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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Our Weakness Can be a Strength

Over the past 10 years my weaknesses have held daily meetings to discuss how best to torment and torture me.

Worry, anxiety and fear chaired this committee - they read the minutes of the last meeting on how to provide worry, anxiety and fear into my life - then they read the agenda for the next meeting which was how best to provide worry, anxiety and fear into my life.

And I let these meetings occur, in fact, I facilitated their ability to meet. I provided room for their meetings.

And then I stopped. With a lot of help, I stopped.

Like some cosmic exterminator I wiped them out. "I gave them room no more" to torment and torture me. It required an intervention from a good friend who noticed I was struggling, she suggested a therapist  named Valerie Dimick. I agreed to go, but I had to be convinced it was possible to live without worry, anxiety and fear. After all, they had been my go to guys...they were familiar. It was going to take a lot to teach me how to live without them.

Because of her the meetings in my head started to change.

Long ago my husband and I built a house. We were warned this would not go well, that couples fought and even separated over the building of a house. I knew one woman who divorced her husband and ran off with the contractor! But we didn't have personal problems when we built the house. We focused on building the house. It was a great way to tackle such a huge project but we did it unconsciously. We built the house with that although we really didn't have the expertise to do this project, we would do our best and trust it would work out. Without question we made a lot of mistakes. For instance we forgot to order interior doors for the entire house, but it worked out mainly because we never considered it wouldn't.  We moved into our home on time and I didn't realize it at the time but as we built the house we were being taught a valuable pattern. We didn't focus on each other weaknesses, we focused on building a house. I was too busy, or too young to realize what was being taught. A pattern of focusing on the big picture and not on the minute to minute minutia that is a part of everyone's day.

Because I was unaware of what was being taught, I followed a different pattern with some very negative outcomes when faced with another big event in my life. Although I had been shown a pattern for getting through hard times I didn't use them. My fear paralyzed me.

When the recession in 2007 hit all my basic fears emerged. An entire childhood of abandonment issues came to light. Safety concerns hit me from every direction and I became the most worried, most anxious, most fearful person you would ever meet.

But when Valerie gave me tools to combat the daily and sometimes, hourly, attacks my mind would conjure up, I started to get better. The meetings in my head began to have a different tone. The agenda at the new meetings began with thoughts are not real. When I would think all is lost, there is no hto lose everything I would stop and literally say to myself "that thought is not true, because thoughts are not real." It's all choice isn't it? After all I had gone through far worse things in my life. But for some reason complete financial ruin was my Waterloo. I saw no way possible remedy of any kind.To explain hopelessness is impossible. I can't. But looking back now I do see that my problem was where I placed the focus...entirely on me. MY life is a mess, MY life shouldn't have turned out this way, MY life....MY life....MY life. When we focus on ourselves, of course, we will be depressed.

Weaknesses are part of our DNA. That is very simple. But here is the best part, those weaknesses can be our best friend. Weaknesses can be made strengths. I know God gave us weakness in order for us to overcome them. Not to punish us....but to give us strength.

Here is the best quote ever on strengths and weaknesses I have read. It is by Thomas S. Monson

"God Left us the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the earth. He left the rivers unbridged and the forests unfelled and the cities unbuilt. God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of unfinished things. He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the joys and glories of creation." 

Part of my weakness is worry, anxiety and fear....but I have a determination to combat it and make it a strength. The meetings in my head are far more positive now. I still have to reframe a lot of situations in my life. I remind myself that God wants me to be a success and that the end result of anything I do will be positive. Maybe just the confession of my path will comfort someone who thinks they are alone with weakness. And when you feel that way it is easy to stay miserable. Accept that many people have your same weakness, hell, embrace that! Support groups are formed for that very reason.

And then travel with me as we find ways to make our weaknesses strengths...whatever that might be. Meeting adjourned.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Who Am I?

Thanks for sending in your DNA sample.

And that is how it starts.

Being adopted I wanted to find out where I came from. I have done a lot of family history but only for the family I know. Finding birth parents hasn't been a driving force in my life, I honor their privacy. But I am curious. I am not expecting a big surprise. I look a bit Anglo Saxon, so I imagine I am from Northern Europe...but maybe I am the product of a Viking experience. 10 generations back my people were stolen from Spain or Morocco,and brought to, I don't know, Norway, or Poland...Maybe I am a descendant of Catharine the Great....or Genghis Khan.......
Maybe Italian? That would freak out my husband who is really Italian.

All I know is I am from Texas and that is not going to change. And my birth mothers name is -

Opal Leigh Jones

I didn't know anything about my birth mother until my father passed away and I found my original birth certificate. No dad's name....

This might be the reason I enjoy saying the word "bastard" so much.....

I will let you know the results of the great DNA mystery. Although I am not expecting much more than, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. 

I'll know more in 6-8 weeks. It's kind of exciting isn't it?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Meet Jessica Durrant...

"Jessica Durrant is a freelance illustrator specializing in fashion, beauty and lifestyle genres" That is the opening line from her webpage. In case you aren't aware of her work, this is an introduction that needs to be made.

Jessica is one of my daughters best friends. She has been part of our family for years so we have been on the front row watching her success skyrocket.

We simply adore her.

Jessica started off with an Etsy shop in 2009, and now her work can be found associated with Target, Lancome Paris, L'Oreal Paris Kerastase, QVC, Fenwick's, Marionnaud and Avene. Harper's Bazar named her a fashion illustrator to follow on Instagram in 2014 and 2015.

Once a year she has a flash sale that my daughter Ashleigh flies out to Atlanta to help with every year.

Jessica took a chance on herself which has inspired us all.

Her work is inspired by fashion and her travels and anything else she sees that strikes a cord.

Her 5th Annual Flash Sale Begins at Midnight June 21st, 50% off all 8.5 x 11" prints.
Midnight tonight (June 21 for 24 hours) a coupon code can be found in her Etsy shop banner and on Facebook - This is not a sponsored post, I'm just a fan.

Friday, June 10, 2016

I'm A Baby Boomer...You're Welcome!

I have the best friends. They are smart, articulate, kind, giving and smart. Did I say smart twice? That's because it bears repeating.

I have very smart friends. And for the most part my tribe are all baby boomers, growing up during some of the most turbulent times in our country. But Baby boomers got up one day and decided things needed to be changed. So this generation, these baby boomers, made some changes.

Women burned bras and busted through glass ceilings.

Black people drank from any water fountain they wanted and Jim Crow laws disappeared.

"Crippled" gave way to "disability" and "wheelchair accessible" became part of our lives.

Lets hear it for seat belt laws that saves thousands of lives, and 60 is no longer professional death. Start a whole new life at 60 if you want.

Frozen dinners are better...peas are not nearly so fluorescent.

Electric rollers, blow dryers and curling irons all started to come onto the scene with Vidal Sassoon. I don't know why..but they did and we stopped seeing women shopping with curlers in their hair.

Smoking is way down since we sent the Marlboro man packing....and drunk driving, thanks in large part to MADD is a serious crime.

We were charged with saving the oceans, the whales and the rain forest. Since they are all still here we must have triumphed over that. I don't hear much about acid rain and the brown skies of Los Angeles are clearer. Folks stopped fact throw something out of your car window and watch your butt get a ticket.

Again, you're welcome.

And then we made other changes.....

Computers, cable TV and the internet!!

On the word of a president we went to the moon.

On our watch we have mobile phones, and polio, whooping cough, and small pox are things of the past, and cancer has a much higher rate of survival.

Voyager I was the first man made object to leave the solar system - the universe got a lot bigger after Voyager I.

Baby boomers have made some mistakes...but even with the wars we have had there has not been a world war III. 60 million people died in world war II and we have had the capability to destroy the whole world with nuclear weapons since 1945.....but we haven't.

You're welcome.

My parents were children of the depression, they lived lives of scarcity even when things got better. I don't save every bag as my mother did, or wash off the foil paper to use over again....but I appreciate the world they left me.  Baby Boomers started to gear their lives toward abundance and so many great things have happened. Our parents had to live through World War II but we watched the Berlin Wall come down without a whimper. Communism in the USSR disappeared and Hungary became Hungary again, Poland went back to being Poland...and on and on and on.

People who have changed our lives forever are baby boomers...Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steven Spielberg and the Beatles..not to mention the Beach Boys. Jerry Seinfeld, Stevie Nicks, George Clooney...Wolfgang Puck, Craig Venter, Steven King and of course, Oprah Winfrey. String theory came about as did the human genome project....Ben and Jerry, Gary Trudeau, Michael Jordon and Rush Limbaugh.

And Millennials? When we annoy you with requests for help with our computers, remember we gave you the Super Bowl, the mini skirt, and saved you from beehive hairdos and fins on cars.

You're welcome.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Harambe the Gorilla

I join so many others who are saddened by the death of Harambe the Gorilla...what a beautiful animal he was! Having said that after reading several comments by folks about this tragic event I am amazed at the clairvoyance so many seem to have. Not only are some completely convinced they would never make a mistake like the mother of the 3 year old, they also seem to know the exact thought process of a gorilla. Over the years I have been told wild animals are just that....wild. Trying to domesticate or give them more human like qualities is often a foolish endeavor. There are a great many so-called experts who have tried to make pets of wild animals only to have some very tragic consequences occur. Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy comes to mind, or many others who have tempted fate with a wild animal.

At this point the zoo needs to make some big changes to their habitat.  And although I am very sad that Harambe is dead I am greatly relieved the little boy is safe.

This world is a place of a million mistakes, we all make them, even the folks who think they are not capable of mistakes.