Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankful for Healing that Comes through Expression

My original goal was a gratitude post every day in November. I'm glad I stated right up front that I might not write every day and I wasn't going to give in to perfectionism. Because I lived up to that goal.

I've skipped multiple days ... and it hasn't bothered me a bit.  

I have been grateful. I just haven't felt like writing.

When I am too busy or don't feel the inspiration to write, I remind myself that not even my friends are waiting with bated breath for the next blog post, asking themselves, "Gosh, I wonder what Shari is grateful for today!"

I don't know whether I will feel inspired to write anything worth reading in the remaining days of November or not. Maybe. But I'm thankful that I will probably be so distracted by living my life and enjoying family in the coming days that I won't feel the need to blog.

This past week, ever since the events in Paris, I've noticed how words can just become noise. Even my own. And as I've thought about possible blog posts, I realized that I didn't want to add more noise if I didn't have something meaningful to say.

I love having a blog; an outlet to share what's on my heart and mind. But in recent years, I've noticed that I'm not as driven to be heard as I once was. I think there's an obvious reason for that.

For so much of my life, I didn't have a voice. I was always trying to have a voice, wanting to be heard and understood. It's certainly not that I never spoke up. I just didn't believe anyone was listening or truly caring. In my 27-year-long abusive marriage, my feelings were irrelevant and unwelcome. In my spiritual environment, I was expected to suppress whatever I felt or thought that didn't line up with the dictates of my pastor.

I felt like someone was always wanting me to stifle my voice, leaving the things they didn't want to hear unsaid.

When I left the cult I was raised in and dared to speak of my convictions openly, I was asked why I couldn't just leave quietly. Why did I have to be vocal? Why couldn't I just keep all my feelings, opinions and convictions to myself?

I totally get why "Let it Go" is such a powerful song and message for young girls. Conceal, don't feel is a message I received throughout my life and one I could not comply with.

I believe that the more others try to suppress our voices, the stronger our need to be heard grows. At least, I know it's true of me. 

There is no one trying to quash my person, my spirit or my freedom of expression today. And subsequently that burning desire to "be heard" has gone from a flame to an ember.

I am heard.

My feelings do matter to the people closest to me.

And I'm not chasing acceptance or approval the way I have at other times in my past.

I've even developed the ability to accept, as a part of life, being misunderstood and misjudged.

I feel liberated.

I think this quote from Lisa Kleypas explains why... 

Lisa Kleypas

So I'm thankful I have a voice. 

I'm thankful I have people in my life who don't want to stifle and silence me. 

I'm thankful for the ability to write and share my thoughts. 

I'm thankful I have been given an opportunity in life to touch and inspire others by sharing my ongoing story. 

I'm thankful for the healing that has come through expression -- for all of us who have dared to fully express ourselves... 

But I'm also thankful for so many days when I don't feel compelled to write because I'm simply too wonderfully distracted by living my life and appreciating my blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving! 
May we all find happiness through gratitude!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thankful to be a Wildcats Fan!

Twelve years ago I became a UK fan by marriage.

John's dad went to Kentucky and played basketball one year for Adolph Rupp. Kentucky basketball is a Howerton passion. John grew up rooting for the Cats. So when we got married, I started wearing the t-shirts. But I wasn't a real fan.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thankful to be Growing Older

I did not take a day off from gratitude, but I decided to take the day off from blogging yesterday. The reason I took the day off was my hands. They hurt.

I finally managed to avoid gluten for a whole day (after being off the wagon for weeks). And I'm amazed how much better my hands feel today -- even first thing this morning. Gluten increases inflammation in the body and I'm convinced I feel better when I don't eat it, but menus are my Kryptonite! I feel a surge of powerlessness whenever one is put in front of me!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thankful for Love in the Midst of Hate & Light in the Midst of Darkness

I have had a goal for this month -- to write a gratitude post every day.

Finding thirty reasons to be thankful isn't a challenge. I am grateful for big and little things every day. The challenge is writing thoughtful posts that hopefully inspire gratitude in others.

I started writing yesterday what I thought would be this morning's gratitude post. And then the images from Paris hit the news and social media. Horrific, barbaric atrocities committed by human beings who are so filled with hatred that they hunt and kill innocent civilians; complete strangers who are simply living their lives and hurting no one. Many (if not most) of the victims in Paris last night were young people enjoying a concert.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thankful for CLL Christian Friends

February 2007
Just prior to diagnosis
July 3, 2007: I introduced myself to the online support community of CLL Christian Friends.

John had gotten his first abnormal CBC results in a routine check up with his doctor in April. He had gone for the check because he was feeling tired a lot and had noticed one enlarged lymph node in his neck (that he never pointed out to me and I hadn't noticed). His white count was around 30K. He was given antibiotics and the CBC was repeated six weeks later -- in June. Same results.

Our PCP had tried several times unsuccessfully to reach John and had not gotten a returned call. Our PCP is also a good friend. John's mind was on business, not his results. Finally, Mike called me. He told me he suspected CLL and John needed to see an oncologist for a confirmed diagnosis but he couldn't get John to call him back. I had been clueless up to that point.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Husbands Who Love Their Wives

I love being in the presence of happily married couples who treat each other with love and respect. And -- take this the way I mean it -- I have a special love and admiration for husbands who truly love and cherish their wives.

Because of my own past, I am more "tuned in" to the vibes I feel from husbands toward their wives. I notice condescending words and behavior even when they are subtle. I also notice the flip side. I can just feel it when a husband not only loves his wife, but admires and treasures her. It shows not only in his words, but in his tone and touch.

Being with a couple where this kind of love is alive (especially after many years) is magical for me. It just makes me happy.

I remember many years ago, as a young woman still in an abusive relationship, feeling such deep admiration for a husband who stood out to me as a man who deeply loved and cherished his wife. The way he looked at her and talked about her exuded his appreciation for her. This couple was a generation ahead of me in age. I didn't envy his wife. I just remember feeling joy for her and trying to imagine what it would feel like to have that kind of marriage and husband. (Never daring to imagine that one day I would!)