Growth and Development

Am I at the highest stage of my own growth and development? I don’t think so. Lord, I hope not.  There has to be more. Maybe I’ve been regressing.  As a teen I wanted to be with friends and hated to be left out of things.  Now I’m happy in solitude… most of the time.

As a teen my intended trajectory was to become a nurse, and yet really what I hoped for more than anything else was to be a mother and a wife.  All of it came true, even with many bumps and bruises I persevered. Nursing School was extremely challenging and it was there that I learned how to keep on no matter what.  The problem was that my idea of Nursing was stuck in the 1940’s with a romanticized Cherry Ames, the nurse with the cherry red cheeks who always knew what to do when it came to taking care of her patients.  Scrapes?  She had plenty, but as a nurse she was perfect.

At that time I didn’t know about ADD or ADHD, and wouldn’t have recognized the symptoms anyway.  Hyperactive?  Not a chance!  Today, plenty of research shows us that girls, women and adults definitely suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, hyperactive or not.  I struggled to concentrate, to hold on to details, all the while with a head swimming with information that was hard to hold on to.

I pushed through, graduating from the University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing. If only educators and I had known about learning and teaching styles that would have helped me.  But we didn’t and I continued on. I learned best by my mistakes and thankfully there were no huge errors.

Looking back, I see that I got by in many situations by appearing mature; Nursing School, Marriage, Babies… friends thought I was so mature.  Ha!  I wasn’t mature I was depressed. Low energy, down, sometimes really down, with difficulty focusing on what “needed” to be done.  I found myself wondering what I could do differently, and quite often pretty sure that whatever I was doing at the moment was not what “needed” to be done.  Which task, in what order and how on earth could I have so much laundry? It went from the kitchen to the dining room table. Getting the laundry done wasn’t a problem, getting it folded and put away was a true challenge.

Meaning.  In 1982 or so I became involved with the development of a battered women’s shelter.  There was purpose in my life!  Later I would learn how essential meaning and purpose were to my being, my core.

Meaning came in different avenues as life continued on. Involvement in church with leadership and preaching. PREACHING!? No one was more surprised than I was. The idea of doing something that might help others, might help myself, was huge.  During that time I became familiar with the Myers Briggs Temperament Indicator. Learning my “type” was such an awakening experience that eventually I put my type on my license plate.  (If you know MBTI, (Myers Briggs Personality Indicator) you have a good clue as to what my type is.)

To be continued…



High School Transformed

(This is written to my high school class.)

Back in 2013 I wanted to write something reflecting upon our 40th reunion. I never ever thought I would be ecstatic about a reunion! Never! But I was.

If you knew me at West Hills or Bearden, you know how shy I was, and most likely saw me as sweet and possibly even smart. The smart part came mostly from the glasses I wore, along with how quiet I was. I must have been studious, right? Well, kind of. I was, and yet socially, I struggled, not knowing how to be me, nor how to be content with myself.

High school was a true challenge. I did have friends and relied on them greatly, and yet sometimes even with them I didn’t quite know where I belonged. I was always trying to fit in. Academics, especially Math were a challenge. I remember Mr. Jenkins getting mad at me for not understanding geometry! For years, looking at my BHS yearbook was a painful exercise; it showed what a wallflower I truly was, revealing how shy and isolated I was back then.

I tried, I really did. I invited three guys (separately) to the TWERP dance one year. I was turned down by each one. I did not go to a single dance in high school. When I lived in Vermont my hospital had a holiday party with a prom theme. I was angry at first due to my painful memories, but I actually fun and now have a prom picture to show for it!

What I’m trying to express is that life at BHS was not easy for me and that my memories of those days were filled with pain. I did attend our 10th reunion, had a nice time and enjoyed reconnecting with friends such as Marion Cook and Aimee Fuller. Then there was a huge gap where I heard nothing about a reunion… until our 40th. I learned that there were others who were unsure about attending another reunion, given the mixed feelings that some of us shared. Some of us chatted via email and messaging, sharing our uncertainty about returning to the “scene of the crime”. Did we really want to go?

After many conversations and pondering, I attended and am so glad I did. High school walls seemed to melt away. Walls of exclusion and fear were gone. Popular kids talked to the quiet ones and we learned that the designations of the past were not important, that we had much in common or at the very least we were interested in one another’s lives. We were concerned about those known to be ill and deeply saddened to have lost many of our class to early death. I learned that we are people with a shared history, with memories of Coach Smelcher calling out “LiBerry” for those who wanted to leave study hall and proceed to the library, memories of band trips, plays, football games and more.

I came away from the reunion filled with hope and with joy. To quote John Wesley, I was “strangely warmed.” Our class was something to believe in! I connected with people I had never talked with before. I knew that if I needed something I could call almost anyone in our class for advice or a favor. I was on a high for weeks after our gathering. My favorite parts were the more informal ones, the first night at the McCamy’s and then the Sunday brunch, the only down side was that I could have used more time!

Whether our class needed to be redeemed in anyone else’s mind or not, I came away from that weekend in November with a sense that I belonged. I am grateful for a shared history that with some goes back to 3rd grade when we moved to Knoxville, and connection with others that I did not recognize until we met for our 40th. And of course, new ones were formed.

I am extremely grateful for you ALL, even if we did not know one another. If someone were to ask me about a transformative time in my life, our 40th reunion would definitely come to mind. Our class gave me a healing gift and I will be forever grateful. Thank you.

One Year

Last year I paid for an upgrade on my WordPress account, thinking I would write more. One year and this is my first attempt.  Nonetheless I will continue to subscribe and take my rambling thoughts and essays written in the clouds to print. Funny, saying “pen to paper” or “type it out” now is almost archaic as a description of the writing process.

So many thoughts, lines, and sentences waft through my mind and I can see them in print. Why do they rarely get there?  I am here, thinking, being and wistfully searching for a place, an anchored place with freedom to move.  Isn’t that sort of the opposite of Driftless Mosaic?  What is a Driftless Mosaic anyway? Driftless refers to Wisconsin and the glacial movement there, but beyond that  I cannot give a definition yet the idea of a mosaic pieced together: bits of my past with glimmerings of new ideas put into place, a movable non movable place.  I realize this doesn’t make sense to anyone but me, but it feels right.

I am amazed to be in the seventh decade of my life…. seventh.  Like many, I am grateful to be alive while bemoaning the changes that come with increased time on Earth.  A therapist encouraged me to think of where I am in my life process, as in what changes I’m facing and what is it that I need to reckon with.  Reckon with.  What does that really mean?  Come to terms?  Analyze?  Recognize?  The message I took was one of ownership.  Where am I at this stage of my life?  What do I have to consider, to change, to grieve? It’s a lot to think about, as I realize I’m in a whole new growth and development stage.

This process of life as I get older does not get easier.  Oh to have the life I perceived when I was a child! As one who both thinks and feels deeply, I have become more reflective instead of less.  Grief is real, as is frustration and self judgement.

That’s all for now. More to come soon.


Instead of Facebook… this.

Seeing and sharing posts about the end of healthcare for mental illness, the end of healthcare for many (try 24 million) and of course the demolishing of the EPA… Water, air, parks, and health. What do we need any of them for? It is obvious to me that removing regulations only hurts the little people, and MOST of us are the little people! You might think that Democrats are all about free handouts and taking your money away, that’s your right. But when your asthmatic daughter cannot afford an inhaler since you cannot afford insurance, and her school does not have a nurse (too much to pay) it will be a different story. When children and adults breathe in polluted air, and new cleaning products do not have to be tested, the only people getting richer will be the funeral home proprietors. When your child begins to show signs of fatigue, anger, depression and more, there will be no help.
PEOPLE!! We must RESIST! We must do something! All I know is that I cannot take this. I keep seeing more about what Paul Ryan and 45 are doing. They are gleefully removing individual rights. Corporations and the 1% will be the only ones who have any say, or at least can afford whatever they need. I am at a loss. Phone calls, town meetings (where senators and representatives do not show up)…. what else can we do? Tracy Knauss, help!!! I need encouragement and there seems to be none.
The current government’s agenda seems to be:
increase pollution
make money
destroy nature
rape and pillage our country and its native people
kill any who cannot afford healthcare
dismiss the idea of mental illness while removing what little safety net is underneath those who suffer
diminish and harm our veterans
Destroy… destroy…
ignore history and herstory
LGBTQAI, POC, women and more… are not equal, are not the same (as what? I don’t even know)
Women’s bodies……. oh that’s ok to control.
I am in serious spiritual distress over our country’s situation, our definite lack of health of any kind. If anyone calls me a snowflake or similar term… we will be friends no longer.

Smashing Stereotypes, One Design At A Time

A wonderful reminder to listen to our dreams, believe in ourselves and in others.🙏🏽

19-year-old Isabella Springmuhl, a fashion designer with down syndrome is giving her contemporaries a run for their money. Her fabulous line of colourful designs will brighten your day and give you all the inspiration you needScreenshot 2017-03-03 21.52.47.jpg
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Designing clothes, designing life.

Rejected from pursuing designing in University due to Down syndrome,  her unwavering courage and determination towards her passion earned this Guatemalan designer a place in the BBC 100 Women list of 100 most influential and inspiring women of 2016.

She has turned the fashion school ‘no’ into a big ‘yes’ and how! Her optimism and strong belief are reflected in her vibrant clothes inspired from traditional Guatemalan textiles.

“Everything around me, colours, flowers, birds inspires me. I am a happy person, I want everyone to wear something that makes them feel happy”

Screenshot 2017-03-03 22.37.46.jpg

She has turned the fashion school ‘no’ into a big ‘yes’ and how! Her optimism and strong belief…

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love, life, g_d, belief…frustration

I’ve been reading blogs and their comments.  My head and heart are swimming in thoughts and feelings.  Those who write that g_d is exactly this or that, or “don’t you know that scripture says THIS?!  drive me straight up the wall, and yet I know (for the most part) that it does no good to argue.  Just as bad are the Atheists who belittle those with faith in an unseen deity.

But that’s not really what I have on my mind.  Today’s world and the hate that seeps out of those who think they are doing the right thing…… well, the hate does more than seep lately.  It’s a dam in California breaking over the lives of many.  It’s a tornado ramming though San Antonio leaving a wake of crumbled homes, lost lives and more.  Do I think that g_d is doing this?  No.  If I believe in g_d and most days I do, she is in the people who come and comfort, the people who offer their churches and homes as sanctuary to those who fear persecution and mistreatment by 45’s henchmen, the new Nazi in our country.  I do wonder what ICE employees, new and old are feeling in their heart of hearts.  Are their hearts open and hurting, or are they calloused, sealed over with a layer of blisters and thick layers of scales that allow nothing to seep… in or out.

Earlier this week I read of a young woman from El Salvador who is undocumented.  She went before a judge asking for asylum, giving the reason as fear of death from a gang related relative.  She was turned down and taken into custody, where she later was found to have a brain tumor.  Admitted to a local hospital, she was refused access to a chaplain, her family and legal resources, due to rules and regulations that in another situation most likely would have been bent in order to meet the needs of a young woman who may be dying.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but is the USA not a country that supports the human rights of all people, all over the world?  For the most part anyway?  Do we not send troops to help families who are being persecuted in third world countries?  Why is it suddenly alright to drag a mother away from her children, deny spiritual and legal care from an acutely ill woman, simply (and yes I said simply) because they have not fulfilled a legal requirement?

I do agree that we need a better immigration system in our country.  A totally new system, perhaps.  To deny others basic human rights is simply wrong, and in fact evil.  Match that picture with the election of a known philanderer, probably racist, one who belittles disabled people, who is more concerned with his own success than ANYTHING else (note: his response to anti-semitism in our country, most recently the desecration of a St. Louis area Jewish cemetery, with a gleeful description of his electoral college win.)

Our country’s humanity is at stake.  People like me, the ones who feel deeply and are almost immobilized by our fears and disgust, wonder what to do.  I know pastors, one from Romania and another from South Africa who talked of revolution where running in the street like a blind man in traffic was what had to be done.  I wonder… I certainly don’t want bloodshed or any kind of violence.

When do we stand up and say, loudly and as many times as needed that our children’s lives, education and more are at stake?  That our transgender children, brothers and sisters are people too?  Public education being tossed by those who have no reason to care?

Thom Tillis (NC), Ron Johnson (WI), and many, many others are apparently ignoring invitations to town hall meetings, sending responses to constituents that read as aristocrats speaking to peons.  I am hopeful that in upcoming elections our states will see an influx of leaders who actually CARE about the people in their communities.

No matter your faith, or lack thereof, no matter your official political ties or beliefs, it is my desperate hope that we can work together for the salvation of the United States of America. While I do mean salvation, I am not talking religion, but the ability to humanely care for one another, listening and offering respect.  As one who empathizes more than acts, I’m read to change.  I’m ready to do what is needed.


It’s been a while…

Writing is healing… if I can let myself simply write.  Lately I’m caught between avoiding the news for my own mental health and then returning so I may be a responsible citizen. It’s painful.

This is not to say that I am without hope.  We will prevail and we sure are resisting and persisting!  My words sound lame to me.  There is only so much TV news I can take and yet I am renewed by the writings and words of others, especially those who delineate ways to resist while taking care of myself.

One way I take care of myself is by crocheting and knitting. Yes, that’s one way, just two different stitch methods.  I am able to make something, whether it is a pussy hat for a friend in Madison, Wisconsin, or hats for my grandkids.  Leta is 2 1/2 months old and growing so fast!  For Sam, a crocheted stocking cap with one for his best friend as well.  That way he might actually wear it!

I am covered though with a pervasive sadness.  Sad for the world, sad for refugees and plenty angry at the man who isn’t my president.  I do wonder though, if this is what had to happen before things will get better.  I get some comfort thinking that this may be where we have to be, as in hit rock bottom before we can get whole again? That said,  I also get very confused!

Bear with me as I write.  I hope to make more sense soon.

Marching in Spirit and Love

Today is today, tomorrow will be tomorrow.  Life goes on, good and bad, safe and dangerous, and fair and unfair.

Currently I am in a good place, with a new sense of confidence and ability to do what I am meant to.  On the other side of that good place I am angry and dismayed.

Today is a sunny and gorgeous autumn day in Western North Carolina.  A day for hiking mountain paths, mowing the yard for the last or almost next time this year or for a fall cleaning blitz.  For me those activities mean that all is right with the world.  And in my little world all is good.  Today anyway.

And yet, all is not right in the world.  In Charlotte and Atlanta there are marches and protests.  Another black life has been snuffed.  More than one, with ________ in Tulsa. There is question as to why there are less and less efforts to deescalate these situations instead of shooting to kill.  I remember times when a suspect would be talked down or at worst, shot in the leg.  That seems to be no more.

I’ve been reading and commenting upon Jim Wallis’ (Sojourner magazine) blog on this topic:

The ravine between white men who deny the existence of white privilege and those who work to convince them that it exists, is deep and wide.  (And yes, women deny white privilege as well, but not as vociferously.) Why is it that some will cry out about their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms at seemingly all costs, while chastising those who kneel in silence during the national anthem or march in protest of unequal treatment of black Americans in our cities?  The right to protest is an Amendment to forget?

It’s much easier to see the biases and faults of others than it is to see our own.  I definitely get that.  Those who responded to my words of response on Jim Wallis’ blog, those who say white privilege does not exist, were ready to explain or defend the police action in Tulsa and Charlotte.  One admitted that racism may still exist.  May.  How I wish that it was only a mere possibility!

These responders were apparently white and male.  One said he knew a few black people, but not well.  Both decried the protests as unacceptable, emphasizing looting and riots as the reason.  There was blame given to the black community for not favoring education enough (the ubiquitous “they” don’t encourage it) and that the black community encourages their own to hate police.  And yet these statements come from two people who admit or seem to admit that their knowledge comes from “what I hear” or “what I’ve read.”

I as a white woman, am no savior of people with darker skin than mine.  However, if I do not speak what I believe to be the raw truth, I am failing myself, my children and my friends.  But not ONLY these, I am failing humanity if I don’t share what I know, and do my best to be a culture broker, sharing what I know to be true from those who know that they do not receive equal treatment from shop owners, police and others.

Erin Hensley Schultz bravely says what I am saying, and is far more eloquent in  So, Which Is It?  It helps me to know that there are others out there like me, who feel the need to speak even though others will say we are nuts, bending over backward to help those who should be helping themselves.  WHAAAT???

Today I am not in Charlotte marching.  I wish I was and know that I could have gotten there if I really wanted to.  As I watched CNN last night and saw marchers go mile after mile, I wondered if I could really do it.  My hips hurt as I watched a reporter walk and walk and walk.  And yet there was an energy in the crowd and I imagine many felt no pain.

I am wondering.  There is a small black community near where I live.  I want to reach out and let them know I am upset.  Will I offend them?  Should I not worry?  What can I do?

When I write again, I hope to be able to tell you more.

Marching in Spirit and in Love.

Peace to ALL.

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