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Dancing in the rain

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This meme was made by a friend of mine. I have watched the last couple years, as she has gone from struggling with her place in the world, to being a success and an inspiration for women entrepreneurs everywhere. While I have no desire to discuss the “day without women” happening today, I think this is a great opportunity to honor the women of this world who are choosing to rise above it.

How many of us feel like we are stuck? Like we have been dealt a hand that can’t win? How many of us look at our circumstances and think that we have no options, no chance to better ourselves? That certainly is what it felt like for me. Here I was a single mom with a special needs child. A situation that is most certainly not conducive to working outside the home, but what marketable skills did I have for working from home? Especially with so many doctors and specialists and appointments all the time? And yet, how could I not work? It didn’t feel like I had any options at all. But slowly, things fell into place. I didn’t see it happening at first. It was just doing a favor for another family going through a similar situation to mine. But slowly, as the days unfolded, it became apparent that I did have marketable skills. I was an expert in raising a special needs child, and poverty taught me everything I needed to know about the system and how to thrive in it in order to be free of it. Turns out these are incredibly valuable skills, and they have empowered me to have the insight to teach others how to dance in the rain, something I have loved doing since I was just a wee girl.

A good storm leaves everything feeling refreshed. Isn’t that what we want the storms of life to do? They should refresh us, give us another reason to keep fighting. Every obstacle that we overcome just adds to our beauty. I can truly say that if not for my obstacles, I would not be the beautiful, positive woman I am today. Hindsight allows me to look back and see how strong I am.  Had someone told me twenty years ago, that I would weather this messy storm and come out better for it, I would not have believed them, and yet, here I am today, knowing full well that I have worth and a reason for being here. Refreshed. Knowing that I was put on this Earth to make a difference for others. To lead them through murky waters and help them find the freshness that comes after the storm. I often talk about sharpening the tools in your shed so that you are prepared to weather any storm. What does that look like?

It starts with identifying your goals. I have met women who don’t even have goals. They are so unaware of their worth that they only exist to parent and wife. Oh how that breaks my heart! So lets back up one step. Do you even know what your goals are? If not, then today is the day to start figuring out what you deserve. I always ask my clients to start by telling me their goals. If they can’t, then we back up to their passions. Start here. Make yourself a list. What are you passionate about. If you had no obstacles, unlimited funds, and total freedom to do whatever you want, what would you spend your time doing? If you want to be successful, you cant just jump on every whim bandwagon that comes your way. There is no overnight get rich quick scheme that works. You need to pick one or two passions and stick with them. Some days you will feel defeated and want to quit. Some days people will make you feel like you aren’t doing a “real” job. Let those people live their lives, and you just keep following your passion. Passion is what will keep you focused on your dreams. Pick something you just can’t live without. What do you feel most strongly about? What do you think about every single day? It must be something  that you feel passionate about in order to keep you focused on the end goal. Write down five or ten passions. Decide which ones you think you can work towards right now. For me, I have so many passions, I had to make a vision board just to keep them all organized and keep my priorities realistic. Do you have your list? Ok next step.

Identify your obstacles. What keeps you from making those passions a part of your reality? Once you have identified your passions and obstacles, its all downhill from there. You can look at your obstacles, one at a time, and find outside the box solutions. What works for society, and other people, may not be what works for you, but that doesn’t mean that you are doomed. It means, just like raising a special needs child, that we look for unconventional ways to make life work with us. Raising a special needs child isn’t about “fixing” them. ( For the record, there is absolutely nothing that needs “fixing” about these beautiful souls. Rather we could learn much from them). Raising a special needs child is about figuring out how to make their world keep spinning, in a separate rotation than the rest of the planet, while bringing synchronicity to the two worlds. It is about overcoming obstacles with outside the box, non traditional solutions. If parents of special needs children all over the planet can do this, then so can you. Identifying the goals and obstacles are the first steps to overcoming them. From there, you can pick one obstacle at a time and start the outside the box brainstorming. How can you overcome each obstacle? One at a time. Don’t try to tackle the whole world today, just pick one.

Some days we are on top of the world, and other days it feels like we may never reach our goals, The simple fact is, if you keep putting into it, you will eventually get something out of it. You can’t put energy into something every single day and not see a result. Maybe you don’t see it today, but you will one day. You will look back at those baby steps you started taking as a leap of faith, and maybe even as a last ditch effort to find your worth, and you will see that each baby step brought you a little bit closer to the end goal. Just keep trying!

This meme today. I met this woman through facebook a while back. Maybe two years or so ago. I doubt she has any idea what an inspiration she has been to me. When we met, it was because of a struggle she was going through of her own. Not my place to disclose. I felt like an idiot reaching out to her. I felt that I was probably overstepping my boundaries, but something just wouldn’t let me ignore it. I had to let her know that I was all too familiar with her struggle and that at very least, she wasn’t alone. There are others out there who get it. As time has passed, I have watched her to overcome those struggles, and any new ones that present. What she doesn’t realize is that with each struggle she overcomes, she becomes more and more beautiful to me. I imagine I am not the only woman who feels this way. She is so strong, such an inspiration, but when I met her, I don’t think she was feeling that way at all. I watched as she slowly took on those obstacles, one baby step at a time. I have seen her overcome them time and again, and I have seen her find passion and pursue it. What a difference it has made in how she projects herself. I watch her struggle with ups and downs, and continue to prevail. I believe this is because she found her passion, at least one of them, and put everything she has into bringing it to fruition, while juggling a busy family life and all of the other little storms life throws her way. She doesn’t let the obstacles slow her down, she moves around them. She is truly an inspiration and I think we could all learn a little something from her. When it rains, she kicks off her shoes to dance in the puddles. I am truly thankful for her, and for overcoming that fear of reaching out to her. Today, while I was sitting here thinking about what to write about, I saw this meme come up on Facebook, and it was just the perfect theme for the day. I got her permission to share her links, and I hope that you are inspired by her too. Check out her business. Throw some support her way. She is working very diligently to overcome the obstacles, and she deserves our support. The transformation I have seen in her since she embarked on this path should be an inspiration to all of us. Lets show her some love. You might be surprised how she inspires you to find your passions in the process. At least check her out. Lets band together, on this “day without women” and lift each other up in loving support. It’s international womens day, and I, for one, will be honoring the beauty of strong women, not boycotting my role. What do you have to lose? Today is a day to kick off your shoes, dance in the rain, and celebrate the worth you didn’t realize was hiding in each and every one of you. Thank you Sandy! Thank you for being a positive light in my life. Thank you for being beautiful and following your passions. Thank you for sharing the struggles as you do so, and keeping it real for us. I think you are amazing, and I will be dancing in the rain today, thinking of you, and all the women like you, who are brave enough to take on the obstacles.

You can find Sandy and her passions here on Facebook, and here is her website. Lets do this peeps! Lets lift each other up and show the world our beauty! Together we can move mountains. Together we can overcome. Please let me know if there is a way I can help you find ways past your obstacles. Meanwhile. Don’t forget to dance in the rain!

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Answered prayers

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Good day, my friends! I hope today finds you well. It has been a few days since our last encounter, and my brain is just swimming with thoughts. So many things I would like to talk about today, choosing one subject is hard. Bare with me if I jump around a bit. First, a disclaimer. I did not make that meme, and I don’t know who did, but it sure feels perfect for today.

Its been kind of a rough winter here. Who am I kidding? Its been one of our toughest seasons ever. I have been really sick since December. I have tried every remedy that I can find, from conventional medicine and antibiotics, to every alternative treatment I can find. I am finally feeling a bit of relief with my last two remedies, the two I was most apprehensive to try and yet, they seem to be working better than everything else, and so, while they make me nervous due to lack of scientific backing (I like to research things before I put them in my body), I may have finally found a routine that works. Sweet Heavenly relief!

Its been an exceptionally long, harsh, cold winter for us. It has gotten so trying. Being a single income family, we can’t afford for hubby to be ill. Just two days of illness set us back quite a bit, and the challenge of heating this big old home has proven to be a lesson in patience and perseverance this Winter. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel. The days are slowly warming up, and we were blessed to receive a cord of wood from our wood company, out of the kindness of their hearts. I cried with inexplicable gratitude for answered prayers this weekend. Somehow, with patience and trust, we are going to survive this winter. The end is in sight.

We spent the weekend processing wood and setting up the seedling nursery. Its time! Yay! Time to start seedlings. My all time favorite season. I used to volley between Fall and Spring as my favorite seasons, but Spring is starting to prevail, because I spend most of the winter impatiently waiting for planting time. Something so satisfying about watching those little seeds pop up out of the soil. Longing for the day I can start to harvest the fruits of these precious babies. My mouth waters at the thought of fresh garden produce.

I find myself lamenting on so many blessings, and so incredibly grateful for answered prayers. For faith and patience. I find myself wondering if any of you felt compelled to look into the ways your food is processed after my last post. Do you want to hear more about food? Do you want to hear about some of the natural remedies I prescribe to? What do you want to talk about? I find myself flooded with topics. We can talk about homesteading, simplifying and slowing down (yes, it IS possible), alternative remedies? What is in your food? I certainly don’t want to talk about politics, although I could rant about them for some time right now. We can talk about special needs, natural remedies, food processing and gardening. We can talk about crafts and sewing or homemade body products, without all the chemicals. For that matter, we can talk about the many ways to reduce the chemicals in your environment. I have so many passions, we can talk about just about anything you can think of.

I am all over the place.

Scattered.

Overwhelmed with important subjects.

What do YOU want to talk about?

What can we explore together?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and exploring whatever topics you are interested in, together. I look forward to meeting you and talking to you. I look forward to finding ways to help each other grow into the most loving, positive, joyful forces we can be. How can I help you expand your joy? I have committed to prioritizing this blog. It is time, and God has made that clear to me, so what shall we chat about? I can’t wait to see what you come up with for me. Until we meet again, much love, my friends, and may your days be filled with the loving light of God.

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Politics of food

Good morning my friends!

I hope this morning finds you full of blessings and joy. The Spring fever continues here, but today it seems that there may be a little sun.  What is more thrilling, however, is the lack of wind. Oh I know wind is important, but boy does it disrupt me to the core. I didn’t bring a subject to the table today. I imagine that is because politics are on my mind, and I rarely discuss politics here. I find myself needing to process some thoughts though, and this seems like just as good a place as any.

You are probably thinking, “Oh crap, not here too”. But fear not. It is not my intention to discuss the president, his cabinet or followers, or any other aspect of the current political minefield. I am thinking about other politics. That being said, it is the division in this country that has me feeling a need to process, without a safe place to do so. Anything I say that is politically charged has the potential for the negative feedback that I come here to avoid. I do think that the government has much to gain from dividing us. I do believe that the only thing that is going to unite us is a major catastrophe. I do lean a little to the paranoid side when I look around at our current situation. I have never been the doomsayer type, I tend to think on the positive side of things. That being said, this tin hat I am wearing lately is getting pretty comfortable.

What I am stuck on is the mental health side of things. I think the real problem we are seeing is a lack of mental health. Lately I have been pondering the reasons that our overall mental health is so low. As far as I can tell, this is environmentally driven. I am not talking about global warming here. What I mean is that our environments have become so toxic that is becomes difficult for people to get their basic needs met.

Food. Its such a huge issue, lets start there. We have modified our food system so drastically that it hardly seems like food anymore. The last couple of days I have seen a lot of comments on social media about children, ten and eleven years old, having full blown anxiety attacks. This troubles me so much. What is happening in our world that ten and eleven year old children have that much to worry about? Anxiety is for adults! And even the occurrence of adult anxiety has risen so much that it is clear there is at least one underlying factor. I think it starts with diet. I wanted some affirmation of this, so I asked my kid. When he was a child, I ate just like the rest of the country. We relied on a highly refined diet. For several reasons. It was how I was raised. It was all I knew. It seemed (and is) far cheaper. Convenience, and being a busy, tired, overworked single mom made this really seem like the only path available. And frankly, I was young, fairly physically healthy, and just saw the whole food craze as a foodie fad. My child had sensory issues, I lived in apartment complexes that didn’t allow for me to discover the joy that is gardening. Or so I thought. In the last few years though, I have seen the light. Over and over in all of his different therapies, people would recommend I change my child’s diet to affect his multiple neurological disorders. Of course, at this time in my life, I just felt that they had no idea how impossible that would be for me to pull off, given our special set of circumstances. Sigh. Good ole hindsight. If only I knew then what I know now. My health forced me to eat my words. Around my mid thirties, it seemed like my life went to hell in a hand-basket. I remember being a child. A teen. And watching my mom put on a pair of rollerblades. At the time I was active in gymnastics and a fairly coordinated child. Naive. But coordinated. I recalled thinking something to the effect of “I will never be that clumsy” HaHaHa. Naive is the perfect word. Let me tell you. I think I was 34 when I decided to get a pair of rollerblades to exercise my dogs, and let me also tell you that I flashed right back to that childhood moment. Only this time, I was my mom. My child was watching me flail around clumsily on a pair of rollerblades for the first time in what must have been fifteen or twenty years. Ahhhh hindsight. And this is when it hit me. I am not the young spry thing I once was, and if I didn’t get my butt on the health bandwagon, I was going to be one very unhappy old lady. I learned about walking and exercise, and I started herb gardening, but I was still totally in the dark about my eating habits, and I honestly just didn’t even think that buying whole and organic foods was even an option. My instincts told me that genetically modifying food was dangerous, but it was only instinct and emotion. I had no facts to back it all up.

In this time I had found stability, and met a fantastic man who had become my best friend over the years. It was easy to be friends, there was no pressure. We just weren’t each others “type”, and so it was easy to accept each other for exactly who we were. You know where this is leading right? I married that man. Turns out we were exactly each others “type”, we just had to grow up and figure it out. The point is, that as we went through the days and weeks and months together, we started to notice things. He had a hard job and his hands were hurting him far more than a young mans hands should hurt. I did some research and made him a homemade hand cream to help ease the pain. We started noticing other pains that seemed illogical. Gentle touches from him physically hurt my muscles. I was slowly losing focus and ambition. I was once an active social person, and while I was perfectly content and satisfied, I kept lamenting, “If I didn’t know better, I would self diagnose with depression”.  The problem was, I wasn’t emotionally depressed. Something else must be going on. All the while I was slowly becoming aware of toxins. I had started making homemade body products, and while I loved feeling like I was eliminating toxins, I really didn’t understand yet and for me it was about what I was creating. It was like cooking, or baking, or crafting. A joy. A source of fun. I still did not understand how much I would end up desiring this as a way of life. I went about my life. One day at a time, growing foggier, more sluggish, seeing all types of little aches and pains that just didn’t make sense for my age, and little by little, I learned about environmental toxins.

I am interested in so many things, that I am constantly on some kind of new learning adventure. I absolutely love creating things, from food to crafts, my interests vary greatly. I am curious by nature. I want to know about everything I can. Knowledge is power, but more importantly, life is short and knowledge allows me to get the most out of the short time I do have here. I am honestly baffled by people who are content to sit with the knowledge they have, and not have a desire to expand it. Remember a few days ago when I talked about hindsight? Well, through the years of raising a special needs child, actively seeking mental and physical health for both of us, I learned a whole lot of tidbits here and there about environmental toxicity, and it all came together for me just a few short months ago. I got my boy healthy and well adjusted. We worked hard and saw a lot of specialists, but we were living around illness, not fighting it. Recently, my husbands business partner learned that he had an autoimmune disorder and they started researching food and toxins, as he was told that diet change was the only answer to his newfound pain. This is a story that could take a post of its own. For today, lets just say it was an adventure in starvation and food deprivation as they learned how to eat whole foods on the road.

We learned about our food system. The horrors that we learned about, piled on top of the tidbits that we had already become aware of in our quest to figure out why my health was declining so rapidly. And, we halfheartedly followed a whole food diet. We were learning things about our food that were hard to hear, and harder to believe. Nitrates? Used as hog poison? Seriously? What are they doing in our food??? Dyes, pesticides, hormones, Sulphates, preservatives, emulsifiers. Not only are we poisoning ourselves, half the time it is just to make our food look nice. On top of adding all these things to our food, we are also genetically modifying it. Now I don’t care what you believe as far as creation goes, it still stands to reason that we are tampering with a system that was not meant to be tampered with. Food was never meant to hurt us. It was meant to nourish us, in many instances, even be medicine to heal us. As I set my sights on a small homestead, and started taking the steps to be more self sufficient, I also gained tidbits about the commercialized, processed, way of life I had been living. The life most Americans are still living. I will never forget the day the lightbulb came on about freshness. It was late Fall, my in laws were visiting, and I had purchased some beets to roast with our dinner. I took one bite, and I can still feel my face scrunch up. Hubby took notice and asked what was wrong. I told him the beets taste awful and asked why they were so flavorless? As the answer  occurred to him, his face turned to compassion and with a knowing grin he gently replied “Honey, these beets did not come from your garden”

And it was sinking in. I had discovered ferments and ancient food preservation. I had learned about soil quality and the streamlining of produce in the markets. I had learned about the difference in the quality of fresh farm eggs compared to store bought eggs, of any variety. Don’t go buy the expensive, fancy organic, vegetarian, store eggs looking for the difference. You won’t find it. Rather, seek some locally produced eggs, just once, and you will see the difference. You will also see that it is worth every penny of the price increase.

Back to the business partner. As the guys tried to follow a whole diet on the road, we tried to continue that practice at home, on the weekends. They learned more about food. I learned more about food. The dangers hidden in our mainstream food system were presenting around every corner now. But this was my husbands journey, and when he left on Monday, I went right back to my less healthy habits. After being gluten deprived for three days (they were on an elimination diet, and grains are not part of the first month), as soon as he left, I went on a binge. Waffles, Bagels, grilled cheese. You name it. If it was bread, I wanted some. That first night I had the worst migraine, and I started to see what gluten was doing. Though at this point I still had no idea that I would soon find out that I had Celiac disease. I believe that this halfhearted elimination is what led me there. Taking it away, then giving it back like a vicious cycle, my body responded out loud. If you have Celiac, you probably know what Dermatitis Herpeteformis is. It took me over a year to figure out what that damned rash was! I tried everything I could think of to treat the darn thing. From essential oils to medicated OTC creams. I tried everything. Nothing helped. Heat, stress, and Iodine of all things, aggravated it. When I finally found out what it was, I stopped all treatments and strictly avoided gluten. Within three days I was seeing more relief in this rash than I had seen with any previous treatment. And so, I dove into learning about gluten. Good grief! Gluten hurts everyone! Whether you realize it or not. Do a five minute search and you will be horrified at what you learn! It is in everything. It targets opiate receptors. Your reluctance to be learn about gluten, that comes from physical addiction. We have overdosed ourselves with gluten. Some studies say it is due to genetically modifying it. Some say it is the pesticides that are found on it from the farming practices. I suspect it is a little of both. Think about it. comfort foods are typically baked goods. Why do you suppose that is? Go look for yourself, don’t take my word on it.

Our diet has changed drastically, in the form of tiny baby steps. One day I learned about ferments. One day I learned about fresh eggs. One day I learned about streamlined produce, and slowly, with baby steps our diet changed. Unrecognizable from ten years ago. After seeing multiple comments on Facebook this week about children having anxiety attacks, I started thinking about what could be causing this. My own child was diagnosed with severe anxiety, but I chalked it up to his other neuro disorders, and his dad being gone. He had a fairly stressful childhood as we both battled for stability. Never really thought much about it until recently. So Last night, as I was dwelling on this, I asked him if he had noticed a difference in his anxiety levels since our diet changed. He is an adult now, and no longer on anxiety meds, and his answer was still yes.

This is the tip of the iceberg. We live in a fast paced society, where convenience is equated with success. I was going to write about basic needs, pace of society, and diet. I was going to write about how technology has affected our perspective of convenience and instant gratification. I was going to talk about exercise, wiggly kids and heavywork. I had a lot of environmental issues in mind as I started this post. However, I think that the topic of food has taken enough of your precious time. I keep going back to the food. I think our food is a major component in the lack of physical and mental health we see today. Peoples basic need for real nourishment cannot be met in this toxic food system. Maybe food is enough for today. It is a big topic. Maybe you will feel inspired to look into it a little. Maybe you will look up just one preservative or one dye to see how it is affecting you and your family. I think I will save the other environmental toxins for another day. Today, I hope you humor me, and go learn one detail about where your food comes from, and what might be being added to it. You just might find yourself inclined to take a baby step. Alternately, for a fast glimpse at the streamlining of our food system, take a gander at the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed web page for an idea how little variety is left in our mainstream food. It may shock you to see the variety you are missing out on. At very least, it is fascinating to see some of the produce that you never even knew existed. I love reading the stories about where some of the most unique seeds come from. Who knew? Certainly not me. I hope I haven’t bored you with my food system rant. I hope you feel inspired to learn something new today, and I hope you will join me tomorrow, as I try to dissect some of the environmental issues that are causing such a breakdown in so many people. Have a most blessed day, and eat something healthy!

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Spring on a start-up

Hey Folks! Oh my goodness, it has been so long since I have had the time to sit down and catch you all up. I remember a little while back, when I was feeling like my business growth was quite stagnant. I remember asking my husband if he was ready, because we may be stagnant now, but when God decides it is time, it will drop in our laps so fast. Even as I said that very statement, I did not fully grasp just how fast and wonderfully heavy it would fall. The last couple months, since we moved into our larger home, have been phenomenal in business growth, but the last month has been indescribable! Every single day I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and more and more affirmations that it is time fall into my lap. Hubby and I both running 14 hour days, and I often wonder if there will ever be a day that I have the dishes, laundry, mowing and business work all done in one day. Still, what is happening to us is amazing. I am certainly not complaining. I will take this exhaustion with gratitude. As much as I hate to admit it, I have become a solicitor. I have been sending out solicitations, and getting a pretty decent response. I have had a bank offer us a donation, before we even asked. I am getting the non-profit status paperwork together and increasing my clientele list through local networking. Building the board of advisors is a daunting task, but it coming along beautifully and it seems that God is putting all the right people in my life at the right times. As active as He has been in my life, I wonder how He has any time left for anyone else? So when I see the evil one trying to meddle, I just start belting out at the top of my lungs, “JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW”.  Funny story, I had this experience mowing the lawn a couple days ago, and I can only imagine what the people driving by were thinking as they passed my little ranch and hear one very out of tune young woman screaming Jesus loves me at the top of her voice, you know, so He could hear me over the mower :).  There is just no way you can scream in tune. I have been paired up with a low income family to mentor for the next year through a local homeless network, and I love it! I definitely feel it is training for the next step on the ranch. The bee’s are just lovely, we couldn’t be happier with our decision. The biggest surprise is how much these children look forward to any opportunity they get to check them out and work with them, and we have requested donations of beekeeping supplies and suits so that they may really dig in. To see these Autistic spectrum kids digging in the garden, planting tomatoes, tending bee’s. It makes my heart so warm. My eyes fill with tears at random moments as I am overwhelmed by the beauty and simplicity of it.

I take great wonder in people’s perspectives as I hear over and over again “You work with special needs teens? you are a very special person”. The irony in that is that I am so much more comfortable with special needs kids than I am with typical children. I have great wonder and awe for people who have the patience to work with typical kids. Special needs kids are so much more transparent in many ways. They are not trying to manipulate you, rarely struggling to find a balance between growing up and staying a child. They just let you know what they need, and if you provide it, all is well. The hard part is really just learning to interpret their language, and that is as easy as learning sign language or Spanish, and quite frankly, easier in many cases. I found myself quite hurt last week when my insurance company told me that there are no underwriters for special needs businesses. Are you kidding me? Latest research says that one in fifty children is now on the autistic spectrum. How can there be no insurance, and really, aren’t these children less likely to hurt themselves than a child who is out being an average child, experimenting with all the evils that adolescence places in their paths? I figured “that can’t be true”, there are tons of special needs businesses, as a matter of fact, I volunteered at an Equine therapeutic riding center for years. How do they get insurance, so I called them. What they told me is that the only way they were able to get insurance by going through a specialty company that only serves non-profits. That is unfortunate as it takes 6-12 months for the IRS to grant 501 (3)(c) status after receiving your application, and jeepers creepers that application is nearly a cool grand! Youch!

Meanwhile, solicitations really are helping tremendously, but while it is easy to talk people into donating a little item here and there, finding actual cash funding which would allow for scholarships for low income families, proves more difficult. Thankfully I have an excellent support network, and much help doing things like getting the articles of incorporation in the exact right wording for the first submission, so it doesn’t get kicked back to me time and time again. Connections to clients is also key, and that is coming together nicely.

Something is going wrong at our local post office, and much important mail is being returned to sender, even though address and name have been confirmed, and I am fearful I will miss something important, so I believe that a PO box is in order. There are so many little costs with starting a new business, and boy do they add up quickly. I just keep praying.

Had a couple teeth pulled on Monday. I feel like I have been on a fast, just liquids for the first few days. Yesterday I finally broke down and went for the solids. I tried a few bites of a scrambled egg, and later a few bites of macaroni and cheese, and it was soooooo nice to have solids going into my belly, but oh so painful on those empty tooth sockets. Worth it! My belly has not been full in days and I have no idea how people live on juice alone. I would crack! Protein is so hard to get in a natural form when you can’t eat solids, and I crave protein so badly! Lots of yogurt in my life this week, and peanut butter. Another observation, most liquid foods are sweet. I sure wish God would have given us a liquid or soft version of steak! I think I am officially burnt out on sweet, even healthy sweet. Even peanut butter feels like a sweet to me at this point.  I find myself craving cottage cheese. And quite frankly, the biggest observation I have noted, is that we are meant to chew. My chew muscles are mad at me and they want a job! Particularly one that requires mastication.

And so, the rescue ranch is taking off and receiving much support from the community, the resources keep pouring in, and the doors keep opening. When satan tries to meddle, I slam a door in his face and start belting out my worship songs. I have armor that he cannot defeat. I am confident in that and it makes me feel so strong. So protected. I must remind myself to not take this protection for granted.

Getting those abscessed teeth out finally has energized me. My entire body feels different. Fresher. cleaner. The business I have been working for for so long is finally blossoming right here and now, and it feels amazing.

Thanks for being patient with me as I post my journeys. Many blessings all! Till next time…

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Its official!

Yay! Today is a day to celebrate. Today is the day I officially became the registered owner of Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch. The business license is final and I feel that today is a landmark day in my life. So thrilled that this is all happening so fast now that we have found the space we need. It’s a wonderful affirmation of God’s intentions for me to see it falling into place so smoothly. Things are going well. Obviously, finances are always tight when you are trying to start a new business venture, but I just keep praying and knowing He will provide a way! I am now in the process of looking for grants to get some of these programs really moving. Its a tedious task, there are so many out there, but so many restrictions in each one. Also, it costs money to apply for grants. Just small handling fees, but every 7 or 10 dollars I spend registering for a grant is 7 or 10 dollars I don’t have for rescue ranch supplies. Its a tough balance, and since I cant remember ever winning anything in my life, I really have a hard time investing in grants. It feels a bit like buying lottery tickets, I may as well burn my money or flush it down the toilet. I hope God proves me wrong. I have put in for two grants and a wish program from Intuit, as well as registering for things like the Mother Earth News chicken coop giveaway. One thing I am really struggling with is  how to finance single moms. I have a mother who has called me twice, and is in desperate need of respite care. I want desperately to offer her services, but I simply cannot afford to feed an extra mouth these days. This house increased our cost of living a lot. It opened numerous doors that allow us to grow, but the getting established part makes me wish money grew on trees. So many needs. How does one go about getting a fund set up to cover the costs of providing care to a child just because her mom desperately needs the help? Where does the money for that come from. Finding things for the ranch, that is not too bad. We can source most things used for free or cheap, not all though.  I have placed a request with a local bee supply company for some of the necessary supplies for the bees, and suits so that the children who visit can participate too. Still waiting to hear back and hoping that the delayed response means that they are considering my request. There is an overwhelming need for many things to get this rescue ranch really able to serve the greater community, but on a small level it really is taking off. I am in the process of registering my services with several organizations in the area who work with special needs and autistic kids, in an attempt to reach out for more respite clients.

I started this post days ago, but life has been so incredibly springtime busy that it may take me days to accomplish this one. The business is coming along so nicely, and I can feel the hand of God in my life every day as I move forward with this business. I had to turn away a defeated single mother the other day and it broke my heart. She needed emergency services at the last minute, and I was already booked, but I think all she heard was I can’t help you, rather than the I can’t help you right this minute but lets get a meeting scheduled so I can in the future. I think the thing that was really defeating her was feeling like she couldnt afford services. I have been searching and searching for some funding so that I can create a program that offers scholarships to the parents that cant pay. I wish I could offer free services to some of these parents, but holy cow it is expensive. Little costs here and there make it cost prohibitive to just give free services. How on earth do I find someone to sponsor funding so I can offer scholarships. Just a small scholarship would make such a huge difference in so many peoples lives, and I just dont know how to get it. It has taken a few months to adjust to being so far from town, and we love the adjustment. I am making more wholesome food, spending way less time and money at the grocery store, and eating much more healthy homemade food, consistently now. I feel like its a constant search and I just need one person to say yes. How do I find someone who has a desire to support this program financially? I guess I just keep looking.

We need a well water test, the business license just came, fingerprinting for background checks, insurance, all the little costs just keep adding up. I have nothing but Faith. God has been so present the last few weeks, I can feel and see Him all around me, and it is purely by Faith that I haven’t had a nervous breakdown about finances yet. I just know He will provide, somehow. I am in the process of setting up a website for the rescue ranch, and an email exclusively for rmrr business. Its coming along so fast now that I am even being assigned to mentor a family that has been through homelessness through a local non profit agency who has a mentorship program I volunteer for. It just feels so much like the training I need for the internships to happen in a few years.

I love spending my days in the kitchen, processing food and baking and cooking. I haven’t had tons of time for this, as it is spring and spring is busy, but I have done some things, jerky, fruit leather, some homemade oreos. Looking forward to trying lots of new kitchen goodies. My first batch of Kombucha is done and I look forward to learning a lot more about how God intended for us to eat, and fermented foods. That is quite exciting for me.

I need to spend some serious time organizing and getting myself on a workable track, its going by so quickly that its hard to make sure I get all the details. I am also spending a lot of time trying to get some of the items we need donated so that I can spend the money we do have on the physical bills. Its tedious work, asking over and over for companies to donate supplies, but I know if I just keep trying, someone, somewhere will hear me asking and believe in this cause. For now, life is hectic and I have spaghetti to make, so in an attempt to finally get this post published, I will leave you with that for an update. More as soon as I find time my friends. In the meantime, many blessings to you and yours!

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New property

For days I have been dying to jump on here and give you folks an update, but I am so wonderfully overwhelmed, that it is hard to figure out where to start. Lots has changed since my last post. We moved into a larger space and the business is finally really taking off. Spring is so busy around here. Getting all the plants in the garden, getting business structured for this house and set up, networking new clients and jumping through all the red tape that comes with owning a business, its keeping me busy, but the best part today is the bee’s. The bee’s are absolutely amazing. Phenomenal. Indescribably cool.  I am proud of them for making their way over the house to the pear tree on the very first day. They are so smart. The buzz that they make is so relaxing it’s nearly cathartic. The closest I can come to describing them is that it must be a tiny glimpse at what standing next to God would feel like. Senses overwhelmed with joy, there is a deep earthy scent surrounding them, like concentrated honey I suppose, and the hum, oh the hum, such an overwhelming sense of calm the hum instills. Its really just like all is right with the world and you can feel the creation in them. Amazing creatures for sure!

This wonderful new space has come with many of its own quirks. We love it here, there is a general sense of peace that we have lacked until this point. It feels the opposite of our last place. It is bright, sunny, cheerful, tidy, peaceful, relaxing and good to come home to. There is a sense of freedom with not having neighbors close by, like no one will complain about my compost bin and bees. However, there is a landlord to appease, and this particular landlord REALLY cares what the lawn looks like. Ok, I am fine with that, I enjoy doing lawncare, should be fun. Here is where things get interesting. Mowing was fairly successful, although I am using a tiny push mower to mow a three acre yard, and quite frankly, its alot more like mowing pasture than yard. Cant wait to get my hands on a riding mower, or even an industrial sized push mower. For now, we make do with what we have and hope that someone needs to replace and old one soon or something. If I was a superstitious woman I would cross my fingers, but instead I will pray pray that God hears my landlord demanding a neatly kept lawn and find a way to equip us with the things we need to keep her happy. I finished mowing half the yard, and went to get the trimmer, only to find that it is not only broken, but electric, and this house doesn’t come with outlets on the outside. Now what? How does one weed eat a three acre yard with extension cords? So, Father, please hear my prayer for a gas powered trimmer too! Lol, I feel so thankful that He has blessed us with this place, but it leaves me begging him for the supplies I need to manage it effectively. I am not picky, happy to take hand me downs it should be an easy task for Him and I together. I have received the business cards I ordered, Thank you MOM, for all your hard work on those!  Business license is in the mail, and bee’s are happily installed in their hives. Garden is long overdo for cool season crops and that is high on my agenda. Greenhouse plants are thriving wonderfully, and I really have no complaints, just blessings. I have discovered a wonderful program called Bountiful Baskets, and if it is available in your area I highly recommend you try it out. http://bountifulbaskets.org/ . I order a basket of vegetables every Monday and pick it up on Saturday. It’s a great deal. They try to include six types of fruit and six types of veggies in each basket, and there are add-ons available as well. As an average, I save approximately 30-40 dollars a week on produce using this program. My son is snacking almost exclusively on fruits and vegetables, which is a lovely change for us, and my Husband appreciates all the new foods I am making because I have new vegetables that I wouldn’t normally buy or that I would buy only when planned in a meal. I cant stress enough how lovely the program has been so far. I have participated three times now, and I am anxiously awaiting picking up my third basket on Saturday. One thing we have effectively done is learned to go to the store far less often than we used to, also a nice change. I am processing foods at home, making healthy food choices, and learning to ferment even.  I started my first batch of Kombucha last Thursday. Yesterday I was able to put up 6 lbs of strawberries and a few lbs of venison jerky. Today I am making squash chips, which I, for some reason, am having an incredibly difficult time with. They just wont come out right. Either mushy or burnt, no happy medium. I followed the very simple instructions to a T, even confirmed with a girlfriend who makes them, and she said hers turned out wonderful. Still, I am struggling through it and hoping to master the process by the time I have worked through these three squash. Any tips would be appreciated.

I am dealing with the professional aspects of being a caregiver. Of reminding myself that I have no business judging others parenting styles, that I too make plenty of mistakes. I am learning how to turn this tiny service into a business that requires contracts and medical release forms, and I am even in the process of getting my business insurance, just waiting on the call back to activate it. I am so busy that my muscles ache from lack of sleep. Still, I am happy. Pleased that I am given the opportunity, and that we found a house that suits us as well as it does.

This house is expensive. Very expensive. I am not sure how, but we manage to scrape it together every month. I do know how, Thank you Father! I look forward to a time when we are ready to look at purchasing a  place of our own, but happy to be renters for now. So much less burden than owning. I have been working on fundraising opportunities for the ranch. As small as it is, they are limited, and spreading the word is hard. I will post a couple links, and if any of you feel so compelled to vote for me (it only takes a minute), or share my funding page with others, I would be eternally appreciative! The first fundraising site that I have been using is GoFundMe. Its an online site where a person can create a site asking for help with specific items. I have raised a little money through there, and recently updated our wishlist for things we need now. The link to my site there is: http://www.gofundme.com/obn80.

The second site I am using at the moment, is Intuits WISH program, where they grant 15 people a wish for their small business. The prize is $5000 towards your wish. It would be a blessing if you would vote for me there. You can vote once a day, and they are granting one wish a day for 15 business days. 6 have already been granted. To find my page there you search for rocky mountain rescue ranch. I have been most successful finding it when using all lowercase letters. https://www.loveourlocalbusiness.com/. I also applied for a couple of grants online and of course entered the Mother Earth News drawing for the chicken coop. One can hope, right? Meanwhile, I have been keeping my eyes and ears peeled for any ranch materials and lawncare equipment that we can source almost anywhere, thrift stores, garage sales, craigslist and freecycle are all on my list of places to find ranch goodies! Yesterday I found a dog run free in someones driveway. I went to the door, explained my husband had the truck, and could we come back for it. he told me to take the free sign and hardware so no one took it, but by the time husband got back to take the panels, someone had snagged them. Talk about bummer, AND, i now have dog kennel hardware, and no kennel panels, while the person who took the panels has no hardware. Talk about bum deal! Was quite excited to have found a cage to put around chicken coop or bees to protect from predators at night. Felt that God was just handing me goodies, but it was snatched away as soon as it fell in my lap. Not meant to be I guess. Husband is doing some work for a friend who needs an air conditioner, and while we own four of them, we both hate air conditioning and have never installed them, so he may trade us a piece of lawncare equipment for an air conditioner. It would be a fantastic trade for all involved. I am living and working in a trading circuit and I love it, but I also pray hard for the financial freedom to purchase the things we cannot trade for.

I can’t get over the bee’s. I approached my husband tentatively about wanting to keep bee’s probably three years ago. I figured he would think I was nuts, and that I had enough crazy hobbies, but instead he embraced the idea, which is great, because he needs a hobby badly. Regardless, The time has come, bee’s are here. I was so excited, but from his reaction I would say that I have to give in and let the bee’s be his. Of course everything is ours, and one cannot own nature, but, he has taken to them like a bunch of babies, even named them Bob. Grin. I still can’t get over how amazing they are. How proud of them I feel when I see them do something phenomenal. Oh I wish I could put into words the calm and content they bring. I love that I can sit on my porch ten feet from the pear tree, listening to hundreds of bee’s joyfully collecting pollen from those blossoms. They don’t even notice us. The first night, they were incredibly active, and we kept a close watch on them. There is a distinctive distance you can be to the hive where they pretend you dont exist, but the minute you cross that boundary, inquisitive guards swarm you, sniffing curiously, as if to ask if I am friend or foe. One of my friends imagined it to be empowering, but I would say it is the exact opposite, profoundly humbling. We have had bees for a few days, and I am sure that we are hooked for life. Never have I seen something bring such joy to my husband, and I feel quite the same. Even my sensory challenged son, who cannot stand bugs above all else, came and hung out with us with no bee suit. Thousands of bees swarming around our heads and not one sting. Amazing! Hubby and I are borrowing bee suits from our bee mentors, but son is impatiently begging for one of his own so that he may participate in the handling of these fine critters. They are clearly one of Gods finer creations.

I give up on the squash chips. I failed that challenge and not looking back, happily. I am going to have to try something different. Nothing is working. So, in the past couple months, we have had a few challenges, but all in all, Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch is finally taking off. We have simplified our lives greatly, and yet they are busier than ever. Loving life, counting our blessings, and facing one challenge at a time. It is so uplifting to finally see it all coming together. Until next time, many blessings my friends!

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Ahhh, my friends, Fall is here. Well, this feels more like Winter, quite frankly. It has been snowing almost all week, and been quite beautiful at that. I have enjoyed every single flake that I have seen fall. There is so much going on, and I have been absent this last few days, but I found a moment to take a deep breath, and so, here I am. I had my eye on a place, and was feeling quite apprehensive about it, despite the fact that it was perfect for our needs. I had asked for them to work with me on a move in date, for Dec. 1, but she really wanted to rent it by Nov. 1. I knew we would not be ready by then, so I told her that if it was available on Dec. 1 we would take it, and if not, we would find something else. Today, I very apprehensively checked the rentals section, afraid that I would be devastated if it had been rented. Much to my surprise, when I looked and it was not there, I felt a huge sense of relief. Not only do I not have to worry about coming up with nearly 4000 dollars for December 1, but the Holidays are a terrible time to move, and ideally, January 1, would be a great move in date. I don’t believe in New years resolutions, but I do believe in new beginnings, and how fitting would it be to start the rescue ranch the first of the new year? Shocked and overwhelmed at the sense of relief that I have, waiting till January First, and oh, how pleased my husband will be to find that we dont have to move during the holidays. I have until January first to tie up some loose ends, and that is also a huge relief, plus, I just cannot packing this place up in a month, I just cannot fathom doing that, on top of everything else I am doing. We have a spay/neuter event on Nov. 10, that I am an on the planning committee for, and I have a potluck for my little friend with cancer tomorrow. I also have all this RMRR stuff I am trying to do, and a cancer awareness cookbook, and a few other fundraising type things. Good heavens. I feel like never in my life have I been attracted to technology, but never in my life, have I wanted a piece of equipment so badly. I feel a need to buy a tablet. Silly, I know. I have three different committees that I am on, a lot of meetings that I go to, and clients that I need to be able to bill on the go, and I am feeling like a tablet would go a long way in helping me organize it all, and keep it portable. I also have my Bible study to move forward on and well…its all a lot of details, really. Needless to say, I have been busy. Very, very busy. I definitely feel that it would be a business expense, but I am saving every penny, so I can get us into a ranch. I have made do with paper and pen this far in my life, never even really wanted anything but paper and pen, but dang, my binder has a lot of stinkin sections…its not very portable anymore, and well…you see where I am going with this. Anyway, I just might do it. Have to talk it over with the hubby, but I think it makes actual sense.

I have a lot on my mind with three non profits on my plate, and one just waiting in the wings for me to make time for them. I have business licenses and other connections to make. I have a whole lot of details going on. I am trying to do many, many things with my time, and my brain cannot see a list. It sees three lists, swirling around atop and below each other. A tornado of lists, if I may. I have tried to list them all, but the papers just stack up and I cant remember what I have written and what I still need. How do I get all of these details organized?

Once I get the three non-profits organized, I reach a place where I start thinking past them, to what comes after the event is established, and again find myself with a barage of details. Primarily with RMRR. I feel that as soon as I find a place, I need to start planning the respite and foster programs. I need to have everything in place for those to start right away, I need to plan the gardens and farmers market programs, quickly, cause planting is in march, at least for seed sets. I need to plan the RMRR store, and resource programs quickly also. Chickens won’t be far off, once spring rolls around it will be time to get them going. It feels like the next six months is going to be a blur, and yet, I have been waiting so long for this  that I am just as thrilled and patient as can be. Mostly, I am probably just too overwhelmed to be impatient. I can only assume God is using this opportunity to teach me how to juggle the many non-profit programs of my own that I intend to build. I finally found the courage today to make a phone call that I have been dreading. Nothing scary about it at all, I just couldn’t make myself call. Feels good to have faced that beast, and it turned out to be the kitten I thought it would be. Phew, check one more big one off the list.

I have this series of ideas I want to blog about. I learned a lot in therapy, and I think that a lot of people would be alot happier, if only they could grasp a few of these concepts. I also have some ideas about God and the Bible that I would like to share, some unique perspectives, I suppose. I feel as though I should do a “therapy” series. Maybe a “God” series. I certainly feel as though I should blog about some of the more important lessons I learned. A post specifically about being a “special needs mommy”. I always talk about my special needs child,a nd my special needs clients, but never do I talk about the ways in which I relate with these children, and I would like to explore the dynamic that happens when you learn just how easy it can be to “mentor” a special needs child when you understand treating people as individuals and letting go of expectations. I want to post about blame, and shame, and how we all like to think its “mom’s fault”. I would like to blog about shame, expectations, and codependency. I want to talk about the tools we have, and the “lizard brain”, or amygdala. I want to share a concept that was shared with me, and one that I heard someone repeat the concept to, in a very simple way, and how we all have different perceptions. I want to write a letter to all of the folks that I know who are fighting and fighting against simple, honest, real answers. To those who refuse to see whats in front of them, to the “can’t, won’t, but” folks out there. I want to make a plea for Jesus Christ, to those who have been shown, in such a misrepresentative way, what bits and pieces of the Bible say. I want to do so without condemning any organized religion. I want to talk about what it means to love Jesus,and quite frankly, a tiny bit of the anger of the denomination I was primarily raised in, well, that comes through, and I don’t wish to offend anyone. I want to talk to you about health, food, exercise, and a natural way of life, the way God intended.  So much I want to talk with you all about. Where does one start? What do you all want to read about? What are you curious about? Well, friends. Today, you can see, my mind is in a flurry. There is much that wants out, and the avenues for release are scarce at the moment. Until next time my friends…may your thoughts be organized and your days be blessed!

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Co-dependency

Ahhh…..

What a relief yesterday ended up being. In my crabby post yesterday, I spent a good deal of time complaining about helpless people. I actually had a really great, and enlightening day yesterday. I talk every once in a while about things a therapist has said to me. It is no secret I spent many years in therapy. I am not ashamed. Should I be? I don’t think so. Yesterday was a codependency focused day for me, and I have a lot of insight to share today from it. Bear with me if this gets a little drawn out. I have battled codependency my whole adult life, and I assume most of childhood, although I didn’t recognize it. I tried therapy a few times, but they just gave me meds, some of which made it way worse. No one ever called it codependency, until much later. It was called bi-polar disorder. It started when I was 19. One day I woke up, realized that I had had a hard life, and that I had never once cried about it, and man did that open a floodgate. It took years to get that floodgate closed, but I finally did, with the help of two very special therapists, and Jesus. Oh, yeah, and getting off the tri-cyclic birth control. I would like to take a minute to say something VERY IMPORTANT HERE.  If you are on a tri-cyclic birth control pill, and have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, consider stopping them right away. Most likely that is what is causing your problems. It took me forever to figure it out. I started on a very popular birth control pill when I was 19. I have easy cycles, never a problem, and other than realizing I had bi-polar disorder, nothing significant happened. So, a few years back, I stopped taking birth control, and ALL of the symptoms of bi-polar disorder went away. I mentioned this to a friend, and she made the comment that she noticed she didnt need her bi-polar meds any more either, but hadn’t put it together with stopping birth control pills, but that after thinking about it they directly coincided. Here is my thought on the matter. Bi-polar disorder is when you cycle through abnormally strong emotions really fast. One week, manic happy and productive, one week maybe just blahs, and one week severe depression. A therapist explained to me that people have daily “weather”. Normal weather patterns change a little from day to day, but they never go from blizzard to monsoon. Bi-polar emotions go from blizzard to monsoon in moments flat. I think, and I am not a doc or a research scientist, but here is the logic for me. Tri-cyclic pills are three different hormone levels, then a hormone free week. Lets look at the pregnant lady for a classic example of what messing with hormones will do for a persons emotions. I am guessing, that as the hormone levels change each week, they affect our moods drastically, and mimic bi-polar disorder. If anyone out there is a research scientist, I would love to see this study done. So much bi-polar in the world would likely be solved if not for the hormonal birth control pills. Or, at least, if people were diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, they could try removing the hormones before just accepting that they are mentally unhealthy and spending a life in therapy trying to get control of something that could be avoided altogether, or spending years taking anti-depressants and mood stabilizers to offset the effects of the birth control? So, how does this affect my post on co-dependency? Well, in a bi-polar cycle, you are not thinking healthy things, and that just made my co-dependent behaviors that much worse. Not only was I co-dependent, I was emotionally crippled.

So, emotionally crippled, and the young adult emerging from a broken nest, I started my journey. Oh dear. What comes next is twenty very ugly years of me fighting and fighting to regain a sense of the self I lost to that tattered young soul. I did my rebelling and experimenting, I may as well be real about it. I am not ashamed of what I have done in my life. Some of it, I might do differently, given the chance, but I am not ashamed of it. I stumbled through my teens and at a young twenty something, I decided I wanted to be a single mom. Deep in my heart, I knew it was wrong, and I had no idea what was driving this desire. I took it up with the two women I admired the most, and both got excited and said “if anyone can do it, you can”. I went home baffled. I remember thinking “what? No one thinks this is a bad idea? ” I swear I was dying for someone to tell me what a bad idea it was, but nobody did. I went home, got rid of the very great boyfriend I had, and went on a search for the biggest loser I could find, hoping to get a baby, and that the man would leave before it was born (ridiculous, I know, but I was young, dumb, and emotionally compromised). Just to be fair, I did tell the man I wanted a baby, we made the decision to try together, and I did try to make it work with him. As an adult, with a nearly grown child, I understand all of this better now, but it was not till years later when I made a comment to my very “mature” Christian mentor, that I didnt know why I chose to be a singe parent, and he looked at me in utter confusion and said “you don’t?” “I do”. He then proceeded to tell me to look at how the men in my life had treated me, and how, no wonder I would not want one in my child’s life. I have never been the type of person to say that because one or two men hurt me, they are all bad, but clearly my subconscious thought that somewhere, and how incredibly intuitive of my mentor? Understand quickly, that I have been sexually offended by several men in my life, as a child, before I ever even knew what sex was. Again, not my fault, and I am not ashamed of what others did to me that I could not control. People tend to get all sorry for me when I tell them what happened in my childhood. Please don’t. I don’t feel sorry for me. Every single thing that happened was a lesson to turn me into someone who can do wonderful work for God. Everything happens for a reason, and I would not be this girl that I respect and admire today if not for my hardships, and we ALL have hardships. I think yours were as hard as you think mine were. It was ultimately the therapy for my sons special needs that got me where I needed to be. And on that note, you can learn all the healthy behaviors you need to deal with any human being at all, if you just learn what a special needs child requires. Everything about raising a special needs child requires that you look at them as an individual, and treat the behaviors accordingly. If every person in this world was treated the way I was taught to treat special needs kids, holy cow, the world would be an unimaginably healthy and joyful, validated place. The skills transfer to every human beings basic rights. We dont honor the typical human beings rights, but with a special needs child, it is the ONLY way to make progress, and you learn about meeting basic rights. ALL of my relationships have improved since I learned how to validate, give choices, hand over some control of the situation, choose important battles, not ones that don’t matter. Raising an Aspergers kid is where it is at if you want to learn how to relate to people in a way that is healthy for all involved. The skills you learn taking care of special needs kids will last you a lifetime.

So, back to the topic at hand. Co-dependency. Do you know what it is? I thought I did, and there was no way that was me, I was so independent, I couldn’t be co-dependent.  HA! What a fool I was for thinking I knew something. Oh, I knew what co-dependency was alright, I was living a life full of it, but I had no idea that that was what co-dependency actually was. Co-dependency is a deep and intricate “disorder”. Most people don’t even recognize it till a therapist tells them to get the book “Codependent No More”, by Melody Beatty. I know many co-dependents whose lives have been changed by that book. I keep a copy on my shelf too. You open that book, thinking “what can this book possibly offer me?”, and then it changes your life.  http://www.amazon.com/Codependent-No-More-Controlling-Yourself/dp/0894864025

For simplicity sake, here is the Wikipedia definition of co-dependency. It is a good way to sum up the basics for those who are unfamiliar with the disease. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency

All this background is getting me somewhere, I promise.  So, I spent years behaving like a classic co-dependant. I could not for the life of me figure out why people wouldn’t treat me the way I treated them. I was offended when I was told I was controlling people, but the book put it in a perspective that made me understand what that meant. I leaned about “shoulding all over” myself and others because of co-dependency. I learned that taking care of others is NOT the best way to get ones OWN needs met, and I started trying to take care of myself instead of taking care of everyone else. I had to draw some serious lines in the sand, and it felt cold and callous, but also, so liberating to learn how to put myself first for once. What? I am allowed to meet MY OWN needs? That is weird. I spent years and years in therapy, learning healthy patterns and behaviors, crying about how wronged I have been, just feeling defeated, not good enough, a huge failure, but the answer was bi-polar, and meds, which never helped enough to make life feel good. Once I was given a the above book as an assignment for therapy, it all started to change. I put up limits on how much people could ask of me, I started finding little ways to meet my needs first, and I learned how to say NO to people, which was the hardest part and I still struggle with it from time to time, and in those instances, co-dependency rears its ugly head in just a small way, in my life. I am so aware of it now, that I take control and stop the behavior as soon as I recognize it, but I made it through all of yesterday, before I realized that there were a trickle or two of co-dependency in my behavior, leading me to feel those very same feelings I had so long ago when I did not recognize the behaviors.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s never full blown co-dependency ever any more, just little tiny things that build up when I forget to say no to them, and yes to my needs. Yesterday was all about that for me. If you read yesterdays blog, you know I spent a good chunk of my morning arguing with a very clearly unhealthy co-dependent in my life. I was so angry I was shaking, and told her so, but it just kept going, on and on and on, till I couldn’t take it any more. I spent hours trying to convince her that a therapist could help her with the codependency and she should get help, all the while, letting this girls terrible attitude have a profound effect on my cause she wouldn’t do what I kept telling her was right (if you are at all familiar with co-dependency, you are now rolling on the floor in laughter at the irony of that situation). Still didn’t recognize my co-dependent behaviors of the day, but it continues. My best friend in the world is consumed by her tragedies right now, and I get that. When I try to offer a solution, or advice, I get nothing but “i am not ready to start the healing process yet”. I think that is so unfair. She called me the other day, and I was bawling my eyes out. She didn’t even notice, and proceeded to talk about how emotional she was, yet, she is not ready to change anything, just wants me to carry the burden till she is ready, still, is completely unaware of me. These one sided relationships are VERY co-dependent, and I was feeling pretty angry and hurt. She wanted to stop and visit, but I said NO. Oh, here it is, the magic word that saves me from myself. No. such a simple word, but for some, so hard to learn. I have now said NO, to the co-dependent trying to control me,  and to the person I feel is taking a little advantage of me. I have one or two more big issues to face in my co-dependent battle day. I have been on a spay/neuter task force commitee for years. I love it. I love working with the surgered dogs. I am good with the sick, the needy, the scared, and a natural leader at heart, so it is a good position for me, however, I imagine due to a lot of this co-dependency, I tend to get quite insubordinate when my morals are challenged, and I know it is something I have to work on, meanwhile, its still true. Well, the last several events, I have been feeling quite insubordinate, and as though a lot of responsibility and blame that are not my weights to carry, are landing on my shoulders. It has been a huge stressor, because I really love doing it, but it was clearly taking a huge toll on me, by the way my demeanor went all bi-polar every time it came up. I am talking happy to hurricane in seconds flat. That is a great, big, red warning flag for me, when something causes my now under control emotions to do that. Yesterday, while I was taking back my sanity, I said NO to them too. Oh, that one felt so good! I have been bearing that pressure for far too long now, and what a relief it was to say, “I just cannot do what you are asking of me any more”. I spent my entire day lecturing a close relative about being co-dependent, and at the end of the day, I looked back and realize that I spent the entire day using tools out of my bag of healed co-dependency tricks. I may have fought that battle and won, but every once in a while, the behaviors pop up and get me when I am not watching  for them. I spent my day trying to get some peace and renewal, from taking care of everyone else the last two weeks, and at the end of it all, I look back and think, man, I “should have” recognized this all much sooner this time. Oh well, I recognized it and moved forward. I apologized for being so callous and cold, explained where I was coming from, said I still felt the same way but I could have said it much nicer. I didn’t take it back, just apologized for my method of delivery. I was angry and bitter at what felt like, and still does feel like, several very one sided relationships in my life. The difference today, is that I have a choice between letting those one sided relationships make me feel terrible, or balancing out how much time I spend doing for others compared to doing for me, and how much time I spend doing for others who never notice it. Its all about the choices I make. Not how they treat me, how I choose to be treated. All I have to do is simply choose to treat me better and put less priority on others well being, and I will be ok. I have been trying to put me first, for some time now, and if you follow in the posts, you know that, but always, someone “needs” something from me, and my needs get put off till tomorrow, and tomorrow, there is always something, and my needs just keep getting pushed back further and further, till I have a day like yesterday, where I lock myself in the house and refuse to talk to anyone. I have to be ok with telling someone that I cant listen to her cry today, or that I am happy to listen and understand, but I need a turn to cry too.  There are lots of therapists in this valley. They get paid to do what I do as a co-dependent, and quite frankly, its ok for me to turn folks away or offer a good therapists number if I cant carry their burden that day. Oh so hard to remember that I can say no to the people I love, and that they will still love me, and they will enjoy me more if I take the time to keep me healthy. Learning to say no when someone says they need me has been incredibly difficult, but I am getting it. Yesterady, I said no in a big way to the things that were sapping the energy from me and wearing me down. It was refreshing and uplifting, and I even found time to focus on my Bible study.

A little while back, I started a womens Bible study group on facebook. The first study we chose was on faith. Funny, cause I have strong, very strong, faith. This last couple months though, my faith has been weak. I know He is here with me, but I feel disspaointed in the lack of assitance He is offering me. I had my little tantrum, but then, as I was taking back my peace, I realized in one very brightly lit moment, that I knew I wold be attacked when I started the Bible study, I knew my faith was struggling, but that it would be ok, but it never, ever occurred to me till yesterday, when I finally could see clearly again, that my faith was being attacked because I started a womens Bible study on FAITH of all things. That one made me laugh pretty hard too. I apologized to my good Father, for being such a spoiled little brat, and asked Him to protect my faith while I lead these women through the study. At the end of the day, I looked back, realized I had broken the co-dependent patterns I hadn’t even realized that I was allowing again, figured out why I was having issues with God, and went to bed peaceful, uplifted, hopeful, and spiritually healthy again. Oh what a day it was. Today, I am armed with a new perspective, and I am looking forward to what the day might bring. I am looking forward to continued healing and growth. I wish you all many blessings on your journey. Until next time my friends…