See Spot Jump

I hope everyone had a pleasant and thankful Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving was in a way, a disaster. My husband’s daughter became very dramatic about a statement she had said and was held accountable for the statement. It caused me to have a PTSD moment, and I left the house. I went and stayed somewhere else for the night. The next day I returned home, and she and her children left on Saturday morning.

After they had left, my husband sat me down for a serious talk, something he very rarely does. My husband made a rule, “You are to never leave your home again. If anyone leaves it will be them, not you. This is your home and you are my wife.”

I am so very thankful for my husband. We hope things work out with his children and me, but they refuse to accept me. We can not control others or how they feel or what they want.

To get his wife out of the deep depression that accompanies a PTSD moment, my husband decided we were going to the sale barn. I am happy at the sale barn and around the people there. We went to the sale barn to visit and get away from the house. I was going to check the market, but buying was not a thought. Winter feed is expensive this year, we are going to hold on to what we have and not add more sheep. We arrived just minutes before the sale was to start. I found a friend inside and sat down to talk with him a bit. My husband stopped to talk to someone outside.

The sale started. The first animal up for bid, a bottle baby goat. The auctioneer was calling for a bid of $50 USD. I asked my friend if it was a billy or nanny. He said a billy. I could use a billy. The auctioneer continued to drop the price calling for someone to bid. When the bid reached $5.00 USD, I raised a hand. The auctioneer called for a $10.00 USD bid and a couple of hands went up. The auctioneer looked at me, $15.00 USD was the next call, I nodded. When the auctioneers gavel fell, I had purchased a bottle baby billy goat about 4 days old for $25.00 USD. Right after the gavel fell, my husband walks in next to the sale ring. The ring man pushed the baby goat towards him,”This is yours.” he said with a big grin. My husband took the goat and laid it in my lap where I was sitting.

We sat and watched the sale for about an hour with the little goat sleeping in my arms. It dawned on us we did not bring a checkbook or have cash on hand to pay for any animals, we were not going to buy. My husband left to find an ATM to get cash to pay for our new addition. After the bill was paid, we headed home as the little guy needed to be fed.

Taking care of a bottle baby goat or lamb is very much like taking care of a human baby. You have to mix formula, and feed by bottle every four hours around the clock. Since it is too cold outside for a lone baby goat or lamb to stay at night, we took a dog crate and made our new addition a place to stay in the house. I do not like to go outside in the dark and cold to bottle feed a baby goat or lamb in my pajamas. The next day we made a “play pen” for the baby goat to be outside in protected from the adult sheep and goats. Adult sheep and goats do not treat babies nicely that are not their own.

This is not the first time I have had a bottle baby in the house. My beloved sheep, PeeWee, was a bottle baby lamb. It brought back happy memories as this little goat walked, bounced and jumped in the house following my every step. The sound of pattering little feet.

Next is to find a name for our little goat. I was thinking of my five year old granddaughter, and an old reading primer from first grade. “See Spot. See Spot run.”

His name is Spot. Spot likes to run, climb, bounce, jump with the joy of just being alive and a happy goat.

Yes, my husband knows how to get his wife out of a deep depression – take her to the sheep and goat sale barn.

amtolle

Thankful for Sunshine

The past two weeks have been cloudy and overcast with the hope of rain. I love rain falling. In my area we need rain. But the dreary grey blue days of cloudy overcast causes my spirit to drop. The cloudy overcast days of filtered sunshine does not help the daily depression I battle. Sunshine brings hope, warmth and light. Like the plants, I need sunshine to be energized.

Today I have sunshine.

How long the sunshine will last, only a day or two then it is back to overcast skies with the hope of rain.

But today, I will soak up and enjoy the sunshine.

amtolle

Lonely Holidays

The holiday celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching. For some those holidays are surrounded with family and friends. There are others who spend the holidays alone or only with a spouse.

Last year we were blessed with family and friends for Christmas feast, great conversation and just the presence of people in the home. This year it will only be my spouse and I to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Family members have other places they need to be this year.

There have been many celebrations at our home with only my spouse and I to attend. A few years past, I decided not to put up decorations, reasoning was no one was coming to see or share. After three years of no decorations, I realized that regardless of who visits or does not, I still need to celebrate.

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My husband and I have lived in our current residence for twelve years. In those twelve years we have not had one child, teenager or adult come to our home for trick-o-treating. There were children across the street, and down the road. No one came. I still buy candy, just in case I get a visitor on Halloween night. I still decorate, carve a pumpkin and enjoy the evening watching Harry Potter movies with my husband. We celebrate for ourselves.

Thanksgiving will be celebrated alone this year. My husband has to work the holiday. I will fix the traditional turkey dinner, give thanks, and we will have leftover for days. We are blessed with family, him having a job, the sheep doing well, and we have good health. Reasons to have a celebration of thanksgiving.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating the holidays alone. Most times we are depressed because the holiday is not what we had visioned. Other times it is missing loved ones who are unable to attend, or are no longer with us. Time changes our lives and those who we share it with. These changes do not mean we can not enjoy celebrating holidays, we just change our way of celebrating and start new different traditions.

When my husband’s son and family lived close, they have two boys, I started putting a train under the Christmas tree. Kids love trains under trees or just anywhere. I enjoyed the train. I also have the beginnings of a Christmas village, that is added to one item each year. Five years ago, I put the Christmas village and train together on an 8 foot X 4 foot board. Last year with all the people attending Christmas, I did not have room for my Christmas Village and train. Tonight, at dinner, I was discussing with my husband I think I can get the board with my train to sit over the couch, since no one will be here to sit on the couch, that way I have room for my train and village, and the Christmas tree. He just laughed.

Each year there is a laugh over our Christmas decorations. One big joke between us is that not everything on clearance at a really low price is the best item to buy. Three years ago, we were in Wal-Mart looking at Christmas clearance, after Christmas. There were 7 foot Christmas trees on sale for $25.00. I thought great, my old tree ( close to thirty years old) was showing some wear. We purchased the tree. The following year I went to put the tree up with a vision of putting the tree on our square coffee table with the train underneath. Vision burst when the tree was way too tall. It is a laugh each Christmas on where I am going to put the Christmas tree as there are limited places due to the angel or star hitting the ceiling. I am glad we have a vaulted ceiling.

Holidays can be lonely times. I was depressed that my visions of having a house full for holiday celebrations did not and would not happen. Last year was great. This year will be my husband and I. He has to work, and my daughter and her family will be staying home. I will still fix the traditional dinner of Navajo Tacos with green chilli. We will open gifts, maybe have some wine and watch ” A Wonderful Life” followed by “The Grinch”. Celebrating helps with the depression that arrives during the holidays, even if you have to celebrate alone or only with your spouse.

Life is a celebration, it is up to us to choose to celebrate Life.

amtolle

“Spark of Joy”

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“Spark of Joy” comes from Marie Kondo. I was introduced to Marie Kondo and “Spark of Joy” through a Netflix series named “Tidying Up”. In the series Marie Kondo assisted people in “Tidying Up” their homes. These people sought her help to make changes in their homes. During the visits to assist them, Marie Kondo talked about joy and harmony being created in the home. One example stated was when we come home from a busy day at work, we are seeking a happy place, a place with harmony away from the chaos we were in. The things that surround us as we come home should give us a “Spark of Joy”. I watched the entire series, and even viewed some of the youtube videos of her assisting others or teaching how to fold clothes and organize.

I do not travel to work, but I do enjoy a quiet harmonious place to relax at the end of the day. I have post traumatic stress disorder with the main symptoms of depression, anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares. I fight the depression daily. After watching this series, I decided to surround myself in my home with only those items that “spark joy” when I look at them.

I spent months sorting through each item, taking one room at a time. How does this item make me feel? Does this item create joy in my heart or dread? Sorting through took time and energy. Sometimes I would touch an item and get a flashback, quick answer, no joy there. Some items brought back a flood of pleasant memories, those items earned a front position of my eyesight. As the appearance of my home changed, I changed.

The process of going through everything in order to create a home of joy, harmony and peace, I decluttered my home and my life. There were things I had kept because someone gave them to me, feeling like I was unappreciative of their gift if I gave it away or disposed of it. Most of those items given that did not have pleasant feelings, the giver no longer is in my life. How would they know I had gotten rid of the gift? I was keeping things out of fear of offending someone that no longer came around. I had to change my thinking.

As I surrounded myself in my home with only items that brought joy, my depression lessened. I was not fighting a hard battle everyday to keep moving forward, the depression became an inconvenience that was easily moved aside as I went about my day.

Up until the time of watching the series on Netflix and changing my home, I had not thought I had to fight to keep my joy. I was of the thinking that you have joy or you do not. I learned to fight for the joy in my life and to keep it. I still fight depression, but the joy wins over most days. There is no cure for post traumatic stress disorder. But there are ways to lessen the impact and control this disorder has in my life, I just have to fight for it, and do some tidying up.

I took the tidying up step a little further than organizing a house and where I work in the barns and buildings. I applied it to activities I would do for others. I am a person who likes to help others. Sometimes when helping others there was no joy in what I was doing. I was good at the job, but there was no joy in helping the person. An example of one activity I stopped doing was making music cds for a friend who would lead the song services at church. I would copy their pre recorded song music in the order of the songs for the church service they were singing for each Sunday. This was very time consuming and I did not enjoy the work. I decided to really be helping a person as a gift, there should be joy in giving the gift, not what I was feeling. I gave my notice to the person that I was no longer going to do this for them. A huge weight came off my shoulders.

I still have to activities around the home that I do not much care for such as laundry. When I do the laundry, I am still looking for the “Spark of joy” as I fold each item of clothing and put them away.

Look for the “Spark of Joy” in your home and life.

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amtolle

Toxic

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The past week has been emotional for me. Mostly depression and anger have ruled the days. I do not like depression or anger to occupy my thoughts and especially my days. I thought I learned ample skills to stop or at least not let the depression get so bad. I had not had an episode of depression for three years, why now? But, there are triggers to this depression I do not know.

A phone call this past week set the gears in motion for depression. During these depression times I do not feel I am worthy of anyone’s love, there is shame, no self-worth.

The nightmares returned. Dreams in one night included snakes. I really do not like snakes. I was trying to get them out of my house. There were several dreams as I would wake up, then finally go back to sleep to dream about snakes in the house and me trying to get them out. The last dream my husband was trying to get them out with me.

That morning, during prayers, I was really wanting to know why the bad dreams, how to get rid of my depression episode and what had triggered everything. The thought that popped in my mind was “Spark of Joy”.

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Two years ago I watched on Netflix Marie Kondo demonstrating “Spark of Joy”. I went through my house using her methods and cleaned a lot of things out. The biggest change was photos. If a picture of someone or something did not bring me joy, that photo went in a box. I did not destroy any, only stored them in a box for other family members to take if they choose.

The next was to only surround myself with people who brought me joy. But how can you not be around people who are family? One family member treats me with extreme disrespect as well is not truthful with us. My husband made a decision. My husband does not make many decisions, he trusts me to make most of the decisions. He is not in the dark, as I am a verbal thinker, so he knows all the information before I make a decision. But when he does make a decision, as he puts it “his vote is the only one that counts”. He made the decision if this family member does not change the way they treat me and others, they are not allowed on our place and into our home. His reasoning is we work hard to have and keep joy in our home, and for others to experience the joy and harmony of our home when they visit. No one deserves to be treated in the fashion this particular family member treats everyone.

“Spark of Joy”, the dreams were trying to tell me to get rid of the snakes stealing my “spark of joy” in my life. It is very clear the phone call stole my joy. Today, my loving husband decided to vote. He loves his wife and does not like to see her in the state she has been in for almost a week. His vote, do not answer the phone calls or text messages anymore.

There are some relationships with people that are toxic to our self being. They take away our joy and replace that joy with shame, self worthlessness, feelings of stupidity and other negative feelings. The exposure to toxic people should be short. For my health, it is not good to be around toxic people, even if they are family.

I have found another trigger. Hopefully the next time I have an episode, I will recognize the trigger sooner, and remove the snakes from the house.

amtolle

Past

The past claws me back to a place I do not want to be.
The time of sorrows, unhappy joy, lies and deceit.
Be quiet, you do not know what you say.
Your stories are untrue, and there is no need to say.
Yet, the cloud of depression roles, I struggle to be free.
To the hem of a garment I cling to heal me from this curse.
No freedom in sight, no light I see, where can my life be.

A childhood of lies, deceit and stories untold.
When asked, the answer I give is truth.
Then I am told, to be quiet, not tell the truth but believe the lie,
You do not know what you see.
The truth you share is only your imagination.
Children are seen and not heard, their stories are lies,
Their eyes are ignorant.
How could they possibly know?
Stay in your corner, do not say, for your words are foolishness.
I have heard their words, I did as told, yet, I am the one alone.

Years go by, I call once a week or more.
Yet the lies continue and stories untold.
After desperate search, the truth revealed,
Moved to Arboles, to Texas or back home.
My struggle would have been easier if I was told up front.
But no, do not let me know.
Without the truth, the lies can be told.
Keep the truth in the closet, then no one will know.

The lies, deceit and stories untold.
Death arrives, no more maker of lies.
Rest In Peace
Now be still and let my sunshine glow.

I think I have finally gained ground, the sun I do see.
Years of silence, I am alone,
The company of spouse and children occupy time and space.
Only the claws reach forth again and plunged back into the dark sea.
I saw light and now the night.
Reaching forth to be free.
Like parrots learn for the master’s lips, so comes the words again,
Be quiet, do not speak, your stories are untold.
Why do you call? Why do you ask? Yet you do not want to hear.

Years of silence, then the call.
No time to talk, no time to share.
Only do not tell your stories untold.
We do not want to hear of lies, deceit and stories untold.

Why can I not be left alone?
Alone I have the light.
Alone I have the joy.
Alone I live in truth and light.
Loneliness does occupy, yet peace also abides.
The peace with self and universe.
Not childhood pain and torture.


Past stay away, and say no more.
Silence your cries of woe.
I do not want you to stay.
I am tired of lies, deceit and stories untold.
For peace of mind and soul rest felt,
I tell my stories true fold.
Leave me alone, to you I am no more.
The blame of a curse not mine.
Out of the closet I want to stay.

amtolle 3-23-2022