This is the fifth part in the series “Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis. The fourth part in the series, “The Overwhelmed Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, can be found here. Without having trauma, people living with anxiety and depression on a daily basis can find them both debilitating. When you add trauma to the mix, it takes things to a whole new level. What I have been able to finally realize within the last year is the difference between regular depression and trauma depression.
Regular Depression and PTSD Depression
The difference with regular depression and PTSD/trauma depression is that there is no in between, or gradual shift into depression. Sometimes, you might be sitting in a group talking to people, and they happen to mention one word. That word might not have any major significance for them, but for you, it could be the opening of a traumatic experience that consists of twenty different things. The next thing you know, your whole system has dropped without warning, like the ride called “The Giant Drop” at Great America. The worst part about PTSD depression, which is similar to regular depression, is that it is felt at a deeper level if you are already dealing with other life events causing emotional stress.
Depressive Job Experience
A few years ago, I accepted a job at a manufacturing company, thinking that it was the ticket to getting out of debt, and more financial security for my kids and I. It was my worst nightmare. I stuck out like a sore thumb. From start to finish, the entire process that had played out in my twenty year marriage played out at this company. I went from being a trophy to being discarded like a broken toy. I didn’t fit into the culture of anything and everything goes, so there was a plan set in place to fire me , with a good majority of the employees involved. The workplace was a constant lion’s den of bullying, emotional abuse, and the “workplace untouchables”, so to speak. It was God’s great mercy and grace that I was let go. My whole system was wrecked with trauma when I started. By the time I was let go, I was in worse shape emotionally, mentally, and physically than when I started. The Holy Spirit had shown me what would take place from start to finish three months before I got fired. I am not sure what was worse: knowing what would happen, or the anxiously waiting for it to happen.
Fighting for Normality
I was not prepared for what happened afterwards. The “Giant Drop” occurred without any warning. When I explained how I was feeling to my therapist, she gave me a good analogy. I was a deflated ball when I started. So basically, the “already deflated ball” was kicked around. One friend tried to encourage me by telling me not to let the job get me that down. I was glad to be done. However, my system had been through so much compounded trauma, that in turn this is how it responded. I thank God that he slowly brought me out of it. It took a few months for the “giant drop” to leave, but a few more years after that to even start feeling significantly better. Have a blessed night!
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
Last week, I went on an adventure of trying to figure out what meals to make with the ingredients that were left. You know that it’s time to go grocery shopping soon when you start getting really creative. Either that, you’re feeling adventurous, or you’re bored. One of the three. What I ended up doing was making my own version of chili. It turned out pretty good. Last night, I decided to make it again since I had leftover ingredients. My son actually gave me a thumbs up. If he doesn’t like how something tastes, trust me, he isn’t scared to speak his mind in that area.
Racing to Get Out
It’s funny because I heated up a bowl of chili. Then, I decided that I would take a walk for some fresh air, and also drop three books off at the Train Station library while I was at it. Right before leaving out, I went upstairs to grab something. That’s when my son asked, “What are you eating down there?” And to which I replied, “A chili concoction that I made. Do you want some? Of course, the answer was yes. I had to quick heat him up some because it was starting to get dark outside, and then rush to take a quick fifteen minute walk and head on. If you are feeling adventurous, how about giving it a try. Drop a line below to let me know how yours turned out. Here is the simple recipe:
My mother loves perfume. She absolutely loves it! The funny thing about it is that ever since I was a little girl, she has been in love with perfume. As a child, we had special days when we would go downtown to look around. I liked window shopping, but my mother took this to a whole different level. To be honest, I wanted to look around for a little bit, and then get to the fun part: going to Beef N’ Brandy on State Street for a lunchtime sandwich and french fry special.
We usually looked around for a good three to four hours before she decided that we would eat lunch and head home. Those four hours entailed several makeup counters, jewelry counters, and finally the perfume and cologne counters, making sure that she had several samples of facial products and cologne by the time we finished shopping. Every blue moon, she had saved up enough money to buy herself the fragrance that she had been smelling for months. My mother has smelled so many fragrances over the years, that believe it or not, she has become a specialist at knowing her colognes. Whenever we are out and about, and she smells a familiar scent, she might strike up a conversation with a person, and then ask them, “Oh, is that such and such? I love that fragrance.” There are very few fragrances that she is unfamiliar with.
“The Christ Fragrance”
As Christians, we are supposed to be a fragrance of Christ. What fragrance are we giving off? Do they ask us what cologne we are wearing? Or, are we giving off any scent at all? Do people stand next to us and want to run because of our attitudes or behaviors, or do they want to stay and “smell” a while, because their noses are filled with the overwhelming fragrance of Christ?
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 2 Corinthians 2:15
Three weeks ago, this article was featured as “Six things that you Need to Bring the Beachside In”. This post has been updated to reflect “Ten things You Need to Bring the Beachside In. ” This post may contain affiliate links. Today is the last day of August. The last day of the month means preparation for a new month and new beginnings. In one breath, I can’t believe that today is Friday. In another breath, it’s been one long week. I am looking forward to the new things that God has in store for me for the month of September.
The end of the month also means one thing here at Valley of Grace: someone gets a free merchandise freebie. The deadline to will be subscribe will be 11:00 p.m., September 1st. The featured freebie for August is the Weekender Bag that can be used for some of everything. If you’re at the beach, going away for the weekend, or going to fitness class, the weekender bag is right for you. It’s the dump everything in it, and go kind of bag. Adding yourself to the subscriber list puts you in the running for the free merchandise raffle. Starting tomorrow, I will be sending out “Daily Devotions from Valley of Grace” to all of the email subscribers. I will still be posting devotions to Valley of Grace’s blog site on our every other week schedule. Here is a link to where the Weekender Bag can be found.
We’ve all heard of the phrase “Bring the outside In” when we look at home magazines. For this purpose, since I love the beach, I decided that I would do a blog post on bringing the beachside in. When I think of the word beach, I think of my feet in the sand, the water, and God’s big, beautiful sky.
It makes me think about painting the color white on a blank canvas, and then painting the blue sky and water, and tan colored sand. If I wanted to add to this canvas, other things that come to mind is a pier, a chair for one to sit on, minnows in the water, people, rocks, trees, flowers, etc. Take a few minutes to think about what your beach would look like.
Now, let’s transfer this canvas to your home. How can one keep themselves at the beach all year round? Use a room or two in your home as the beach all year round. I am including pictures of how I brought the beachside into my bedroom:
Paint: The walls would represent your canvas. The first thing that you need is the right color of paint. Bright, airy colors are needed to bring your beach to life. For my personal choice, I would have shades of tan, cream, blue, or white.
Pictures: Pictures tell the story of your home. They give your home life, and they keep your friends and loved ones close by. Since this is a beach canvas, people, flowers, trees, sand, rocks, and seashells would be great. However, this is your canvas, and therein lies the fun. This is one of my favorite pictures from when my children were little. They were about one and four years old. Sometimes when I can’t find the colors that I need, I just paint the frames, as well as the furniture.
I found the pictures below at Goodwill for $.99 each a few years ago. I have two sets of two on either side of my bed.
The picture below is one of myself, kids when they were little, mom, and grandmother, who is deceased.
I painted the canvas paintings on the left below. Three pictures were upcycled and painted over since my color scheme changed. The pictures of peonies on the left were taken a year ago. The clothespins and jute string were $1.00 at the Dollar Tree.
3. Furniture:The next thing that you would need would be furniture that would give the beach vibe. Adirondack, wicker, and bamboo seems to do the trick. If you have more than one style of chair, that would work out nicely. A mixture of texture gives rooms more of a natural feel, along with an illusion of more depth. I was blessed a couple of years ago with the wicker chair below. Next to the wicker chair is a wrought iron plant stand. I got rid of the glass top to place the plants on. It safely holds a journal and wallet that my sister bought me when she visited Europe. I love this journal, but I have to be careful because it can easily rip since the pages are made out of a linen, natural parchment.
4. Accessories: Let’s not forget about the accessories. In the picture above, I have a couple of books resting on top of the ottoman, a pillow, and fun necklaces that help give the beach vibe. You can also add mirrors to the wall, as you can see in the picture above, a little bit behind the wicker chair. The mirror was $6.99 at Goodwill. I also found this mirror a couple of years ago.
6. Plants and Flowers: The last things that you need are plants. They can be real or fake. Hanging terrariums are a nice accent. Using a combination of hanging and non-hanging plants makes your room look even more inviting.
I found the fake plant above at Good will for 3.99. The candle was on sale at Michael’s for $2.00 during one of their lowest prices of the season. It smells just like the beach.
The cream colored flowers below are sitting in a mason jar of rocks. They were $1.00 from Dollar Tree.
7. Wood Ladder
Wood Ladders can be a great addition to any room. I love the idea of using wood ladders for a paint studio. In this kind of setting, you can use the ladder to display and store paint, paint brushes, paint smocks, and even a second drop cloth for messy hands. They are also great for displaying books, flowers, towels in bathrooms, blankets, etc. Another thing about wood ladders is that they give a natural effect against a wood wall.
8. Drop Cloth Canvas Curtains
Just looking at drop cloth canvas reminds me of the sand at the beach. The wonderful thing about drop cloth is that it has the natural look of linen, but it’s not the linen price. It is forgiving, and very easy to wash. The drop cloth in this picture is attached to plumbing materials for a little bit of an industrial look. I use drop cloth for tablecloths, background prop for pictures, and it can even be used to make bed skirts and tree skirts. By the way, I do love linen!
9. DIY Wood Signs
In order to make my craft/painting area more beachy, I decided to make wooden signs. I went to Menards and ordered two 6 foot pieces of lumber for $3.00, and then had them to cut each piece into three more pieces. They charge $1 for every additional cut after three cuts. I used black paint that I already have at home, along with a small jar of acrylic paint that I bought from Michaels for $.99. Whatever makes you think beachy, is what can be written on the signs. These signs are displayed over the walkways and over doors.
The one below is my favorite. Painting these signs was also therapeutic.
10. DIY Word Art
Last, but not least, you can using any material that you have at home, along with jute string, clothespins, and push pins, to hang up any word art signs. In the picture below, I used some burlap tags that I had purchased from Michaels. They had a box on clearance for $2.00. My paint/craft area is small, but just the right space to get away inside. I need to use it even more.
Have a blessed rest of your weekend!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
This is the fourth part in our series of “Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”. A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the triggers aspect. Today, we will be discussing the disassociation aspect. Due to the response that I received from my ex-husband years ago, I started stuffing my feelings. I can remember very clearly the exact moment that I decided that I would not cry anymore. I was on the middle level of the townhome, not realizing I’d been heard. At this point, I had been crying for almost an hour. He told me that I should quiet down or the kids would possibly wake up. He kept asking me for the reason behind my crying. I refused to tell him because I had already figured out that the knowledge didn’t transfer over to things getting better.
Handling the Pain
Fast forward several years later to 2012, when it became clear that we were heading for divorce, the pain, crying, and feelings came on with full force. I hadn’t cried for so long, that I had to relearn how to feel the feelings, if that makes sense. Grieving was difficult because I was afraid of being out of control, and the crying not stopping. This was due to stuffing my feelings for so long. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
What happened before, during, and after the divorce, including now, is that I have been living with managing trauma on a daily basis. When I finally felt safe enough, I was able to start grieving a little at a time. I quickly realized that the more you grieve, the less trauma that is stored emotionally, mentally, and physically in your body. The less you grieve, the more trauma that is stored emotionally, mentally, and physically in your body.
The Dissociation Process
What I didn’t realize is that along with living with trauma on a day to day basis, you are still constantly having more trials, bringing more compounded trauma, and your brain gets on overload. This is like a computer that has too many processes running at one time. What ends up happening is that everything locks up, and you can’t do anything. You have to reboot. It’s the same way with trauma. When you are so overloaded with compounded trauma, the one thing, no matter the intensity of it, becomes the straw that broke the camel’s back. You start numbing out, and then dissociating. Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity.
Prayer for Relief
You are probably going to laugh at this one. At first, I started feeling out of control because my feelings started coming back on line, and then I start feeling out of control when my brain starting disassociating from the feelings to protect me. I can remember one time in particular when the kids and I were living at our last residence, I was loaded up on trauma. It was so bad, that I started dissociating. Back then, I didn’t realize that dissociating helps to protect your mental state in these cases. I prayed real hard, because I starting feeling out of control in the state that I was in, asking God to get rid of the dissociation. He answered right away, and then all of the feelings came flooding through, with no bottom to ground me. That’s when even in this bad state that I was in at the moment, I laughed, and told God that I guess I’d better be careful for what I pray for. Now, I know that I just need to ride it out. Everything happens for a reason.
Please feel free to send an email or respond with a comment down below if you are so led as to how you deal with the dissociating side of trauma.
Hope you have a blessed night!
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
I don’t know if you are like me, but I love pictures of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. To me, pictures change the entire tone of a home. Pictures and Jesus have two things in common: they give life to a room. There is something about pictures of people that make our homes have that homey, cozy feeling deep down. Of course, if we want to display pictures, then we need picture frames. To be honest, they can be pricey. I want to give you four tips on Picture Frames. Maybe they might spark an upcycling idea or two.
Some of the best selection of picture frames are at the thrift stores.
When you have a tight budget, it forces you to change your selection options really fast. I have found that I like the selection of picture frames from thrift stores better than the other stores that I used to frequent. When Michael’s has their lowest prices of the season sale, you can get great frames for $5. I have about four of them that I bought three years ago. Goodwill has frames anywhere from $.99 to $3.99, which is great. I try to give myself a $2.99 budget there. There was one thrift store that I visited two years ago, and I thought that when I saw the $.50 tag on the frames, that is was a misprint. The owner told me that they get so many new frames everyday, that they are able to offer them for such an inexpensive price. The two frames below were brand new Pottery Barn picture frames when I bought them. They even had an extra set of matting inside the frame in case you decided to change things up. I painted these two frames with chalkboard paint and a medium brush to give them a washed-out, distressed look.
Picture frames give an interesting layout when they are different colors, shapes, and sizes.
The thicker frames give more depth and dimension, while the natural colored frames make any colored wall look great. I think the most fun that I ever had with picture frames was trying to come up with a pattern and color scheme for this living room wall. This was also the first time that I displayed so many pictures on one wall.
These are two of the frames that I found at Michael’s for $5.00 a few years ago during their lowest prices of the season. These are pictures of my son performing at a radio station during a one-on-one interview.
Your pictures and picture frames tell a story about your family, your home, and your style.
They should be carefully selected to reflect who you are as a person, and as a family.
Picture frames can be painted.
It took me several years to figure this out. Years ago, I was watching a diy show on HGTV, and the hostess made the point that if you find the perfect frame for a great price, then buy some inexpensive paint to paint the frame the color that you’d like. Now, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of picture frames that I’ve painted. It’s all about personal preference.
If you feel inspired, send in a picture of a wall in your home with the history behind the pictures and the frames.
Have a blessed night!
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
If anyone knows me, they know there are certain things that I love. The top of the list are crates, jars, baskets, cutting boards, dishes, and aprons. Whenever my daughter and I are looking around in stores with any of these items, she knows me. I have to take a look. I stand there and look at all the wonderful neutral colors. Not only do I love seeing them in stores, but I love to decorate with them. When it comes to storage, crates are at the top of the list for me. They add a natural look and feel to the home, and can dress up any room. Today, I am going to be discussing different things that you can do with crates. Maybe you would like to adopt some ideas, or it might spark some interest as to what you can do with your own.
Crates can be painted, or left plain, so that the natural pine makes a statement.
When we were living at our last residence, I bought my daughter four crates to help organize the belongings in her room. I decided to paint them a mustard yellow to make the room pop. When we moved here, she decided that she didn’t want them. I painted one crate “Ponytail”, and I painted the other three crates black. Ponytail is somewhere in the beige to tan family of colors.
Crates can be used to house magazines.
I was so happy when I thought about this idea. However, it meant going through all the magazines that I had collected over the past couple of years, and thrown in piles on the floor all over the house. I gave some away and I recycled some. I made myself pair down to about 10 magazines, and decided that this was a sufficient amount to keep inside a medium sized crate.
Crates are great for displaying vases and candle holders.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran into my neighbor outside, and she told me that she was rearranging her cabinet, and that I could pick out some things that I wanted. This was such a blessing! The candle holders added just the pop of green that I needed for the living room.
Crates can be used for sewing supplies.
I have a small hallway upstairs on the second floor. In one corner, I keep a bag of pieces of material for upcycling, and then a crate filled with sewing and manicure supplies. The safety pins are housed in clear jars. Sewing needles and thread are housed in open plastic containers. The picture on the right reminds me of my grandmother, because she loved sewing and wearing scarves on her head.
Last, but not least, crates can be used as storage for laundry.
You can use a couple of crates for the clean clothes, and a couple of crates for the dirty clothes. I have a system of using one large crate for the towels, and then either dumping the dirty clothes into the washing machine, or in another crate or basket.
Feel free to share your many uses for crates down below.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Well, as you have probably figured out by now, there can’t be any cooking going on in this house without a little bit of drama attached to it. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter called me while I was over my friend’s house, and she stated that the oven had been on preheat for 40 minutes, but still didn’t come on. Hmmm. Okay, breathe. She proceeded to tell me that she didn’t realize we had just ran out of oil, so the meal that she tried cooking stuck to the bottom of the skillet, and she had to end up throwing it out. Okay, breathe. I definitely had to take a few minutes to process this one. This became number 4 on our list of repairs that needed to be done, and will have to wait.
Fast forward, my son and I were in the grocery store early last week, and I decided that I would make two breakfast bread casseroles. They would last for a week, and the kids could heat them up in the microwave and head out to school. After getting all of the ingredients except the tin foil pans from Dollar Tree, I thought, “Wait a minute. The oven doesn’t work.” This is when Plan B went into effect. My grandmother used to always say, ” There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Although I don’t think anyone would do that. Back to the story. I kept thinking to myself would it be possible to make a bread casserole in a slow cooker. I checked Pinterest, but their slow cookers were rectangular shaped, and their casseroles were not like mine. Well, you know me by now. I decided that the worst thing that could happen is that the casserole didn’t come out right. Praise God! It was delicious! I hope you feel brave enough to try my concoction. My kids loved it. I made a vegan one, and then the next night, I made a non-vegan one. Please feel free to email me with your favorite slow cooker recipes with permission, and I will post it for others to see. Have a blessed night, and happy cooking!
Activity: Making a Vegan & Ground Turkey Slow Cooker Casserole
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 2.5 hours
1 pack of hash browns
1 pack of ground turkey
1 pack of Lightlife Meatless Mexican Crumbles (vegan casserole)
1 can of fire-roasted salsa style diced tomatoes
1 can of cut-leaf spinach
3 tablespooons of oil
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth (vegan casserole)
2 cups of unsalted chicken broth
3 teaspoons of onion powder
3 teaspoons of garlic powder
3 teaspoons of cumin
3 teaspoons of turmeric
3 teaspoons of marjoram
3 slices of vegan bread
3 slices of non-vegan bread
1 cup of water
3 cups of milk
Make a layer of eight to ten hash browns for layer 1.
Add the layer of uncooked meat, making sure to even distribute across.
Add half of the can of spinach.
Add half of the can of tomatoes.
Break up three slices of bread into cubes.
Add the water, broth, nutritional yeast, oil, and all the rest of the seasonings.
Add 1 1/2 cups of milk. (I used oat milk.)
Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Psalms 122:1, KJV
It is very hard when we are going through things in life. The immediate response when trouble hits is to panic. It is natural. God created us to have emotions. What tends to happen is that when we panic, we oftentimes forget to give ourselves room to breathe. Room to pray, think about the situation, and breathe some more. Satan usually have our minds in such an uproar, that anxiety often takes over, and then instead of us praying and asking God for discernment in these situations, we become reactive instead of responsive. Anxiety and fear tells us that we have to come up with a solution right now. Wisdom tells us to wait on God for promptings of the Holy Spirit on the how, when, why of the response. Praise God that all we have to do is ask!
James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Wisdom, She Cries in the Streets
Wisdom, Wisdom, She Cries in the Streets:
“Put the knowing into doing,
And discernment we will greet.”
Wisdom, Wisdom, It is ours for the asking.
Helps us make the right decisions.
Fills the blanks in the lacking.
Wisdom, Wisdom, Right with God in the Beginning.
Everything ever so perfect,
Right before there came the sinning.
Wisdom, Wisdom, it is given to us freely,
All we have to do is ask,
Get right down to praying and kneeling.
Wisdom, Wisdom, far more precious than those rubies:
The Venture-Making Oatmeal Pumpkin Seed Coconut Cookies
I had been itching for the last couple of weeks to make oatmeal pumpkin seed coconut cookies. There are several reasons that it hadn’t happened yet:
Didn’t have the time
Had the time, but didn’t have the energy
Had the time and the energy, but I had a sink full of dishes already
Well, a few days ago, I finally got to baking the cookies. They were surprisingly delicious. On the cooking shows, they say that things are so good that they make you want to slap someone. For my purpose here, I will say that they make you want to jump up and down and dance. My kids laugh at me because most of the things that I cook or bake usually starts with my mind going, ” Oh, I wonder what would happen if I mix this and that together.” That’s what happened with these cookies. Most of the times I have good results. Other times, it’s one of those things where you know there’s always next time. I call them my concoctions. I bought the almond flour about a month ago, so I didn’t have to worry about having to run out and get it. This was my first time ever using it for baking, and I loved it. Well, so much for rambling on…
I set the oven for 350 degrees, at a 22-minute timer. At 17 minutes into the baking, the entire house smelled like almonds. My daughter said, “Mom, I think that you need to check the cookies. They smell ready.” I felt them and they were still soft. However, she reminded me that they will finish cooking even after I take them out. She was right. She is the one who is the baker, but I am learning. I hope that you enjoy these cookies. I think that next time I will add quinoa. Here is the recipe:
Activity: Making Oatmeal Pumpkin Coconut Cookies
Prepping and Baking Time: 33 minutes
(1/4) cup unsweetened coconut flakes
(1 1/2) cup of almond milk
(1/4) cup of grapeseed & sunflower seed oil blend
(1/4) cup of sunflower seeds
(1/4) cup of pumpkin seeds
(1/4) cup of raisins
(1 1/4) cup of almond flour
(1 1/4) cup of oatmeal
(1) teaspoon of vanilla extract
(1/2) cup of brown sugar
(1/2) teaspoon of baking soda
(1) tablespoon of chia seeds
(3) tablespoons of flaxseed meal and 4.5 tablespoons of water mixed together
Use parchment paper or grease a full-sized cookie sheet with oil.
Whisk together the following in bowl number one: almond flour, oatmeal, baking soda, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Mix together the following in bowl number two: grapeseed oil, coconut flakes, flaxseed meal mixture, almond milk, vanilla extract, and brown sugar.
Dump bowl number one into bowl number two and mix well.
Use a cookie scoop to form balls with the cookie mixture and place them on the cookie sheet.
Enjoy and have a blessed weekend!
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.