From Tracie: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Happy Monday On A Tuesday

Happiness is.....

Cuddles with my kid while waiting for dinner (that I didn't cook prepare microwave).
Katarina and Tracie

A husband who understands that having painted nails isn't enough when you are a kid - they have to sparkle too!
Sparkly Fingernails
(This is not a Panera Bread commercial, although we did eat there yesterday, and it was really good. Ignore the label and focus on the sparkly nails)


Making Thomas stand by a brick wall while I take approximately fifty pictures.
Thomas standing by brick wall
(see - he doesn't even look annoyed)

A haircut.
And giant green leaves painted on a wall, because that randomness makes me smile.
Tracie in front of giant leaves

Happiness is....time spent with family.

What is making you happy today?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blog Against Child Abuse - January 2012 Edition

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.
Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse

Welcome to the January 2012 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse!
I hope everyone is having a good new year.

Healing and Therapy:
-Meg from Megs submitted, Moving In.
She wrote, "Because of the trauma and abuse my body endured, it's been really hard for me to accept the "body experience." I'm often detached and unwilling to listen to what my body tries to tell me. I've recently realized it's time to "move back in" and this is what I wrote about it (beginning at paragraph 3)."

-Lauren from Self Help and Recovery submitted, Shame Is Your Enemy.

-Mike McBride from Child Abuse Survivor submitted, Successful Healers.
He wrote, "I found an article that I really thought was applicable to survivors in their healing process, even though it wasn't about healing, and wrote about the tips that were given and how they apply!"


Survivor Stories:
-Michelle I'Anson from My Life as a Strife Survivor submitted, The Harshest Lesson.
She wrote, "Learning to love myself has been hard."

-Joan Angel from Angels of Secrets submitted, On Angels Wings.


Aftermath:
-April Nicole from A Whisper From My Heart submitted, Speak Up or Stay Quiet.


In The News:
-Charles Chua C K from All About Living With Life submitted, P.L.E.A.S.E. Spend Time With Your Child.


Poetry:
-Rick Belden from Poetry, Dreams, and The Body submitted, Poetry on Video: Falling Through.


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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 might not be frequent readers of an author's blog. 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 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse 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! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reading Between Interruptions

When I think of a book I've read in the past, I usually remember the place I read it. I received Between Interruptions: 30 Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood in the mail, and it sat in my to be read pile for about a week, until the day I grabbed it on my way out the door to run errands. I pulled it out of my bag at the DMV, and started reading. My husband leaned over and complained about the wait, and I was surprised to see almost two hours had passed without me even noticing it - I was that engrossed in these women's stories.
Between Interruptions Cover

I was a little skeptical of this book at first. Collections of essays (or short stories) aren't usually my favorite. But I found that even the authors whose lives and experiences are completely different than mine really pulled me in, and I was able to find commonality in our journeys as mothers.

Cori Howard
In her introduction to the book, the editor, Cori Howard (founder of The Momoir Project) said, "I wanted to provide a space where mothers could talk about the huge transformation involved in becoming mothers. I wanted them to explore the difficulties they've had in the process of becoming mothers; the choices and decision they've faced and how they've handled them; how they've managed the identity crisis, the career crises, the relationship crisis." I think with Between Interruptions, she accomplished her goal. It is an honest and interesting book.



Legal Stuff: I was provided a free copy of this book to read and review by TLC Book Tours, but I did not receive any further compensation. All the opinions are mine, and I was not required to say nice things.

Waiting To Be Picked Up

The room is dark during the day. A small sliver of sunshine sneaking between the curtains is the only light we have. We whisper in the dark, sitting snugly next to each other.

Bits of stories.

Advice.

Information.

The sliver of sunlight has long faded when she comes in the room. We watch silently as she kicks off her flip flop, drops her clothes in a pile on the floor, and changes into an old t-shirt and pajama pants. She flops on the bed and looks around the room. Light from the lamp with the purple shade illuminates her face.

We always know what kind of day she had out in the world by what she does next:

On rough days, she heads to the shelves on the left, and reaches for something light and fluffy.

On good days, she walks across the room to the the shelves by the closet - usually pulling a journal and pen out of the cabinet on her way back to the bed.

On days she has been to class, she pulls out heavy tomes from shelves on the right, and scatters them across the bed. Notebook directly in front of her, she makes notes and highlights, occasionally reading something in a whisper we can barely hear.

On days when her head is pounding and she needs to escape from the pain (and the world around her), she angles the purple shade away from her face and reaches for a stack sitting on the desk beside the bed.

Cuddling under the covers, she reads until we see the sliver of light sneaking again between the curtains, and then falls into a deep sleep.

We keep watch over her room during the day, and keep her company late into the night.  She loves us, and we love her. We know all her moods and secrets. We want nothing more than to be held gently as we share our stories and knowledge and advice. We are her books, and the best friends she has ever had.

Write On Edge Button
The dictionary defines personification as “the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.”


Tell a piece of your story from the point of view of an object who bore witness.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grandmother's Smoke Breaks

I found myself thinking about my grandmother tonight. When I was small, I called her grandmommy - grandmommy and granddaddy where my father's parents. But I clearly remember being ten years old, sitting in her backyard, and deciding that I would call her grandmother.

After my granddaddy died, his nephew came to visit. It was always an issue during his visits that he smoked. Not only would he go outside to smoke so as not to bother my grandparents, he would often go to the neighbor's house to smoke with her in her garage.

And we weren't supposed to mention the smoking. No talking about things like that in my family.

But on this visit - it seemed things had changed. Grandmother would go outside and sit with him on the bench when he smoked. She would declare with glee that she was going out for a smoke break. I believe there was even some giggling.

I thought about that tonight, and wanted to ask her questions. Things I did not ask when she was alive. Of course I wish I could ask the hard questions, but tonight I wasn't thinking down dark paths. I just wanted to know what it was they talked about on those smoke breaks. And why the sudden change in her attitude towards his habit.




This was my Sunday morning five minute stream of consciousness writing. I've dumped my brain, feel free to dump yours with Fadra. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Am Early For Once

You know that line of people at the post office at 11:58 on April 15th each year? The people filling out the address of the IRS and affixing the stamp on their tax return? I have been in that line.

There was one year we finished our taxes on April 14th. That was the year Thomas did them. At our house, we refer to that as the year of...well, I refer to that as the year of....actually, I'm not going to tell you how I refer to that year. Just trust me that it is bad, and leave it at that.

Last year, on April 15th, we walked into Amscot and met Julio. Our new best friend. Our tax hero. It is possible he secretly laughed at our last-minute-ness, but I forgive him for that. Because he did our taxes, and it was surprisingly painless.

In December Thomas and I had a talk, and decided our goal was to take care of taxes early this year, before the end of January. So today we visited our tax guy, Julio (it makes me feel all old and grown up to say that I have a tax guy), and took care of business.

Julio even humored Thomas when he wanted to take a picture with him.
(Yes, not only am I a crazy picture taking person - like all of us bloggers - I am also married to a crazy picture taking person. My family's crazy picture taking knows no bounds.)
Julio Amscot Tax Guy
On the right you see Julio, the guy who does our taxes. On the left is Thomas, the guy who isn't allowed to touch our taxes - never at all, not one bit, until the very end when it is his turn to sign the paperwork.

That is the excitement in my house today. Taxes done. Box on my to-do list checked. Procrastination averted. All that is left is the celebration of my unusual earliness.....and since every good celebration includes cupcakes, I think I'll eat two. Or four. I'll definitely stop after five.

I finished my taxes early! What are you celebrating today?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King on Hope

As part of my focus on hope this year, I want to see what other people have said about it. Today, in the US, we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr


These are some of his words on hope:

"If you loose hope, somehow you loose the vitality that keeps moving, you loose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream."

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."

"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope"


Monday, January 09, 2012

They Are Jumbo, Baby!

You know what is making me happy today? Hot chocolate. And marshamallows.

But not just any marshamllows.

Jumbo marshamllows.

Giant Bag Of Marshmallows

I mean, seriously HUGE marshmallows.

Seriously Huge Marshmallow

I'm thinking we need to make some s'mores with these...
...now I just have to find some jumbo-sized chocolate bars.


Linking up with 52 Weeks of Happiness and Dose of Happy Mondays.
What is making you happy today?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Love and Prayers for Jack

My friend Crystal (one of our fabulous editors and a board member at Band Back Together) found out this weekend that her five year old son, Jack, has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.




Jack is going to have some procedures tomorrow, and they will find out more specifics about the course of treatment. Crystal has set up a Caring Bridge site to keep everyone updated.

You can get more information about Jack, and get the code if you would like to put Jack's button on your blog. We also have an email address that has been set up specifically for messages to Jack (he is loving all the messages and e-cards). All of that information can be found at the post on Band Back Together


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Have you heard of the Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry

Joining the registry means that one day you could help save a life. It is super easy! All you need to do is fill out some simple medical information, and they will send you a kit with a cheek swab for you to return. 

In the past I have wanted to sign up, but due to the cost associated with having the kit processed, was not able to do it. BUT! for the month of January, American Express is covering the cost of the kit for every person who registers. 

Tonight I signed up (a very simple process), and my kit is on its way. 

I want to encourage you to check it out and join the registry

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Jack, Crystal, and the whole family can use all the love, support, and prayers you can send their way! 

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Accepting Submissions for the January 2012 Blog Carnival 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, disassociation and other areas of 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 January edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse will be hosted here, at From Tracie. Our theme is A Fresh Start.


I would love to hear about any resolutions, or plans, or focuses you have going into this new year!

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

The deadline for submissions is January 25th, and the carnival will be posted on the 27th. 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 might 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. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Ode To Ice Cream or Edy's, Why Do You Hate Me?

I was always an ice cream girl.

If we were at an ice cream shop, I would take free samples of lots of flavors - but I always knew what flavor I was going to get, because I went through ice cream phases. I can clearly remember which flavor I wanted my two scoops (on a cone!) to be, depending on which age I was...

Five. I was devoted to Cookies and Cream.

Six. Neapolitan, because obviously not having to choose just one flavor is brilliant. 

Seven. Strawberry, especially the kind with chunks of real strawberries.

Nine. I was obsessed with Mint Chocolate Chip. I even had a Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream cake for my birthday (well, I was supposed to have one, but then the car ran out of gas, and all the girls at the party had to walk four miles to get to a gas station, and there were all these angry parents.....but that is a story for a different time).

Eleven. I flirted with Sherbets - Raspberry was good but Orange was my favorite.

Twelve. I loved Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (Blue Bell, people, Blue Bell is the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough master).

Thirteen. Banana Splits - but never with pineapple, because that is just wrong. (I also don't do pineapple on pizzas. Or on cakes. Really? Let's all just agree that pineapple isn't a topping for anything, okay?) 
Also Banana Split Ice Cream (much less labor intensive than a real banana split)
And Banana Split Blizzards from Dairy Queen (A tip from me to you: these are SO much more fabulous if you have them use the chocolate shell instead of the regular chocolate sauce when they make it).

Fifteen. I was all Chocolate with Peanut Butter, all the time.

Seventeen. I discovered my true love, Swiss Orange Sherbet from Edy's.
Orange Sherbet with chunks of dark chocolate in it. There are not words to convey how amazingly wonderful this is.

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After Thomas and I were married, I branched out in my ice cream eating. He would come home from the grocery store with little containers of Ben and Jerry's (hello Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, my old friend) or Haagen Dazs, that were fabulous. But I always returned to my true love, the Edy's Swiss Orange Sherbet. I made every single person in my family try it, and they were all hooked. 

Then a couple of year ago, someone at Edy's decided they hated me. I know this happened, because they quit making Swiss Orange Sherbet. 

(cue depressing music) 

I have had ice cream issues ever since that day. 

I stand in the ice cream aisle, and can't decide. I have tried all my old ice cream loves, but none of them satisfy. They can't compare with the Swiss Orange, nothing can.

"But I am an ice cream girl," I think to myself, "I am!" so I keep buying ice cream. Not loving it - but not hating it either (because obviously I couldn't hate ice cream)

This weekend I stood, once again, in the ice cream aisle. Edy's was on sale, buy one get one free. An ice cream girl's dream moment. But I felt...flat. unexcited. uninspired. I told Thomas and Katarina to pick out the ice cream, explaining to Thomas that I don't think I'm an ice cream girl anymore. The lack of Swiss Orange has ruined me. Forever.

We came home with Key Lime Pie and Egg Nog ice creams. The Key Lime Pie was good. Maybe even great. And the Egg Nog? The Egg Nog was incredible. 

For just a second, I thought the pain was over. I was an ice cream girl again! Ice cream would be my friend. We would spend warm nights snuggled up in front of a movie, and cold nights snuggled up under a blanket with a good book. 

Tracie and Egg Nog, together forever. 

I was mentally adding "buy more Egg Nog Ice Cream" to my grocery list, when I told Thomas about my breakthrough. And then, Thomas burst my ice cream loving bubble with, "I'm glad you like it. We should probably get some more tomorrow since it is seasonal, and you won't be able to buy it again until next year."

Oh Edy's. Why do you torture me so? Why do you hate me?

Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor? Clearly I need some suggestions. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

One Word: Hope

It is not a resolution. It is one word to focus on.

My word for 2012 is HOPE.

Hope

I really wanted to have a revelation this year. I wanted to know that my word was something special and perfect and life changing. I didn't want to pick a word with secret hidden plans and thoughts behind it - a word that I would control.

Last week I started thinking and praying about my word. I knew that I wanted to know God was giving it to me. I wanted my word to pursue me, but I wasn't sure what that would look like. This is the story of how hope chased me down...

Hope. I heard it whispered in my mind.

On Monday I thought of lots of words. Hope was one of them, but I dismissed it as not really being something I needed to focus on. It felt too simple.

Tuesday night. It was time for bedtime prayers with Katarina, and as we started praying, Thomas randomly shared some things he had been thinking about that day - all about hope. It was good stuff, but I still didn't think hope was the word for me.

Hope. I heard it echo in my heart.

Thursday night I fell sleep thinking about hope, and Friday morning I woke up thinking, "a hope and a future," and it stayed with me all day. I started to realize how much hopelessness I have felt for the last two years.

On Saturday I read a book. A character spent four paragraphs talking about hope, and while I was reading those paragraphs, Katarina interrupted me to discuss naming a doll Hope.

Hope. I felt it reaching for my soul.

By Sunday morning, I was starting to admit it to myself - hope was pursuing me. I felt a real peace about it being my word. And just in case I wasn't sure, hope showed up one more time that morning when I opened up a random email that contained a picture with this written on it:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, 
"plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future."
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Hope. It pursued me for a week, and I will spend the next year embracing it, learning its depth, and living it. 

What is my journey with hope going to look like? I have no idea...but that is exactly the way every great journey starts, right?

Hope


"Rejoice in HOPE, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." 
~ Romans 12:12

What one word would you pick for 2012?
If you want to join a community of people living out One Word in 2012, check out One Word 365.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Thoughts On A Year Of Courage

Last year I picked the word courage for my one word focus. I put a lot of thought into that word before I picked it. I had a lot of ideas how I was going to do this whole courage thing. Now that 2011 has come to a close (am I the only one who is happy to see it go?) I am looking back and seeing that courage was not at all what I thought it would be.

The written things: When I look at the list of intentional courageous choices I wrote in my one word blog post last year, I can honestly say there were a lot of times I did choose courage. I looked at that list on so many hard days, and made myself read it.

The unwritten things: My secret list of things I was going to do - not one of them was accomplished. But to balance that out, there were some things I never dreamed or imagined would come my way (working with the amazing people at Band Back Together is a huge one!) that I stepped out in courage and got involved with.

The honest things: Remember when I said I had a lot of ideas how I was going to do this courage thing? What that really means is this - I had visions of the goals on my secret list that I was going to accomplish, and how they would tie in with my courage theme.

I never had that spiritual moment when God revealed a word to me, so I picked one. And I'm not saying that was wrong, or even that my choice was wrong, but there was a part of me that was so prepared to control this journey down the courage path. I was composing victory blog posts in my mind by the end of January 2nd. And I spent a lot of time frustrated that those plans and victory blog posts did not come to fruition.

When I examine that frustration, I realize it is really tied into that secret list of mine - and has very little to do with my courage focus. I realize that I still see courage the way I wrote about it back in the beginning of January 2011. When I compare my year to that list, I feel a lot of the frustration melt away. I certainly didn't live the list perfectly, but I was blessed during the times I intentionally focused on it and let it inform and inspire my choices.

I'm grateful for this year of courage. I'm grateful that my word traveled with me and touched my life, even when it wasn't happening the way I had imagined it would.

I still have more road to travel on the courageous path. I'm pretty sure it is something I will be working on for the rest of my life. I'm okay with that.

Courage

Tomorrow I'm going to tell you my word for 2012.
I am going in a new direction this year, and I'm really excited about it.