Gracefully Broken 11-26-18

I saw this on Facebook this morning. I was so touched I couldn’t resist sharing. I have no idea who wrote this however, what I’m sure of is, this message is a reminder to all of us who feel we’ve been broken.

I was in Dollar Tree last night, and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, and the other one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks, and the toddler was screaming for them. The Mom opened the pack and gave him one which stopped his tears. He walked around with it smiling; but then the bigger boy took it, and the toddler started screaming again. Just as the Mom was about to fuss, the older child bent the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler. As we walked outside at the same time, the toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing; and his brother said, “I had to break it so that you could get the full effect from it.”

I almost ran, because l could hear God saying to me, “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose.”

That precious child was happy just swinging that “unbroken” glow stick around in the air, because he didn’t understand what it was created to do – which was “glow”.

There are some people who will be content just “being,” but some of us that God has chosen… we have to be “broken.” We have to get sick.

We have to lose a job.

We go through a divorce.

We have to bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child…

In those moments of desperation, God is breaking us. But… when the breaking is done, then we will be able to see the reason for which we were created. So when you see us glowing, just know that we have been broken but healed by His Grace and Mercy!!! ❤💛💜

If you have experienced being broken remember..

“a broken and contrite heart

you, God, will not despise.”

Psalm 51:17

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Life Is A Struggle Sometimes 9-9-18

I’m on my walk this morning. I love taking walks especially outdoors. I love the freedom and the peace that only nature can provide. I pray while I walk. I talk to god, I even yell at him while having a complete bitch fit. I’ve been known to call god the “F” word during my rants among other profanity. I’m not going to pretend I’m a saint by any means.

Being outside alone on my walk is about the only time I can think or vent when I have to. I have no idea if God can hear me. At times I wonder if he even exists but nevertheless, after I’ve made a complete spectacle of myself alone in the wilderness I put my headset on and listen to music. Today’s playlist includes “Little Guitars” by Van Halen. This señorita loves this song! Lol.

These past couple of months have been so draining. I have been so depressed. In July I found out the man I’ve been dating was cheating on me. That was a real blow. Somehow I didn’t see that coming. I battle PTSD and anxiety. This blow only intensified those battles. In addition, I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed with family obligations. One being my mother. That woman drives me insane. She demands so much of me. I’m a people pleaser so I spend my days pleasing everyone, including my mother while failing to please myself.

I’m struggling with insecurities about where I am in life. Last week I drove to Spokane to file bankruptcy. I have to admit, succumbing to accepting I could not dig myself out of the financial hole I’ve found myself in thanks to being sick was another blow. I feel like an absolute failure. I’m better than this or so I keep telling myself. I just can’t seem to find my purpose anymore. Ironically, I drove to my appointment with a ziploc bag full of change to give to any homeless person that might tug on my heart strings. I actually thought to myself “really Velma?! You’re filing bankruptcy but you’re giving away change?! What’s wrong with you?!! ” To add fuel to the Fire September 14th is the anniversary date of the day my life changed forever. It’s the day my dad passed away. I’ve been on an uncontrollable spiral of destruction ever since. I hate September. More importantly, after seven years I’m still heartbroken. I’d give anything to have one more day with my dad. One more phone call. One more joke. He always made me laugh. Losing a parent really sucks!! This is one of the last fun memories I had with my dad, uncle and cousin. We look like thugs but we were all together.

I thought I would share today not for any reason other than it’s my way of saying I get it. I know life can be a struggle sometimes. Some of you might be in the thick of a challenge right now. I post positive affirmations every day on Facebook, Instagram and even on my blog but I want you to know that I struggle every day too. My challenges may not be your challenges but they are challenges nonetheless. I’m sure some days you wonder if god exists. I do too. Everyone does. We are all human. All I know is we can’t give up. None of us can. We have to keep fighting and keep moving forward. Eventually good days come and we look back and realize how far we’ve come. Trust me. I speak the truth because I’ve been there. Have a great day!! 🌹

Find Your Way Back 7-19-18

As a teenager I was a big fan of Jefferson Starship. I used to love the band. “Find Your Way Back” was certainly a favorite.

This morning on my walk for some reason I thought of this song and listened to it while I was walking. As I listened to the lyrics I found myself relating to some of the words.

Like the song, for me, the past few years (seven to be exact) have certainly been a long road since I packed up and left home looking for a new life only to turn around, leave San Francisco and find my way back home. The place I left in the first place. I can honestly say I’ve carried a heavy load along the way. However, as I pondered where I’ve been, I realized I’m no longer in that space anymore. In fact, those dark days seem like they happened so long ago.

These past several months I finally began to feel the fog lift. Occasionally, I’ve even felt like a turtle poking his head out feeling things out to ensure it was safe to finally come out of my shell and begin moving forward.

I believe we all face trials in our lives. At times those trials bring you to your knees. If you’re not careful, you find yourself stuck in a cesspool of water feeling like you’re drowning. I’m embarrassed to admit, that’s what happened to me. I’ve been drowning for a very long time. Trauma, grief, finances, breakups, lawsuits, cancer, illness…..the list goes on leading to depression, anxiety and yes….PTSD. Through it all, somewhere along the way I realized I’m the same strong woman I always was before everything in my life turned upside down. I’m still funny. I’m still strong. I’m still smart. I’m still that crazy, fabulous me I’ve always been. My circumstances may have changed and maybe I’ve been lost for awhile but I realize I’m still the same “me” I’ve always been. Love me or not, I am who I am and I’m ok with being me. I saw a quote I had posted a few years ago. “Sometimes, in order to be happy in the present moment, you have to be willing to give up all hope for a better past”. Truth!!! I can’t change the past but I can certainly choose to be happy now.

On Saturday, I’ll be on an airplane flying far away from here for the next two weeks in search of finding the peace and healing I need to finally find my way back. I’m so close. I can feel it. It occurred to me this morning that despite all the “rock bottom” moments we experience in our lives, somehow, someway we always find our way back. Of course, when you’re in the thick of the chaos swirling around you it’s hard to grasp the idea that eventually this too shall pass. I can assure you that based on my experience whatever you’re going through right now, trust me, more importantly trust god, and know this too will pass and before you know it, you will find your way back. Until then, don’t get caught up in depression, feeling sorry for yourself and whatever you do….DO NOT spend three years in your bedroom at your moms house watching Hallmark Romance movies like I did. Lol. What a waste of so many precious moments!! My advice is find your happiness in the present. Enjoy the ride. It might take seven years but I guarantee you will find your back. Just ask me.

In the meantime if you can’t find some inspiration or joy today, I’m posting my favorite Jefferson Starship song as a reminder to stay in faith. Today is the first day of finding your way back. My comeback is right around the corner. I believe yours is too!!

The Iwa 5-27-18

There’s a Hawaiian bird called the Iwa. (Pronounced “Eva”) This bird is a very meaningful bird in the Polynesian culture. The Iwa is at times referred to as the “Storm Bird”. The Iwa is 43 inches long. It soars and glides gracefully with a wing span of seven feet. They often travel great distances but rarely soar further than 50 miles from land. This bird has the resilience to withstand storms, even flying for hours and days in its search for food. They are able to travel great distances. They fly offshore even though their feathers are not waterproof. They swoop down in the ocean and snatch their prey using their hook like beaks.

Polynesian fisherman look to these birds while fishing. If the Iwa is flying above them, they know they are in a good fishing area. They also look for the Iwa to find their way back home when they are out at sea.

Often times, like the Iwa, we find ourselves soaring through our own storm. Some of us have the resilience to keep flying and never give up. Others simply throw in the towel and give up. I’m not one of those people. I never give up, even on the days I want to.

There’s a passage in Matthew 6-26. It says:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they.”

The Iwa doesn’t have waterproof feathers, yet they don’t worry. God always provides. They soar and will fly for days looking for food. If the Iwa doesn’t worry why should we? If God provides for the Iwa, he will certainly provide for you and me.

If you are facing any challenge today, remember the Iwa. Keep flying and never give up.

Today I will soar through all of my trials like the Iwa believing that no matter what, god will always provide.

Life After Gaslight 5-19-18

Meet “Ron”. “Ron” was a 68 year old retired San Francisco firefighter. He is also my ex-boyfriend. I met “Ron” in 2012. At first, I was apprehensive about him but he was persistent in his pursuit to capture my heart. He showered me with compliments and gifts. He called me cutie pie, baby and would constantly tell me how “fine” I was. He uttered the words “I love you” after knowing me for only a month. I recall thinking his infatuation was too good to be true, but his words also came with his promises of a wonderful life filled with travel, love and affection. He was so sweet, after only a few months he swept me off my feet.  Unfortunately, I quickly learned that this was merely a facade with words he said to all the women he manipulated. “Cutie pie”, “baby”, “fine” and “I love you” was something he had said to all the girls.

Looking back there were a mine field of red flags, however “Ron” had a way with showering me with such kindness in the beginning that it was easy to overlook the flaws. And when I say flaws, I mean some serious issues that no woman should have to deal with ever in their life.

My experience is not unique.
“Ron” is a good guy. I think he has a good side to him. He’s been married twice like most people in America. Both divorces ended due to his infidelity.  He was the cheater but “it wasn’t his fault” or so he claimed. Red flag number one. He was also in a long term relationship with a woman who he referred to as “Mo”. I think because she brought so much havoc and “mo” trouble in to everyone’s life than one can imagine. She certainly brought trouble in to my life.  In her defense, “Ron” brought the insanity out in her. I later found her story with “Ron” was nothing short of tragic. Worse was what he did to his first wife. Sadly she was one of the sweetest women I ever met and in my opinion did not deserve what he did to her.  No woman deserves the kind of treatment myself and I’m sure many others have endured.

“Ron’s” past consisted of drunken behavior. He was an alcoholic/addict who had arrests for driving under the influence under his belt.  He stopped drinking while we were together after humiliating me with his drunken behavior. He also had an infatuation with young women in their twenties and was known to engage in sexual acts with many prostitutes. I later learned he had been on house arrest for engaging in these acts. Of course, I can’t say for sure since this was merely hear say.

“Ron” had a volatile temper and exhibited many mood swings that were enough to turn a sane person in to a psychotic nut. I should know. After three years with this man, I lost my confidence, my self esteem, my self respect, my identity and I felt like I was losing my mind. I really believed I might be crazy. My biggest regret….I only wish I had known these things before I allowed this man to capture my heart.

“Ron” was a pack rat. He had junk all over his condo, which was located in a well to do area of San Francisco. You would have never known it. His condo belonged on an episode of Hoarders. He had so much clutter and he even had old plastic bottles filled with water all over the place. Maybe it was his age.

Two years after I moved in with him he finally opened a carton of lemonade that had been in the refrigerator and had an expiration date of 2010. It had been expired for four years yet he refused to throw it out insisting it was still good. The lemonade was so spoiled when he finally opened the carton to have a glass, he had no choice but to throw it out. What a surprise. Mind you he had vilified me for wanting to throw it the year prior.

“Ron” had odd sleeping habits. He was up all night and slept all day. When I say all day….I mean all day. Often times “Ron” would arise from his slumber at six in the afternoon. Two or three was early for him. He also liked to conserve water. He was a dedicated California resident who only bathed once a month and always on a Thursday. I firmly believe he deserved accolades for being the most conservative California resident during a drought. However, if you ask me he should’ve opened up one of his plastic bottles of old tap water and taken a bath.

At times he had white crust around his ears that was creamy and had the appearance of cradle cap.  At times he smelled so bad I would want to vomit. His solution was wipes (he was the poster child for cottonelle wipes) and he would also use lots of cologne. I often wondered if he was European but was inclined to believe he might be crazy. He led me to believe he was suffering from dementia. In my experience when “Ron” would shower it was His cue for wanting to be intimate.


   “Ron” was wonderful in the beginning. He took me on trips, showered me with gifts,  he catered to my every whim and treated me like a queen. He always held my hand and opened my door.  But that stopped and he would throw the door in my face. He portrayed himself as a family man. An attribute that was merely a facade. He was also lots of fun.  We went dancing and even took salsa lessons. He would hum in my ear every time we danced. He was a terrible salsa dancer but no worries….he would always blame me for his shortcoming and would become extremely verbally abusive.

All his positive attributes stopped three months after moving in with him. That’s when the “real” “Ron” emerged. The trouble only got worse when a his 27 year old Latina Stripper “friend” continued to call and text at all hours of the day including when we were on vacation. Harassment that continued the entire duration of our relationship. “Ron” also began to withhold any contact with me intimately. We went from having an active intimate life to a periodic one, provided it was on his terms. “Ron” had a penile implant. I suspect many of his issues might have stemmed from this creating his own insecurities however, I’ll never know. I will share that on occasion I would wake up in the middle of the night and catch him naked in the bathroom engaging in questionable acts or even plucking his pubic hairs. I found myself in such disbelief that I would run back to bed and keep quiet.

“Ron” did crazy things such as pluck his facial hair while watching tv. He often had a scowl on his face and would pluck to the point he would cause sores on his face. He would often file his feet over the couch. This odd behavior caused me to believe either he was crazy but he convinced me I was crazy for thinking this behavior was odd.

He was very private about everything. He caused me to believe he had many secrets. Especially, since I wasn’t allowed to ask him even simple questions like “how was your day?” I wasn’t allowed to say “have a great day” and God forbid I wasn’t allowed to express how he made me feel. I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions….period!!!  He would explode and punish me  for days calling me names, accusing me of being suspicious and rejecting me to the point I couldn’t breathe. I would cry for days. Rejection can cause so much pain and anguish.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I got zero emotional support from “Ron”. He was extremely un-empathetic and lacked any ounce of compassion. He would insult me and make me feel so bad about myself that more often than not I found myself in the bathroom on my knees crying from the pain this man would cause. Somehow in the midst of it all he managed to blame me for his behavior and would punish me for days by ignoring me and giving me the silent treatment. In my experience, I’m not sure what was worse, chemo or “Ron”. This man made fighting cancer the hardest journey of my entire life.

I posted the following post on Facebook after my first treatment.  The following five treatments were not much different.  In the end he admitted he had treated me poorly because I was no longer attractive. In my defense, when you’re in a fight against cancer, it’s rather hard to remain the beautiful person you once were. Hair loss doesn’t help.  I take solace in knowing God is a just God and my abuser will get his in the end.


    

Ron showered me with love, trips, gifts, fancy dinners, compliments, concerts…..everything and anything. It was short lived and it came at a very painful price. I now know that this is not just my experience, it’s been the experience of many women who have found themselves involved with their “Ron”. While my story may seem tragic I know I’m Not alone. There are many “Ron’s” out there and I feel they dont deserve to have any women in their life. In fact, they should be locked up and throw away the key.

If you happen to be approached by any man who exhibits any of these behaviors, my advice is run and never look back. Do not make the same mistake that I made getting involved with a man like this. It’s hard to get away once he’s got you under his spell.  I can assure you the life you have today will be no more. Happiness, joy, self respect, confidence and love for yourself will be a thing of the past. You will find yourself questioning your own sanity, when clearly the one with the mental issues is your knight in shining armor. However, if you don’t heed my advice and find yourself in a crazy relationship I will warn you..don’t bother reaching out to anyone because no one will believe you. “Ron” had two personalities. The one I dealt with at home and the other who was sweet and loving around his friends. Friends, family, doctors and church begged me to leave him but I resisted their warnings hopeful for the man I initially met to return.  Finally one day, I snapped and saw this man for he really was. I was heartbroken, humiliated and felt like there’s no way out.

On May 16th, 2015 with the help of the Deacon and sisters from my church, I packed up and left this emotionally abusive man. I left this relationship with a broken heart along with a diagnosis of anxiety, severe depression and PTSD caused from this crazy relationship. You might ask “PTSD?!” It’s a result of the war zone I found myself in. The sad part is  I really cared for this man.

Healing from this relationship has taken three years. Counseling was inevitable and it’s taken a lot of strength and determination to come out on the other side. The pain and scars left behind from a three year nightmare has taken a long time to heal. Occasionally I still experience flashbacks. Three years ago I found myself broken hearted and on my knees praying for strength to get through this. I am happy to say I made it.

I’m sharing my story tonight because May 16th was the anniversary of leaving my abuser. On May 16th, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to fly to Maui where I’m spending time with my cousin. I couldn’t put my finger on why this trip fell in to place. It was crazy how it all happened. My friend who owns a condo here offered her condo to me for a week for free. The dates she had available were May 16-24. I accepted her offer not even knowing how I would pay for my flight. My brother and sister in law used their air miles to buy me a ticket. Everything happens for a reason. I knew there was a reason I was coming back to Maui. I love Maui however, Maui is also reminder of the time I shared with my ex. We spent many weeks here together. Today I found an old blog and noticed that May 16th was the day I broke free from my abuser. Three years have passed. I suspect my trip here is somewhat of a Re-birth for me. I no longer have to look behind me. I can finally move forward and what better place to be to begin my new life than to start my new beginning in Maui on vacation with my cousin who is also my best friend.

I don’t particularly enjoy sharing the details of my past relationship. After three years, I’m still so embarrassed. I take comfort knowing there’s a term for what I went through. It’s called “gaslighting”. Gaslighting is a term where someone uses manipulation to cause you to question your own sanity. My “Ron” did just that. Today I’m free from that relationship as well as that toxic environment. Slowly but surely I’ve gotten my confidence back but more importantly my sanity back. Like so many women, I never thought this would happen to me. What I’ve learned is even the smartest and most intelligent women can find themselves in a relationship such as mine. I still ask myself “what was I thinking? How did I allow this to happen to me?” I still have flashbacks and I’m no longer the woman I once was but I’m happy to report I’m a new woman in progress.

Today I’m hopeful again. I’m eager to laugh and have fun again and I believe my knight in shining armor is out there and more importantly I know that when I find him I will never allow him to manipulate me to the point where I lose myself.

Life happens. Today I’m on vacation in Maui. I am waking up to the sound of the ocean and the cool breeze coming in through my lanai. I have no plans other than to spend the day at the farmers market then the beach taking in all that healing spirit Maui has to offer. Life is good again. I heard a quote once that said “I may not be everything I want to be, but thank god I’m not where I used to be!” Truth!! I’m not close to being who I want to be. Thank god I’m Not where I used to be!!

Letting Go 4-12-18

I saw this quote this morning on a blog site called Random Writings. Jim has a wonderful blog site and I enjoy reading his page everyday. This mornings post really hit home. I couldn’t resist blogging my own experience of the importance of accepting that at some point it’s time to let go of expecting what we want and just move on and start living.

For me this quote is so true. In the weeks and even the night before my dad passed away my dad’s sister managed to transfer all of the property my parents had spent their entire life working for in to her name leaving my family penniless. The story that led up to this is long and even unbelievable so I won’t go in to detail. All I know is one day my parents net worth was well over eight million dollars and the next day my father was gone and my mother was flat broke and homeless.

For seven years we have been in a lawsuit fighting to get everything back. In that time I’ve battled cancer among other things including depression. This has affected my family in such a negative way. Despite it all, my aunt has fought us every step of the way. She made millions on the property while my mother and I have been broke. We found ourselves living in one of our rentals that she now owns.

We are grateful to have a roof over our head however it’s the circumstances that have been challenging. The home is old and needs much work. The septic tank overflows all the time. It’s over 50 years old and needs to be replaced. My mother and I have gone without water and even a toilet for days at a time. A month ago one of the pipes broke and flooded the basement with sewer. I noticed it when I walked downstairs barefoot and stepped in sewer water. I’ve been so sick ever since. Black soot comes out of the vents and there is mold downstairs. In short this home is a parasitic environment. Our attorney has tried to get my aunt to do the much needed repairs while we have pushed through this lawsuit but she has refused. We didn’t know my aunt before her arrival months before my dad passed away. In fact, my dad hadn’t seen her in over 40 years. We have since learned she is a slum lord as well, in our opinion, a manipulative, greedy thief.

We were set to go to hearing May 31st. Yesterday my mother and I dropped the lawsuit. We are walking away. We have no idea where we will go or what we will do but we have given up on expecting to receive what we think should happen and just move on. Life is short. This quote is a reminder that it’s time to just start living and hope for the best. We don’t always get what we want but who knows, maybe what we wanted is not as big as what god wanted for us in the first place. I hope so any way.