Trial dates are set, and it’s a critical hour for our legal efforts. On August 13, Chase Iron Eyes will walk into a North Dakota courtroom and face prosecution for his alleged crimes. The charges? Trespassing on the Lakota’s own sacred land and inciting a riot — when a group of 74 unarmed water protectors peacefully withstood a raid of Last Child’s Camp and subsequent arrest at the hands of fully armed law enforcement officials.
Thankfully, Chase has a dedicated team in his corner. You are among a group thousands strong who stood with Standing Rock in its hour of need, who have followed this story to the courts, and who have taken repeated action to keep the fight for justice on track. Now, in order for that justice to be served, we need your financial support.
Our legal team must — and will — gather a staggering amount of evidence in the coming months. This includes more than 50 depositions, requiring travel to Texas and North Carolina to question, under oath, officials of Dakota Access pipeline parent company Energy Transfer Partners and their hired mercenary security firm, TigerSwan.
In preparation for this moment, the Lakota People’s Law Project staff has spent the past several decades combining investigation, litigation, education, and organizing to create solutions for social reform in the US. Once again, we’re ready to challenge injustice. This time, we are confronting racism and violations of the Federal Civil Rights Act and the Environmental Protection Act in support of our First Amendment rights under the Constitution.
There are several key distinctions about the Chase Iron Eyes case:
These landmark legal defenses can set precedents that will safeguard all future protectors of water and land, all those who stand in strength to tear down injustice. This case is being fought for all of us who care about indigenous rights, all of us who care about the First Amendment, and all of us who care about Mother Earth. Your support now can help Chase make history.
Wopila — we thank you!
P. S. The upcoming trials — and surrounding public education — will not only exonerate our clients; they will expose the injustices perpetrated by state-sponsored private military operations. We will continue to provide updates to you as the team uncovers the truth and explores the extent of the rights violations at Standing Rock. With your continued aid, we will turn the tide in this country at its darkest hour. With your support, we will prevail.
The Lakota people’s Law Project is part of the 501(c)(3) Romero Institute, an interfaith law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.
As busy parents, we all feel stretched so many directions to prepare our children for life in the real world. Are we preparing good students? Are we preparing good athletes? But most importantly, are we preparing good PEOPLE?
Make the world a happier place in March at Happiness Walls across the U.S. and in seven countries, celebrating UN’s International Day of Happiness March 20!
By 2030, depression and mental health problems will be among the most widespread and costly diseases in the developed world. Promoting resilience can prevent depression, anxiety and behavior problems in young people. Additionally, societal discourse has become increasingly fraught with polarization and distrust.
How do we as a global society, seemingly mired in personal and political conflict, find a solution?
One promising answer—a global movement to make the world a happier place. An American organization, Live Happy, wants to mobilize the world during the month of March to get behind the UN-sanctioned International Day of Happiness, Tuesday, March 20. Now in its fifth year, the month long #HappyActs celebration offers an easy way for participants to spread happiness and make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of those around them.
“It’s easy to participate,” says #HappyActs spokesperson Deborah Heisz. “You can start simply, by making someone’s day a little brighter, or you can go bigger by spreading happiness on one of the Happiness Walls going up worldwide.”
Members of the community are encouraged to stop by their local Happiness Wall site for a celebration with free family-friendly activities. Local representatives for the Happy Acts will be hosting an event in your community:
WHERE: Wall locations are at over 400 locations in 14 countries and nearly all fifty states, with more adding daily: http://www.happyacts.org/map/
WHEN: Most Happy Walls are active either Saturday, March 17 or Tuesday, March 20
WHY: To make the world a happier place!
#HappyActs sponsor Nerium International is partnering with Live Happy by building a record-breaking number of Happiness Walls in schools, malls and public places across North America and globally.
The wall is one of a range of activities and fun ideas to be found at www.happyacts.org including:
- Perform and share your Happy Acts during March or post your own Happy Dance on social media using the hashtag #HappyActs. Need ideas? Download a FREE #HappyActs calendar to get inspiration.
- Create a wall. Download a FREE Happiness Wall kit or purchase a wall kit from the Live Happy online store.
- Text 64600 with the word HappyActs for reminders and suggestions on sharing happiness in March and sign up for the official e-newsletter at happyacts.org.
- Visit a Live Happy Happiness Wall (for a complete list of wall locations, go to happyacts.org/map.
- During March, download the current digital edition of Live Happy magazine on iTunes or Google Play for FREE.
Research shows that happy people tend to be more successful, live longer, connect better with family and friends, miss less work and donate more. The science behind happiness, positive psychology, provides real world ways to lead more fulfilling lives and help others do the same.
Live Happy and Nerium are supporting this action by encouraging everyone to share what they can do to spread happiness on a local Happiness Wall. They are offering in kind support to give 20 students the opportunity to receive scholarships to attend the World Positive Education Accelerator June 25-28 in Fort Worth, Texas in recognition of those who participate.
Continue the celebration of happiness by reading the new May issue of Live Happy magazine with Harry Connick Jr. on the cover.
For more information visit: www.happyacts.org.
Are you in the middle of a dark November crisis?
The dreaded holidays
The winter gatherings creep toward loneliness, greed, accusation…and we tend to feel unable, inferior, invisible.
For so many, the holidays remind of bad memories, unmet expectations, disappointments.
With the early nights and dreary days come the work parties, family dinners, church potlucks, and all those social obligations.
I’ve never been successful to paste on a smile and fake it.
I’d like to hibernate until March.
My heart feel heavy within me. I am weighed down with the loss of loved ones, the loss of opportunities, the shifting of hopes and dreams.
As many people eagerly await the birth Jesus, it’s hard for me to lift up my heart.
As many plan to celebrate and sing with joy, I often find the days gray and my tongue unable to rejoice.
God knows the emptiness I sometimes feel. God knows the feelings of abandonment, anger, loneliness, and depression I feel. God knows me from the depths of my heart, and God sits with me as I learn to be whole.
I can be assured of God’s love and compassion. He can handle my darkest fears. I can rail at him and ask, “Why?!” I don’t have to hide my tears or sad face from him.
We don’t have to continue any traditions that leave us broke or in debt, stressed out, overwhelmed, tired.
A simple holiday can be a better holiday.
There really are no obligations. You can say no. You don’t have to explain or justify.
I don’t attend many holiday events. I don’t really like parties. My husband is organizing a greening of our church potluck/Friendsgiving for Advent. I’m planning a longest night service.
We stopped sending cards. They seem impersonal and wasteful in this age of social media.
We have always lived too far away to visit my parents or his sisters.
We stopped gift-giving with adults and extended family. We barely have a relationship beyond our immediate family and the gifts were not heartfelt, but just duty.
We minimize decorating.
We streamline celebration meals with our little family. Pinterest perfection is not the goal. We cook and eat what we like!
We limit presents to our kids and prefer experiences over stuff.
Then there’s sometimes still disappointment. The dreary days trudge on towards spring and warmth that seems so far away.
There is hope in the dark.
Reach out to others.
You may be someone’s lifeline during these dark days of winter.
Light a candle.
I will light candles this Christmas;
Candles of joy despite all sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all the year long.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
Next time you pass the peace in your church, try passing the hope instead:
“We wouldn’t be the same without you. Hope be with you.”
And the response: “And also with you.”
Let hope burn bright.
Christmas is for the abused & oppressed. Christmas was an act of resistance against all that is evil.
“Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease.”
Linking up: Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, Barbie Swihart, Our Holiday Journey,Modest Mom, Holley Gerth Rich Faith Rising, LouLou Girls, Marilyns Treats, Southern Beauty Guide, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Inspiration for Moms, Lori Schumacher, Sarah Frazer, Meghan Weyerbacher, Create with Joy, Blessed But Stressed, Godsized Dreams, MaryAndering Creatively, Mumma Scribbles, Curly Crafty Mom, Live Randomly Simple, Squishable Baby, Life of Faith, Blogghetti, Trekking Thru, April Harris, Teaching What is Good, Fresh Start, Pinventures, Home Stories A to Z, Jessi’s Design, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Ducks N A Row, Our Three Peas, Breakthrough Homeschooling, Journeys in Grace, Sincerely Paula, Imparting Grace, Crystal Storms, Mommynificent, Blessed Transgressions, Penny’s Passion, Katherine’s Corner, Flourishing Today, Debbie Kitterman, Becoming Press, Life Beyond the Kitchen, Creative K Kids, Brenda Bradford Dottinger, A Bountiful Love, Organized 31, Home Crafts by Ali, Timeless Mama, Coffee with us3, Answer is Chocolate, Being a Wordsmith, Chic on a Shoestring, Momfessionals, Blended Blog, Crystal Waddell, Mississippi Mom, Soaring with Him, Quietly Reminded, Create with Joy Friday, Nancy on the Homefront, The Charm of Home, Susan Mead, Counting My Blessings, Arabah Joy, Lyli Dunbar, Life with Lorelai, Oh My Heartsie Girl Friday,
So many don’t know.
The deep darkness has never touched them.
They’ve never sunk so low
That they can’t even imagine ever getting up again.
How does depression feel?
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think maybe
Maybe I should just die.
Maybe my children would be better off with a different mother.
Maybe my husband would be better with a happier wife.
Maybe my parents would realize how bad it really was.
Their therapist didn’t know the truth and I’m not only to blame.
A hollow pit in the depths of my stomach.
Prickly moist heat that makes my palms itch.
Heaving from the farthest reaches of my insides.
Poor little rich white girl.
I hate this life.
No, it doesn’t make any sense
The pain is suffocating.
I’m drowning from too much.
Asphyxiation must be the scariest way to go.
I learned long ago to paste on a smile. Smear on some lipstick.
Don’t want to look too pale, sickly, pasty, unhappy, bland.
Don’t call attention.
Don’t tell the secrets.
But speak up.
Well, which is it?
I’m so confused.
I don’t know who I am. Who should I be?
It doesn’t even matter.
On the good days
the sun shines and the bad thoughts almost disappear
I’m so productive! I can take on the world and save everyone, including myself. I’m proud of myself. I’m doing all the right things, saying all the right words in the right tone, feeling all the right feels and not reacting, but being proactive. I plan for tomorrow, next week, next month, years from now. I can see it.
I laugh and bake and play and sing and dance
My heart swells with pride and remember how blessed I am
I can smile and it actually reaches my eyes
and the darkness seems rather far away for a few moments
but I can always see the wicked grin of the shadow monster in my peripheral vision
There but not there
Waiting and reminding
that the darker days are coming.
On the bad days
I struggle to get out of bed.
Every little task is a mountainous obstacle.
I don’t want to bathe or get dressed or eat or go anywhere.
No one can see me.
I avoid mirrors.
I loathe myself.
I am numb.
I know way deep down that I have to go through the motions of all the things I have to do to keep our lives running.
But I can’t really see the point.
“It’s just a headache.”
“I don’t feel so well today.”
“I think I might be coming down with something.”
I don’t deserve
to ever spend a penny on myself
the smiles of my children
the hug from my husband
the grace of God
I don’t know how to ask for help.
No one knows.
Folding up inside is better, safer, easier.
I used to wish I had a real disease that others could see and believe.
If I were actually sick, then they would be sympathetic.
Then they would know it’s not my fault.
Sometimes we put up walls, not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to knock them down.
Depression isn’t something that I can “just snap out of” or, my God, I would do that!
I can’t just be happy. I can’t just smile more. I can’t just pray it away.
Comparing myself to others who “have it worse” is not helpful.
I’m tired of people who confuse “being depressed” for a season and living with depression. It doesn’t just go away.
I’ve learned to cope without medication.
I’ve been to plenty of therapists.
Depression is a real illness. We don’t blame people with cancer or diabetes or MS or thyroid deficiencies.
When you ask, “What do you have to be sad about?” It just adds to my guilt. It doesn’t make sense to me why I feel like this. It just is. I live with it. You can’t understand. I can’t explain it to you well enough for you to empathize.
Why do we blame people with mental illnesses?
And depression has BFFs – anxiety, anger, physical ailments, PTSD, aches and pains, attention problems, insomnia, eating disorders, self harm, and more. Doctors love to bandaid these symptoms instead of seeking to learn the cause.
When you can’t control your own mind and thoughts, you feel the need to control something. And that need for some semblance of control most often exhibits in an eating disorder, addiction, cutting, or something harmful.
Find more help here.
See more about mental health.
More Articles to Help:
- Homeschooling through Depression
- How Kids Can Talk to Parents About Depression
- Treating and Living with Anxiety
- Addiction and Depression: Treating Co-Occurring Disorders
- A Navigation Guide to Self-Discovery During Your Addiction Recovery Journey
- Recognizing and Treating Depression During Pregnancy
- Marriage and Mental Health: How to Cope When Your Spouse Has Been Diagnosed with Schizophrenia
- 7 Tips for Creating a Healthy and Positive Work Environment
- A Healthy Home is a Happy Home: How to Optimize Your Home for Healthy, Stress-free Living
- 3 Common Misbeliefs about Suicide
- A Checklist for Parents with Children with Mental Health Problems
- For Teachers: Children’s Mental Health Disorder Fact Sheet for the Classroom
- Promoting Mental Health at Home: How to Design the Perfect Meditation Room
- Healthy Eating and Depression: How Diet May Help Protect Your Mental Health
- 5 Ways to Use Feng Shui in Your Home Design
- Drug Abuse and Addiction: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction
- Anger Management and Addiction: How to Take Charge of Anger Issues in Sobriety
- Elderly Mental Health: How to Help Your Senior
- Coping with the Loss of a Loved One
- Wristband Resources
Linking up: Blogghetti, Life of Faith, Modest Mom, Barbie Swihart, Our Holiday Journey, Darling Downs Diaries, Blessed But Stressed, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Inspiration for Moms, Marilyns Treats, MaryAndering Creatively, Create with Joy, Lori Schumaker, Holley Gerth, Fresh Start, Curly Crafty Mom, The Mrs. Tee, My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies, LouLou Girls, Home Stories A to Z, Teaching What is Good, April Harris, Mumma Scribbles, Trekking Thru, Oh My Heartsie Girl Wed, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Raven Would, Ducks N a Row, Our Three Peas, Breakthrough Homeschooling, Classical Homemaking, Jessi’s Design, Sincerely Paula, Penny’s Passion, Southern Beauty Guide, My Learning Table, Mommynificent, Blessed Transgressions, Life Beyond the Kitchen, Creative K Kids, Brenda Bradford Dottinger, Organized 31, A Bountiful Love, Syncopated Mama, Home Crafts by Ali, Easy Peasy Pleasy, Momfessionals, The Answer is Chocolate, Katherine’s Corner, The Blended Blog, Susan Mead, Arabah Joy, Debbie Kitterman, Crystal Waddell, Flourishing Today, Happy and Blessed Home, Coffee with Us3, Lyli Dunbar, Life with Lorelai, Being a Wordsmith, Our Mini Family, Rich Faith Rising.
Some books just resonate, you know?
I vividly remember their words and turns of phrase. They teach something. They call to action.
They made me make some changes in my life. They helped me make a big decision. They changed my perspective.
These are my favorite life-changing books:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
Why I love it:
It’s a great, uplifting story and I love the parable style. It’s such a familiar story and speaks to our hearts about how we’re all connected. I wish I’d gotten this as a graduation gift, but I only just recently discovered it. I laughed. I cried. I want all my kids to read it!
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
TEACHER SEEKS PUPIL.
Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.
It was just a three-line ad in the personals section, but it launched the adventure of a lifetime.
So begins an utterly unique and captivating novel. In Ishmael, which received the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship for the best work of fiction offering positive solutions to global problems, Daniel Quinn parses humanity’s origins and its relationship with nature, in search of an answer to this challenging question: How can we save the world from ourselves?
Why I love it:
It’s so unexpected. It made me think about what an impact I have, we all have – on each other, the earth, animals, society. It makes me question everything I’ve ever been taught.
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver’s fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel’s intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place.
Why I love it:
I read this when I was a single mother. I was longing for meaningful connection. This book offered me hope that very different people can work together and find a place in each other’s hearts. I also love nature stories.
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
Part detective novel, part psychological thriller, Surfacing is the story of a talented woman artist who goes in search of her missing father on a remote island in northern Quebec. Setting out with her lover and another young couple, she soon finds herself captivated by the isolated setting, where a marriage begins to fall apart, violence and death lurk just beneath the surface, and sex becomes a catalyst for conflict and dangerous choices. Surfacing is a work permeated with an aura of suspense, complex with layered meanings, and written in brilliant, diamond-sharp prose. Here is a rich mine of ideas from an extraordinary writer about contemporary life and nature, families and marriage, and about women fragmented…and becoming whole.
Why I love it:
I read this book after some very difficult life circumstances.
Sometimes, I desire to be wild and free, lost in the woods, foraging and alone, cut off from the world. It helps me find myself again.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.
Why I love it:
I read it in 10th grade. I taught it to my students for several years. I read it with my daughter. It’s an amazingly hopeful book in the face of a tragic society.
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
In Falling Upward, Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or “gone down” are the only ones who understand “up.” Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as “falling upward.” In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness.
This important book explores the counterintuitive message that we grow spiritually much more by doing wrong than by doing right–a fresh way of thinking about spirituality that grows throughout life.
Why I love it:
It put together a puzzle for me about why I struggled so much until recently. It explains why so many others seem displaced and I don’t fit in.
These books have always resonated with me and I can read them again and again.
You might also like my Women’s Literature Study.
My husband asked me why I seem so angry lately.
I almost have to laugh.
I think I’ve been angry for about twenty years.
Why am I angry?
I feel like I am always fighting an uphill battle. It’s exhausting.
There’s always a running commentary in my head. It’s almost always negative.
I’m angry at myself.
I am my own worst critic.
I don’t need anyone to tell me when I’ve messed up.
I get furious with myself when I forget something, break something, mess up in any way.
I remember every little mistake I’ve ever made. It keeps me up at night.
“Why did I say that?”
“What could I have done differently?”
Every stupid choice I made as a youth.
Every harsh word to my children.
Every time I act like I’m too busy for them.
My poor parenting practices in the beginning…Did I ruin my two oldest in their formative years? Why didn’t I know better earlier?
Why can’t I lose ten pounds?
Why didn’t I ever learn to play an instrument?
Why didn’t I finish grad school and get that Ph.D?
I disappoint myself.
I’m angry at society.
Why are there so many poisonous chemicals and additives in our food?
Why are there so many victimless crimes that I have heart palpitations when I see a police car?
Why do we pay so many taxes for services we don’t need, want, or ever use?
Why is there still childism, sexism, racism in our modern world?
Why do we still not believe women who have been harassed or assaulted? We learn it’s easier to remain silent, stifle the feelings of unfairness and injustice. Just move on.
Why do we have a narcissistic playboy running our country?
Why does it feel like 1968 and all our progress is being reversed?
I’m angry at my parents.
I was pretty much left to my own devices. By most standards, I had a great childhood. But when I became an adult (a long arduous process), I realized how broken it really was.
Their love was and is conditional.
They disowned me when I was 20. They sent me a copy of their will, all torn in pieces. They paid postage to mail me that.
They found a therapist to tell them how terrible I am.
Everything they offer comes with strings attached. They dangle expensive gifts like carrots before mules, then snatch them away and blame my poor behavior. I’m 41, not 4.
They send broken handmedowns and we get criticized if we don’t offer profuse gratitude at their thoughtfulness.
My dad hand wrote me a hate letter and mailed it to tell me what an awful mother I am because I won’t spank my children.
I realize they exhibit are narcissistic and borderline tendencies and they are codependent. Gaslighting is common.
But that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier.
They wonder why the extent of our conversations are about the weather and backyard birds.
Their priorities aren’t my priorities.
It’s amazing that they can still crush my spirit.
I diligently work at not reacting to triggers.
I’m angry at God.
I have so many questions. Dogma and doctrine and theological scholars don’t always answer satisfactorily.
Church has failed me more times than not.
It’s mostly pageantry, sitting in chairs and singing and shaking hands with strangers, then having a cookie and filing out the door to a mediocre life.
Christians love to discount anger. “Just pray more! Just be happy!” they say. Because surely, it’s just impossible to be a good Christian and experience any negativity.
I learned self-reliance.
So I keep my thoughts to myself.
Aaron’s parents died suddenly within our first year of marriage.
We have no support system.
We never had any mentors.
We have no friends.
Our kids don’t know their cousins. They don’t understand family holidays. They’ve never gone to family reunions. They don’t have so many memories.
Sometimes, I’m so angry, but there isn’t even a definable target.
Moving every few years takes a lot out of us – physically, emotionally, psychologically. So much planning and so many unknowns.
The neverending chores. Towels wadded up on the floor. That forgotten bowl all crusty with melted dried cheese on the far counter. Cat puke on the carpet.
The unheeded advice and bailing my kids out of another scrape to coach them better next time.
That lost thing that becomes an emergency: my husband’s wallet, iPhone, keys…a daughter’s shoe, FitBit, earring, book..the teen just lost her check card after one week. When the van ate my military ID as I was going through the gate.
Sure, there are hormones and headaches every month. The weather affects my sinuses.
Moms aren’t allowed to have bad days.
I perceive my husband as emotionless. Nothing ever seems to bother him. He just plugs along. I have enough anger for all of us.
No one ever seems outraged by the news, world events, community issues, injustice.
No one wants to have meaningful conversation or take action for positive change. So many desensitized and apathetic.
Bloggers make themselves feel better by buying and peddling sustainable clothing from charities to combat oppression in third world countries. Social media and the internet are all a comparison trap.
Who do I fight?
My generation is known for its feelings of futility and apathy. We grew up with receiving trophies and stickers for everything, having earned nothing, being handed the world on a silver platter without having to world for anything. Inflated grades, so much self-esteem. Worthless college degrees and too few jobs. Our expectations don’t meet the reality.
Then the internet and social media come into the picture. Heaven help us.
I’m fighting for a better world for my children.
My anger gives me the momentum to continually evaluate and improve.
I’m angry that even when I speak up, I remain unheard.
Anger is often a mask.
It’s inappropriate to show negative emotions in our society. We’re supposed to answer, “Fine!” when someone asks how we are.
Fear, frustration, powerlessness, pain…often exhibit as anger.
Depression and anxiety. More anger.
I wasn’t allowed to express emotions or be my true self as a child and youth. I was told I was worthless and that the things I liked were stupid.
It’s taken me so many years to rediscover that I love art, music, bugs, animals, hiking, and more.
I’m repairing 5-year-old me, going back to before school destroyed her. Rebuilding who I was meant to be.
It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to have negative emotions.
It’s not ok to allow anger to become overwhelming or all-enveloping.
I know when I need to deal with my anger. It’s time for me to be alone and work it out so I don’t lash out.
I go for a walk. I take a bath. I journal. I cook something. I do chores. I pray. I exercise.
It’s important to use anger as a catalyst for personal growth rather than letting it fester.
Read more about mental health.
I’m not into planners with all the stickers and the colored pens and the frills and stuff. It just seems like a big waste of my time.
But I frequently do informal journaling. I don’t feel the pressure to draw in a smashbook or place any stickers in a planner. Having something fancy is just overwhelming.
Journaling is a great way to be cognitive of little successes.
I’m always writing.
I keep a food and exercise journal on my smartphone.
I make notes for future blog posts in several places.
But this past year, and especially this past winter, I’ve gotten lazy and sedentary.
Some days, I look back and it feels like I did virtually nothing.
I recently began journaling my days to realize how much I do accomplish.
I don’t write down every little bitty thing, but I sketch out my day so I can look back and see what I did, because some days, it feels like I just watched Netflix all day.
I have just plain little spiral notebooks for my daily journal.
I read and write a lot.
And sometimes, it feels like I spend most of my time in the kitchen – prepping, cooking, and cleaning.
I was sick for a week, so I didn’t actually do so much. I needed to really rest and recharge. There wasn’t much to write about.
Then, I got back into gear.
Most of these aren’t great accomplishments by most standards, but they help me to feel better about how I spend my days.
I try to be peaceful and use my time wisely.
I don’t like to be busy or rushing. I like to move in easy rhythms with the seasons and holidays.
I love the daily examen from St. Ignatius:
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and focus prayer around it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
Download an Examen prayer card here.
I have some simple daily goals:
I want to read, exercise, complete lessons and read alouds and Bible study with my kids.
I also have a prayer journal.
I write scripture every day with monthly themed plans from Sweet Blessings.
I write prayers and praises – with dates so I can go back and look at it.
I write my exercises and travel experiences.
I recently got a recipe journal to track our favorite meals since I always tweak the recipes and forget.
Journaling is a great way to relax and keep track of events, milestones, thoughts, dreams…
Make a list of things you do every day.
Make a list of things that make you happy.
Compare the lists.
How journaling helps me:
- Stress relief – it helps me to stay peaceful.
- Personal growth – it helps me to learn about myself.
- Helps clarify my thoughts and emotions – it helps me to work out issues with my past and present.
- Problem solving – it helps me to be metacognitive.
- Purge emotions – I can write about troublesome issues privately.
A Baker’s Dozen Reasons to Journal:
- Exercise log
- Foods you’ve eaten, especially to rule out allergies or sensitivities, or to save favorite recipes
- Quotes you love
- Books you’ve read or want to read
- Movies you’ve watched or want to watch
- Wines or beers you’ve loved
- Daybook or daily log
- Prayer and/or Scripture
Do you journal? How does it help you?
Linking up: Our Mini Family, Blogghetti, Life of Faith, Barbie Swihart, Modest Mom, Our Holiday Journey, Curly Crafty Mom, A Fresh Start, Inspiration for Moms, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Marilyns Treats, Lori Schumaker, Holley Gerth, Create with Joy, Blessed but Stressed, MaryAndering Creatively, Donna Reidland, Squishable Baby, Timeless Mama, Live Randomly Simple, Sarah Frazer, Purposeful Faith, Home Stories A to Z, Teaching What is Good, LouLou Girls, April Harris, My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies, Mumma Scribbles, Trekking Thru, Classical Homemaking, Sincerely Paula, Jessis Design, Saving4Six, Ducks N a Row, Pennys Passion, Katherines Corner, Crystal Storms, Debbie Kitterman, Mommynificent, Married by His Grace, Soaring with Him, Breakthrough Homeschooling, Becoming Press, Mississippi Mom, Messy Marriage, Blessed Transgressions, Creative K Kids, Life Beyond the Kitchen, Brenda Bradford Dottinger, Organized 31, Arabah Joy, Missional Women, Imparting Grace, The Charm of Home, Nancy on the Homefront, Create with Joy, Coffee with Us3, The Answer is Chocolate, My Learning Table, Momfessionals, The Blended Blog, Susan Mead, Crystal Waddell, Lyli Dunbar, Life with Lorelai, Being a Wordsmith, Our Mini Family, Happy and Blessed Home, Kids Crunch and Christ,
I turned 42 on Sunday.
Sometimes, it hits me and I’m shocked because I don’t feel 42. I’m not sure what 42 is supposed to feel like.
I often still feel the same way I felt at 15 and 21 and 29 and 32. I have the same dreams and fears.
We live in such a casual time that it doesn’t matter what I wear, how I style my hair, or which fork I use.
During my mom’s generation, women over a certain age didn’t wear the color pink or their hair long. That was for younger women.
Sometimes, when I go out with my teen daughter, people mistake us for sisters and that’s delightful.
Other times, I feel very old and persnickety. My knees crackle when I stand up. My back hurts when I stand for a long time.
I’m past the desire to get tattoos or piercings. I’d rather spend my money on other things – experiences.
Sometimes, I feel panicky that I haven’t accomplished anything important. My time is too short and I have to hurry and do something, anything, quickly, write write write, create create create.
Then, I feel overwhelmed and it’s been all done before. I have nothing to offer. Do I?
I usually lie in bed at night and listen to the night sounds and make myself ill about what I should have done or could do better.
Then I think about all the things I have done and I’m able to breathe a little easier for another night.
I’m accepting that I’m an INTJ and a 1/5 combo on Enneagram. This is who I am and I constantly improve and grow.
I had some amazing experiences that shaped me into who I am today. When I look back on what means the most to me, my priorities are clear.
My top 40:
- I flew alone to Washington, D.C., when I was 9, to visit my grandma. It was a fun week.
- My parents took me to Puerto Rico when I was 14. It was a business trip for my dad. I missed a week of school, excused for “educational purposes.”
- My intro to art class in 10th grade. The teacher was quite a bitch, but I still remember the projects and techniques I learned. It ruined me but I’m rediscovering it.
- Entering college early. Dual enrollment was a new concept and my high school wasn’t too keen, so I just bypassed them. I got a double scholarship.
- “Wasting time” on college classes in Spanish, French, and German. The lessons I learned serve me well now in Europe and teaching my kids foreign languages!
- My college classes on art history and music theory still affect me today. Those professors were passionate and delightful.
- Overcoming depression. It’s a daily battle.
- Getting my Master’s in education. It was a joke of a program, but I jumped through those hoops and have the paper to prove it.
- Teaching in public school. I learned so much about kids, parents, learning, government school systems, bureaucracy, and more. I’ve taught at many levels, mostly middle school and high school, including ESL and gifted. I worked in elementary after school programs. I was also a substitute teacher in many different kinds of classrooms.
- The birth of my first daughter.
- Teaching college writing. Almost my dream job.
- Getting married. (The first two don’t count…) Surviving PCSes and a deployment. Deployment #2 coming up.
- Moving to Texas. This was a quite a catalyst for change. I couldn’t find work. We began homeschooling. It was the first time I ever lived away from my parents and home state. My husband’s parents both passed away. My husband changed job fields in order to remain in the Air Force. I birthed two babies. It was a stressful two years.
- Homeschooling. It’s been an amazing adventure!
- Starting a blog. It sure has evolved since 2005!
- The birth of my second daughter.
- The birth of my third daughter. A C-section is not a failure. I’m still telling myself this. Medical bullying and trauma is a thing though.
- Living in Hawaii for 3 years.
- My husband adopting my first daughter.
- Changing our lifestyle to be healthier and more natural.
- The birth of my son. VBAC, for the win!
- Stopped attending a legalistic fundamentalist church. Wish we’d left sooner!
- Introducing my husband and kids to camping.
- Family road trip to Yellowstone National Park.
- Living in Germany for 3 years. Being able to explore Europe!
- Traveling to Paris. Twice.
- Traveling to Prague.
- Traveling to Netherlands.
- Traveling to Greece.
- Traveling to London. Twice.
- Traveling to Porto.
- Traveling to Rome.
- Traveling to Ireland.
- Traveling to Normandy, France.
- Traveling to Florence.
- Traveling to Venice.
- Deciding to practice respectful parenting.
- Becoming credit card debt-free. We’re almost there!
- Doing Bible study at home instead of attending church.
- I have found my voice. I am still angry. I am not afraid.
I can do so much more now that I’m 42 than when I was in my 20’s.
I am more confident. I have more life experience. I am more discerning. I have my priorities straight.
Linking up: Modest Mom, Proverbs 31 Wife, Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth, Donna Reidland, A Fresh Start, Life of Faith, Inspiration for Moms, Curly Crafty Mom, Practical Mom, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, MaryAndering Creatively, Rich Faith Rising, Teaching what is Good, Sarah Frazer, Purposeful Faith, Holley Gerth, Messy Marriage, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Classical Homemaking, A Bountiful Love, Jamiffer, Katherine’s Corner, Penny’s Passion, Ducks in a Row, Wise Woman, Becoming Press, Mississippi Mom, Saving 4Six, Pams Party and Practical Tips, Creative K Kids, Life Beyond the Kitchen, Oh My Heartsie Girl Friday, Sincerely Paula, Create with Joy, LouLou Girls, Mommynificent, Debbie Kitterman, Happy and Blessed Home, Life with Lorelai,Being a Wordsmith
Many of my friends are writers and bloggers.
My kids are growing into young writers.
It’s sometimes helpful to read from successful writers – a pep talk, how they became successful, or just their fun biography.
Sometimes we suffer from writer’s block and need inspiration to keep going.
I love this Writer’s Prayer:
Oh Lord, let me not be one of those who writes too much;
who spreads himself too thinly with his words,
diluting all the things he has to say,
like butter spread too thinly over toast,
or watered milk in some worn-out hotel;
but let me write the things I have to say,
and then be silent, ’til I need to speak.
Oh Lord, let me not be one of those who writes too little;
a decade-man between each tale, or more,
where every word accrues significance
and dread replaces joy upon the page.
Perfectionists like chasing the horizon;
You kept perfection, gave the rest to us,
so let me earn the wisdom to move on.
But over and above those two mad spectres of parsimony and profligacy,
Lord, let me be brave, and let me, while I craft my tales, be wise:
let me say true things in a voice that is true,
and, with the truth in mind, let me write lies.
~Neil Gaiman (listen to him read it here)
Here is my TOP 10 LIST of favorite books for writers:
1. On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King
I love the humor and real life stories. It’s always fun to know the beginnings of a famour writer and how he came to success.
Great inspirational calls to action. These books make you want to be a better person and not just a better writer.
3. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Raw, intelligent, realistic writing advice mingled with poignant stories of her life.
4. The Elements of Style, Annotated and Updated for Present-Day Use by William Strunk, Jr.
Every writer needs to know this stuff. Period.
5. Conversations with a Writing Coach by Susan May Warren
Easy to follow advice with an actionable plan to write a novel.
6. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle
Great thoughts on being a Christian artist.
7. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
Great exercises on writing and how to live life to the fullest, based on her writing courses.
8. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing by William Zinsser
How to write nonfiction well.
9. Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury
10. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield (all his books are great!)
Succeed despite all the Resistance.
11. Writing to Change the World: An Inspiring Guide for Transforming the World with Words by Mary Pipher
Words are the most powerful tools at our disposal. With them, writers have saved lives and taken them, brought justice and confounded it, started wars and ended them. Writers can change the way we think and transform our definitions of right and wrong.
Writing to Change the World is a beautiful paean to the transformative power of words. Encapsulating Mary Pipher’s years as a writer and therapist, it features rousing commentary, personal anecdotes, memorable quotations, and stories of writers who have helped reshape society. It is a book that will shake up readers’ beliefs, expand their minds, and possibly even inspire them to make their own mark on the world.
12. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Julia Cameron takes readers on an amazing twelve-week journey to discover the inextricable link between their spiritual and creative selves. This groundbreaking program includes:
– Introductions to two of Cameron’s most vital tools for creative recovery–The Morning Pages and The Artist Date
– Hundreds of highly effective exercises and activities
– Guidance on starting a “Creative Cluster” of fellow artists who will support you in your creative endeavors
Check out some great resources for writing: Follow Jennifer Lambert’s board Writing on Pinterest.
Do you have any favorite books about writing?
Linking up: Blessed Learners, Happy and Blessed Home, The Jenny Evolution, Maryandering Creatively, Wife Mommy Me, Sincerely Paula, Quietly Reminded, Be Thee Inspired, Mommynificent, Organized 31, Penny’s Passion, Katherine’s Corner, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Breakthrough Homeschooling, Debbie Kitterman, Life Beyond the Kitchen, Creative K Kids, Brenda Bradford Dottinger, A Bountiful Love, Simply Sweet Home, Home Crafts by Ali, Create with Joy, Nancy on the Home Front, The Charm of Home, Counting My Blessings, Overwhelmed to Fulfilled, Easy Peasy Pleasy, Chic on a Shoestring, Happy and Blessed Home, Anna Nuttall, The Answer is Chocolate, Bright on a Budget, The Blended Blog, Momfessionals, Arabah Joy, Coffee With Us3, Susan Mead, Lyli Dunbar, Life with Lorelai, Being a Wordsmith, Our Mini Family,
Apparently, today is Sanctity of Life Sunday or something. I don’t know if I ever knew there was such a thing.
I have acquaintances who frequently post rather graphic images, videos, and quotes on social media about pro-life and anti-abortion and special needs kids (who deserve life – doctors recommend terminating pregnancies if tests reveal a disorder). I’m sure they mean well as their results show, with lots of comments and likes showing agreement.
I have friends who wear pro-life T-shirts and probably feel like they’re changing lives with the messages written across their hearts. And maybe they are.
At women’s conferences, pro-life orgs proudly set up tables amidst the charities, Etsy shop vomit, and various vendor alley.
And what they do is well and good, I’m sure.
But aren’t they preaching to the choir?
I smile when they spout self-righteousness, but the smile doesn’t reach my eyes.
Because they don’t know.
They don’t realize how they’re turning that knife and carving out pieces of my soul with every word.
I’ve read various heart-wrenching stories of teen girls being coerced into an abortion by their families, their church, their culture.
I could’ve been that girl too.
But I was twenty-two.
Too old to use the excuse of “she didn’t know any better.”
And I was married.
This is proof that you never know what someone is going through or has been through.
Don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes.
So many excuses could’ve been laid out there. The devil loves excuses.
I read all these fabulous adoption stories and something wrenches inside me. My baby could’ve lived and had a loving home. Maybe I could redeem the whole ordeal by adopting a baby. I’m horrified by women experiencing infertility and I long to comfort them somehow, some way, but who am I?
But that’s not the answer.
There was no coercion. I was simply dead inside and followed to my doom. Sure, there were oodles of options. I even filled out a form for whatever state aid was available to me. I had planned to have that baby. No insurance. Separated from my husband. No hope. Lost.
I turned to the parents – who should have protected me and my child, who are supposed to know what’s best.
When I blindly trusted and obeyed, I should have rebelled and run away, far away, even if it had been to have my child in secret squalor, in love.
My parents led us like lambs to slaughter.
But it was my choice.
The worst, wrongest decision.
So, for the good and juicy? Because that’s why you’re here.
I can’t bear to relive the details, much less type them out here.
It sure wasn’t glamorous.
I still remember the smell of the clinic. I expected to see picketers outside like I’d seen on the news. The nurse showed me an ultrasound of my seven-week old child and made sure I realized there was a heartbeat on that monitor. It was the law.
I turned away from the flickering image, sick in body and soul.
And then I did the unthinkable.
I was put to sleep while they sucked that precious little life out of me.
That heartbeat stopped.
Recovery felt like a dream, a void, a time lapse. Had I just been to the dentist or something?
I pushed the experience away, to the depths of my being, to not be remembered.
The shame. The blame. The soul-sickness.
It wasn’t spoken aloud. When I tried to express something, once, I was hushed with a harsh word and a harsher expression. So, I clammed up and moved on. It’s never been spoken.
I thought my mother would understand my loss, my pain, my hopelessness.
Perhaps it was hers too, but she didn’t know how to cope or comfort.
I realize now that I’ve never even really grieved. It is a nameless, sexless child. A nonbeing.
People seldom ask questions. I occasionally fill out forms where I have to write in how many pregnancies – how many to term and how many not, and I pause in pain over those.
I don’t feel forgiven because I can’t ever forgive myself.
I am still amazed that God has blessed me with four perfect children.
I expected punishment. I don’t deserve those perfect children and I live in constant fear that they will be taken away, like I’m living in some dream of what could be, should be, an alternate reality – and because I didn’t appreciate nor protect that one innocent life, I will eventually awake and realize my punishment of childlessness.
This is my self-inflicted tragedy and I don’t expect anyone to understand it. Sure, you can quote Bible verses and suggest studies to set me free, but perhaps I’m still not ready. There’s that gaping hole that nothing can fill.
People can scream on both sides of the political issue and that’s fine. I hope and pray that those who feel so self-righteous about a woman’s body, her child, her choices…never have to face that decision.
There is no black and white. No absolute right or wrong. It’s not all only pro-choice or pro-life. There are third and fourth and fifth options. Infinite options.
There are always options.
Find an option you don’t have to apologize to yourself every day for.
The day of infamy.
When azaleas bloom and the world awakes to a new beginniing.
One life went to sleep.