A Big Win 11-3-17

It’s Friday! Thank goodness. If you’re reading this post, congratulations!! You made it through another week. We all have ups and downs throughout the week, expected and unexpected challenges however through it all there’s always a “WIN”. It’s easy to focus on the negative but if you focus on your “Wins” you’ll be surprised how quickly your attitude and demeanor changes. It’s easy to go from a 5 to a 10 when focusing on the good stuff. My challenge to you today is to post one win on the comment line of this post. Focus on that win and watch how quickly a challenging day/week can become an awesome one!! Carry that feeling in to the weekend and Make this weekend a big win!! I’ll start by sharing my “WIN”. Spending time with my grandkids this week not to mention my son and his wife, my daughter and her partner, hearing from my son in Italy and scoring an awesome deal at Banana Republic!!! 
Now your turn!!

Tag……you’re it!

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Stay In The Game 8-1-17

Stay in the game”And it came to pass. . . .” — The Bible

We can’t always be sure that things will always work out, but we will always have the strength to make it through. We can trust that eventually both the bad and the good will come to pass.

I’ve had the good ripped away from me and felt sorrow until I could drown. But it passed.

All I’m saying is that sometimes the bad guys win and the good guys lose. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Sometimes nothing that we do seems to swing the decision one way or the other, but we can always come back tomorrow. There’s always another chance to play the game, dance, sweat, and cry. And maybe it’s the experience, not the outcome that is the true prize.

If you’re feeling a loss of strength or confidence, let go of the desperate need for a positive outcome in your life. Realize that this, too, will pass. Gain your strength from knowing that whether an event is good or bad, we’re enriched by our experiences. Only we can choose to learn from them or allow resentment and foolish expectations to destroy their value.

Dust yourself off. Pick yourself up. Step up to the plate and get back in the game.

God, give me the hope, faith, and courage to live my life today. – Author Unknown

Feeling Stronger Everyday 7-27-17

I woke up this morning and as usual went through all of my emails. I follow many bloggers. This morning, one in particular caught my attention. This person was feeling down, depressed and feeling like a failure. She was even thinking death would be better. My heart went out to her. I’ve been there, done that on many occasions.
I posted the following comment. I’m sharing because she responded by telling me thank you. I thought about the many other women out there who might find themselves overwhelmed today. Feeling just like her or even myself many months ago. I’m sharing my comment in the hopes I can inspire someone else today. We all need hope sometimes. We all need a little inspiration. If my crazy life story can inspire a few women today then all the challenges in the world are worth it. Remember, I believe in you. Believe in yourself too!!

“I’ve been where you are on many occasions. I get it. Here’s what I know. You’re not a failure. Most people would’ve thrown in the towel a long time ago but you’re still hanging in there. You my friend are not a failure!!! You’re a warrior and a survivor!!! Remember that! Believe that!! I recall seeing my therapist some time many months ago. I too was feeling like I was better off dead. I was even thinking of ways to end it all however thank the lord I didn’t act on those crazy feelings. I’ll never forget what my therapist said to me. She said “Velma you are one strong lady. You have endured more than most. Despite the challenges you haven’t given up. Do you know what I think?” I replied “what?” She said “you haven’t given up, you haven’t ended it all because you’ll be damned if you give anyone the satisfaction of pushing you to defeat!” Wow! She was so right. I’d like to encourage you today. Don’t give up!! You are a survivor. Do not give anyone or any challenge you are facing the satisfaction of beating you!! You are going to make it!! Tomorrow is another day. I pray that today and all your tomorrows will find you feeling stronger every day!!! My song for you today is a favorite by the band Chicago. “Feeling Stronger Every Day!” That’s your mantra. I believe in you. You can do this.”

For more discussions on Depression visit:

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/10-depression-quotes-that-may-change-your-life/

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/how-to-deal-with-depression-tips-techniques-treatment/

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/

Jealous Again- My Life As A Rock Star 4-20-17

One of my favorite songs is by The Black Crowes called “Jealous Again”. It’s hard to believe but I’m a rocker at heart. I love rock and roll music. I graduated in 1984. The year Ozzie was riding that “Crazy Train”, Van Halen was belting out tunes like 1984, Panama and AC/DC was a staple in every teenagers music collection and at every party. In fact, even after all these years I still get that exuberant feeling I got in high school when I listen to AC/DC. Black Crowes came on the scene in 1989. They have recorded many songs that I love however, “Jealous Again” has been a mantra of mine as I have come against many adversaries in my life while facing challenges. 

My life story could certainly be classified as being a “Crazy Train”.  In fact, I have heard the words “you can’t make up this shit!” on many occasions from those who hear my story. It’s no secret, I’ve faced some incredible challenges in my life and through the grace of god I’ve been able to overcome many of them. What can I say? I’m one strong lady. However, I’m human. The hardest challenges for me have been while being on the receiving end of those who have found it appropriate to judge me, ridicule me, verbally attack and even shun me while enduring those very painful challenges. I’m not going to lie. It’s been very hurtful. I’ve used the song “Jealous Again” as my mantra to focus on when my feelings are hurt by others.  

Growing up my dad instilled a strength in me. He taught me many things including how to stand up for what I believe in and never give up. My dad was a force to be reckoned with. He was who he was. He never let what others thought of him bother him. Either you liked him or you didn’t. He didn’t care. He just kept on being who he was. He instilled that same attribute in me. In fact my dad used to tell me I had balls of steel and I looked like a movie star which is why any time someone hurt my feelings or made fun of me and I found myself teary eyed, my dad was always there to the rescue, reminding me I was fabulous and the meanies were just “Jealous”. I’ve lived my entire life believing everything my dad taught me. 



 I thought I would share this Black Crowe’s song, among others, on my blog today in the event someone reading today finds themselves in need of a “Pick Me Up” This blog goes out to my fellow warriors and survivors who are riding the wave of any particular challenge. Whether you’re fighting cancer, overcoming addiction or an eating disorder, recovering from an abusive relationship, dealing with an EX, overcoming PTSD, you’ve lost a job and are in financial disarray or maybe you’re facing the challenges of coming out as an LGBT.  I’ve experienced many of all of the above. In my opinion, it’s none of our business what other people think of you or me!!!  We are all survivors. Rock Stars at that!! 
It’s been my experience that in every challenge or trial there is always a lesson to be learned. I’ve learned so many lessons that I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m “lessoned” out!!! One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is empathy towards others and the ability to recognize my strength and believe in myself and keep on keeping on regardless what other people might think.  Here’s what I’ve learned…..

To those of you fighting cancer and lack the much needed support and encouragement from family members or friends….You’re not alone. I’ve been there. I even found myself being accused of faking cancer. A low blow when you’re at your lowest point!! Jealous!!! That’s what these people are!  Jealous because you have the strength, courage and determination to face a battle that they probably couldn’t face themselves. Look back at your life and remember all the challenges you have overcome. You survived those challenges because you were you and now you’ll survive cancer too!  

If you find yourself on the beaches of Maui and you’re sporting your chemo bald head or if you’re lucky like me and have lost your eyebrows, eyelashes, toenails and fingernails too and you’re greeted by the stares of many onlookers looking at you like you’re an alien…..don’t be discouraged. Theyre just Jealous! Unlike them you’re not defined by your hair or even what’s on the outside. You are strong and confident knowing it takes a Rock Star to fight cancer. You my friend are beautiful!!  However, if you must retaliate do what I did. Tell the onlookers you’re a genie that washed up on the beach and would be happy to grant them three wishes!!


Maybe you’ve lost a job and in the process you’ve lost your livelihood too. You’re insecure and lack the confidence you once had in yourself.  Others have ridiculed you because you’re rock bottom. Don’t worry about it. Those that criticize are Jealous!!! They don’t have the strength to wake up every morning like you do despite standing in a mine field while dodging the bullets of creditors blowing up your cell phone demanding money for something you can’t pay….every day, all day!  Heres what I do. I ignore them and listen to AC/DC!!

To those overcoming addictions and are facing judgement based on a previous addiction. Put your rocker pants on and remember any one who judges you is merely Jealous. It takes courage and humility to recognize and overcome an addiction. 
Maybe you’re gay or transgender and being judged for being who you are. Put your rocker hat on and remember those that judge are Jealous!!!  They don’t have the courage to be who they are but you do!  That my friend makes you a Rock Star!!

Maybe you’re recovering from an abusive relationship. Those around you don’t understand. They are shunning you or think they have all the answers while you suffer in silence. Those that judge you are Jealous!!!  It takes a strong person to walk away from abuse. An even stronger person to endure the pain and humiliation yet believe that one day you will declare “I’m an overcomer!” 

Maybe you’re battling PTSD. Overcoming PTSD is one hard battle. I know this from experience. I myself am still healing but here’s what I’ve learned. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That means you’ve endured a very traumatic experience. Not a small feat!  To anyone who thinks PTSD isn’t real. You’re just Jealous!!  Those of us who have it have been through a war zone and survived it. In my book, that makes us Rock Stars!!  I think PTSD should stand for “Pathways Through The Secret Door”. Behind that door are all of us Rock Stars!!!
I’ve been through a lot and have faced challenges galore. Through it all I’ve been ridiculed, rejected, isolated, vilified, judged but I don’t care. Like the song I’m not afraid of losing face. I wake up every morning. I’m still standing and that’s more than I can say for many others who have never faced the humility of many of the same challenges. How sad. It’s not easy being a Rock Star but some of us have to do it. It may as well be you and me!!! The truth is, I’m not afraid to have faith in God and even more so have faith in myself to keep going regardless what people think of me. Like I said previously my mantra is “Jealous Again”. It’s what keeps me going sometimes. 

We all face challenges in life. Some of us more so than others. But when the challenges or the adversaries come, remember God never gives you more than you can handle and if you find yourself in a battle right now, relish the moment. It means God thinks you are one strong rock and roller!  Now if God thinks you’re a Rock Star, who cares what everyone else thinks!  They’re just Jealous!!! And remember, in the words of AC/DC, “Its A Long Way To The Top If You Want To Rock and Roll!”

I’ll leave you with the following quote today. Have an awesome day and whatever you do……DON’T GIVE UP!!!!

“Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.”- Dr. David M. Burns

Sleeping Angel 1-19-15

I’m not sure where to begin as I write tonight. Today my friend Lola reached out to me from New Jersey. She called and offered me so many words of encouragement and more importantly she encouraged me to use my gift of writing in a positive way. Lola is a woman of God. She is filled with so much love and is a powerful prayer warrior. I’m so grateful to call her my friend. Lola prayed for me and encouraged me to put all my faith in the Lord, trust him and pray, pray, pray. After we hung up I found myself feeling hopeful. I have to admit, the challenges of cancer and my life in general has really brought me to my knees. More often than not, I feel defeated and hopeless.

This afternoon Ron and I had an argument. It was ugly and I felt sick about it. I didn’t have anyone to talk to so I got in my car and drove to St Dominic’s Church. Somehow going to church felt like the right thing to do. St Dominic’s is so beautiful it takes my breath away every time I walk through the door. I always feel a sense of awe when I’m there. At times, I’m in such awe, my eyes begin to fill with tears. It’s such an emotional experience. I lit a candle when I arrived. I got on my knees and prayed. As I talked to God, I found a sense of peace come over me and for the first time I felt as if the Lord had actually heard me. After I prayed, I sat on the pew and just stared at the altar. Finally, I stood up and left.

As I drove home, I found myself feeling peaceful. I wasn’t worried about going home and being greeted by the wrath of Rons volatile behavior. I trusted everything would calm itself and things would work out eventually. I prayed asking God for a small sign that he had heard me, even though I knew in my heart he had. When I got home, Ron was still angry. I opted to stay in peace and trust the Lord would take care of everything. Ron was still behaving irrationally, so rather than allow him to make me feel bad about myself like I usually do, I got my sweats on and went to the gym.

I love to listen to music when I’m at the gym. I have a very extensive playlist on YouTube. Tonight I pulled up my playlist titled “Cancer Bravery”. This list consists of songs that have somehow offered a sense of courage as I’ve fought cancer these past few months. As I went through my list of songs, I noticed a song by Stevie Nicks. I didn’t recognize it and truthfully, I don’t recall ever hearing the song, much less recall how it even made it on my list. I clicked on it and as I listened to the lyrics, the words began to resonate with my own personal struggle to trust in a power higher than myself to work things out for me.

I believe in God, as I refer to him. I believe he exists. Trusting him is another story. I think I’m not alone. I believe many of us are believers, however trusting in something we can’t feel, hear or touch can prove to be a difficult task. As I listened to the lyrics of this song, I knew in my heart God had heard me tonight. The lyrics describe my thoughts and feelings that have prevented me from letting go and trusting things would work out according to Gods plan, on his time and not my own. I’m continually on this roller coaster of “trying to believe you. I’m learning all the time”. Like the song, I know I need God in my life because without him I wouldn’t be able to breathe. However, I have this “love affair” with the him that’s as dysfunctional as my current and past relationships with all the men in my life. At times my relationship is up, while other times are down. I want to believe that God loves me. I want to believe he has a plan for good, but it’s hard.

Earlier this morning, my friend suggested I write a letter to God expressing how I feel. I couldn’t express my feelings better than the lyrics from this song so here it is….my letter to God.

Dear God (as I call him)

Take me if you need me, but never hold me down. You’re asking me to trust you, well there’s little of that around. I’m trying to believe you. And I’m learning all the time. Two-part personality, the flower and the vine.

Take me, sleeping angel. Catch me, when you can. Real love affairs are heavy spells, for a woman and a man.

I need you because you let me breathe, well you’ve taken me away. But never take me lightly, or I can never stay.

Someday, when we’re older and my hair is silver grey. Unbraid with all of the love that you have, like a soft silver chain.

Take me sleeping angel, catch me when you can. And unbraid with all of the love that you have, like a soft silver chain.

I’m a work in progress, Lord God, but I pray that you won’t give up on me yet. I’m a work in progress but I’m ready and willing to give you my best shot. Thank you God for believing in me and thank you for never giving up on me even on the days, I’ve given up on you.

Love always,

Velma

Intuition 9-7-14

I looked up the word intuition today. The meaning is as follows:

in·tu·i·tion
ˌint(y)o͞oˈiSHən/
noun
the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
“we shall allow our intuition to guide us”
synonyms: instinct, intuitiveness; More
a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.
plural noun: intuitions
“your insights and intuitions as a native speaker are positively sought”
synonyms: hunch, feeling (in one’s bones), inkling, (sneaking) suspicion, idea, sense, notion;

I chose this topic because many times as women we find ourselves in situations where we have this gut feeling something is amiss. Quite often it occurs in our relationships with others. Maybe a husband or a partner. We get this hunch or gut feeling that’s so strong it begins to drive us insane. It makes us crazy. The signs are all there but the proof isn’t. What happens next is nothing short of a nightmare. I’ve always heard that women have been blessed with an intuitive spirit. We all have it. For instance, as mothers we can sense when our kids are in trouble even though they’re miles away. We know when they’re happy and we know when they’re sad. We can feel it deep down in our gut. As women and or mothers we have the ability to read between the lines. However, at times as wives or girlfriends, despite having that strong intuitive hunch about something, occasionally we disregard it as “craziness” or after listening to the excuses or justifications of the other party we begin to believe we really are nuts. Even then, that feeling is there, it doesn’t go away and eventually it grows until finally we find that we have lost our identity by becoming consumed with that “hunch” that deep down we already knew was the truth. It isn’t until later when the proof is in the pudding that the flood gates open and looking back we can honestly feel that we knew it all along, we just chose to not see it. The signs were there. They were like billboards at every stop, but yet we closed our eyes to the hunch. It’s at that time everything makes sense and we realize we weren’t crazy after all. It’s also at that time that we wish we could go back to the beginning and address that hunch with the same tenacity we would’ve, had it involved one of our kids. However, the truth is the proof was always there. It was provided to us time and time again. The floodgates finally opened when we reached a point that we were strong enough to finally handle the truth.

I’ve heard many stories of women who have experienced this one or more times in their life. I’m no exception. The past two years I myself have experienced an intuitive feeling about a particular situation. It has consumed me and has turned my life upside down. Once upon a time, I was a strong, confident and an extremely funny and outgoing woman. Today I feel beaten down and now I’m fighting cancer. A wise woman once told me “Velma, everything always comes out in the wash”. She was right.

My life has always been an open book. I have always shared the ups and the downs of my life. Today is no different. I share the trials of my life not because I am looking for sympathy or attention, rather because if I can help others to avoid making the same mistakes, then to me it’s all worth it. As the weeks go by I will undoubtedly be sharing my latest setback. Heck I have 2 years of journals to refer to, but I have no intentions of beginning the saga today. I will only encourage each and every woman to act on any hunch. If it stinks, there’s a reason for it. Don’t back down and never allow someone to make you feel like you’re crazy. More often than not, your hunch hit the tail on the donkey. Remember as woman we are always smarter and more intuitive than we know. Don’t give up!

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Daddy Knows Best. 8-21-14

I woke up this morning at 6 am. I was rather shaken from a dream, however when I tried to recall the details of the dream, I couldn’t bring myself to remember. I sat down to have a cup of coffee but I had this feeling I needed to go to an AA meeting. I got dressed and decided to walk the Kehei strip and attend the 7:00 meeting on the beach. It rained last night here in Maui so the walk was rather muggy. As I walked I prayed asking for healing not just for myself but my children, my mother, brother, friends and even my ex. I also prayed that one day I would call Maui my second home. I love it here. Maui is a very healing place. I’ve met so many people here and have made more friends in the five times I’ve been here these past two years than I have living in San Francisco. The people here are friendly and very happy. Everyone I’ve met is healing from something. Whether it’s a divorce, cancer, addiction or even just trying to find themselves, somehow Maui is the place to be. Maui is not for everyone but it certainly is the place for me.

I love Maui but for some reason this morning I didn’t wake up to that peaceful, easy feeling I have welcomed every morning that I’ve been here. AA was calling my name. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t have this urge to drink, I just had this urge to hear the words of encouragement I can only get when I attend a meeting and listen to the words of wisdom from one of my fellow recovering alcoholics. I walked the long stretch, praying and reflecting. When i arrived at the meeting it was cancelled so I turned around and walked home. As I walked back I kept thinking about my life, my kids and suddenly I found myself thinking about the two young kids I saw outside the grocery store yesterday. Ron and I ran to Time super market yesterday afternoon after spending a couple of hours at Big Beach. After we paid for our groceries, Ron decided to run back inside to buy an order of BBQ chicken. I told him I’d wait by the car. Our car was parked in front of the store next to the picnic tables outside. I walked towards the car and there were several young 20 year olds sitting and standing next to the table. I could tell they were not much older than 21. As I stood next to my car one of the young girls turned around and looked at me. Her face was covered in sores. At first I thought it was acne. I couldn’t help but stare. As I looked closer I noticed not only was this young girls face covered in sores but so were her arms, legs and feet. She kept pulling her pants down and scratching her bottom. I was rather dumbfounded. When I looked at her boyfriend he was also covered in sores. They were both very dirty. At that point I saw the boyfriend make an exchange w someone sitting at the table. I realized I had witnessed a drug deal. I remembered a girl I met so many years ago when I was in rehab battling alcohol addiction. She was a meth addict. When she arrived her face and body were covered with the same sores. I learned at that time those were side effects from meth. I watched these two young kids walk towards their car. They got in a jalopy and drove away. My heart sank and my stomach was sick. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them and pray they would find sobriety. I prayed for my own kids silently as we drove home. I was really bothered by this. I suspect that’s what was bothering me this morning. As we drove home I suddenly thought of my dad. As some of you are aware I have had my own struggles with addiction. I’ve also battled an eating disorder. In 1996 I beat my eating disorder and in 2002 I beat my alcohol addiction. Both times my dad was my biggest supporter. Every time I wanted to give up my dad would always remind me there were people fighting harder diseases such as cancer. They were fighting because they wanted to live. He would tell me that while my life at that time may have seemed crappy, others would give anything to trade their lives with me just for a chance to live another day. My dad would tell me I had a chance, others weren’t quite as lucky. He would say “you’re slowly killing yourself while others are fighting to stay alive!” I used to get so mad at him but suddenly as we drove home everything my dad said made sense. Today I’m fighting cancer. I don’t want to die. I want to live to see what my kids will become. I want to experience grandkids. I want to travel the world. I have so many unfulfilled dreams I want to accomplish. While I’m fighting to stay alive, these two young kids were fighting for another high, while slowly but surely killing themselves. It made me sad. My dad is no longer by my side supporting me as I fight my new battle….cancer but his words of wisdom are still the words that give me strength to fight and never give up. I hope that the two young people I saw yesterday will be blessed with someone as wonderful as my dad was to come in to their lives and give them the same words of encouragement and support my dad offered so many years ago and they too will experience winning the fight to overcome their addiction. Today I’m lost without my dad. I’d give anything to hear his words of wisdom just one more time but while he is no longer with me I’m confident he’s with me in spirit. I will continue to pray for healing for these two young kids. Of course I’ll be sure to pray for my healing too. I’ve survived everything else, why not survive this little thing called cancer too!!! If I can do it, so can you!!