Merry and Bright? No, not really.

Probably TMI, but I thought I’d share this just as a reminder to people that not everyone’s holidays are merry and bright. Don’t forget people you know who may be grieving, or alone. The holidays can be the saddest time of the year for many. For me.

Anyway, I have my Christmas tree partway up. It’s in the stand with the lights on it. But after I got that far last night, I became overwhelmed and cried for hours (I haven’t cried like that in over a year). I haven’t touched the tree since, and I’m thinking about taking it down entirely.

Well-meaning people are always telling me to decorate for holidays, that it’ll make me feel better. But it honestly makes me feel worse. Much worse. I’m doing lots better this year in many ways. I can see decorations in the stores and around town without having a meltdown. So that’s huge. Huge! I even have my outdoor decorations up and I’m not having trouble with that.

But I’m going to be gentle with myself this holiday season. And if it means not having Christmas decor at my house, so be it. And if it means staying off Facebook for a while, so be it. And if it means going somewhere in the world with warm beaches and doesn’t celebrate Christmas, well, only in my dreams. ūüėČ

Tough day today. And here my goal for this year was to take my holidays back. Maybe taking them back will just mean tossing them out for a while longer.

Maybe next year.

~Debi

And on a completely different note, here’s a cheerful little hedgehog I painted last week.¬† Her name is Franny. ūüôā

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Personal Ponderings


DSCN4806.jpgI’ve gone through so many changes the past few years, when I look at the contents of my various blogs and websites, it just feels like it’s not representative of me anymore.No more kids at home. Can’t remember the last time I baked a pie. I cook for the freezer a little bit, but it’s not my go-to form of cooking anymore. Still living frugally, but not because I’m trying to find ways to feed and clothe five people on a single income. Just because I’m broke.¬† ūüėȬ† Everything has changed or is up in the air.¬† In many ways, I feel like I’m rebuilding my life from the bottom up.

I feel like it’s time to make some changes in my online activities, writing projects, and websites/blogs. No definite plans yet, but just sort of thinking out loud here.¬† I know I’ve mentioned on here that changes are coming, and I’ve several times thought I would implement those changes.¬† But I just keep feeling torn about which direction to take.

I finished my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics three years ago, so I’m planning some projects inspired by things I learned in the MFA program. I did finish an experimental book of erasure poetry, Bad Things Happen,¬†that was published two years ago, but readers seemed uninterested in reading it. Evidently my more esoteric creative projects need to be done for love, and not for readership.¬†

We’ve suffered some major relationship upheavals in our family, too. Long story very short, I’ve been estranged from my kids for three years (I will not share details, please don’t ask). It’s the most gut-wrenching, soul-crushing thing I’ve ever experienced. I was suicidal in the beginning, but have come a long way since then.¬† With the help of counselors and support groups, I’ve learned to cope with, and accept, the unacceptable and unimaginable.

This¬†blog used to be called “Life: The Journey” and documented our family’s experience with my husband’s degenerative brain disorder. Many readers found it helpful and I was told it was inspiring to others going through difficult, senseless experiences.

Sometimes, I feel like I’d like to share the things I’ve learned over¬†the past three years as I’ve traversed this latest journey. Grief, heartache, rejection, depression, suicidality, hopelessness, hopefulness, mental health issues, physical health, hospitalizations, etc.

Currently I’m going through a class on DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy). Each week, I find I learn at least one — often more than one — thing that I find so helpful. I’ve been¬†wanting to share some of those ideas and practices with others. Simple ideas that can help people cope through difficult and challenging times.¬†And even just the mildly annoying times we all face, even in the best of times.¬† ¬†I’m tossing around the idea of sharing each week something learned from the DBT class.¬† I asked folks on my Facebook page yesterday,¬†and several people expressed interest in that topic.

Anyway, I thought I’d just think out loud here and see if any of this resonates with anyone.

Sincerely,

~Debi

Shifting the lens …

The family history project I’ve been working on was originally something I wanted to do that would be based upon a cross-country road trip I want to take to the actual places where my ancestors have lived.¬† Basically starting at Plymouth and moving West, eventually across the Oregon Trail and then up into Washington State where I am now.

The family history road trip is definitely on my Bucket List, but I realized that,¬†because of the time and expense involved, this trip wasn’t going to happen any time soon.¬† It was so disheartening to think that this project that means so much to me, may not actually come to fruition.¬† This Spring, I asked myself, “If I never go on the road trip, does that mean I can’t ever do the project at all?”¬† I realized that it might not be my dream way to accomplish it, but I could do research here at home and write up something.¬† It seemed like a second best option, but better than nothing.

So this July, I’ve been researching and doing writing on the family history¬†project as part of NaNoWriMo Camp.¬† And you know what?¬† To my surprise, I’ve been learning things I don’t think I would’ve learned on the road trip.¬† Now, rather than feeling that writing without the road trip is a second best option, now I realize that writing now is actually making the project richer and more relevant to my life and to today.¬†¬†After I get a first draft together, that might be an even better time to take the road trip.¬† Seeing things firsthand would give an added depth to the story (perhaps).¬† But even if I never take the trip, I can still do the project.

I guess I’d been limiting myself to my vision of what I wanted this project to be¬†without really being open to other possible expressions of that same vision.¬† Changing my focus slightly opened new doors and allowed me to break through a wall that had been keeping me from my dreams.

How ’bout you?¬† Is there anything you can shift your view of in order to see new possibilities in your own life?¬† What happens when we shift the lens and change the focus?

4th of July memories …

I asked my Facebook friends today, “What are your favorite 4th of July memories from when you were younger?”¬† Feel free to answer the question and share your thoughts and memories in the comment section.¬† It’s fun to be nostalgic from time to time.

Food-related Memories: When I was a child, our traditional 4th of July dessert was Angel food cake with whip cream and strawberry frosting.¬† That particular cake was our family’s traditional birthday cake, and because my dad’s birthday was on July 7th, we celebrated his birthday early¬†on the 4th as the entire extended family was together anyway. Yep, birthday cake on the 4th was my favorite tradition, food-wise. Other than that, I remembered we had an All-American feast of grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, bbq chicken, potato salad, macaroni salad, strawberry jello with sliced bananas, corn on the cob, watermelon, marinated cucumbers and onions, baked beans.¬† Yum.¬† I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.¬† ūüôā

We would eat dinner outside on the back porch at my grandparents house on Yarrow Point.¬† The porch was shaded and¬†was close to the barbeque.¬† The rest of the day, we’d¬†hang out by the water to stay cool. Lots of swimming, wading, splashing, floating on air mattresses.¬† Cold lemonade and sliced watermelon for snacks.¬† (The photo above is my grandparents’ front yard.)

Then in the evening we’d drive to Seattle and watch the fireworks over Green Lake. When our neighborhood all returned home from watching firework displays, the families gathered at the end of our little cul-de-sac and shot off our own fireworks. Mr Razor always had a welding torch handy for lighting the fireworks so we didn’t get to play with matches or lighters very often. lol

So how ’bout you?

~Debi

Follow me …

I just realized that I’ve started posting more frequently on my public Facebook page than I used to.¬† I’ll be¬†posting less frequently here on this blog, but¬†if you want to keep in touch and get occasional updates, recipes, tips, jokes, etc., Facebook may be the way to go.

https://www.facebook.com/debitaylorhough

Hope to see you there!¬† ūüôā

~Debi