Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Emotional Integrity

"Raise your daughters with emotional integrity by helping them to be emotionally real to themselves and others. Honor all of her expressions of feelings. When she is a baby, this means understanding that she has to cry and fuss as she adjusts to her new world. When she is a toddler, it means knowing that her tantrums are a legitimate venting of her frustration - she is expressing herself in a healthy way. When she is a preteen and begins to withdraw from you or express anger toward you, it means understanding that she needs to separate from you as she moves towards adolescence."

-Virginia Beane Rutter, Celebrating Girls


I went in to sign my bankruptcy papers this morning. It was very difficult for me. I did not want to get out of bed this morning.

I told my ex that his dad was a cheap mother fucker and I hoped his money flames the fires of hell when he gets there.

It makes me sick that he and his family could pay off this debt, but they won't. For Republicans, they are always there with their hands out - sending their son to the State Mental hospital, asking for money to help pay for rehab, shirking this debt...

All of them make me sick. My ex hates it when I compare him to his father or his family, but they are all the same to me. In fact, he is becoming more and more like his father.

I woke up with a terrible stabbing pain in my back. I'm not sure what I did - my chiropractor thinks I slipped off my pillow or something. After I signed, they worked on me for about an hour - and I have to go back for more.

I seem to take my angst out on my body. I felt strangely calm while I was there. I know a lot of people are thinking of and praying for me. This is never a choice I would have made. I keep remembering my ex saying, "$100,000 just isn't that much money to me..."

The amount of debt to be discharged is $169,000. A hell of a lot of money to anyone sane.

My ex tried to make it out all positive like I will be starting over. I told him it didn't seem that way when this will be on my record for 10 years.

I am really sickened by his lack of responsibility in all of this. The lesson I learned is I will never entrust my finances to someone else. I knew he was being reckless. I just didn't think it was up to me because he was bringing in so much money. Legally though, that money was half mine - and the debt is too. I am leaving this marriage much worse than I came in, and that really stinks. But at least I am out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Daughters of Life's Generosity

"We are daughters of life's generosity, constantly surrounded by the altruism of Mother Earth and the myriad blessings present in work and relationships. It is our birthright to joyously claim this bountiful inheritance."

- Sue Patton Thoelle, The Woman's Book of Soul

Monday, June 28, 2010

Seeking Approval

"To seek approval is to have no resting place, no sanctuary. Like all judgment, approval encourages a constant striving. It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value. This is as true of the approval we give ourselves as it is of the approval we offer others. Approval can't be trusted. It can be withdrawn at any time no matter what our track record has been. It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy. Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it."

-Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom

Wise Words

A friend of mine said this to me the other day, and I liked it.

"A wise man can learn much from a fool. But a fool can learn nothing from the wise."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Courage to Love

Throughout life
I've met many obstacles
that stood in my way.
I encounter heartache
almost every day,
yet I have the courage
to keep on loving.
My heart breaks in two
with hurtful words that are spoke
and when I say how I feel
and everyone thinks it's a joke,
yet I have the courage
to keep on loving.
My world gets turned upside down
by people popping in and out.
I'm slowly dying inside
without a doubt,
yet I have to courage
to keep on loving.
I get put down
and treated like dirt.
Everyone I come around
makes me hurt,
yet I never give up
and always have the courage
to keep on loving.

-author unknown

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Healthy Touch

"Healthy intimacy, trust, and self-empowerment all begin with touch for a girl child, because empowerment lies in following the body, not in imposing controls from outside. Touch also contributes to her sense of body affirmation, perception and definition. A girl who has been touches in a loving and respectful way will instinctively reject any intrusion on her body."

- Virginia Beane Rutter, Celebrating Girls

Friday, June 25, 2010


..."Unity is God's gift to us. When we remember this gift, we don't get lost in our differences. We don't separate from each other. We don't forget that each path, however different it seems, leads to the same Garden."

-Spiritual Unity by Paul Ferrini


I just got the notice that my divorce was signed by the judge and finalized yesterday. It has been a long process and I am looking forward to the future.


I think one thing that kept me in my marriage for long is that I have always craved stability. Being the child of divorce, I often didn't feel like I had that. My father is a very stable, caring person - and so were his parents. My mother was both a wonderful mother and an unpredictable one. With age, this has become much better and our relationship now is very good.

I think moving back and forth between my parents homes was very hard on me. I have always just wanted to be settled in one place. I would be very happy to just buy a home and live there for the rest of my life. I don't have a special attachment to this house, but it is all my children have really known.

The other night, one of the men in my church group was talking about his own divorce and the effects on his children. He said the most stressful thing for children after a death of a close family member was actually moving. He gave some interesting examples from his own life.

That reinforced what I have been thinking about this house. I think we will likely have to move soon and I have been preparing myself and the kids for that time. But it seems like things are already so unsettling for them - and me - now that that may really do a number on all of us.

I am glad that I have the summer to spend with them. I really want to work on making them feel safe, loved and secure. My biggest fear about going back to work is that I know my time with them will be much more limited. But I am hoping over the summer we can build back up a strong foundation - and I know my family and people at church will be a great help with that as well.

My ex tries to guilt me about spending time by myself or with friends - but we all need that. I am grateful that both my mother and father help a lot with the kids and provide another source of stability and love.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Love Is Not

Love is not hurtful or painful.
It doesn’t call you names or put you down.
Love doesn’t reject you and tell you that you don’t matter.
It doesn’t ignore your feelings or emotions.
Love doesn’t tell you how unattractive and worthless it thinks you are.
It doesn’t make you sob because the hurt is more than you can bear.

Love doesn’t scream and curse at you.
It doesn’t act like love one day and hate the next day.
Love isn’t controlling or manipulative.
It doesn’t try to change who you are.
Love doesn’t disregard your thoughts, dreams or opinions.
It doesn’t have a lack of respect for the meaningful relationships in your life.

Love doesn’t threaten to stop loving you or walk away.
It doesn’t make you feel bad.
Love doesn’t abandon you when you need it the most.
It isn’t self-centered.
Love doesn’t have a lack of empathy.
It doesn’t take actions for reactions.

Love doesn’t make you feel afraid to say what is on your mind.
It doesn’t misinterpret what you say when you do.
Love isn’t a feeling of fear of what will be.
It doesn’t leave you feeling scared.
Love doesn’t push you to do things to make someone else happy.
It isn’t disrespectful.

Love isn’t inpatient
It doesn’t lack understanding.
Love doesn’t make you feel guilty for living life.
It doesn’t take away the things that bring you joy.
Love isn’t any of these things.
It doesn’t have to be this way.

-Gina Fiorentino Morrison
"Today's therapeutic ethos, which celebrates curing and disparages judging, expresses the liberal disposition to assume that crime and other problematic behaviors reflect social or biological causation. While this absolves the individual of responsibility, it also strips the individual of personhood, and moral dignity."

-- George Will

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

At Peace

I went in to sign the final divorce papers this morning. It was a very easy and simple process. It was a beautiful day here, so I enjoyed the drive downtown and back home.

My husband has tried to stir up things a few times today, but I feel at peace with everything.

When I divorced my first husband, I thought going into sign would be an easy thing, and I would leave work for an hour and drive back and finish my day. But I found myself unable to stop crying. I did not go back to work for many days, and cried for perhaps 2 weeks.

I was only 23 then, so part of it was age I think. But I also feel like I have grown up quite a bit and made peace with my life. I am in a much better place now.

My ex made a comment earlier that I only think the worst of him and I told him, honestly, I really have no negative emotion towards you.

I will defend myself, and that is different from years of taking it and taking it -from him and everyone. But after I say my peace, I am fine, and ready to move on. There are things that I wish were different - particularly in the financial realm. But I know in time, everything will be better.

I really do attribute much of my peace and well-being to the Kundalini Yoga I have been doing. I know I have not even learned 1/100th of what I can from it, but I am already feeling a huge cleansing, healing and strengthening in my life.

It was the final thing that I think was missing for me.

It sounds like the divorce will be final tomorrow.


"Self-nurturing for a woman requires an attitude of feminine valuing. It is enhanced by time in which you shift your attention to yourself..If you nurture yourself, the choices you make in your life will be concious and empowered."

-Virginia Beane Rutter, Celebrating Girls

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I received another copy of my divorce documents today. There are still several errors, but assuming they are corrected, it looks like I will be signing the final documents tomorrow.

I am glad to be nearly done with this. It has been a long road. Over 3 years since my husband's relapse. Two-and-a-half since our initial separation. Over a year since the divorce will filed.

We met with our son's counselor today and had a heated but productive meeting. I feel like we left more on the same page at least and feel more positive about my daughter's future. She is going to meet with the counselor next week, and I hope that will provide a good outlet for her, as it did for my son.

I feel very good about my life at the moment. There are still some things that are in limbo, but overall, it is night and day from even six months ago.

Symptoms of codependent behavior

One of the big symptoms of codependency is that you have a hard time differentiating between codependence on the one hand, and interdependence, healthy dependence on the other hand. Often, codependent people feel that they "should" be independent. This leads to black-and-white, all are nothing thinking: either you or totally independent, to the point of being unrelated, or you are codependent!

Of course, you cannot be both in a relationship and totally independent. The challenge is to be interdependent, recognizing that you need your partner and your partner needs you... but both of you also need to be individuals. This means recognizing that there is an inherent conflict to being in a relationship. The art of relationships is to manage conflicts, not avoid them as if they were a shameful "proof" that you are a dysfunctional couple. In fact, what is dysfunctional in a couple is to avoid conflicts. Growth lies in learning how to effectively manage conflicts.

Another symptom of codependency is the extent to which desires and demands are not fully expressed, mostly hinted at. This is usually because there is a fear of conflict: If you ask for what you want, you fear that your partner will be hurt or angry, and it's going to be an unpleasant moment... on the other hand, you can't bear to stay silent, you say something, but in such a covert way that your partner won't get it... which is a perfect recipe for feeling unheard, frustrated and resentful.

All too often, what happens is that each partner feels they have an implicit agreement with the other -- but the other is not aware of this implicit agreement at all. Hence the sense, on both parts, that there is something fishy going on, that the other is in bad faith. The antidote to this is to build a safe environment. This means that there is room in the relationship for each partner to fully express their needs and wants.

Related to this is the sense of "you owe me". You do something for your partner that you don't really want to do, you convince yourself to do it by telling yourself that, this way, your partner will owe you a favor. But you don't tell this to your partner at the moment you do what your partner wants. You only mention it much later, when you are trying to cash in the favor, and your partner acts surprised and angry, and then you feel betrayed!

Another symptom of codependency is a sense of feeling "hemmed in", constrained in the relationship. This is in contrast to feeling spontaneous and free. It feels like you cannot do or say what you want because it's going to either hurt or anger your partner.

Now, of course, expressing what you need and want does not at all mean that your partner is obligated to give that to you. In fact, part of what makes the relationship safe is that there is no sense of coercion: If your partner expresses what they want, this does not mean that you have to give it to them, walking all over your own needs to do this. Here again, we're talking about learning to negotiate, and to tolerate the inevitable frustrations that are part of the negotiating process.

Until such a time as you are able to make room for these frustrations, what is going to happen is a sense of despair and anger every time there is a conflict. You will tend to see your partner as a source of frustration, as the source of your unhappiness. And vice versa. As a result, there will be a lot of blame and finger-pointing. This is very much a characteristic of codependency: "It's your fault!". This is not very different from what happens when kids bicker: "But, mom, he started it!". Bickering kids would very much like to have a grown-up validate their feelings by punishing the other kid. Ideally, grown-ups are able to go beyond these feelings in order to resolve their differences between themselves. Resorting to blame makes it harder to understand each other and find common ground. In fact, the blame game seems to turn into an ever escalating cycle, where it becomes harder and harder to stop and acknowledge each other.

Yet another symptom of codependency is that, despite feeling so connected in terms of healing the limitations that the relationship imposes on you, there is a very real difficulty with true intimacy. It is difficult for the two of you to drop your guard, to feel relaxed comfortable and vulnerable (in a good way) within the safety of the relationship. So you actually avoid intimacy. You or your partner have too much to do at work or with the kids, you were too tired to make time for special moments -- I am not just referring to physical intimacy, but also to emotional closeness as well.

Now, what do you do if you see in your relationship many of the toxic characteristics of the codependent profile?

A typical codependent reaction is to believe that nothing can be done unless both partners in the relationship work at it.

Of course, it's wonderful if you both work at it. But, if your partner doesn't want to, you can still do something very productive (for yourself, and for the relationship) by doing your best to stop being a codependent.

-Proactive Change

Monday, June 21, 2010


I had a very interesting conversation with my son several weeks ago that I have been thinking about a lot ever since.

I told him how much I love him and how proud I am of him. He responded with, Do You think you're proud enough to let me do whatever I want?

I think that is a very valid question.

I do think children develop their essential character by the time they are 5 years old. Of course, they still need guidance and discipline - but they also need the love and support to go out on their own path.

I hope that I can always balance the two for both of my children. I think my parents did a very good job with that overall.

I won't....

I won't look back on a past so long
I won't look back on the things gone wrong

I won't have words I've said all that there is to say
I won't have words 'cause I know you'll just throw them away

-Melody Gardot

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

My dad and I sang a song he wrote in the 70's at church this morning. We haven't sang together in years so this was very special to do on Father's Day.

I am enormously grateful to have such a caring, kind and consistent father. He has always been there for me throughout my life. And, he's a pretty wonderful grandpa too!

His faith has always been the guiding force in his life so this song seems very appropriate. I've been on many different paths in my life, but I think when you have good parents, they let you wander a little and know you will always find the right way.

Guide My Path

I stand in all my weakness,
asking for your strength
And with my many problems,
I ask You for your grace.

Lord show me what’s right.
Guide my path with light.
Take me in your mighty hands,
guide me on my way.

When my load is heavy,
won’t you lighten it for me
And when I go astray from you,
Lord help me to see...

Lord show me what’s right.
Guide my path with light.
Take me in your mighty hands,
guide me on my way.

When my life is over,
I hope it can be said
I did my best to live as you,
knowing for me you bled.

Lord show me what’s right.
Guide my path with light.
Take me in your mighty hands,
guide me on my way.

-Bob Hendren

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day Dad

I recently found an essay I wrote for my freshman English class. I was asked to write about the greatest hero in my life, and I wrote about my dad.

I don't think I shared the sentiment of many 18-year-olds about their fathers. I have always adored my dad. I don't think he is perfect. No one is. But he is as close as perfect comes when it comes to being a dad. And, I think if more fathers made the sacrifices and daily choices in language, love and just plain being there for their children, we would live in a very different world.

Fatherhood is a choice. It is a choice from the very beginning - but it is also a daily choice. There are often lot of excuses that go along with it.

I am sure my dad, as a young man, would have rather done different things than raise 2 young girls on his own when he was 25. But he did it. He did it without excuses, without abuse, without so much as a cuss word; without any of the things that so often accompany parenting.

When someone raises you with patience, calmness, equality and love, there is nothing else but to feel gratitude for them. No, I was not always a perfect daughter. I wish I could say I was. But my dad always dealt with me with grace.

I am so proud of my dad.

He has recently started performing at a homeless shelter on Friday nights. I don't think there are too many people like my dad. He is an extremely hard worker, putting in many, many hours every week at his regular job. But on top of that, he helps out at church, with my kids, and devotes countless hours to his music. It is so touching to me that he would give up his Friday nights to lift the spirits of those less fortunate. And he does it in a way that is so touching. His wife recently told me that he did not think they would relate to as many of his uplifting Christian songs, so he started writing more blues songs just to sing there. He doesn't just perform his leftovers or whatever is easiest for him. He thinks about what they need.

He played a new blues song for me on Thursday night that was just amazing.

God bless his heart and his spirit. The older I get, the more I appreciate my dad and what a wonderful father he was and is to me.

The greatest gift you can give to your children is being there for them. My dad was always there for me, consistently, on-time and with love.

Thank you dad.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

-- Mother Theresa (1910-1997)

Friday, June 18, 2010

On Friendship Among Women

UCLA Study "On Friendship Among Women"
By Gale Berkowitz

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are.
By the way, they may do even more. Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women.It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research--most of it on men--upside down.

Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible, explains Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D, now an Assistant Professor of Bio-behavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just fight or flight; in fact, says Dr. Klein, it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.
This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone---which men produce in high levels when they're under stress---seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen; she adds, seems to enhance it.

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded, says Dr. Klein. When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something.

The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol.
There's no doubt, says Dr. Klein, that friends are helping us live longer. In one study, for example, researchers found thatpeople who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%. Friends are also helping us live better.

The Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight!

And that's not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.

Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of BestFriends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998).

Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women, explains Dr. Josselson. We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Things are not going well with my ex-husband and our children.

I fear our son is already becoming a co-dependent. He's always eager to please his dad and make him feel better.

My daughter is clearly upset. She is having a lot of meltdowns. 95% of the time she is fine. But something will set her off - usually a control issue - and she will go berserk.

Yesterday was the last day of school. My husband is supposed to pick the kids up from school on Wednesdays but it was a short day, so I did it. My son was disappointed that his dad was not there to do it. He had a years worth of work and projects - and a yearbook - that he was extremely proud of and wanted to show his dad.

I softened the blow by reminding him that his dad was going to take us all out for dinner to celebrate later at one of our favorite family Italian restaurants down the street.

My daughter was clearly excited for the evening too. She got all dressed up in her Easter dress - and even let me do her hair up in pigtails, which she rarely does. She put on her tiara and asked me to paint her fingernails.

I texted my husband a few minutes before he was supposed to arrive to make sure where we were at with time. They kids kept asking when their dad was coming all afternoon.

He texted me back to let me know he was still at least and hour and a half away. The kids were hungry and that was not going to fly.

His comment was that no one was more disappointed than him.

He obviously was not here to see who was disappointed and the effect that had on the kids.

I told my kids we would go to the market and they could pick what they wanted for dinner at home. My daughter had an almost immediate meltdown in the store. I told her she lost her privileges and took away her shopping cart and stickers. She started screaming in the middle of the store.

I just don't want my dad to be a part of our family.

I just don't want to see my dad anymore.

I just don't want my dad to be my dad anymore.

She repeated all of this again and again. When I told him, he accused me of feeding her this.

I am tired of reminding him that his actions cause a lot of pain to our kids and misbehavior is usually the result.

Pain and Closure

I finally got my divorce papers this morning and it looks like everything will be done next week. There are a lot of errors and things that aren't exactly what I want them to be, but at this point, I just want to be legally divorced. It sounds like the errors will mostly be corrected in the next few days, so that should improve things somewhat.

I am very frustrated and aggravated. I had to go to the doctor the other day for severe abdominal pain. I spent several hours there with both my children, getting tests and x-rays. I think we have figured out what is wrong, but I am still in a lot of pain. I don't check my home voicemail often, but last night I did after dinner. There was a frantic call from my doctor late that evening after the visit saying that he felt horrible because he had forgotten to give me my prescription. It was a little chaotic there in his office with young children waiting for hours. I had to leave them alone when I went to get my x-rays and they went a little nuts.

The kids and I went in to get that last night and I think it is helping. But I am just in a sad and pissy mood. After we returned home my sister called to let me know that one of my uncles from her side of the family had passed. It happened to be my favorite uncle, and unfortunately one that I had put off seeing because of the difficulties I've had with my step father.

We have been slowing healing our relationship, but I have a lot of sadness that I did not reach out to my uncle before he passed. The strain in the relationship had nothing to do with him - he was always so kind to me. My children never met him. I have stayed away from his family since his divorce with my mother, largely for self-preservation. They had 15 children in that family and there were many people that I loved and felt close to. I'm sure that no one can begin to imagine why I have stayed away all these years. It was a difficult thing for me, but I can't really see it any other way. I needed to build up strength and healing in myself. I just wish it had happened sooner.

I am looking forward to a point where things are easier and I have some closure. I see that happening soon on many fronts, so I am happy for that. I just need to take it a day at a time.

And a woman spoke, saying, "Tell us of Pain."

And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

- Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.

-- John Lennon (1940-1980)

Drug Use Beyond Genetics

Good parenting provides a potent buffer against some youngsters' genetic predisposition to use alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana by age 14, a study finds. Uninvolved, unsupportive parenting heralds a spike in consumption of these substances among genetically vulnerable teens, a team led by psychologist Gene Brody of the University of Georgia in Athens reports in the February Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Science News, Feb 28, 2009 by Bruce Bower

End of the School Year

We are finally at the end of what has seemed like a very long school year!

I must take a moment to thank my parents for all of their help!

My dad's wife picks up my son every Tuesday from school. She and grandpa have dinner with him and bring him home. This is very special, consistent time for him - and he really enjoys it!

My mother has picked up the kids 2-3 times a week throughout the year. She has the doctor, taken them to the park - you name it. We have a long drive every morning to school, so I know it is a labor of love for her to come all the way from her house, to both schools, back to our house and then back to her house. (Several hours of driving each day.)

Mom, I couldn't have done it without you!

I feel so blessed to have such wonderful parents - and I know the kids are extra blessed to have amazing Grandparents.

It was a long, hard year, with many challenges we did not expect - but we made it. Apart from a good, strong family, I don't think there is anything more important than education. Thank you to my family for all their help making sure the kids get a good one!

I am also grateful to my ex-husband for paying for it! There were times I didn't think we would make it, but we did! We had not counted on this expense - nearly $30,000!!!! - but when my former father-in-law backed out of his commitment to send the kids to school, their dad made it work. So, that is one thing to be grateful about for sure!

I wish my husband's family would have spent more time, money and attention on their children while they were children. It would have been less expensive in the long-run than drugs, alcohol, rehabs, and therapy. When you let a child grow up in peace and with love, there is a lot less likelihood that they will grow up with psycological or addiction problems. And, oftentimes in a dysfuctional family, education is your only way out.

My wish for every child is that they can obtain the same quality of education my children have been able to get so far. My feeling is that if we reallocated our military budget to our schools, and fostered the growth in our own children instead of mutilating and killing other children, the world would be an entirely different place.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dream a Dream with Me

Last year, my favorite church service was the Celebration Sunday for the youth. Every year at the end of the school year, we honor all the children and especially those graduating from high school and college. We allow them to showcase their talents and shower them with prayers, blessings and love.

The woman who organized the service last year had a Senior graduating from High School this year, so she asked that someone else do it so she could just sit back and enjoy the service.

I have been working on the service for several months now and it has been a big project, but also a joy. I knew many of the youth at our church pretty well already, but this enabled me to learn about all the kids and what they do in their free time. I really love children, so this was very special to me. I really believe that there is nothing more important than our children, whether it be our own or those in our community.

We started the service with a slide show of all the pictures of the kids from our church. It was really fun for me to gather all the pictures together. The church has been such a community of love and support for my children these last few years, and I hope we can be the same for the other families and children in our church.

My daughter had agreed to sing a solo and had been practicing for a while. We even went to my dad's house one morning so she could practice with a microphone. She had been singing for everyone we came across. "A dream is a wish your heart makes..." She has a very sweet, clear voice and very good pitch. She will be a wonderful singer someday.

But her dad called as we were driving in to church and told me he was not coming to the service. He said he had a golf tournament. Both kids were upset, but my daughter ended up having a very difficult day. She ended up having a complete meltdown in front of the entire church. She did not sing, but many people encouraged her to sing another time soon. I am glad that she sang for my mom's mother on Friday, who has not been well for many months.

One of the other things we do is to try to include as many youth as possible in the service. So we had 3 scripture readings and different kids read those - some of my favorites:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love God, who have been called according to God’s purpose. (Romans 8:28)

The theme for this year was "Dream a Dream with Me" and was about encouraging the kids to live out their dreams. A wonderful woman read most of the book with her deep, knowing voice. There were about 15 speaking parts throughout the book where children from ages 3-18 read various quotations from everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Eleanor Roosevelt. This is a beautiful book and part of a wonderful project for kids called

My son's quotation was:

"Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly."

-Langston Hughes

My son memorized his part and spoke it very well. When my daughter froze during the service and decided she did not want to sing, he got up in front of everyone on his own accord and announced, "We are having technical difficulties..." This gave us a moment of comic relief in an awkward moment.

I was extremely angry that my ex did not come to the service. I do not ever remember a time when my parents were not there for me. This was supposed to be our daughter's first solo, which is an enormous deal. I hope she will continue to sing, but I know this is going to be a painful memory.

My mother came home with us and helped with the kids. I worked out my anger on the back porch with the pressure washer for a few hours. I think the sunshine and the exercise did me good, but I am still angry.

I walked away from a really bad situation, and I am really glad about that. I just wish I did not have to continually deal with the bullshit excuses from my ex and all the repercussions to my children. It's hard to encourage your children to dream when their trust is continually broken.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today."

~Stacia Tauscher

Children Learn What they Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I have mostly stopped writing or even repeating to anyone the crazy things my husband says to me.

One thing I did learn in Al-Anon is that alcoholics all read from the same script. I could spend the rest of my life repeating things he says or has said to me, but it won't change anything. It will just be more wasted breath.

He blew up at me the other day and keeps wondering why we can't be friends. Well, because we aren't friends. He has never treated me like a friend. We have children together, and we have to make the best of it. But every time we start getting along, he takes it the wrong way, and then blows up on me when I remind him we are almost divorced.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

-- Malcolm X

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Ex


My daughter is not adjusting well to the time with her dad. I have talked to him about this, but there does not seem to be an agreement there.

He took the kids this weekend. He picked them up around 3 and called me a few hours later to say it was not going well and that maybe I should just take our daughter. When I tried to get more information he got frustrated and was just like, Fine! I'll take her!


On Sunday, we met at church. Everyone was already seated around us and I walked in a few minutes late. As soon as I sat down he greeted me with, "Late night?"

I don't know what he is trying to accomplish there, but I have gone to that church since I was a child so regardless of what he tries to do or say, he is the one who looks like an ass.

When church was over, I was busy getting ready for next weeks service, which I am coordinating with the youth.

Somehow when he tried to take our daughter out to the car, they started fighting. He had taken them to Denny's for breakfast and then stopped an got her a donut.

I don't agree with the food choices, but if you give a 4-year-old a donut, you better plan on her eating it.

He decided that he should take the donut from her, which made her freak out.

Then he told us that I could decide when she had the donut.

So I handed it to her.

Then, he freaked out.

He started screaming at me in the church parking lot, with people around, that I needed to work on my parenting skills.

Um, no, I think you do.

So Sunday was a bit rough. I felt like she was adjusting to being with him. She was clingy. She was clearly having a hard time.

Both of her teachers called me this afternoon to discuss her behavior, which was troubling to them.

They told me that she continually says she does not like to be with her dad. They also said that contrary to the story he's been telling me, she always melts down when her dad comes to pick her up and she does not want to go with him.

When one teacher tried to talk to her about what she does with her dad, she said, "He doesn't play with me." They asked what they did and she said, "He watches TV with me."

I know they do other things but I am still troubled that she is telling me and everyone else that she doesn't want to be there.

They suggested I put her into counseling, so I made a call to my son's counselor to get her in.

I tried to talk to my ex about this tactfully. I just repeated the facts. While he expressed some concern over her, his main concern was about himself and his own feelings.

I'm tired of nurturing the child in a grown man. This is the job his parents should have done. Now, all three of us are left with the rubble.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

If the Stars Were Mine

I heard this artist the other day on our local Jazz station and immediately loved her! I have been listening to as much as possible online since.

Here's one I dedicate to my children

If the stars were mine
I'd give them all to you
I'd pluck them down right from the sky
and leave it only blue
I would never let the sun forget to shine upon your face
so when others would have rain clouds you'd have only sunny days
If the stars were mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd put the stars right in a jar and give them all to you

If the birds were mine
I'd tell them when to sing
I'd make them sing a sonnet when your telephone would ring
I would put them there inside the square, whenever you went out
so there'd always be sweet music whenever you would walk about
If the birds were mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make them sing for you
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make them sing for you

If the world was mine
I'd paint it gold and green
I'd make the oceans orange for a brilliant color scheme
I would color all the mountains, make the sky forever blue
So the world would be a painting and I'd live inside with you
If the world was mine
I'd tell you what I'd do
I'd wrap the world in ribbons and then give it all to you
I'd teach the birds such lovely words and make them sing for you
I'd put those stars right in a jar...and..........
give them you.......

- Melody Gardot

Saturday, June 5, 2010


My kids have been spending a lot of time (comparatively) with my husband's dad and wife. I am not happy about it, but there is nothing I can do.

One thing that grates on my nerves though as that the Fourth Wife insists on the kids calling her Nana.

My kids have a Nana. She is my grandma, the woman who has been in my life since the day I was born and actually is a grandma to both me and my children.

The Fourth Wife has only been available for photo opps. She is no blood relation and the kids have no relationship with her. She has never fostered a relationship with them. She never even offered to babysit. She never did jack shit.

So why she wants to be called Nana is beside me.

I'm all for having many loving people in my kids life. And they call many non-blood family by endearing names, like Auntie or Uncle. But these are people who they want to have a relationship with. They are people that the kids love, who spend time with them and nurture and love them back.

My kids came home last week with this Nana name and I told them, her name is K. That's all I said.

My husband blew up when he found out. What for? I suppose there is money in this new relationship for him.

I can't stop the kids from seeing these people, but I will not foster any sort of a relationship on my end. Those people are nothing but trouble. And their entitlement never ends.


"As a woman descends into the richness of her own life, she discovers the way home to herself. In the descent, she reverses the tendency to look outside of herself for salvation. In the "deep places", she reunites with her essential self and reclaims her natural capacities."

-Patricia Lynn Reilly

Friday, June 4, 2010

Healing with Kundalini Yoga

I haven't had much time to write this week. I have been very busy at my kids schools and with some projects at church. Seems like I am busier now than when I was working! (And, certainly happier!).

But I am so thrilled with this Kundalini Yoga I have been doing. My body feels much more tight, fit and strong than it has in ages. It is great for awakening sexual energy and healing. The last part is a meditation with a gong, focused on healing. I would highly recommend this program to anyone. The DVD I'm using is Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh. She has a lovely presence about her. Many of my friends have been telling me I have a glow about me lately (and I'm not pregnant lol!).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


“Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

-Desmond Tutu

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


"A truly free society must not include a "peace" which oppresses us. We must learn on our own terms what peace and freedom mean together. There can be no peace if there is social injustice and suppression of human rights, because external and internal peace are inseparable. not just the absence of mass destruction, but a positive internal and external condition in which people are free so that they can grow to their full potential."

-- Petra Karin Kelly (1947-1992)