From underneath the trees, we watch the sky
Confusing stars for satellites
I never dreamed that you'd be mine
But here we are, we're here tonight

Singing Amen, I, I'm alive
Singing Amen, I, I'm alive

If everyone cared and nobody cried
If everyone loved and nobody lied
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
Then we'd see the day when nobody died

And I'm singing

Amen I, Amen I, I'm alive
Amen I, Amen I, Amen I, I'm alive

And in the air the fireflies
Our only light in paradise
We'll show the world they were wrong
And teach them all to sing along

Singing Amen, I, I'm alive
Singing Amen, I, I'm alive
(I'm alive)

[Chorus x2]

And as we lie beneath the stars
We realize how small we are
If they could love like you and me
Imagine what the world could be

If everyone cared and nobody cried
If everyone loved and nobody lied
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
Then we'd see the day when nobody died
When nobody died...


We'd see the day, we'd see the day
When nobody died
We'd see the day, we'd see the day
When nobody died
We'd see the day when nobody died

I'm restless... agitated. Like I've got a full-body itch, but it's under my skin and I can't scratch it. I have this compulsion to keep moving, squirming, pacing, tapping, and otherwise maintaining incessant movement.

This antsy restlessness is juxtaposed with a soul tiredness that has plagued me since Thursday. I'm weary... so weary... on the inside... and no amount of sleep has changed that.

I forgot to eat yesterday. I ate once, but then forgot about it for the rest of the day.

I ate today, and was hungry later, but just didn't have the motivation to make anything... so I didn't eat. Or did I? I can't remember. I don't think I did... but I might have.

I'm melancholy. And ill. I came down with another of those headaches, and my stomach is upset... I think it's because I was very hungry, briefly, but didn't do anything about it and so it morphed into illness, as it does. At least, that accounts for the nausea... maybe. Come to think of it, I think I was feeling nauseous when I woke up. I'm pretty sure I was.

I'm still doing what I gotta do, but I feel disjointed, like I'm just drifting. I think this may or may not be survival mode?

Hah! I did eat earlier, before I went to church. Made a new friend, N. We talked about ID briefly, as she and her husband used to RV up there. Now, however, they're year round here.

I made brussels sprouts and rice, and it's good. I've been missing the S's, though, and my mom.

I want to sleep for 3 days. Maybe four. And then when I wake up, the world will be alright again... or my little corner of it, anyway.

C's vacation is coming up next week. Awesome! I'm looking forward to that.

He asked me last night, "Do you like to paint?"

Yes, but I don't do it anymore.

"Why not? You should paint again."

>Explanation of why I stopped painting...<

I think I'm going to set up my easel again. He's right. He even suggested painting as a Date Night activity!

Oh, and today I joined SPLAT-- Society for Persons in Live Action Theatre. That means that I'll be working the Y Ren Faire, possibly breaking into other faires (if I so desire). How cool is that?!

P.S. Shouldn't have eaten. Should have listened to my body. Now I'm super nauseous--feel like I could use a good puke-- and my intestines are protesting, per usual. I'm going to make a strong cup of mint tea and take a hot bath. Maybe I'll be able to sleep afterward.

The question that is never far away
But healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus, please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on you
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear you say, “It’s over now”

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take this heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
Find your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide [x2]

Jesus come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
1. Cry. A lot. Not those little sissy tears, either, that dramatic one-tear-down-the-cheek. No, I'm talking a good old fashioned bawling and gasping and keening your grief until you're weak in the knees and you can barely stand.

2. Pray. Somehow. For something. Even if you are not sure it'll do anything. They don't even have to be coherent words. (Many people choose to combine steps one and two.)

3. Bring someone you trust in the room to catch you when you keel over, to hold your arms down to keep you from hurting yourself (and them),  to remind you to breathe and keep you from hyperventilating, and to slap you in the face with truthful statements. Trust me-- you'll need that.

4. Talk about it.

5. Sleep on it. You're way too emotionally wiped to do anything else, even though you don't feel like sleeping.

6. Somewhere between steps 1 and 5, have a cup of tea to calm you down. It works wonders.

7. Blog about it. Even if you can't find the words, and can barely bear to obliquely reference what's going on, it still helps to get even a speck of the turmoil out, or at least to break through the numbing haze that you're wandering around in.

8. Cry some more. At any time. Really, it's okay. Expected, even.

9. Do what you gotta do. In this case (hello, unexpected twist), it's going door to door.

At least, this is what I did last night and today.

I was doing fine yesterday morning and early afternoon, but when I came home from work something twisted inside of me, and I just crashed. I was depressed, and a few things after that contributed to a desperate, sad kind of mood. I was trying to be optimistic and look on the positive side, and I could see good things, but the mood just wouldn't go away.

Went out to dinner with L and some of her friends, and I ate soy. Quite a bit of it. So I wasn't feeling well when I got home, not to mention that E was texting me about work stuff and for some reason I was really annoyed by it, so I made a strawberry glaze pie.

I texted C that I needed to talk to him, but when he got home I gave him the cold shoulder. I just didn't feel confident enough to broach the topics that I needed to, and I was feeling too down and "I just don't care anymore" to even try. I learned something last night-- C's automatic response when someone is upset is to leave them alone and figures they'll talk when they're ready. That's how he works. Mine is the opposite-- I want him to "come after me" when I'm upset, otherwise I feel like he doesn't care. But he was trying to care for me by giving me my space. Isn't that funny?

Anyway, when I finally did talk to him later, we discussed how I feel like I'm just part of the scenery to him now... and how we are basically ships in the night because of our different work and sleep schedules. He shared that he doesn't want to smother me and how he has been trying to take care of me because he doesn't want me to get burnt out by staying up super late with him. Oh, that man. I love him. (Even though I was so down yesterday that I contemplated leaving... again. That's me-- the runner. Sometimes I feel like I'm bipolar or something.)

So we agreed to have a "date night", a time for just us once a week, that way we'll be sure to be spending time with each other. He gets to choose what we do one week, I get to choose the next. I'm glad for that.

We didn't talk about that till after the crisis, though. I was grouching off to bed, when I heard my phone going off, and almost didn't get it.

It was my sister, K, and she was crying. I couldn't understand her at first, but I finally got the story out of her. She said that Mom and R were in the garage, and he was pushing her. When K went out to the garage to defend Mom from R ("Leave my Mom alone!!"), he grabber her by the shoulders and pushed her up against the wall, yelling at her. Mom told J to call the police, and she did. (It resulted in R being arrested, though he bonded out last night, with a 5 day no-contact order.)

I made sure K and the baby were ok (they were), and told her that I was sorry and that I wish I could just scoop them all up and bring them here. Apparently, that stuck out to her, because she mentioned that to Mom when she told me that she had called me. I told her that I couldn't do anything for her but pray with her, and would she like me to do that? She sniffled yes. I said, "Okay, let's pray right now," and she sniffled the affirmative again. I had managed to keep the tears back until I started praying, but then I lost it and was crying and trying to pray at the same time. I don't really remember what I said, but it was something along the lines of praying for their safety, for God to just wrap them up and love on them and to bring about healing and health. It helped her calm down some, and I stayed on the phone with her until the cops showed up.

After we hung up, I pretty much lost it. (Cue step 1.) I combined steps one and two, and implemented step 3 after a few minutes of solitary grieving. Though there had been tension between C and I (my fault), he practically leapt to my side when I opened the bedroom door, still crying, and asked him to come with me. Poor S... in typical guy fashion, he saw me crying and thought, "Girl crying? I'm out." He finally came out of his room a good forty five minutes to an hour later.

So C came in and held me up while I cried, then helped me over to the bed and just plain held me while I cried some more... tried to calm me down, then held me while I wracked my way through another bout of convulsive tears. I calmed down eventually, and then I was able to talk to him about what was bothering me earlier, and it was good.

Mom called a while later, after everything was said and done, and she straightened out some of the story for me. R had taken away her credit cards a few days ago, and was in her face, yelling at the top of his lungs about money, so she pushed him to get away, and he pushed her back, and so they had this pushing battle, I guess. That's when K came in, and while R was distracted, Mom mouthed to J to call the cops, which she did. Mom and R began having a sane, civilized conversation, but then the cops came. After hearing all sides of the story, they said they needed to arrest someone, and though Mom volunteered, they took R. The cop who spoke to Mom was miffed, esp. about R taking away her credit cards. He also brought up his concerns with the fact that she is the one who volunteered to be arrested. (As did I-- too much of what she says sounds like the abused ladies that come through our agency..) He did say, however, that the arrest won't affect R's job negatively.

Mom told me that R can be very giving and generous at times (like Christmas, when he offered to pay for my schooling), but when he feels like he's losing control, he turns into this super selfish miser. He tries to control everyone and everything around him, and Mom gets the brunt of that. She doesn't feel like she's herself anymore, because there are things about her that R doesn't like, so she's tried to change that... like her spontaneity, her joking, etc. She feels like she's lost a part of herself, and she's trying to get that back.

I told her that if she came to Y, the HJ would be more than happy to utilize her. She says she won't leave until J graduates from the school she's at now, though, because it's such an amazing school and J is doing so well there. That's my mom. She puts us kids first no matter what.

The worst part is that R was yelling at Mom, saying he has no money to pay the credit card bill because he just paid for my classes and spent a couple of hundred on my dentist bill, etc. So I feel like it's partially my fault, all this crazy mess... and I still have some doctor's bills that have showed up, but I'm not going to ask him to pay for them. I'll do it myself.

While in the initial stages of shock all I could think about, all I could say, was that... I'm their protector. I'm K's big sister. I'm supposed to be there for them, to keep them safe, but I couldn't. I didn't. I'm not there, I'm here, and there's nothing I can do. I failed them, somehow. (Ah, but C reminds me that it's not my fault, I didn't do this, and I can't stay at home my whole life, trying to protect them from everything. It's not my responsibility.)

I failed them by not being there, by not keeping them safe... and I failed them by trusting R.

How many father figures must I lose?

I've been betrayed.

I trusted him, and worse than that, I loved him.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened... and I told him I disapproved, strongly, but I still loved him.

Oh, God... it feels like the past is playing itself all over again...

I don't know what to think about him anymore. He was my dad, my father, the best one I've ever had... but he's hurting my family... crushing my mom's spirit slowly... What do I do with that?

Because I want to trust him... but I just don't know what to do anymore. It feels like I let the enemy into the camp, and now I'm kicking myself.

People make mistakes, but where do you draw the line?

And if Mom leaves? Do I still consider him my dad? What do I do with that? When he comes back in 4 days? The next time he calls me? Do I just pretend that I don't know? Do I say something? Do I stand up to him, call him out? What do I do?!?!?!???

It sucks to feel so responsible, yet to be so far away... the only thing I can do is pray, and I don't even know if that'll do anything.

Once again, I take away the lesson that it really is better to just never trust, never love... you only get betrayed, disappointed... again and again...

C vehemently denies this, of course.

And I keep asking him, "Are you sure we can make this work? Are you sure this is worth it?" It's just another example of that scenario where I think a marriage is functional, I think it's going to work, and then I find out that it's a lie.

Who gets married intending to get divorced? But who gets married and does more than just grimly stick it out, anyway? I want more than tight-lipped endurance. I want happy, healthy, and functional. Is marriage even real?

C is not like R. He and I both intend to go the distance... but doesn't everyone?

So I finally fell asleep around 4 or 5 this morning... I don't recall what time it was. Today, I've been mostly sad and heavy, pretty numb all day.

It's just like... fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu..... what's the point? Really, what is the point?

They're all abusers, aren't they?

Even the ones you love.

(I know, intellectually, that it's not my fault... but I still feel the heavy weight of responsibility for my little brood.)
...Tater Salad.

Just kidding.

They call me "Cassie".

And I don't mind.
One thing I love about the HJ women is that, whenever we're together, I feel like... this is it.

I have worth, purpose, meaning... I can do something, I can make a positive mark on the world...

I can be that person that I want so badly to be.

Because when I'm with them... I feel like I already am that person.

Like I have something worthwhile to share.

Like I am worthwhile, because they are, and we're all in this together.

Maybe that's why they call it a "support" group?

P.S.-- They think I'm the best cook ever.
So I'm back from the dentist's, and half of my face is numb.

Did you know that when there is an electric drill scraping away at your tooth, it very closely resembles fingernails on a chalkboard reverberating throughout every single cell in your body?

Well, it does.

But, on the upside, I did not need a root canal, just a filling.

Thank you, Jesus!

Especially since my dental insurance that I thought I had doesn't actually want to take responsibility for me since I'm over 22. Yep. You heard me right.

So, headed out to lunch today with the grandparents and my beloved, followed by group tonight.

I'm going to tidy up the house since the guys have mysteriously disappeared, and then drink some tea. The whole dentist experience somehow left me wanting to vomit a little, and I'm queasy.

Another upside: I was able to tolerate the pain of the needles jammed into my gums with equanimity, simply by reminding myself of my piercing and how I was able to totally nail that, pain and all. It helped. Though it did still hurt.

P.S.- I turned on my radio to do dishes by, and the very first song that came on was Dental Care by Owl City. How funny!!
We were talking about PTSD in group last week, and I shared a disturbing realization of mine with them.

B was over, and we were talking about the "good ol' days", and he mentioned when he used to live with C and I. We've talked about it before, and this time I just had to confess the truth: I don't remember it. At all.

It was only five years ago (almost exactly), but for some reason, I just have no recall of it. I wouldn't know that he would come home from work and I'd make tea and we'd sit and talk if he hadn't told me. It's just... gone. And that bothers me.

I mean, I know that I have large chunks of my childhood and teen years missing, but something so recent? It's disturbing to know that my mind could just block something out like that, and not something emotional, either. I know for a fact that when I have high emotions going on (like the trial, for instance), chances are good that I won't remember what happened. I have a few memories from that couple of weeks, but I can pretty much count them on one hand. It skips around a lot. Most of the memories are from outside of the courtroom, and they pretty much all have to do with food :)

This, of course, is due to the fact that my brain learned to disassociate during the abuse, and so it still does that in my "real" life.

Scary stuff, yo.

It's like... not knowing whether I'll remember this later... makes me feel like I have dementia or Alzheimer's or something. Think about it. Life is all about memory. How do you know who people are? How do you know what you've done, what you want to do? How do you know what you like, what you don't like, who you love, how you felt about ______? Memory.

To lose it is a scary thing. It makes you feel a little like you've never lived at all.
It's funny how easily I can swing from one extreme to another.

On Saturday, I was ill. I guess I just pushed it too hard, and my body decided to check out on me. (But, as usual, I don't feel like I was doing enough, and especially not enough to have my body break down on me...) I finally dragged myself out of bed around 8:45 p.m. and took care of the dogs I'm sitting. (Poor things.)

Sunday, though, was a different story. I felt energized, purposeful, and driven.. off and on. I had spurts of funky mood throughout the day, but did my best to ignore that. I scrubbed the kitchen floor and walls and major appliances and cabinet fronts, and felt really good about it. It's been something I've been wanting to do, and it's been under my skin, like an itch. (Much like scrubbing out the shower.)

I took before and after pics of the shower, just to emphasize my point that you really can't have a bunch of guys living by themselves for an extended period of time. They just don't notice that things are dirty and need cleaning. These guys, they just didn't notice that the shower was dirty, and they were shocked to realize that it's supposed to be white. Let's face it-- men need women, if for no other reason than to keep things clean.


 Anyway, that aside, while I was down and out, I spent pretty much all day Stumbling recipes. I have come to the conclusion that I am a closet foodie. Not a food activist, as so many are (I barely have enough energy to concern myself with the things in front of me, much less getting angry with Monsanto and WalMart or whatever), and not a super-dedicated foodie, but... the beginnings are there. And, really, with the way I must eat, who can blame me?

So I got inspired, and I had the most amazing supper yesterday! I had lettuce wraps containing coriander and nutmeg laced lentils, chipotle tahini sauce, a heap of raw veggies (zucchini, bell peppers, green onions, mushrooms), and avocado. I also had a few pieces of a quinoa flatbread that I whipped up. My, oh my, was it ever delicious! I also ground a little smoked sea salt over the top of each wrap. Thought I was in heaven.

Tonight, I intend to make smoked salmon chowder for the guys. That oughta be good :)

I applied for three jobs today, in addition to the three I applied for last week. The best part is that they're all in totally different fields!

I get overwhelmed and slightly resentful when I think about the Healing Journey and the fundraising. Why? Maybe because it reminds me too much of canvassing, maybe because I only wanna give as much as I wanna give, and I don't mind leading the support group, but I didn't ask to be one of E's "pillars". She made me that, and I don't feel like I really had a say in the matter. I mean, I want to be involved, I just... want it to be on my terms? I guess.

I feel like E still has some boundary work to do, as do I, and I'm not sure that it's always healthy, what we've got going on.

I think mostly it's just that I want to run my own life, and a lot of times I feel like the HJ is running my life.

I think that's my issue, though, and not hers. I did set my foot down a few times, and I'm glad for it.

We'll see.

No one ever got strong without conflict and practice.

Tomorrow, I have a filling/root canal. Joy...

I hate to keep asking for money from R. Can I please just provide for myself already??

In less than two weeks, C has vacation and wants to go house hunting. Am I excited? Ridiculously so!!!

School starts in less than a month. I will prove to myself that I can work, go to school, volunteer, and still maintain a social life and a clean house. That is my goal.

I still can't walk away from God. Things are shifting inside of me, and while I haven't gone back to church, I'm still considering and reconsidering my faith. This article spoke to me on a very deep level, especially since the author has just been through something horrific, something totally against the will of God... and still believes in a merciful God. Her explanation is simple, yet profound.

"Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.

In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.

Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil."

I know, I know that people have expressed the same thing to me over and over again... but sometimes it takes that thousandth time, phrased in just the right way, for it to slide into place, you know?

So... I don't know. I don't know what this means. I know that I believe some different things about the Bible than I did when I first started searching and researching. I know that I'm looking for a very different sort of experience than I was before my inner world exploded. I know that I'm a little more cynical now than I was.

But I also know that, if this god is all that those who know him make him out to be, then it's okay, and it'll be okay, and he'll work with that, and eventually... I'll be okay, too.

Sometimes I wonder if I didn't just make up the whole thing about being abused and molested and groomed and all of that other stuff... if there's really nothing wrong with me but that I'm a mental and emotional hypochondriac?

Sometimes I wonder if it really affected me at all?

I was thinking last night about how people come to be themselves. I think there's three parts to it-- one: the personality that God created, the "who you are"; two: the inherited traits, the training you receive growing up; three: who you make yourself to be.

Who you're created to be.
Who you're raised to be.
Who you determine to be.

I think those three things combine to make you who you are.

Just a thought.

Very good. Embrace the imperfection, and let it lead you on a journey of discovery, into greater and higher realizations of what you can create. Love it.
Don't feel much like posting lately. I'm sorta numb, sorta frustrated a little, sorta hopeful and optimistic, sorta running low on emotional reserves, and I'm just not in the mood.

Sick today. Body's finally had enough, I guess. I need to find a doctor, and soon. Maybe it's confirmation that I can't wait until Oct. to see the doctor I've heard so many good things about.

One thought that keeps coming back to re-echo in my mind is... Is it wrong to be on a quest?

Is it wrong to be searching, to not be "there" spiritually? To not have "arrived"? (Of course, how does one get there but by journeying, yes?)

I guess I feel a little like a traitor, since so many had considered me to be "there" already... and now I'm seemingly going off the deep end...

But I don't think it's wrong.

Maybe I'm more inclined towards that postmodern relativism than I had previously thought.

I guess it's just weird, and hard, to try to explain to churchy people (even in my head!) how it is in leaving that I am finding my true path. I'm not wandering blindly, as much as it feels like it. There have been guideposts to mark my way, to steer me into ever deeper challenges to my previous ways of thinking...

Oh, forget it. I don't know how to explain it, after all.

I'll just let them think that I'm lost. Then they can content themselves with praying for my soul while I march ever farther into the distance...
"The Awakening", by Sonny Carroll
(The other awesome poem we read in group this week.)

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it... When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out, "ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on." And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.

.......... This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness or safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren't always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you. Then a sense of security is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the "reality of today" rather than holding out for the "promise of tomorrow." You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you've received over the course of al ifetime. And you being to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about:

-how you should look and how much you should weigh,
-what you should wear and where you should shop,
-where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
-who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
-who you should marry and why you should stay,
-the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you being re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will love and appreciate or approve of who or what you are... and that's OK... they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a "perfect 10"... Or a perfect human being for that matter... and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in "giving" that we receive, and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of "creating" and "contributing"J rather than "obtaining" and "accumulating."

And you give thanks for the simple things you've been blessed with, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about--a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, the freedom of choice and the opportunity to pursue your own dreams.

And you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors, including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You being eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you've learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

Then you learn about love and relationships--how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally, and that not everyone will always come through... and interestingly enough, it's not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren't done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns-- anger, jealousy and resentment.

You learn how to say, "I was wrong," and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn how to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to Say NO. You learn that you don't know al the answers, it's not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.

Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more loveable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships, and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it's wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet "your" standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people situations and outcomes. You learn that "alone" does not mean "lonely" and you begin to discover the joy of spending time "with yourself" and "on yourself". Then you discover teh greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know-- Self Love. And so it comes to pass that, through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.

Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn't change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead, you set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.

You learn that life isn't always fair and you don't always get what you think you deserve, and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God... but merely a random act of fate.

And you stop looking for guarantees, because you've learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you'll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time-- FEAR itself. So you learn to step right into an through your fears, because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.

Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY.. the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.

A word about the Power of Prayer: In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed, not for the answers to my prayers or for material things, but for my "God" to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.

Remember this:--You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.
My "God" has never failed me.
My Magic Box affirmation for the week: "Growth begins when we begin to accept our own weaknesses."

Last week's was: "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."

The week before: "Sometimes it's the things you can't do that bring out the brilliance of what you can!"

Before that: "Courage does not mean that you are not afraid. Doing something that you are not afraid of is easy. Doing or facing something that you are afraid of takes courage."

Soundtrack to my day: Drive, by Incubus

I feel like these affirmations have been seeds planted, growing courage in me, resulting in my determination to step out and to try working again. (To try to FIND work, rather!)

Last night, we read a couple of awesome poems that I wanted to stick in here, so I don't lose them. (And maybe someone else will read them and it'll be just what they needed.)

The first is called Our Deepest Fear, by Marianne Williamson, and it hits the nail right on the head for me.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The other one is long, so I'll stick it in a post of it's own. ("It's"... possessive... that means an apostrophe, yeah?)

Here's my song for the day.

I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can't help but ask myself how much I'll let the fear
Take the wheel and steer

It's driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I'm beginning to find that I
Should be the one behind the wheel

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive?

It's driven me before
And it seems to be the way that everyone else gets around
But lately I'm beginning to find that
When I drive myself my light is found

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

Would you choose water over wine
Hold the wheel and drive

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there
So I'm a rebel now.

My friend L went with me for moral support, and I got my right ear's cartilage pierced.

I was kind of waffling back and forth, but I finally mustered the courage (and the little bit of crazy) that it takes, and L was available today, so we went.

I feel... satisfied. Like, it was scary and totally out of the norm of what people would expect from me, but I felt that it was something I needed to do, "for me", you know? A touchstone of bravery, if you will.

Yeah, some people might think it's stupid, or silly, or totally superfluous, but I'm glad I did it. Absolutely no regrets.

I just don't know how my friends in ID will react if/when I go up there and they see it. (I can't remove it for 2-3 months at all, so it'll be there. It's not big, but it's there.) I'm sure it will cause a minor ruckus. But that's okay.

I'm happy about it. And L got a video of it. Sweeeeet.

The induction into nerd-dom has been completed. I am... one of them now...

Root canal? Really?!

Been having a rough time sleeping (or should I say, desiring to sleep?)

Filling out job applications.

Hoping to get a haircut, since I made a few extra dollars this week.

Having the extreme desire to purge, clean, and otherwise make my world incredibly organized and tidy. Control... for when one feels out of it.

Getting irritable at all the things interfering with my purging, cleaning, and otherwise organizing, even if they're people. Whoa, nelly. Calm down, there!

Still fighting with God. Can you even hear me? Do you care?

Going to get my ear pierced this week, as a sign of my rebellion. Plus, I just want to see if I can do it. (Just kidding. It's not about rebellion. But I am seriously contemplating the piercing. It seems... bold? Fearless? Tough? Free-spirited? "I don't mind what you think"? All the things that I want to be.)
You know what they say-- laughter is the best medicine! (Hopefully it'll cure the fact that I can't sleep... for the second night in a row...) So, without further ado, I give you a whole lotta memes!

This is Anti Joke Chicken, my new discovery. Glorious, no?