Weekend Coffee Share, Change for the Better

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer! It’s a coffee day, half-caff, that is. It is Sunday and I’m almost ready for church, multi-tasking with a million coffee-inspired ideas in my head that don’t all relate to where I’m going this morning. Okay, some of them do, but I am seriously multi-tasking in my head.

Change is on the wind these days! I’m not talking about a change of season; here in Northeast Florida we won’t get that until probably October if we’re lucky, barring the approach of a hurricane, which is approaching the west side of my state currently. No, I’m talking about changes in my life.

Who’s afraid of change? Not I! Yesterday was a good day. I got my lowlights and and highlights! My hair is getting longer, gradually. However, some changes have been more sudden. In the last month, my son moved back home with me (for the best at this time), he got a new job, I started a new school year, I became yearbook advisor at school, and the guy I’m dating moved closer. I’m optimistic about all of it! My son had a rough summer but is ‘getting it together. I have faith that the good will continue.

Sudden change can be an adjustment, and I’m sure experiencing that, but it all seems to be okay! I’m happy to help my son out. I’m getting paid for the new responsibility at school, and as I’ve gradually learned, I enjoy and flourish with the nurturing of students’ skills in extra-curricular areas. I love helping them to grow socially and emotionally.

I myself am learning new things, and it seems to be great for my brain. As long as I make time for relaxation and sleep, I think this is a positive road for me. So, today I am seeing bright skies, and not just because it is sunny and hot outside!

This week, I’ve been promoting a prequel to my Detours in Time series, The Temporal Test. Reviewed as “Awesome storytelling and storyline!” You might enjoy this short read, longer than a short story and slightly shorter than a novelette. Get a free download here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JQL5NNM Also, I’ve put Detours in Time, a full-length novel, at a reduced price of .99 for a limited time. https://www.amazon.com/Detours-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B0711ZW6XF It is an award-winning #scifi book with a sweet romance included and has been enjoyed by readers of all ages.

It has been a while since I actively promoted my published books. Take a look if you are so inclined. 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Made of Cast Iron

The ‘cast iron plant’–25 years and counting

You were once a wee one

How you needed me, needed love

I nurtured you the best I could

Encouraged you to grow into your own

You were an active little boy

Who loved mud and chasing birds

How those legs would move!

Then one day, they grew long,

You seemed awkward, but kept growing

It grew as well, with our moves,

Your ‘birth’ day cast iron plant,

Through the adjustments and changes.

Still, what remained the same

Was the hearts that were your home.

Your offshoot didn’t flourish when we gave it away,

So it just goes to show,

One flourishes when they know where is home…

We all need a welcoming place called home

To nurture, encourage, and help us grow.

You can always return to home.

Navigating Special Family Dynamics

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When you have a family member who is ill, you try to help them. You have to accept the reality of their illness, even though sometimes, they won’t. If it is your child, you must get over the self-blame.

I’ve read many books on mental illness, alcoholism, and recently, the book I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help, by Dr. Xavier Amadore. Over the last 4 to 5 years, I’ve attended meetings through NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, to learn what my loved one is dealing with and how to face it. Over the course of a week, I tried to record some of the most important things I’ve learned in order to remind myself how to deal with the ups and downs of this life.

The ABC’s of Navigating Mental Illness in the Family

a- Acceptance. It is what it is. Maybe it is a tragedy and so unfair, but it is the reality, and now what matters is how you all deal with it.

b-Boundaries. You have a right to them. I can only be healthy when I set them and require others to respect them.

c-Care, for your loved one and the others in your family.

d-Detach from the drama. Sometimes it’s not easy. Other family members may react to the ill loved one in anger or catastrophize the situation. Try to handle it calmly to be supportive, but remove yourself when it’s too much.

e-Express your true feelings to a therapist or friend

f-Forgive. Your loved one may hurt you emotionally, and may not even remember doing so. It’s hard to forget, and I don’t since I learn from each event, but forgiving is what you do for someone you love.

g-Gently voice your concerns. Hollering never got me anywhere with a sick person.

h-Hug freely, if it is accepted.

i-Instill confidence in them. Show them you notice or remember their good qualities.

j-Judge not. It’s even Biblical. I personally don’t like people judging me, so I’m working on not judging the ones I love.

k-Keep anger at bay–do not aim it at a loved one who is ill.

l-Listen openly. There are many times they may not even speak to you. Emrace the times when they do.

m-Model calm reactions

n-Never Stop Believing that it could get better. It has gotten better many times, and I try to forget that it could go downhill before getting better again.

0-Offer a listening ear but do not offer advice. Don’t speak to your loved one like an expert.

p-Practice Self-Care (Part of NAMI’s protocols and many other support groups)

Q- Quit blaming yourself. I think this could mess up a person’s personal balance of boundaries and caring for the individual who is ill. You’ll be more respected if you have boundaries, in my humble opinion.

R-Reject Stigma. I got this one from NAMI’s best practices, and it comes down to dealing with our own shame over our loved one’s illness. Do not allow others to belittle or mock their struggle. Accepting the stigma sort of feeds our own shame. I second-thought my decision to share this post, because I’m aware of the stigma. Yet, I know this post may encourage another who is dealing with a similar situation.

S-Show your love. There are ways to do this confidently and reassuringly without fawning over them and while maintaining boundaries. I constantly remind myself of this. Examples: “Next time you come over, please check the time. Midnight is too late.”

t-Try to empathize. It’s hard, but I think it really helps.

U-Understand, it’s the illness, not them

V-Validate their struggle. They are fighting a serious battle daily. No wonder she/he is acting like a jerk or waking up in a bad mood. They are struggling. Validate their struggle and acknowledge their bravery.

W-Work together as a team. This is still a goal for me, but my other family members and I are getting better.

X- eXhibit bravery. Soon, you may believe it. I constantly tell myself, ‘be brave,’ and it helps me.

Y-You are not alone! Seek help.

Z-Zone: Find a safe zone where you can express the truth of what’s going on, a friend, clergy, counselor, etc. It’s also helpful to clue you work supervisor in on the general situation as it could affect your attendance in the future.

*I’m sure some of these repeat themselves, but I have my favorites, and I have the ones I must remind myself of constantly. This is why I put it into a format, and the ABCs are, of course, quite simple. Keep it simple would be a good one as well, but it never was simple; maybe we can try to make it simplified, though.

You can find information about NAMI at http://www.nami.org.

Weekend Coffee Share, For the Moms

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Today is a matcha green tea day, as my dog rests at my feet. Morning gratitude affirmations play in the background. I am very ponderous, it being Mother’s Day weekend.

This goes out to the mothers out there and the fathers who filled a Mother’s role, the nurturers, encouragers, and listeners. You are awesome, and you build a future, whether you know it or not.

I am so grateful I will be able to spend time with my mother tomorrow. However, it is up in the air whether my son will join us at dinner tomorrow. He’s going through a hard time and does not want my involvement. I am trying not to be sad about it. So, now this goes out to the mothers who will be alone this weekend due to military, war, or loss. The mothers whose child (whether young or grown) is sick, hospitalized, incarcerated, or estranged. Enjoy your day, do it for you. At some point you realize you have very little control over the choices they make. If you laid the foundation for faith, love, and hard work in their lives, then you have done an excellent job. Be thankful for your own mother. If your family is riddled with trouble, addiction issues, or abuse, find a way to do something just for yourself. It will strengthen you for the next battle.

Realize that there comes a time when their battles are their own, and not yours. Once your child is grown, you can only remind them they are loved, and hope they will hear it and feel it. I have worked hard recently to let him fight his own battles, and he is going to do it his way, not mine. In an odd turn of events, my ex-husband moved down here to be closer to his son and has been turned away as well. He gets filled with worry about our son’s well-being, too. I pray he can be a positive presence in our son’s life.

Those of us who grew up with or live in a dysfunctional family should always remember that we are not dysfunctional. We are warriors, and sometimes I believe there is a way we can use that experience to help others. It is one way to make something out of the dunghill, something that possibly could shine.

Here is a recent favored quote I have found: “Our past is not, as some fear, a series of events carved in stone that we must carry around for the rest of our lives… but a kaleidoscope of experiences that, when viewed through different lenses, can ‘color’ (change) how we see our present and future.” ~ Bill Crawford

Weekend Coffee Share. Acceptance, part 536

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com. Grab your favorite beverage and grab a chair so we can chat! I’m havng a Medium roast with vanilla creamer myself.

I survived another teaching week in the time of COVID. I’ve been taking the mask off more as I sit behind my desk shield, distanced, just so the students can hear me. It’s so important to be heard clearly in order to teach and for them to appreciate me as human, just like them, and important to me for them to know I’m willing to bring humor and enjoyment to difficult situations or learning goals.

Yesterday, it got through to them. A few kids laughed with me. I gave another the elbow-bump-hug when it seemed he needed it. It’s not a real hug, but I told him, remember the COVID distance rules. Relating to them in this distanced time and teaching with a mask on is challenging and sometimes I feel like my efforts suck….but yesterday, I felt like I succeeded. Funny how scared I was to be teaching amongst middle schoolers and the germs they can pass, but now I am concerned about how the experience is affecting them. We have to accept this situation we’re in, but I don’t want them to feel alone, scared to laugh, or even scared to talk.

Facebook almost gave me some tears this morning:

These sentiments still ring true, as my son has worked steadily as a mechanic for a year. “You will find your own way and I will admire you for that. Thank you, Facebook memories .

Ah, Facebook memories. Let’s not forget what we’ve come through or what has shaped us. I learned so much about acceptance as a parent. Yes, “You will find your own way and I will admire you for it.”

Way back when…. circa 2088. ❤

I’ve struggled this week with my digestive issue, something I was diagnosed with in 2009. I ate so little for lunch last Saturday that I pigged out on Mexican food Saturday night. It was fun and tasty, but I suffered for a week. I feel like Icarus who flew too close to the sun. Except I can get back to my healthy diet and not suffer now. I’ll save my gusto for ax-throwing and the rock-climbing gym, both 4 month goals for me. I’m still faithfully doing regular workouts for my arms and shoulder in addition to the cardio three times weekly. I have goals, and I’ll get there!

Today is a hair dresser day, so I can hopefully enjoy easily styling again for a few months. You may notice above that the hair has gotten unruly. I don’t go with a tame look, but it does need to be easier to fix in the morning. I haven’t finished my workouts for the day, but I will after my appointment! Thanks for joining me for this coffee chat, and have a great week!

Best of the Year. Dec. 12-17. #2018BOTY

Blog#BOTYezgif-com-gif-maker-4

What was the Best of 2018 for me?  This is a continuation.  My job and life being as they are, I’d never remember to post every day, these days.  I got this idea and the graphic from Beaton at becomingthemuse.wordpress.com

These are the best of 2018 for me, #12 to #17.

12.  Achievement- I landed my first book signing ever!  What did it take?  Well, I have entered my book in many book contests, gotten some acclaim, boosted my confidence, and….drum roll: I made the call to an independent book store.  That is what it took.  The confidence; I had to develop that.  After that, I just had to make sure to tell every single friend I had.  I was so grateful for all of the people who showed up!

CanepaBookSigning45274028_10213512221228915_802157444007460864_n

 

13.  Lesson Learned- I keep learning this lesson, and I put it into practice in 2017, but I kept working it this year to yield the results.  The lesson is this:  The best thing you can give your offspring is unconditional love, no matter what.  I have learned this with my son again and again.  Some will advise that I need to cut him loose as a young adult.  I do give him his freedom and space, but he just seems to not be ready for certain things.  It would take a lot of time to reiterate what he has been through in the last four years, but I’ll suffice it to say that he still is not driving since his car accident and concussion of Jan., 2017.  He rides a bike to work at a car wash, and he is happy there working around 30 hours a week.  He is appreciated by the owner and very punctual.  I am proud of that; he has been at it for a little over a year now.  He is a very quiet young man.  Some people are taken aback by that.  Just realize, some of us have an awful lot going on inside, and we have been on a mental health journey as a family to understand him and to deal with things without responding in anger, anxiety, or hopelessness.  We went together to RI to see my dad this summer, and he was like a quiet child, but best of all, he enjoyed himself in his quiet manner.  When it was boring on the plane, we played a word game app together.  I caught his cold, but I couldn’t distance him when he was actually interacting with me far more than he had in over a year.  He has grown; he likes to watch movies with me, and he listens to books on audio at times.  I believe his interests are coming back, and I won’t focus on the fact that he isn’t reading the books, but that he is developing some interests.

RIcrag.RocksBeauty34220_1369823214626_93248_n From our first visit to RI, 2010.

14. The Best blog post is by Beaton, who inspired me to join the Best of the Year posts!  It was a September blog post about the elections and resulting riots in Zimbabwe with a more recent follow up.  This just shows how the world of blogging can connect people across the oceans and in other countries.  He was out and about when the riots occurred and fearful for his safety.  How else could I know the perspective of someone who went through this?  I am really into learning about other points of view and the global knowledge one can attain through the internet.  He recently posted a follow up, to include real life photos and a Youtube clip of one of the politicians justifying their actions.  I have used and presented Beaton’s blog posts with my Journalism class,  to get their frame of mind out of their own little corner and to learn about the world.  Visit his recent post:   https://becomingthemuse.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/of-coffee-with-a-state-march-of-mind/

15.  Person you met-At my booksigning in November, I met Lena Sheqeraq, an author who writes children’s books, one of them an ESL teacher resource.  I am always glad to meet and network with new authors, and it’s great that she is local!  She even gave me the name of her publisher.  This could lead to something exciting!  I’ll let you know when I know.  🙂

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16. Business/service you started using  – Chiropractic services.  After a 3 year break, (no pun intended), I went back to the chiropractor.  I had gone for two straight years until the doctor’s frequent schedule changes disgusted me.  (My anxiety could not handle the hassle with dodging the traffic to get to his location by 4:45).  I have suffered in the meantime and was given a prescription for muscle relaxors from the primary doc.  Well, they mask the pain but don’t make it better.  So I went back.  This is a new doctor, not the one who kept changing the schedule.  I get there around 5:15, and the traffic is not bad at all.  That, and my neck feels so much better, and I am not getting sick as much.  It really is good for my health!

17.  App you discovered- The Canva app.  I have been using Canva.com on the desktop for about two years to make book graphics, blog graphics, and even one book cover for From Lost to Loved.  I was out in public one day and got a surge of creativity one day.  So I went to the Google app store and downloaded Canva for my phone.  I am still learning about it, but I love the portability, since I do post a lot of my book information using my phone.  Try it!

 

“The Lady and the Champ,” a Short Story told strictly in dialogue. 1,000 word limit.

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Warning:  Pure dialogue leaves a lot up for interpretation. Don’t miss anything.  🙂

The Lady and the Champ by Pamela Schloesser Canepa    Copyright, 2016.

 

“Bill, how about tonight?”

“Trish, you know it’s not been enough time since the accident, and I can’t take another pill today.  I’m sorry.  Please be patient.”

“I’m trying, hon’.”

“Oh, don’t give me that look.  You know what the doctor said.  I’m just, really hurting. One more pill and my blood pressure may skyrocket.”

“I didn’t know you’d already taken so many pills.  I didn’t know it was still this bad.  I’m sorry.   I try to understand how you’re feeling, and I’ve been patient.  Just, never mind, Bill.  No arm wrestling; it’s okay.  Is there anything I could do to make you feel better?”

“No, Trish.  There’s really not.  Well, maybe, fix me some of your excellent Texas cheese toast?”

“Of course.  Let me go do that.”

“You’re really so understanding.  How did I get so lucky to have a wife like you?”

“You were the most gentlemanly guy that came off the boat that night.  Of course, those muscles of yours probably caught my eye.”

“That’s the spirit.  Remember me that way.  We’ll get through this.”

*****

“Here you go, honey, just as you like it.”

“You’re not having any?”

“Not hungry.  I think I’ll just watch the boxing match.”

“You need to get out there and make some friends.  Don’t spend all your time with a sick, broken man like me.”

“That accident was not your fault, Bill.  I don’t need to be out gallavantin’ around and leaving you here to wallow in misery.  I don’t intend to, either.  We’ve only been married a year, and I don’t plan to neglect our marriage.  I want to be here for you.  We’ll just sit here and watch the match.”

“Why don’t you call up that gal, Becky?  Go out for a night on the town.”

“Nope.”

“Just go to a movie, girl, you need to get out.  I can’t stand seeing you housebound here with me, a twenty-three-year-old girl, full of energy, pretty as anything.  Go out and have some fun.  I trust you, really.”

“No, Bill.  I told you, I’m staying here and that’s all there is to it.”

“Go see Jared down the hall.  He’ll be good for practice.”

“What are you saying???!!What do you mean?”

“Well, look at the muscles on him.”

“I don’t want him!  I only want you!  Stop this!  Stop!  Stop!”

“Trish, I’m just saying, he’d be good for keeping you in shape, warmed up, ready for the next round.”

“You mean..”

“I mean the next arm wrestling match.  No, I’m not suggesting you run to his arms for comfort and love.  Gosh!  What do you think I am?   I know that’s not like you, and honestly, the thought sickens me.”

“Oh, what a relief.”

“But, please know, if I found out you did such a thing, I’d probably forgive you.  It can’t be easy hanging out here with a broken body like mine.  Heck, it’s probably like being married to an old man.   Sometimes I feel sorry for you.”

“Baby, I would never, ever look on someone else that way.  I don’t want anyone else.  I will wait for you.”

“Ouch.  Move your arm, please.  I’m still sore in that shoulder.  That’s not even the worst one.  See.  I can’t even stand you touching me right now.  Can’t even hug your old man.”

“I’m sorry!  I’m sorry.  Really.  Our money-making plans can wait.  Don’t worry.  I’ll keep in shape.  You’ll get better, and get back in shape.  We can do this.  Sorry, I know, I won’t touch you on the arm either.  Oh, I’m just, sorry.”

“Baby, don’t cry.  Just, can you please, just, let me sleep a while?”

“That feels good, you running your fingers through my hair, even if I have to sit on the floor.  Just keep on doing that, okay?  Well, ‘til you fall asleep.”

“Look at us.  You have to lean against my wheelchair, and the only way I can show you love is to play with your hair.  But not for too long, even that will make my arm tired soon.  You just don’t know how blessed I feel.  I truly know how lucky I am that you are my wife, that you’re still around…”

“Bill?  You stopped….Oh.  Asleep. Oh, well.  It was nice for a moment.  It’ll happen, Bill.  You’ll be fighting again soon; I’ll be a pro arm-wrestler.  Such a unique show we are together.”

****

 

“Honey?  Where are you?”

“I’m right here, Bill.  Had to clean up the kitchen.  Besides, you were sleeping.  You don’t have to worry about me sneaking out or running off.  I promise.”

“Trish, babe, I told you, I trust you.  No, it’s not that.  Look, out the window.  Jared is here.  Go catch him in the hall; see if he’s game.  If I can’t win any fights, maybe you can keep your game ready and win some matches.”

“Really?  Is this what you were dreaming about?”

“Hon’, you’ve got the beauty, the bod, and the strength to be a total knock-out, in more ways than one.  Don’t let it rest just because I have to.  Go on.  I know you’ll be back.  Believe me, I don’t expect anything bad to come out of this.  Jared’s a good guy, anyhow.  Knows my situation.  Really.  Just go, catch him in the hall like you just happened to be there, too.  Then, you make small talk, on the topic of arm-wrestling.  I’ll bet he didn’t know that about you.”

“Well, okay, I guess.”

“There he is, hear the outer door opening?  Go to him.  He’ll be willing, I’m sure.  He may be a good match, even.  Don’t look so glum!  I’ll be up and at it in no time.  In the meantime, have fun, and let me know how the arm-wrestling match goes.”

“Okay, Bill.  But keep remembering, I wish it was you.”

“I know, honey, don’t I know it.  I’ll be wishing it, too.”

 

*This story was in reaction to a short story contest, which I ultimately did not enter as I had too much going on.  I will say this, it was a challenge! There were so many spaces between the words leaving room for interpretation and innuendo.  Or maybe I intended that?  Your constructive comments are welcome. I don’t plan to re-write this; it is a snapshot.   What did you get out of it, without the benefit of setting and character background?  As always, thanks for reading!*

 

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