle) and no longer needed to go to the horrible mental health clinic that she worked for. 

As far as someone who I drifted apart from, I've got nothing that qualifies. My sister and I drifted some over the years, but there were reasons for it. I had a hard time forgiving her for not attending my son's wedding, I was jealous that Dad loved and approved of her and not me and I was envious that she graduated college and landed a decent career while I floundered around in depression. Happily this is all behind us now; we are closer than we have been since she used to visit me in California when Dylan was young. On my last visit to CT she took me shopping for my Christmas gift and to a hair salon; earlier we took the dogs to the beach for a rejuvenating November walk! Surprisingly the beach in Old Lyme has a decent view of Long Island, a light house and paths through woods leading to driftwood and shells galore!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I just lost my entire post. Somehow I didn't save it in time. The possibilities for things I need to let go of, running the gamut from significant issues to daily annoyances, seem endless...I wasn't real attached to what I wrote so that helps. Bedtime will be much earlier tonight than usual.It's good to know when your body needs rest. Yesterday I substituted at my church's daycare for tots; forgot how tiring nine children under 18 months in one space can be!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Special Someone

The question for today is about who has made my life worth living for. I would have to say, Jesus Christ, when he was on earth in the flesh as according to the Gospels. Yes, I do believe He was a real person as well as the spiritual one dwelling within every believer. I  think the truth list is referring to a regular human though so that's a tougher question!

If I am to choose only one then it's my son. From the moment Dylan was born on through today, he has given my life much purpose and meaning. I am well suited to parenthood. I have an internal "baby magnet"; I've never been able to walk by one without stopping to say hello. Preschoolers are cool too, but that's my age limit of preference! However I can honestly say that  Dylan has been a blessing at every age including the teens. I don't claim that being a parent is always easy and fun, but it never ceases to be rewarding. 

Rather than going off on a long tribute to his childhood, (which I am inclined to do) I'd rather explore what he means to me today as a grown man. He is the cornerstone of my support system, my joy, family and friend. His love is unconditional; he's extraordinarily intuitive, insightful and smart. He and his junior high school sweetheart/best friend have been married for ten years and  are still going strong. In case you can't tell, I'm very proud of who he has turned out to be! He never has been too keen on school yet he managed to acquire a job that others with college degrees hold; it has to do with microfilming (or it's more modern equivalent) and city record keeping. His wife is fortunate as well; she works for the DA's office and holds a BS in Psychology; I'm proud of her too. They are working on having a family; for now I have two gorgeous "grandcats". :-)

On my last visit over the holidays I received so much support and encouragement from them regarding my recent break up of the seven year relationship. Sandra is very astute at finding resources online; she came up with a whole list of possible support groups and books. Dylan and I enjoyed a number of heart-to-heart talks; he's an excellent listener, very affectionate and a practical/logical sounding board. It was hard to leave them and CA, but I know I will move back when the timing is right. In conclusion, when I decided to bring Dylan into this world, I wanted him to grow up to be an uncommonly sensitive role model for a new breed of men to follow. That's a fairly lofty goal, but he's never disappointed me. Often I find myself humming that old song by the Mamas and Papas "California Dreaming" (on such a winter's day).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hope I never have to...

Something I hope I never have to do is  to suffer hard core physical pain as an older person. I'd just rather kick the bucket than hang on in pain! Mostly I'm thinking about if I live to be 80s or 90s...I know people who have worked with elders in assisted living and hospital settings; I've heard so many stories about the ones who suffer long term illness that it practically gave me nightmares! I have no fear of death because I know where I'll live for eternity, it's living in this world that has always provided my challenges.

On a lighter note, I hope I never have to shovel my car out of more snow than we had yesterday! It was just.16 inches, but I've decided that's my limit. As it is, I had to ask my young strong kind neighbor to help me.

Also I hope I never have to clean out the middle bedroom/storage room at Mom's house alone! There's our family's stuff gathered over  about 60 years in there!
I hope and pray to never hear the words, "Your mother has advanced Alzheimer's disease". God, I pray that you keep Mom safe and healthy and that when/if she is no longer enjoying life that you take her home quickly and peacefully. Amen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 5~HOPE

What first comes to mind is that I hope to write and publish my book. Right now I'm doing writing exercises on memoir styles in order to come up with a solid outline. I am slowly but surely disciplining myself to write every morning. This way at least I feel I am chipping away at the mountain! I searched for local meet-up groups, but I'm not quite ready (by a long shot) to show up with my typed manuscript so that will have to wait. I did recently make a special writing place in my bedroom that is quiet and I'm hoping for inspiration and focus.

I hope and pray that Drexel Hill Baptist Church here in Delaware County, PA, will be able to realize Pastor Jeri's vision of building the new "Green Church". I tend to link up hope and prayer often these days because I'm a Christian and aim to serve Jesus every day of my life. Don't worry about me pushing my beliefs here though, because I respect everyone's right to find the God of their own understanding. I'm really excited about the Green Church since it's going to be like no other; it'll be fully ecologically sound with beautiful plants and fountains abounding. Finding DHBC outside of California is beyond my wildest dreams; I feel very blessed to be a part of it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Days 3 & 4 Forgiveness

One thing I forgive myself for is for having a lapse of time when I did not/could not work on writing my book. This goal has been present in my life ever since I was a child; certainly by now I have enough rich life experience to fill the pages! It's difficult (to say the least) to stay focused on goals when you have bipolar/depression illness that it not being treated properly. I must admit to my natural penchant for procrastination and possibly even laziness. Horrors! ;-) Although focus remains my biggest challenge; also the discipline to write something every day is tough. I'd rather waste my time playing Farmville on Facebook, surfing the net or watching movies!

On the subject of forgiving someone else, a person immediately comes to mind who I am challenged to forgive. I am really working on it, but it will take time and I know I need to give myself however long it takes. This person ( I'll call them X) was (I thought) my soulmate and life partner. I left my beloved California to move to PA for the relationship. After seven years it is now over with no possibility of any real friendship. It took me almost three years to completely let go. That's actually another thing that I am working on forgiving myself for. I volunteered to suffer psychological and religious/spiritual abuse over those three years all in the name of love. I now am beginning to realize how much my intimate relationships have been colored by romanticism. Romance is not necessarily based in reality and coupled with codependency issues, it can be downright dangerous and unhealthy. I lost my identity in the controlling influence of letting someone else know what's best for me. The reasons I can have any forgiveness at all are threefold: God (specifically Jesus/Spirit within me), knowing that most of the damage done by X was unintentional and well meaning and the knowledge of how much I learned and grew stronger in the adversity of this relationship. I do thank God that it is over finally; I am genuinely free now in my life as an open/accepting Christian rather than a condemning and closed minded Christian. Many Fundamentalist Traditional Christians qualify in this category as they take the Bible literally and place more importance on it than the real life of Jesus as told in all four gospels. I don't care who agrees with me or not; I can no longer, for the sake of my own sanity, stay quiet on this division within Christian churches. Jesus did not then and would not now discriminate against anyone, period.  By the way, X is in the traditional camp to the max.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day Two /Truth

One thing I love about me is that I'm honest and upfront. Right now I'm not inspired to write anything profound, cause I'm kinda beat. Tonight I tried to go to a meeting that I could not find. I'm bad at directions, but I'm used to this. Got a new GPS; anyone want to come over and teach me how to use it?!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day One of 30 Days of Truth

Here's the index. Seems like a great idea as a writing exercise and by way of introduction.

Day 01 — Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 — Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 — Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 — Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 — Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 — Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 — Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 — Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 — Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 — Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 — Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 — Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 — A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 — A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 — Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 — Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 — A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 — Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 — What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 — Your views on
drugs and alcohol.
Day 21
— (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22
— Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 — Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 — Make a play list to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 — The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 — Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 — What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 — What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 — Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 — A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

First off I don't hate myself; there's nothing about who I really am that I hate. There are definitely things about my past life that I would gladly swap or change, but since you can't change the past, all I can do is accept it. That's so easier said than done! I do believe in living my life in recovery so I find it helpful to always remember the serenity prayer originally from AA and Al Anon Twelve Step groups. "God help me to accept the thing I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference". If you meditate on this prayer, you'll find there's more to it then you may have first thought. I started my recovery from codependency long ago in Al Anon. Sometimes I feel discouraged by how much work I still have to do, because I think I should be further along by my age. I don't go to Al Anon meetings now, but I have recently realized once again the importance of disciplining and healing myself with a recovery programWhat I am really into these days is recovery from sick religion and Bible abuse, but hey that's a whole new topic!
This leads me to at least admit one thing I've hated about my life thus far: the fact that since age 19 I've been Bipolar Type 2 which was just discovered last year. I happen to be 56 now; all this time I have been misdiagnosed as having major or clinical depression. The difference is completely different treatment plans! I wish I could get all that time back, but I can't so back to acceptance. By God's grace I'm living my new life one day at a time. Hope you will follow my journey and share yours! ;-)