December 30, 2010

More Misery

I was given two books today one called Misery the other More Misery, written by Suzanne Heller (no relation). The gifter said he read them as a boy. I read through both of them and began to chuckle, realizing that while these books were made for kids, they have such meaning for adults, as well.

Some of the things noted as what misery is, obviously in the eyes of a child, are indeed miserable:

- When you’re playing “Giant Steps” and you forget to say, “May I?”

- When you’re not old enough to play with the big kids and too old to play with the little kids.

- When you have soft bread and hard butter.

- When you’re thirteen and don’t need a bra.

- When you have to go to the ladies room and you’re a boy.

- When you’ve been promised a dog for Christmas and you get a canary named Fido.

- When you’re riding in the car and everyone smells dog doody and you discover it’s on your shoes.

- When you have a new box of crayons and you have to share it with your friend who presses too hard.

Both books had me smiling. So true, these things are miserable at the time they happen. But it also had me thinking about the past. How many times have I thought something was miserable, even unbearable, at the time that I don’t think much about now? How much time have I spent worried and glum about something that seems very small now? I would like to worry less about simple things and enjoy living a little more.

How much time do you?

Thursday Without (many) Words....

During my Sonshine's holiday break.......

Christmas Day at my Brother's House.....

Japanese Food In Granbury

Visiting with Mom's Side of the family after Christmas Eve Mass

Christmas Day Breakfast at Hotel....

December 26, 2010


I met her in 2001 right after I returned from Germany. A mutual friend introduced us with a simple nod of the head and a quick phrase, “you two need to know each other”. And we did.

I learned a great deal from her over the short nine years I knew her. In the counseling field she was brilliant. She knew her stuff. She was a great teacher. She was very confident about the material she presented. And she cared.

When I sold my counseling center she asked if she could take it over. It felt right letting her because I knew there was a difference in selling it to a large company than to a person who was working in the field everyday.

She wasn’t my best friend. And frankly, there were times we didn’t see eye to eye. I think we were both similar in speaking our minds more often than was good for us. But we had respect for one another. And I considered her a friend as well as a colleague. She helped me through some challenging times. She would lend an ear and words of advice and encouragement when I asked….and sometimes when I didn’t.

When I received the news that she was gone I was shocked. That was only 48 hours ago and I think I still am. I am very sad. Losing her is a loss to the field and to the world. I have gone to her Facebook page a dozen times since and read the beautiful messages left by so many who loved her. I wonder if she knew? I wonder if she had any idea how many people would miss her? How many people she helped throughout her sobriety and her career? And I wonder if that would have made a difference to her? If she had known would she have made the same decisions?

I have talked out loud about it with others. I have had many people tell me they can’t understand why she decided she couldn’t bear the pain long enough to get to the other side. Sadly, I completely understand. In the last year of my life I have understood that more than I ever openly admitted. I get it. Sometimes it is too much. Sometimes it feels that it will never end. I have walked in that valley of hopelessness believing there was no end.

I think of that similarity between us. Typically smiling and telling everyone things were “a little crazy” but “I will be just fine”. Inside desperately wishing to reach out but fearing the rejection from those who judge. I am not sure if that is a trait of those in the counseling field or just a characteristic some of us carry, but either way, this might be a wake up call.

The counseling field is tight knit. It seems everyone knows everyone and knows what everyone does. And we work so hard to help clients overcome their deficits that an outsider might imagine we allow other counselors and ourselves the same. But, it doesn’t always feel that way. It seems we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Even in the greatest depression I experienced I asked only a handful of other professionals for help and I asked most often as if it was for another person.

I wonder if she was afraid of asking for help? For being vulnerable or being judged? How sad, if so. How incredibly disheartening the thought that we don’t love our fellow helping professional enough to allow them to express the same things we encourage clients. That we don’t allow them time to be sad, to breakdown, to be weak a moment, to ask for help.

What a great loss. What a great sadness. What questions left that may never be answered. I pray she has found peace. I pray that her spirit is full. I pray that her family, her friends, and the entire counseling community are comforted and find value in having been part of her journey.

Rest in peace, my friend.

December 23, 2010

The Couch

As the year winds down I typically find myself reflecting. It is an annual event that I recap my year. This is characteristically an event of self-evaluation. It is my litmus test for productivity and growth, if you will.

In December 2009 I was spending each weekend and my son’s holiday vacation at my mom’s house with her death still fresh in my heart. The process of sorting and packing fell to me. For one reason, I had the time. For another, I needed that process. Each of my siblings posses different strengths. Mine seems to be in emotion. I recall those days and think of how dark they were. It seems it was then I felt the most alone in my life. I even recollect writing about the process of losing “home”.

Between her death and through most of the winter I spent time on the couch. I sat on my couch at home and the one in my therapists’ office (metaphorically speaking, of course, he actually has chairs!). The depth of my sadness was brutal. It stole my breath, nearly my life.

As dark as some of my writing was at that time, it was edited in order to be published. It wasn’t out of shame as much as my desire for it to be palatable for those who read. I didn’t want anyone aware of how hopeless I felt for fear others would be ready for me to “get over it”. But not now, as I am getting to the other side of it now and I feel I have a story to tell. Maybe not all of it today, maybe just in bits and pieces….I am going to tell the story. Outloud.

One of the things I kept reminding myself during those bleaker days last year was if I allowed myself to be sad, hurt, lonely, angry, and anything else that came up, I would grow and learn. And one day I would be where I am today…..a little better but always changed. With a great deal of work to still be done I am grateful at the same time.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. I have hope for the New Year and look forward…..which is more than I can say for last December.

Onward, again.

December 20, 2010

Out of town....

Most people who know me, even a little, know I love to go and it really doesn’t matter where the destination. I do enjoy quiet peaceful days at home, as well. But, there is so much excitement for me in travel. Airlines and hotels know of my travel bug for they shower my inbox with “specials” multiple times a week.

We just spent about 24 hours in Glen Rose, Texas. Our plans were cut short when my Sonshine woke up with a fever and something that is looking like the flu. But before this we had a chance to do some hiking, looking, playing and lots of picture taking!!!

Here are a few shots.....

Signs like these we find priceless because we have many hours of laughs about possible meanings!

He likes to look tough, but I know loves his mom!

Getting to feel like a child is priceless!

Finale of the evening at the Japanese Restaurant!

December 08, 2010

A Decade


You will be 10 in January. You have been part of my life for an entire decade. Amazing. But, honestly, you have been part of my dream for much longer. Sometimes I believe I dreamed you into life. When I imagined a baby before it was even a possible reality I closed my eyes and saw that blonde haired, blue eyed angel.

You have taught me more than anyone so far. And I see no signs of it slowing down.

About a year before the good news that you would be on your way I began planning for you. I remember all the food I ate, all the vitamin enriched drinks, and the things I gave up. I remember telling your dad that I must want you a lot because there had never been another I was willing to give up so much for!

I will never forget the day in May I found out for sure you were on your way I was so excited. I told your dad and one of my friends. Then we started making phone calls back to the states to tell our family. I knew on that day that I was blessed beyond belief.

I have so many memories of carrying you all around Europe in my belly...and calling you EGG. To protect your humility I will keep the reason between those of us who already know why. I couldn't wait until the day of your arrival. And out you bounced on January 11...weighing 10 1/2 pounds (a point I know I bring up way too often)! I fell in love with you the minute I laid eyes on you and it is a love that has been growing since.

You have brought joy, laughter and hope to my life. Each day with you has been new. Seeing the world through your eyes has been phenomenal.

God put me on earth for a few specific reasons. Being your mom was the most important. And I thank Him everyday for the opportunity and gift. Sometimes it seems like my soul is walking outside of my body.

I love you more than words.

December 01, 2010

That time of the year!

I do love this time of year. The weather, just a little more crisp. The smell, just a little more like cedar. The music, just a little more cheerful. The mood, just a little more jolly.

One of my favorite events prior to Christmas is taking photos for Christmas cards. We did that this evening. Of the many, many, many taken only a few are useable. But the process was fun.The older my son gets the more fun he is to be around. The sense of humor he has developed is as if he channels my dad. He is entertaining, joyful and insightful. I couldn’t have asked for a better memory than our 2010 Christmas photo attempt!

And here are some of the results!