From Tracie: July 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Too Much Stuff for the Labyrinth

Last night we watched the movie, Labyrinth.

Who doesn't spend their Saturday nights watching a movie starring David Bowie and directed by Jim Henson?

What? You don't do that?

That is a loss.

Anyway. The movie.

Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is a teenager who gives her baby brother to the Goblin King (David Bowie). She has thirteen hours to make it to the middle of the labyrinth, to his castle, or he will turn her little brother into a goblin and keep him forever.

At one point in the movie, she eats a magic peach that makes her forget what she is doing, and a junk lady leads her to a replica of her bedroom. The junk lady is picking up things (stuffed animals, figurines, books, etc) and handing them to her, until she is sitting under a pile of her stuff. Sarah starts to remember where she is, and why. The junk lady hands her more things and tells her to stay in her room, because her stuff is important.

The big pile of stuff is distracting her from remembering why she is in the labyrinth.

It made me think of all the stuff in my life. Is it holding me back?
Is it distracting me from life?
Are there times I would be free to go out and do something different, or do something more - but I'm held back by my stuff?

I'm not sure I'm very happy with the answer that my heart gave me.

This is my Sunday five minute stream of consciousness. 
More five minute posts can be found at All Things Fadra.

Have you ever seen this movie?
Do you think there has been a time when your stuff might have held you back? 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blog Against Child Abuse - July 2011 Edition

Welcome to the July 2011 Edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse!

There are a lot of great submissions this month, and some first time contributors. I hope that you will leave them comments, and will be blessed as you read through the posts.

Healing and Therapy:
-Sarah123 from Writing submitted, Writing: The Voice of the Heart
Sarah shares how the destructive words spoken to her in her childhood played a part in her life, and are hard to overcome. She now strives to speak empowering words that build people up instead of tearing them down.

-Meg from MuddyFingersMeg submitted, Acceptance
Meg shares how the quote "Acceptance asks only that you embrace what's true" helped her to understand the process of accepting what happened to her in her childhood, something she has been working on in therapy.

-Patricia Singleton from Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker submitted, Healing From Abuse Means Doing the Work of Healing
She wrote: "If you want to heal, you need to move beyond the blaming stage of healing. Just telling your story isn't enough. The responsibility for your child abuse lies with your abuser. the responsibility for what you do with your adult life belongs with you."
I was especially touched by this line on triggers, "Triggers don't happen to make you blow up all over someone else".

-Mike McBride from Child Abuse Survivor submitted, Survivor - Know Thyself
Mike shares that one of the biggest things you can do to help yourself in your healing is to know yourself, and what works for you.

-MarjakaThriver from Survivors Can Thrive submitted, Going Through the Memories
She wrote: "For this month's carnival, I'm submitting a post about connecting to the feelings that were dissociated and shut off during my abuse as a child. I have found that feeling the feelings has been painful, yet key to my healing and recovery."

Art Therapy:
-Lynn C. Tolson from Beyond the Tears: A True Survivors Story submitted, Finding Our Voices
Lynn shares about her experience in a process painting workshop.

 Advocacy and Awareness:
-Subhash Chand from Embrace Your Love submitted, What Can Be Your Contribution to Stop Child Abuse
Subhash wrote: "Any crime or neglect against a child which involves mental, physical, or moral torture falls under the term child abuse. Incidences of abuse against children are rising, but it can be prevented if caution and awareness is spread."

-Meg from MuddyFingersMeg submitted, Carrying the Sadness
Meg shares how the stress and pain in her childhood manifested itself in her body and health.

-Clinically Clueless submitted, Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse in three parts:
Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse Part 2
More Truth Spoken

-Tammy Taylor from Here We Go submitted, Keeper of the Secrets
Tammy shares how she was a secret keeper in her family, often keeping secrets to keep the peace.

-Rick Belden from Poetry, Dreams, and The Body submitted, Poetry on Video: "Secret Children"

-Kath Lambie from Kathleen Freeman submitted, Legacy for a Two Year Old - Poem 3, "3 am"

-ProzacBlogger from Journal of a Male Child Abuse Survivor submitted, I Wish I Didn't Exist: A Day in the Life of Prozacblogger

Survivor Stories:
-The Drama Mama from My Write Side submitted, Monster No More
She said: "This was written in response to a Red Dress Club prompt."

-Froilan from No Bystanders submitted, Facing My Demons

-Tammy Taylor from Here We Go submitted, Drawing in Black and Blue

-Mike from submitted, Time to Escape the Abuse
He said: "I'm a former foster. This is my journey before, during, and after the foster care system. I learned a lot of things through my journey of aging out of the system."

-Patricia Singleton from Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker submtited, Guest Post at Sexual Assault Survivors Standing UP
She said: "This is my first memory of being sexually abused by my uncle when I was 11 years old. This needs a trigger warning with it, read with caution." 
Along with sharing her story, Patricia also shares some important things that parents can do and teach their children to protect them from abusers. 

-Patricia Singleton from Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker submitted, Guest Blogger Jane Rowan and The river of Forgetting
She said: "A written interview of author Jane Rowan, whose book The River of Forgetting tells of Jane's healing work with fragmented memories and body sensory memories. A story of courage and pain as Jane learns to work with her inner children to remember early sexual abuse by her father and the cover up of that abuse by her mother."

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is a monthly event. The purpose is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse and to share important posts with others who may not be frequent readers of an author's blog, and expose one's work to a wider audience. There are so many wonderful bloggers who are contributing to the cause of ending and recovering from child abuse. If you, as a reader or author, know of other blogs that you find helpful, please encourage them to submit to an upcoming issue of the Carnival Against Child Abuse; and please bookmark that page so we can continue to receive high quality submissions from a wide swath of bloggers.

Many thanks to all of you who shared your hearts and stories with us, and to all of you who read the submissions and show your support. You keep this carnival, the awareness, support, and healing going each month.

To provide another way for you to stay in contact with the blog carnival, and make sure you don't miss any updates; you can like the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Facebook Page

Thank you for raising your voice and speaking out against child abuse! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do I Look Like A Celebrity?

Recently there were a lot of bloggers putting up posts with pictures of their celebrity look-alikes. I did not participate, because I wasn't sure that I looked like anyone other than myself.

Last night, Lori Dyan followed me on twitter, and when I was snooping around her blog (you  know, checking to make sure she wasn't a serial killer or, Lori, you aren't a serial killer, right?) I found a post where she used this snazzy facial recognition stuff, and I had to try it out.

Celebrities Who Look Like Tracie
I'm not really sure that I actually look like any of those women, but if someone wants to compare me to Olivia de Havilland, I'm certainly not going to complain. 

It was so much fun, I had to try it with Katarina's picture, too...
Celebrities Who Look Like Katarina
Notice how Katarina also looks like Katie Holmes. Clearly we are related. I mean, Katarina and I are related to each other - I'm pretty sure we aren't related to Katie Holmes. 

I couldn't leave Thomas out, so I put in his picture...(I do not know why the picture of Thomas looks blurry, it wasn't that way when I uploaded it onto their site. Maybe they think he is only comparable to blurry celebrities)
Celebrities Who Look Like Thomas
Thomas mostly looks like people I have never heard of. I looked up Mark Feehily and Carl Nielsen, and found out they are musicians, which is kind of fun, because Thomas is musical. I'm thinking their musical gifting has something to do with the shape of their noses. This theory totally explains my lack of a record deal. I'm blaming my nose. 

There was a darker side to this picture comparison. Something that I did not anticipate.
Britney Spears looks like Katarina
Britney Spears looks like Thomas

We are a whole family of Spears look-alikes!

I'm not sure how I should feel about that. 

I'm really not sure how I feel about looking like Jamie Lynn Spears, when Thomas and Katarina look like Britney. I think I might need to shave my head and start attacking cars with umbrellas to up my Spears Family standing. Or maybe get a nose job, because musical talent is clearly related to nose shape.  
Jamie Lynn Spears looks like Tracie

What do you think? Which one of my celebrity look-alikes looks most like me? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happiness is a Yellow Leaf of Joy

I was writing in my journal, when Katarina brought me this leaf. She knows I have a love of yellow, (and the joy it brings) and she often brings me a little yellow gift with a big smile and hug. Her sweet heart makes me happy.

Yellow Leaf

Something else making me happy today, 
I am being featured at The Mom Pledge Blog
Stop by and check out the anti-cyber-bullying pledge. 

What is making you happy today?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lost At Sea

Sometimes I feel as though I were adrift on the sea. floating. lost.

I look around me, not recognizing my surroundings, although they are the same things I have seen for the past three years. never changing.

Sometimes I wish I was floating. lost. on a violet sea.

I long to hear the gentle lapping of the water. the sound of a fiercely blowing wind. to watch the storm clouds roll over.

I want the storms around me to match the storm within.

Sometimes I can feel the thunder. it crashes so loud inside my heart.

I long to look up to the break in the clouds. to see the sun shine through. clear and bright.

I long to believe that the sun will break through the clouds within, and shine light where the darkness thrives.

Lost is not always bad. the violet sea is beautiful. the rescue boat approaches.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Watch Out For Lawn Mowers!

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started in Orlando, with some chips and dip!

While I was chipping it up with bloggers on Tuesday, Thomas and Katarina were going to have lunch at a nearby Chili's. We were about to pull into the Chili's parking lot so I could drop them off, when it happened.

The sirens. The flashing lights. We were being pulled over.

I have no defense. Thomas and I weren't wearing seat belts. (Just so you know, when they say "click-it or ticket", they aren't playing around.) Katarina was securely seat belted in the back seat, so she is the only member of the family who did not receive a ticket. If that wasn't bad enough, when the highway patrolman asked for our insurance and registration, we had the wrong insurance cards in the glove compartment. Cards to an old vehicle. Ticket number three.

By the time he was done printing out our tickets, I had five minutes to make it to Lee's house. I left Thomas and Katarina at the Chili's, and started driving.

According to Google Maps, I was supposed to turn right onto *Street A and follow the twisty road until I reached Street B where I would make a left turn onto Street C. Only problem, when I reached Street B, I could only turn right. I felt a second of fear, but told myself that maybe I had written down the wrong direction, and I turned right. Google thought that Street B was long and straight and had other streets running off of it, but this was not the case. In actuality, Street B is a very short cul-de-sac, and there was no Street C.

This is the moment that panic set in, and the emotional breakdown started. I went back to Street A and wound around the neighborhood trying to find another Street B, or a Street C, or a big light up sign with a arrow that said "This is Lee's House!!".

Thirty minutes late. I'm driving and crying and yelling and generally loosing it.

I start looking for a person out in their yard who I can ask for directions (because I don't have a cell phone from which to call). Finally, I see someone in a blue shirt. I stop the car and start waving my hands and yelling out to him. Our driver's side window doesn't roll down, and the door only opens from the outside, so I'm trying to make my seat go back far enough to reach my arm out the back window and open the door. The person in the blue shirt turns all the way around, and I realized that he was a teenager with Down Syndrome. He took one look at the lady in the car, with puffy eyes, yelling and waving, sticking her hand out the back window, acting like a crazy person....and in fear, he picked up his dog and started running away.

Forty-five minutes late. I'm thinking this day can not get any worse. I headed toward the Chili's to get Thomas to find the street for me.

For this next part of the story, I have to describe Street A to you. Near the front of the neighborhood, it is divided by a median, and there is one lane on each side. When I reached that portion of the road, I saw that there were two big yard trucks full of equipment parked halfway in the road.

I'm driving around the trucks, when a guy on a professional riding lawn mower (with the big metal parts that stick out really far on both sides, in the front) comes out into the road from between the trucks.

I swerved, but I couldn't get completely out of his way, and my car clipped the lawn mower!!

(my friend Kathi says that the lawn mower hit me, but the point is, my car and his lawn mower made contact!)

I'm already crying and freaking out...and I panicked...and I just.kept.driving.

I made it to the Chili's (where there was nearly an incident with a red truck in the parking lot) and went inside to find Thomas and Katarina. I ran over to their table, and sat down, tears streaming down my face, my whole body shaking, and I'm telling him that I couldn't find the road. It just doesn't exist. And he is trying to calm me down (everyone in the restaurant is staring at me, trying to figure out what is wrong) when I say, "You don't understand, I wasn't going to tell you this...but I can't calm down...I hit a lawn mower!"

We left the restaurant and as Thomas drove down Street A, I saw the man on the lawn mower cutting the grass. And then we passed the corner where I scared the boy in the blue shirt, and I shared that part of my adventure with him, because once you tell your husband that you hit a lawn mower, you should go ahead and tell him everything.

Over an hour late. Thomas was able to find Street C, which did exist (just not in the place Google said it would) and I finally made it to Lee's house with my chips and dip and a "why I'm late" story that will probably never be topped.

Do you have a driving horror story? 
*Street names have been changed to prevent crazy people from going to Lee's house uninvited, not that anyone could actually find Lee's House.

A Perfect Pairing Party

I was invited to a chip and dip party with some local bloggers. The only catch? I had to bring a dip. I thought seriously about buying one and transferring it to a container that would make it look homemade (You know you have done that before. Right? I can't possibly be the only person to do that!) but I decided that dip was a doable thing.

After some "I'm scared to cook" tweets, Jessica sent me a recipe for a yummy looking dip. Which I'm sure really is very good....when prepared by someone other than me. One dip down.

Thomas told me that he had a great dip recipe that he used to make all the time, so I went to the store and got the ingredients. I'm just glad that I didn't give us all some sort of food poisoning with that one. It was not good. Two dips down.

I got some French Onion powerdy dip mix and added it to sour cream. Third dip....edible, maybe even slightly good. 

I grabbed my chips and headed to the party. Once I finally arrived (the drive to Lee's house is a story in itself that will have to be told another day) the party was very fun. And thankfully, my lack of gourmet dip was not that big of a deal, because all the other women brought such fabulous stuff.

Four Yummy Dips
You wish you were eating some chips and dip right now, don't you?
Four More Yummy Dips

It is hard to pick a favorite (they were all so yummy), but Lee's Avocado and Salsa dip was pretty amazing, and I'm still eating leftovers from a container of Angie's Sweet Bean Scoops that I brought home with me. Now if only I could talk them into making me dip every week, it would be perfect.

Women with Chips
Jessica, Becca, Me, Lee, Angie, and Jen
(I may or may not have eaten that entire bag of Fritos all by myself)
Let's recap what we learned today: Chips are good. Dip is also good. If you are planning a party, I recommend chips and dip. If you are looking for a recipe, I recommend that you stay far away from my kitchen, and ask one of those other bloggers, or check out these recipes from Frito Lay. And remember, the nice thing about chips is that they are good even without dip.

One person will win 3 coupons for FREE Frito Lays chips! Just leave me a comment telling me....
What is your favorite way to eat chips?

**Legal stuff: The Motherhood and Frito Lay provided me with chips and ingredients to make dip, and compensated me for my time. The opinions, and lack of cooking skills are all mine. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jason Hunt - Art Show

We spent Thursday evening with our friend and artist, Jason Hunt, at Steinway Piano Galleries. The art exhibit and reception was lovely, full of jazz music, provided by Carol Stein and Charlie Silva, and the laughter of friends.

Jason Hunt and Carol Stein
Although Jason is talented in several mediums, his love is drawing with graphite pencil. The passion for his work was evident as he spoke about art and answered questions, saying, "when working on a drawing, I'm looking for life to show through".

His drawings capture moments in time - a little girl practicing piano, musicians in the midst of performance, friends celebrating with a glass of wine - the details in each piece draw you in.

If you are in the Orlando area, you can view Jason's art at Steinway Piano Galleries through July 31st.
Mary Thompson Hunt and Jason Hunt

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Letting My Toes Breathe

This is what summer is all about....
toes in grass

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where I'm From

I am from rocking chairs and Belleek. From walls too hard to pierce with nail or screw and dark paneling that ran across the ceiling.

I am from a house hidden behind trees on the edge of woods, discovered, yet wild. One path led to civilization, and one path led to a burned slab and broken chimney - all that was left to mark the place of a family's life.

I am from the cold stream and sweet-smelling garden that existed only in my imagination, and a very real oak that stood tall and proud, with branches beckoning me to climb, sit and read for hours.

I am from pots banged loudly on the new year and shouts that rang out even louder. I am from names changed and stories half-told, papers hoarded, soup cans and gavels.

I am from secrets and hiding, codependency and denial.

From Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Revolution Number 9.

I am from pages as thin as onion skins bound in leather; and words that should bring joy, chained in rules and duties.

I am from the west for just a moment, then lost in the south. Shortbread and hot tea in china cups; and sweet tea and cornbread in iron skillets. I am from roots dug deep, yet I am not connected.

From a hole in the fence, barely big enough for two children to sneak through. We felt a thrill of danger as we hid behind the bushes, and we made it back just in time to escape detection - with honeysuckle on our breaths and smooth stones in our pockets. Ours was a friendship, connected by blood, that I thought would last forever.

I am from boxes stored and piled high. From one family that saves nothing and another family that does not throw away - caught between two extremes, both that leave my hands empty and my heart lost.


I was introduced to Fred First Floyd's Form by Chibi Jeebs.
If you make one of your own, you can link it up on Schmutzie's blog.

Have the places and family you are from affected who you are today?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bedtime Stories and Microscopic Swimmers

It is early Sunday morning, which means it is time to set your timer and type for five minutes with Fadra.

When I typed that, my mind was thinking, "Now it is time for silly songs. The part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a silly song," and then I may or may not have sung a couple of lines of "Where Is My Hairbrush".

A couple of Katarina moments from last week.


Bedtime in our house is prayers, kisses, hugs, and a tucking in. We usually do all our stories and reading during the day, but the other night I thought I would spend a little extra time cuddling.

"Katarina, how about a short bedtime story tonight?"

"That sounds good, but let's negotiate it a bit. We'll keep the short and the story, but leave out the bedtime."


Katarina built a blackout shelter, and stocked it with food and games and flashlights, and a hole through which you could see the tv if you laid exactly right. I was given an invitation (complete with secret password and a list of rules), and of course I had to go for a visit.

She decided charades was in order.

Playing charades in a blackout shelter (which is really a blanket suspended between two beds, with another blanket on the floor, and pillows all around) is tricky. You can't sit or stand, or hardly move, because the whole thing will come crashing down.

"You go first, Mom."

Movie. Three words.

Second word.

I held my hands close together.

"Small," Katarina guessed. I shook my head. "Tiny." I shook my head. "Microscopic." Another head shake.

I indicated that I was going to act out the third word, knowing that she would guess it right away once she got that one, and did my best mermaid (without bringing the blackout shelter down).

"Swim." Head shake. "Swimmer." Head shake.

I thought "mermaid" really hard and acted (Charaded? Mimed?) it out again.

"I don't think you are doing it right," Katarina protested.

"Yes I am. You just have to think about it. Put the clues I gave you it? What movie is it?"

"Mom. There is no movie called The Microscopic Swimmer. You are silly."

Did you make tents with blankets and furniture when you were a kid? 
Have you seen Larry's hairbrush? 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Now Accepting Submissions for the July 2011 Edition of the Blog Against Child Abuse

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is a monthly event. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse—physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, verbal—are discussed. We highlight blog posts, from child abuse survivor stories, to art and poetry, to child abuse as a topic in the news media, as well as PTSD, dissociation and other areas of the abuse "aftermath" that adult survivors are forced to deal with. We also link to hopeful posts about therapy, recovery and healing from abuse. All forms of child advocacy and awareness are included.

The July edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse will be hosted here, at From Tracie

All of our regular categories will be open:
-Advocacy and Awareness
-Healing and Therapy
-In the News
-Survivor Stories
-Art Therapy

The deadline for submissions is July 27th, and I'm excited to see what y'all share this month. You can submit something written especially for this edition, but please feel free to submit an older post as well. 

If you are interested in hosting an upcoming edition of the carnival, please let me know! 
The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse and to share important posts with others who may not be frequent readers of an author's blog, and expose one's work to a wider audience. There are so many wonderful bloggers who are contributing to the cause of ending and recovering from child abuse. If you, as a reader or author, know of other blogs that you find helpful, please encourage them to submit to an upcoming issue of the Carnival Against Child Abuse; and please bookmark that page so we can continue to receive high quality submissions from a wide swath of bloggers.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sleepless Movie Casting

Sometimes Thomas dreams in movies, and wakes me up in the middle of the night to tell me about them. But this is not where his imaginary involvement in movies ends...he loves coming up with casts for movies - new movies, old movies, current movies, there is no movie that is safe from his casting commentary.

Thomas discovered that there are people who share his love of fantasy casting for movies, and they put videos with their choices on youtube...and a new hobby has been born.

This is why I spent all of last night, and well into the morning (6:12am to be exact!) teaching him how to make a video on the computer.

Have you read the Sword of Truth books? 

(There was a short-lived tv series that was really awful. Please do not judge the books by the tv show, also don't bother watching the tv show if you happen upon reruns late one night, because your eyes and ears do not deserve that kind of torture.)

What do you think of Thomas' casting picks?   

Also, can someone pass me some coffee? 

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Fireworks make me happy!

What is making you happy today?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

It is Time to Write Love!

To Write Love On Her Arms, self injury
Today, thousands of people are writing LOVE with To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. 

We write LOVE to raise awareness.
We write LOVE to encourage those who are struggling.
We write LOVE because we are worth it. 

Katarina saw my arm, and asked me about it. It was great opportunity to talk to her (in an age appropriate way) about the way that some hurts can be so BIG, and the best thing to do is talk about the things that hurt and ask for help. I told her that writing LOVE is a way to stand with people who are hurting and show them that they are loved. 

I had tears in my eyes, as I held her arm in my hand to write love. I had prayers in my heart, that she will never know the pain depression, addiction, and self-injury bring.
To Write Love On Her Arms
Today I wrote love...
For everyone we have lost...
For those who have survived...
For those who are still in the fight for their life...
You are in my heart today.
You are LOVED!
Keep fighting!
You are worth it!