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learning to receive

Oct 17, 2014 in blessings | 2 comments

My dear friend Tasha has organized an epic “Pour Out Piles of Love on Tracy” party for tomorrow. I wasn’t supposed to know about it, but she messed up and BCCed me on an email (Which is a VERY fortunate mistake because I probably would have gone into full freak-out mode if my house was invaded early on a Saturday morning and I had no foreknowledge of it at all!). I heartily tried to veto the whole shebang, but no one listens to me anymore and the party is going on with or without my approval.

After thinking about it for a few days, I have decided to focus on the love and be grateful for this outpouring of service…a gazillion people are going to show up tomorrow morning to deep clean our home, repair lots of broken things, work in our decrepit yard, and pour out love everywhere they look. Oh my. It is so scary to let people into my home and see my messes, my piles, my crap I cannot decide what to do with. I am feeling quite vulnerable already with these bad dreams and sleepless nights and this experience is sending my vulnerable feelings sky high.

Part of me thinks, “Even though I have been injured for over 2 1/2 years and even though I spend lots of time in bed and even though I can’t move quickly, stay on my feet for very long, squat down at all, or carry heavy loads, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING IN THIS HOUSE!” And then I go to this train of thinking, “I mean for goodness sakes I have two teenage daughters and even though they have busy school schedules, jobs, symphony, running, friends, and lots of other things, the three of us should be able to do this.” And then I go to “I have a husband who can fix/build/make pretty much anything, he should have this house in tip top shape.” But the truth is I can’t. We can’t. We have been living in survival mode since at least spring of 2011 when we found the lump in my breast. My husband works long hours six days a week. He is only here about six Saturdays a year and all the repairs and projects for the whole year get squished into those six Saturdays.

Kat says karma is coming my way and I need to soak it all in and remember all the wonderful times I have had pulling such events off for others who need help. So I am trying really hard to release the shame and welcome the love. I have decided to move forward into tomorrow with a grateful heart. There is so much good in this world. So, so much. And tomorrow is my day to learn to receive…and smile while people surround me with service.

7670 days since we said yes

Oct 15, 2014 in blessings, family | 0 comments

Twenty-one years since we knelt at the altar in covenant making.

Fierce loyalty.

Tender love.

Breathtaking kisses.

Safe snuggles.

Hilarious inside jokes.

Patience.

Patience.

Patience.

That look in his eye that tells me he adores me.

When I first looked at him back on the evening of June 4, 1993, my spirit was overcome by the feeling of stability and security. I have been safe in his arms ever since. He loves me just the way I am and he anchors me to all the good things. Don’t you think this song was written for us?

Anchor
by Mindy Gledhill

When all the world is spinning round
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
and my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down

I am nearly world renowned
As a restless soul who always skips town
But I look for you to come around
And anchor me back down

There are those who think that I’m strange
They would box me up, and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn’t have me any other way

When people pin me as a clown
You behave as though I’m wearing a crown
When I’m lost I feel so very found
When you anchor me back down

There are those who think that I’m strange
They would box me up, and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say
That you wouldn’t have me any other way

When all the world is spinning round
Like a red balloon way up in the clouds
and my feet will not stay on the ground
You anchor me back down

Oh, how I love this man God has yoked me to. Thank you honey…for everything.

p.s. I had to edit the post title because I forgot about the leap years. Five more days.

stuffing

Oct 13, 2014 in healing from abuse, Uncategorized | 3 comments

The day these bad dreams started was the day I stuffed down a comment about being molested. It seems to be a pattern in my life: I don’t say things that will cause others to feel guilt or feel hurt. I protect other’s feelings by not speaking up.

Now don’t get me wrong, I CAN and DO say hurtful things. Far too often thoughtless comments burst out of mouth and I end up wounding someone deeply. But it seems to be the pattern of my life that I excuse other people’s behavior by not saying “You have hurt me!

I have been trying to figure out why I do this for many weeks now. The counselor I had an appointment with tried to get to the bottom of it and decided it is because I don’t value myself enough to say something.

That didn’t sit right with me. It could be true, but it doesn’t feel true. Richard and I have talked and talked and talked about it and it doesn’t feel true to him either. I think that is often the reason people don’t speak up, but it just doesn’t seem true for me. I do value myself. I have great self-esteem and believe I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to. I am not at all the picture of a victim.

And yet, I often stuff my feelings deep down inside and refuse to tell people how horribly wrong their behavior has been or how terribly they have hurt me. I even have one person in my life who continues to abuse me in many ways and I allow it to happen. It infuriates me that I will not stand up and put an end to it.

And see, see what I just did. I won’t name names. I won’t call this person out into the open.

WHY??????????????????????

I do feel lighter than I did several weeks ago and I am really truly smiling and feeling joy again, but the pain is still here. I woke up on Saturday night with ANOTHER kidney infection…the third since this all started. And Sunday night was another sleepless night. I prayed and prayed and prayed for sleep to come, but instead I lay there tossing and turning all night long with numb arms (something must have moved out of place in my upper back and is causing my arms/hands to be numb) and wide-awake mind. And now it is Monday night, nearly midnight, and I can’t sleep again.

light

Oct 9, 2014 in blessings, healing from abuse | 1 comment

A swirling ball of emotions and experiences have filled my past many weeks. Moments of joy, celebrations of birthdays, exquisite beauty, peaceful solitude, and quiet moments of pondering have all been present along with gut-wrenching pain, soul-searing heartache, fear, grief, and misery and then to top it all off, a bout of pneumonia that sapped nearly all my strength.

It has been a bit surreal – as if I am living in several different realities all at the same time – and I haven’t known how to best navigate these waters.

Some things have helped. Morning scripture study and prayer with our family has added grounding to my day. Evening read-aloud time and family prayer has been the whip cream to top off our days with moments of unity before bed. Snuggling with my little ones has helped me remember who I am and what I am all about: family. Last week’s priesthood blessings were filled with words of truth and hope for everyone and definitely a balm of healing for me. Attending General Conference this weekend gave me the same sort of strength my mountains give me – fortitude to persevere from deep within the earth. All of it has helped. All of it has helped me feel God’s love.

Last week sometime Jessica sent me some lovely thoughts from Dickens that helped me sort out my conflicting feelings of deep gratitude for the life I have now and the deep, deep pain I feel from being molested, my father leaving us and physically abandoning me, and my mother being raped and subsequently being emotionally unavailable while she healed from her own pain. Part of me has felt like if I were really grateful, I wouldn’t have the pain. But this quote by Dickens helped me understand it is okay to be in both places at once.

“The deep remembrance of the sense I had of being utterly neglected and hopeless, of the shame I felt in my position; of the misery it was to my young heart … cannot be written. My whole nature was so penetrated with grief and humiliation of such considerations, that even now, famous and caressed and happy, I often forgot in my dreams that I have a dear wife and children; even that I am a man; and wander desolately back to that time in my life.”

Just because my heart is hurting does not mean I am not grateful. It simply means I am hurting.

At some point in all of this blackness, I read the words to a favorite song from back in my teenage years. It got me through many a dark night then and I thought it might get me through some of these dark nights now.

Hold On, The Light Will Come
by Michael McClean

The message of this moment is so clear

And as certain as the rising of the sun
When your world is filled with darkness, doubt or fear
Just hold on, hold on
The light will come

Everyone who’s ever tried and failed

Stands much taller when the victory’s won
And those who’ve been in darkness for awhile
Kneel much longer when
The light has come

It’s a message everyone of us must learn

That the answers never come without a fight
And when it seems you’ve struggled far too long
Just hold on, hold on
There will be light

Hold on, hold on, the light will come

Hold on, hold on, the light will come

If you feel trapped inside a never ending night

If you’ve forgotten how it feels to feel the light
If you’re half crazy thinking you’re the only one
Who’s afraid the light will never really come
Just hold on, hold on the light will come

The message of this moment is so clear

And as certain as the rising of the sun
When your world is filled with darkness, doubt or fear
Just hold on, hold on the light will come

After weeks of heartache and pain, I decided I needed to talk to my Stake President. I love this man and I sensed his wise, Christ-centered counsel was exactly what I needed. He is being released in a few weeks and I wanted to receive a priesthood blessing along with his wisdom and love. We met on Tuesday for several hours and God poured out light and truth and clarity. Those few hours will be one of the treasures of my life.

President Poston helped me understand that this pain is okay – feeling it does not mean I am lacking faith, it just comes. He told me there will be periods of time in my life when the pain from my childhood will flare up. It just will. How I respond to the pain is what is important. He counseled me to let it come and keep trusting God. He said we don’t trust the outcome, we trust the Giver – know He is with me, even in the pain. Don’t trust Him only when he takes the pain away, trust him in the pain, trust him always.

Such beautiful, beautiful thoughts.

He shared D&C 100:15:

Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to those that walk uprightly.

He told me that I do walk uprightly and to take this scripture at face value – that ALL things shall work together for my good. Well, I can argue till I am blue in the face that I don’t walk uprightly. I lose my patience, I am critical, I am quick to anger. Most of all, I am full of prideful independence that I will solve my problems and then go to God. But this dear man testified as a servant of God, holder of priesthood keys, and a judge in Israel, that I do walk uprightly and all things shall work together for my good.

He counseled me to go to bed with faith in Christ and heart full of hope for a good night’s rest. If the bad dreams come, plead for light. Look heavenward and plead for relief and trust it to come. He asked me to start the day in prayer asking for light and heaven’s help to surround me, then get to the business of the day. Then end the day in prayer talking to Father about my day and asking for light and rest to be with me through the night. He promised me the light will come.

And then he gave Richard a beautiful, sacred, profound blessing that filled him with peace and hope and assurance that Father is very aware of him.

And then they both laid their hands on my head and the light of God poured into my soul.

The words are far too sacred to share here on the interwebs, but oh my, they are powerful and beautiful and full of healing. This I know: God knows me, loves me, is with me. I have a great work to do in this life and the circumstances of my life are not an accident, they are a gift that enables me to do the work God has called me to do.

I feel lighter than I have in many weeks. Thank you Father. Thank you Jesus.

miss kez turns 14

Oct 6, 2014 in birthdays, children, family, pics, slider | 2 comments

Miss Keziah celebrated her 14th birthday in style. She is pretty tired of our simple birthday celebrations and decided to take matters into her own hands. She spent all afternoon and evening on Thursday blowing up hundreds of balloons and hanging up streamers. Then she insisted we all wake up at 12:36 to open her presents at the exact time she was born. Although we didn’t get much sleep that night it was totally worth it to make her dreams come true.

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This girl is such a delight to me. Since the night she was born, she has been passionate and full of vigor and vim. When she was little, her temper tantrums were intense and long-lasting and often more than we thought we could handle, but her fierce determination has grown into a great work ethic and we as parents just need to support her in helping her achieve her long list of goals.

She is a huge Michael Vey fan and since the new book just came out, we gave her book four, Hunt For Jade Dragon.

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She has been asking for a new CTR ring so Richard made her a giant cardboard ring.

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She also loves highlighters, so a new pack of fancy retractable ones showed up for her birthday.

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Her birthday book this year is Girls Who Choose God which is so fabulous I need to do a whole post about its awesomeness, but let me tell you, it is so, so lovely and everyone needs to buy a gazillion copies.

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Keziah is a list maker extreme – She has entire notebooks of packing lists, song lists, book lists, future dog name lists (for her 47 dogs she is going to eventually have), she even makes lists of lists – so when I saw this list making notebook at TJ Maxx a few months ago I snatched it up to save for her birthday.

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But her big present, the present she has been hoping and praying for for years is a second dog. We have told her at least a thousand times, “We are a ONE dog family!” but she has continued to beg and plead and search for another dog. Well, about a year ago, I started looking for a dog for her. It had to be a well-behaved dog that all of us, even the non-dog-lovers, could live with and not lose our minds. It had to be young enough to be Keziah’s running partner, but not so young that we would have to endure an endless puppy/toddler stage of accidents, jumping, chewing, barking, etc.

A few weeks ago we found what we hoped was the right dog. She was down in Utah so we made arrangements to pick her up on our trip down for General Conference. Last night we picked Harley up from her adorable family and made the long and squishy drive home with our new family member. Keziah has renamed her Charley (from her list of future dog names!) and is thrilled to pieces to have a dog that loves to play fetch, go running, and has plenty of energy to keep up with her.

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Sadie wasn’t so sure she liked this new addition when she met her in the middle of the night. But we worked with both of them and by this afternoon they were getting along quite well. A trip to the lake for a family walk helped Sadie accept her as one of the clan.

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Charley pulls on her leash too much for Miss Annesley’s muscle strength, but Sadie is a perfect running partner for her.

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Charley loves the water and it seems will swim for sticks all day.

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We hope this first walk together is the first of many happy days at the lake.

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Happy, happy birthday Miss Kez!

here i am

Oct 2, 2014 in healing from abuse | 0 comments

A warm smile of gratitude graced my face as I went to bed last night. For I was given a beautiful gift.

I was given the gift of myself. Yesterday for the first time in many weeks, I felt the passion and joy of being Miss Tracy. I smiled real smiles of happiness and shouted real words of excitement and felt real energy moving within me.

I can use exclamation points and have them mean excitement and not flaming rage.

Glorious!

I had been wondering all week about having a book discussion at my home when I was feeling so dark and dismal. I didn’t see how it could possibly be enjoyable for anyone and frankly didn’t see how I could discuss a book with such heavy thoughts weighing down on me.

But I woke up on Wednesday feeling centered and loving and loved and me. Through the grace of God I was able to be calm and patient when Kez was in freak out mode as she got ready for her Shakespeare presentation. I didn’t yell at her or lose my patience – I was able to speak calm, soul-filling words, and help her get there on time and with all the stuff she needed. When people started coming into iFAMILY, I was able to connect with them instead of wanting to run away and hide from everyone. I was able to listen and love and care about others.

And then at our book discussion last night, I was alive and excited and it was such a gift to my soul to discover that I am still in here somewhere. After so many weeks of black sludge permeating my being, I had started to wonder if the bright and bouncy Tracy would ever be found again.

I will probably have some more black sludge days – I need to have more as I know I am not done processing the anger and hurt and violation – but now, finally, I can have some days of light and love as well.

some victories

Sep 30, 2014 in blessings, family, healing from abuse | 0 comments

It’s high time we focus on some victories, wouldn’t you say? Even in the sludge of what I am experiencing right now, I can see the goodness around me, the blessings of my life, and for that I am grateful. If I was in this sleep-deprived, grief-laden state without being able to see the good, I think I would go completely bonkers.

  • Blythe is working! Wahoo!
  • We get to go to General Conference this weekend! Big Wahoo!
  • Keziah is running cross-country and loving it. Yesterday she clocked her fastest time on a 400m at practice and came back to the car full of confidence and satisfaction.
  • Even though I was sorely tempted, I did not take up residence in the land-of-everything-is-awful-and-Richard-needs-a-new-wife. I thought about buying a ticket, but I refused to put out the money and did not board that train. And it was even in the midst of my progesterone dropping! This is huge folks. Huge. I would have fully expected that in the midst of these sleepless nights and awful dreams, I would have jumped on board that train, but through the grace of God, I was able to stay here and hold onto his (and His) love.
  • This case of pneumonia is doing much, much better! In fact, I think I will try to ride the Elliptigo for a few minutes this afternoon and see how my lungs handle it.
  • After years of Keziah begging with every cell of her body for another dog, we have finally decided to get her a cutie pie named Harley. Kez will promptly rename her Charley and we will all live happily ever after as a two-dog family. Right? We pick her up on Saturday when we head to Utah for General Conference.

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  • I am cooking meals for my family…not every night, but more than I have in months. Kat’s lentil tacos and this delicious fried rice recipe (I don’t even put chicken in it and it is still so, so delicious! I think the sesame oil must be the secret ingredient I have been missing all these years.) have become once-a-week standbys.
  • Fisher and I finished reading Iron Thunder today. It is a story about the Monitor vs. Merrimac battle in the Civil War. He is doing a presentation about the battle in a few weeks at iFAMILY. He also just finished listening to G.A. Henty’s book With Lee in Virginia.
  • Speaking of listening to books, that birthday boy is listening up a storm on his new birthday CD player. We looked for weeks for just the right one. We wanted it to play CDs, MP3s, and cassettes if possible. We finally found the right one and as a bonus it has an aux-in line as well. When the rest of us get to be too much for this quiet, peace-loving guy, he can go to his room, build with his legos, and listen to fabulous stories.
  • Keziah’s 14th birthday is on Friday. My little fireball is growing up. She is louder than ever (and if you knew her in person, you would know that is saying A LOT) and though we all tend to breathe a sigh of relief when she is gone for two hours each morning to seminary, but we wouldn’t change her hilarious, spirited, hard-working, obnoxious, goal setting (and achieving) self for anything.
  • We have consistently held 6:00 a.m. scripture study for 6 weeks. Oh my goodness, never in a million years did I think I would be able to say those words. We are rocking this! Every single morning I lie in bed and decide I am NOT going to get up and every single morning I do anyway and by the time I get out to the front room, I am grateful.
  • My room is cleaner than it has been for a long, long time.
  • Fisher has earned a couple of dates (one for finishing his set of reading books and one for filling up his Happy Jar with Warm Fuzzies) with me and Annesley has almost earned one, so we are going to get to spend some lovely one-on-one time together in the next few weeks.
  • Even this grief has good points. It helps me see the stark contrasts of life and cling to the beautiful and precious even more fiercely. It has reminded me why I do what I do…why I mother and love and work to strengthen families.

Life is good. This may not last, but at least today I can see the light and can feel a real, genuine smile on my face.

blessings from on high

Sep 30, 2014 in healing from abuse | 0 comments

Family home evening last night was just the balm of Gilead I needed – Richard gave us all Father’s Blessings.

And the light came.

And my heart-pain eased.

And I felt the love of my Father, my Savior, my ancestors, and my husband.

And I remembered the feeling of joy.

who am i and what am i doing in this life?

Sep 29, 2014 in healing from abuse | 4 comments

I’m living in several different realities right now. It is hard and painful and incredibly confusing to my psyche.

In one, I feel like a volcano ready to erupt with a massive lava flow of rage that will cover the earth.

In another, I feel so fragile I could break into a million pieces.

Then in my little homeschooling mother realm, I am going through the motions. Teaching reading, doing math problems, exploring the Civil War with Fisher, working on handwriting with Annes. Playing games with everyone. Learning and loving and encouraging, trying my best to keep this realm safe and happy and calm for my children.

In my wife realm, I am hurting. Hurting so very deeply. It is the only safe place for me to hurt this deeply. But I want to stop hurting and stop feeling and stop this madness, so I find myself pushing him away. Trying to get him not to care and stop being so incredibly kind.

In my public realm, I am calmer than perhaps I have ever been. My bubbliness has evaporated. But I am still acting. It’s not like I can walk around screaming at people or bawling my eyes out. So I try to smile, try to do all the public niceties that are expected of people in a civilized society. And it hurts. I was almost paralyzed on Saturday before the General Women’s Meeting. I DID NOT want to go and see all those people. I couldn’t face them and put a smile on my face. But I finally went and loved the messages. But I didn’t mingle, it was too much, I think, humanity, for my state of being. The thought of going grocery shopping or running errands and being with people is painful. I don’t want to see anyone right now. I want to curl up in a ball and disappear.

I slide from realm to realm and emotion to emotion and never get to stay in one realm long enough to actually make progress.

I cannot go on like this. I think I may need to go live in a treehouse for a month and let all the tears out once and for all, then perhaps I can come home and function again.

love makes the world go round

Sep 27, 2014 in blessings, mothering | Comments Off

In the midst of all these bad dreams, pneumonia-laden lungs and a body full of faulty connective tissue, I am a mother.

A mother of four beautiful children who need me to be emotionally present in their lives.

We are trying our darnedest to create an emotionally safe home for these precious ones God has blessed us with. Lots of times I fail. I resort to anger and impatience and the poor coping mechanisms I was raised with.

And many times I choose love. And forgiveness. And patience.

And snuggles.

Always the snuggles bring us back to center.

Early in the morning, before anyone else is moving, Fisher creeps into my room with a book and with his sweet blue eyes asks if I will read to him, “just one chapter before school?”

Late at night, after everyone is done moving, Annesley will sneak into my arms for just one more hug and kiss before bed.

And my heart swells with oceans of gratitude that I, the person who never wanted to be a mother, the person who entered marriage as such a broken, angry soul, the person who believed my life was far more important than a child’s life, get to hold these children in my arms and nurture them with my heart.

I get to mother.