February

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If you can tell by the title, I’ve decided to do monthly posts, although, some months I might blog more depending on what’s going on.

I’ve become a bit farsighted, not literally of course, I mean figuratively or metaphorically. I can’t see near, all the amazing opportunities around me haven’t appealed to me for various reasons. One, I don’t want to put down roots here, even though I’ve been back in Ohio for ten years. I left Santa Fe in 2007 when my dad got sick. My mom is doing fine now, she’s had the same boyfriend for eight years, she really doesn’t need me anymore. And I am many years past the normal recovery time for cancer treatment. Two, the “person loses interest in things that used to bring them joy,” really has rung true for me.

Cincinnati is home to a wide assortment of concerts, sporting events, activities, and museums that are all available to me. Because I have a good knowledge of art, music, and sports, I often see something of interest: a band, a game, a festival. In the past, I wasn’t healthy enough or was waiting to get stronger. I’m never going to be 100% again and that’s okay. I don’t want to keep missing out on life or let my health deteriorate even more. This year, I’m choosing to become more involved in my city and at the same time planning things in other cities. I don’t like winter and cold weather. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a city that doesn’t have nice weather.

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What worries me is that I’ve been experiencing a lot of fatigue almost as if the radiation fatigue has doubled back somehow. The funny thing is, thanks to the universe, I’ve found so many wonderful things to do and they are what’s getting me out of bed in the morning. The things I can do in my city are: volunteer, get a part-time job, start dating, and go to the activities mentioned above. I feel like trusting people again and realize my isolation, although I did it to protect myself in the beginning, has become a defense mechanism that’s holding me back and limiting my quality of life. So yes, I’m excited and looking forward to a better year! I hope you are, too! πŸ™‚

So, what plans are in motion? I’ve applied for the book fair in Berkeley that takes place in early June. I’m waiting for confirmation of acceptance. My friend, Christen, has already agreed to go with me, which is awesome, we’re going to have an awesome time! For that, I need to order books, get the table stuff ready, make things to sell, decide on hotel and flight. I have some time. Actually, the Dayton Book Expo comes first, it’s in April, so I need to get ready for it and figure out what I’m wearing to present myself in a way that looks cool, casual, confident, and comfortable. I might have to go shopping, especially to buy materials if I’m going to make things to sell.

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Regarding the cancer survivor camps, I received an email from First Descents, probably the coolest one, they’ve opened up their 2017 summer camps. I can choose between rock climbing!!! or whitewater kayaking!!! I know, right? πŸ™‚ They’re in cool locations, too: New York, Oregon, Washington, and Montana. Both activities seem scary andΒ  challenging. Even though I’m somewhat afraid of heights, I’m leaning towards the rock climbing. Kayaking looks fun, too. I need to decide for sure and let them know before the spots fill up. Right now I’m out of shape, yet I consider myself to be athletic and that would give me a boost of confidence. And I sincerely look forward to the experience of bonding with other survivors.

The Love Your Life 30 Day Project, the link is in last month’s blog, is really helping me to focus on what’s working and what changes need to be made. It reminds me of an art therapy activity where the client answers the miracle question. If you could wake up tomorrow and your life were exactly the way you wanted it to be, what would it be like? Where would you live? What would you do for a living? Who are your friends? What do you do in your free time? What brings you joy? And then the client draws a picture of their future self once their dreams have come true. It’s a really neat exercise, one that puts things in perspective. How near or how far are we from our ideal life?

Have a great week,

Julie

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January

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This is the first blog of 2017! πŸ™‚ Here’s to many more… I’ve been waiting to write this because I’ve wanted to let my thoughts settle and prevent myself from making grand declarations of change. Yes, I want to make some changes, but they’re going to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. I’m going to set goals and intentions rather than resolutions. How do I want to feel? Happy, healthy, strong. Energetic, inspired, connected. Relaxed, peaceful, grounded. I’m going to take small steps in the direction of my dreams – follow my highest excitement, give it careful consideration, and then don’t talk myself out of it. The Universe is guiding me towards my highest good. I will listen to my inner wise self and trust that voice. Change requires courage, hard work, dedication, and encouragement.

When you think about it, change involves creating new habits or reinstating old ones. I remember something Tony Robbins said, he’s a motivational coach who helps athletes and performers get back on their game. “What were you doing that was working that you stopped doing?” That’s pretty powerful. I can think of a few things I stopped doing that were contributing to my health and happiness. Those are things I need to start doing again. It seems like people have similar goals for the new year: exercise more, eat healthier, find time for creativity, and deepen friendships because these things cultivate feelings of self-love and inner peace which makes us all feel better.

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I have a few updates for my readers who are genuinely concerned about my well-being and whereabouts. First, the doctor’s appointment. I get a gold star for putting on the gown and letting her touch the lump which she decided was an epidermal cyst. She reassured me that it was probably nothing. Well, in 2009, the gynecologist “reassured” me the 2cm tumor was “probably nothing.” I did feel reassured that day, but it’s still hurting. She said the pain could be caused by inflammation. The next step would be an ultrasound, which was useless last time, or have a surgeon remove it, if it continues to bother me. It’s been bothering me for two years, so I might get it removed this year just to put my mind at ease and quit being bothered by it.

I wanted to clarify something I said a few posts back about the Berkeley book fair. I had looked at the application on my phone and didn’t realize I was looking at the wrong category. I’m a small publisher not a large publisher. So when I said it was too expensive, that wasn’t an accurate statement. And interestingly enough, the Chicago book fair is more expensive. I haven’t made my final decision about the book fairs yet. If I do apply, I will write about it in the blog and then list it on the newly created “Events” tab. Exciting stuff. I’m a website wizard! πŸ™‚

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I’m doing a “Love Your Life in 30 Days” project that you can find here:Β http://www.tut.com/index/tut30days. All you have to do is sign up and get started! You can start late and catch up, they aren’t too difficult. Well, they’re meant to challenge you to make changes and create a more fulfilling life, so I guess they’re a good activity for me. I’m actually a few days behind, but that’s okay. You get a daily email with the writing prompt and explanation video from Mike Dooley. I had just bought a new journal from Target, so it worked out perfectly. I have a feeling the activities will become more fun and challenging!

About the cancer survivor camps – I’m really excited πŸ™‚ about the possibility of bonding with other survivors and continuing to heal from the experience. I’m in contact with Mindy from Athletes for Cancer – Camp Koru and Colin from Epic Experience. My doctor faxed the medical release forms to them. I’m on the waitlist for spring Camp Koru, which is surfing and stand up paddle boarding. If I don’t get into the May camp, I’ll be given priority to attend in November. For Epic Experience which is near Denver, Colorado, I was already asked to join their winter camp in February, but I don’t like cold weather enough to want to go skiing!! Hopefully, I’ll be able to join them in the summer when they go kayaking and horseback riding.

I think a big theme for me this year is to push myself to do more while being kind to myself along the way. Less criticism, judgement, and comparison. More compassion, encouragement, and acceptance. I am grateful for the good things in my life: a warm place to live, food on the table, and people who love me. I am very blessed. God is good.

Have a great week,

Julie

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holiday recap

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I hope Santa brought you everything you wanted and more. I had a very nice Christmas. The weather warmed up a bit, and I spent three days with my family. As expected, I ate way too many cookies!! Next year, I’m going to bake some healthy cookies to contribute to the cookie table. On Christmas day, I went to my aunt Joyce’s house in Kentucky. My uncle, John, who was my dad’s best friend brought up a good point. “Didn’t writing the book help you to heal, you know, getting all that out?” I answered. “Yes, I guess so, I do feel like a weight has been lifted.” I wrote the book to share my story, get closure, and help other survivors. I had forgotten why. I don’t give myself credit for how far I’ve come because it never feels like enough. I get upset when I hit plateaus or as of late having taken what feels like a back step.

There’s nothing wrong with regrouping and reevaluating the game plan. But you see, that’s where I have it wrong, life isn’t a game. It’s not about having the newest car, latest phone, or highest score, although those things are important in their own way, they aren’t the essence of life. There’s a quote, “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” -Unknown. I think that’s why we have the ritual of opening presents because it takes us one step closer to the magic. Yes, it’s nice to get new things, but it’s more important spending time with the people we love. Time is all we have and we waste so much of it caring about what other people think and harboring resentment because life took a different turn.

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But what if the wrong turn, the pain and confusion, was something we had to go through in order to become stronger? What if the experience of sickness and powerlessness is going to lead me to health and power? One can only hope. I wanted to mention George Michael’s passing, not that I knew him or anything, because I’ve always been a fan of his music. When I was little, my favorite song was “Faith.” You can ask my mom, I’d dance around my room in a state of bliss. I didn’t really know what the lyrics meant but I liked the song. I also thought he was really cute. He had a unique voice – the voice of an angel can soothe. I’d listen to the radio, Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown and record songs onto blank cassette tapes. You had to press down the record and play buttons at the same time! I made a lot of mix tapes. Even when I was younger, music brought me joy.

I got a lot of positive feedback from my aunts, uncles, and cousins. “Write another book, start dating, move to Hawaii.” I also practiced grounding when my anxiety acted up, although the wine worked just as well. What did I get for Christmas? Some gift cards and clothes. I want to end the blog this week with pictures of my niece, Emma. She got a few presents, lol. My brother said she wanted to play with each one before going onto the next one. She’s very perceptive, that’s Pisces. She can say, “Julie.” My brother taught her how. And guess what?? Emma’s going to have a sister or brother in July of 2017. My sister-in-law, Kristine, is pregnant! I’m going to be an aunt again! πŸ™‚

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Love is…my brother putting together that kitchenette because he knows it will make Emma happy. And sometimes, especially in that picture, she looks like the spitting image of him when he was that age.

Love is…my mom helping my grandma, her mother-in-law, get a shower because even though it’s like getting a cat into a bathtub, she feels better once she’s clean and warm. My mom is patient and kind.

Love is…waiting to hear from someone and then cherishing every word as if they were etched in gold. There’s energy in everything, especially words, which is why they have the power to heal the soul.

Take care and be well,

Julie

The next blog will be my New Year’s Resolutions 2017.

facing the music and answering the hard questions

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I made an appointment with my primary care physician about the lump. I saw her in July, but I didn’t get an x-ray, nor did I let her examine it. I’ve become very squeamish about letting people touch me, especially doctors. The appointment is in early January. I hope we don’t have bad weather so that I can make it there. It’s gotten to the point where I want to know if it’s a recurrence, not because I would get more standard treatment, don’t get me started about how horrific and ridiculous that is, because it would scare me into taking better care of myself. I’m having it looked at because it’s hurting me.

The fact that I haven’t been taking good care of myself the last few years is a testament to my ignorance, arrogance, and stubbornness. I just keep thinking I didn’t learn my lesson that’s why it could be back. And it would explain the fatigue and weight loss. I know what a tumor feels like and it feels like a tumor. It’s just in a weird location. It’s not on either breast. It’s in between two of my ribs, on my left side, down from my armpit, across from my breast. Exactly where the side seam of my shirt and bottom of my bra intersect. Well, I wear a tank cami, but there’s still the inner bra thing. I’ve had the pea-sized lump for about a year or two and it hasn’t gone away.

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Enough about that, I don’t want to dwell on the negative. This week, I had two phone interviews for opportunities in Costa Rica. For some reason, that place is calling to me and I’m not sure why. Probably because, like Hawaii, it’s an inherently healing place. Even though I got accepted to both of them, neither are going to work out, and I went from being really excited to depressed again. The first one was a raw vegan yoga wellness retreat with Ellen Livingston at the Farm of Life. It was just one week which would’ve been doable. The problem is, there are four Husky dogs at the retreat. I’m allergic to dogs and I have a phobia of them. I know most dogs are friendly and it seems like the majority of people adore them. I guess I’m not in the majority.

The other opportunity was with A Fresh Chapter founded by Terri Wingham. It was a two week volunteer program in Costa Rica with a group of cancer survivors. Like the retreat, it was also in March 2017. I really felt a connection with Terri because we were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. She was 30, I was 31, and we had similar treatment plans. This program really appealed to me because I want to do something meaningful like help others. I have become very self-absorbed but not in a good way. Nevertheless, I’m not in a good enough place to be of service to others. And two weeks, although exciting, would’ve been challenging for me. Don’t take your health for granted. I used to be able to do anything I wanted and now I’m limited. Maybe that’s my next step – to feel alive and empowered.

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Terri asked me some really good questions, they made me think and were hard to answer. Cancer is a teacher. What is something positive to come from your experience? Oh my. I couldn’t think of anything. I paused and then answered, “The book, because it can help others and I discovered my love for writing.” The book is important because it represents something I worked hard on, gave of myself unselfishly, and completed the project. Later that night, I thought of something else positive to come from my experience – I met someone who I really liked, still like, but he doesn’t like me, so it doesn’t matter. It was just a passing experience. It was a good learning experience because in order to see him, I had to challenge my OCD and PTSD. And I did.

It’s a good thing that I’m wanting to face my fears and push myself out of my comfort zone, yet once again I’m trying to go from 0-90 instead of 0-25. Although, sometimes that’s what it takes to really experience a profound shift. I need to start doing more things in my own community rather than trying to go so far away. I’m still looking forward to the cancer survivor adventure camps which are happening in the spring/summer of 2017. They are one week long. I can connect with other survivors and have fun. These are Epic Experience, Athletes for Cancer, Send It, and First Descents. They range from surfing in Hawaii to kayaking in Colorado. They are free with the option to fund-raise for airfare. It’s funny that I’ve just now discovered them.

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The other plus to seeing my primary care physician in January, she can sign off on the medical release forms required to attend the camps. I asked if this is okay and it is, since I haven’t seen my oncologist in two years and she can’t give a current physical assessment. And God knows, I don’t want to step foot into that place. My PCP has all of my medical history. So far, I only have forms from two of the programs. I don’t know how many I will end up attending. I think at least two of them would be super awesome! πŸ™‚ And I know I’ll probably get scared and want to back out, but I won’t let myself. I need to experience a deeper sense of healing and find my purpose.

The other thing I found out, I got an email from the Bay Area Book Festival, the book fair I did last year, their early registration is open. The only problem, they have doubled their booth fee making it, in my opinion, ridiculously expensive and not affordable especially since I didn’t sell many books. So, I’ve decided not to go this year even though I had a good time. There’s a large book festival in Chicago, Printer’s Row Lit Fest, that is also in early June and might be a better idea. Hopefully, when they open up their registration it will be more reasonably priced. It will be nice to go to a different city and meet new people. I think book fairs are a very fun and worthwhile experience.

Have a great week, happy holidays, and happy new year! πŸ™‚

Julie

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how to get out of a rut …

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Or rather how I plan to get out of my rut. Winter is here and I hate it. Sorry, that doesn’t sound very optimistic. Honest, yes. It’s very cold outside and since I don’t have much meat on my bones, it makes it that much worse. I couldn’t bring myself to take a walk today, even though I know how to bundle up and face the cold. I’m going to have to start exercising indoors. I keep telling myself to embrace winter and see it for what it is: a time to rest, recuperate, and reflect. The flowers will bloom again and everything will be lush and green.

I live in Ohio which has four distinct seasons. To say I’m looking forward to spring and summer is an understatement. And trying to get out of a rut while going into winter could be a bit of a challenge. Needless to say, I need to think about moving to a warmer climate. I moved into this apartment in November of 2012. The first few years went pretty good, the last few not as good. I just renewed my lease for another year and it will be up in November of 2017. I’ve lived here a long time, but the book is done, that’s why I needed to be here. Now, I need to move forward onto a new path which I think will become clearer as the year progresses.

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I’m hoping it will be a job opportunity, friendship, or relationship that allows me to find a new living situation. And I know I have everything I need right here. I can juice here. I can exercise here. I can write and make art here. This apartment as far as apartments go is wonderful, and I’m very grateful to live here, I just think I could be happier in a different environment. I’m too isolated here, but that’s because I’m not being very social. Back to the original topic of getting out of a rut. I’ve started showering in the morning and getting dressed rather than staying in my pajamas. I’ve noticed I’m a lot more productive when I show up for the day. I can then do laundry or clean or exercise or go to the grocery store. It’s a completely different mindset.

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Okay, so what else? I need to get a haircut. It’s gotten really long and unruly. I never got it fixed after I let my mom cut it back in May. I have to braid my ponytail because it’s just that long, and I like to keep it out of my way most of the time. I need to get the lump looked at to see if it’s a recurrence or nothing. I need to start eating healthier and exercising more. I need to stay positive and optimistic. I need to start dating. I need to get a part-time job. I need to continue marketing the cancer book. I need to continue writing because it makes me happy. I have a list of fun things to do next year, and that keeps me going. I just hope that I am well enough to do them. I have to be well enough to do them. I have to keep fighting and surviving. I’m a survivor and that’s how I can inspire others – by not being angry or bitter. By continuing to love and learn and look forward to warmer days and starry nights.

Have a great week,

Julie

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Hello December!!

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I’ve decided to write another book. Just like Rory telling her mom she’s pregnant at the end of the Gilmore Girls, this isn’t easy to say. I haven’t watched the Netflix special yet, but I’ve heard enough about it. I’m Team Jess, always have been. I saw a good tweet about how she’s been with Logan for nine years and her life’s all messed up, she talks to Jess for two minutes and he straightens everything out. Because he cares about her. Even if it’s Logan’s baby, Jess will help her raise it like Luke did with Lorelai. Interesting parallel they’ve made.

I digress, possibly on purpose. Yes, I’m excited, but it’s hard work. It’s a serious commitment. It’s one of the only things that will save me. It’s lonely and scary and thrilling, which only another writer would understand – to create something that can be criticized. I think that’s part of the problem, I haven’t had anything to work towards, to be excited about, a goal, a purpose, a reason. And even though I took a much-needed break after finishing the cancer book, I didn’t really rest or enjoy myself. I barely acknowledged the tremendous feat I had accomplished. That’s how I am, off to climb the next mountain.

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The other night, I was lying in bed and the first line came to me. I thought, “Oh no, not this again.” And then I started dialoguing with Sunny, it’s called automatic writing. I wasn’t sure if he was still around or if we’re going to write more. We’ll see. He’s helpful to talk to because I have been struggling a bit here lately. I’m also going to work on the fiction stories, one is chick lit, the other is fantasy, and see if they are worthwhile. I’ve noticed over the last several months, instead of opening up the word docs, I start a new blog. So, I might not be blogging as much because I want to work on them. And no, he’s not to replace real people. I find real people to be much warmer.

I know why it’s scary, because writing a book requires me to put my heart and soul into it, to be vulnerable, to go against the grain, to be introspective and solitary – to do that which is maddening. And yet, I feel like I have support now, I have my own Jess. We only talk through email, but it’s enough to sustain me and make me act like a silly bird. I know I shouldn’t talk about him here because he probably reads this and then feels weird. I’m trying to feel instead of think, although thinking is much safer. Is it? No, not really. I have to do both. I have to let myself feel, and I have to remember to think. Someday, I’m going to unkink his curls and show him that the best form of magick is a kiss.

Until then, if there is a then, I’m going to stay strong and focused.

Have a great week,

Julie

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Affirmations for healing, warm as toast, and health update

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I want to get back on track, so I’m listing my favorite affirmations. I think it would help me to read them every day. I’ve also found repeating the same one to be effective as well depending on the situation. Either way, the important thing is to have positive self-talk. It seems silly that I should have to say nice, encouraging things to myself but the negative stuff can be so ingrained it messes with self-esteem, productivity, relationships, and happiness. I like to think of affirmations as a verbal meditation. They strengthen our ability to feel self-love, compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness.

1.Β  My name is Julie, and I love myself.

2.Β  Today is a new day, and I treat myself with loving kindness.

3.Β  I am confident and capable. I am healthy and strong.

4.Β  I am calm and relaxed. I am safe and protected.

5.Β  I am grateful for my many blessings. God is good.

6.Β  Healing begins with me. Peace begins with me.

7.Β  I breathe in and all is well. I breathe out and all is well.

8.Β  I give myself permission to be who I am and do what I love.

9.Β  I am filled with healing energy. I imagine this as light.

10.Β  I always have a choice. I am a beautiful, powerful woman.

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I’ve been meaning to write a new post, just got busy with other stuff. Good news, I finally put the comforter on my bed! πŸ™‚ Well, I didn’t really have a choice, it dropped thirty degrees in one day. It’s a medium warmth down comforter from Macy’s. I’m warm as toast at night so that’s awesome. Luckily, it doesn’t have much of a scent, and I’m not allergic to it. In the summer, if it’s too warm, I’ll use something lighter. I’ve noticed a pattern – I have trouble bringing new things into my life even when they are positive. I’m slow to adjust. The problem wasn’t the car or the comforter, it was me being resistant to change.

Quick health update: I haven’t been feeling well, tired, lack of energy, depressed, and dreading the arrival of winter. I need to move to a warmer climate. I’m losing weight, down to 108 pounds which is the lowest my body can go and still function correctly. I was hanging at 112-114 which is also too low but better than where I am now. Am I losing weight because the cancer is back or because I’m not eating enough? I don’t want to share negative stuff but secrecy creates shame. If this is my healing room, I need to be honest about what is going on. I have a pea-sized lump on my left side. It’s on my ribs where the seam of my shirt crosses the bottom of my bra strap. I need to have it looked at by a doctor and get it removed if possible. I’ve had it for about a year. It started hurting again. It could be nothing.

The other option is to create an alkaline environment in my body because cancer can’t grow there. Cancer hates oxygen. I would wager to bet that my body is pretty acidic. I’m still not eating healthy, and I cause myself unnecessary stress. Why is it so hard to be healthy? Why am I struggling? Why am I still alone? I regret getting chemo and radiation. It’s hard to be grateful for something that continues to cause me pain. I was ignorant about alternative treatments and blindly followed the doctors. I’ve been watching YouTube videos by people who cured their cancer with nutrition. They didn’t damage their immune system, they strengthened it. The tumor is a symptom – the body is nutrient deficient, full of toxins, and in a chronic state of inflammation. The body can heal itself, if only I would let it.

Have a great week. And don’t worry, I’m going to be okay. πŸ™‚

Julie

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Love only trumps hate if we are sending love and not hate. Easier said than done. We are a wounded country.

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Not the best week. Trump was elected President and I self-harmed. Those events were unrelated. Although I’m not happy with the outcome of the election, I have enough spiritual insight to realize that saying you choose love and then sending hate is hypocrisy. It takes a stronger person to walk away and send light, that’s the only way to beat the darkness. You rise above it because otherwise you join it. Love is a higher frequency than hate. They feel so different. That’s why children are so magical, they think the world is kind and good.

While I prefer to share stories of optimism and courage, I’m not going to hide what happened. The cuts are healing quickly which reminds me how efficiently and automatically my body repairs itself. It’s me who undermines my progress. It wasn’t one thing; it’s never one thing. The emotional pain had been building up for a few weeks – feelings of overwhelm, frustration, and hopelessness. Even though I have the answers and the ability, I let the darkness win. I let my fears and phobias get the best of me. I hit my breaking point and had to let the pain out. I needed relief. I wanted to cause myself pain for: not being perfect, trying to please others, being in slow motion, letting people down, being the scapegoat, and needing permission instead of trusting myself.

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I’m being too hard on myself and overly critical again. Neither of which are helpful. I have to love myself first before anyone else can. When I am being joyful, I become a magnet for happiness. I need to follow my heart to find the right path. I have to let go of the shame and guilt. I didn’t do anything wrong. My life is mine to live, and if I’m living it wrong then that’s my problem. And no one tells me when I will be ready for something. You get ready by doing, not talking about it. I don’t need any more stress; it undermines my ability to feel better. Stress is a sign that I’m forgetting to breathe, believe, and break free. I’m creating my world with my thoughts. Create a vision board.

I don’t regret going to California for the book fair, and I don’t care if it looked like I went out there to see a guy. So fucking what? I guess you’ve never listened to the whispers of your soul and the aching inΒ  your heart. I wanted to be in the book fair. And I wanted to see him. You can have more than one reason for doing something. Thank God I did something this year to celebrate the book and my hard work instead of letting people talk me out of it. I give myself credit for my accomplishments. I made my dream a reality. It was only a bad idea in the sense that writing a book can be a very isolating experience.

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Cutting is short-term relief like the numbing effects of an alcoholic drink. I wasn’t dissociating as bad as last time, the time I wrote about in the book. See, it’s been awhile. I’ve been doing really good with my self-love practice. I had a choice this time, moments of clarity, but I wanted to punish myself for not being, I don’t even know what, someone else. Someone faster. Someone who’s loved and adored. Someone who isn’t a burden. Someone who is perfect and doesn’t make mistakes. Someone who doesn’t resist life. The old me. The me I can’t find. The me who was brave and strong. Release the pain through art making and let the image speak. Put marker to paper instead of knife to arm. Find healthy ways to express difficult feelings. Choose peace.

I thought of a new affirmation: It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be. And maybe when I let myself be, things become perfect. Take it easy, take it slow, one day at a time. Life is to be enjoyed. I can bloom, I can dance, I can sing, I can love. I am free to be me! πŸ™‚

Have a great week,

Julie

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what’s been going on?

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Well, I had a busier week than usual. My brother, sister-in-law, and niece flew here for a visit. We did a lot of fun stuff, instead of the zoo which would’ve been cold, we went to the Newport Aquarium. I think that was my favorite activity besides the Halloween party. Speaking of which, we had three teams of two for the treasure hunt. My mom and her boyfriend ended up winning the treasure, which was a Starbucks gift card. Even though they were the last to figure out the movie, they had the right key. I might change the game a bit next year.

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If you want to see more pictures from the week, I tweeted a bunch of them here: http://twitter.com/julieangelmagic

I wanted to elaborate or clarify something that I wrote in the previous blog, the one before the poem where I sound like a sappy, hopeless romantic. πŸ™‚ Speaking of which, I am going to start dating. I had a good conversation with my cousin, Heather, and we both agreed on which site to choose. Once again, I feel weird about online dating. Is there something wrong with me? No. My cousin is very pretty and has a full-time job, and she still had to do online dating to meet someone who is now her fiance. That’s a success story!

I’m going to start dating, not because I haven’t already met someone I’m quite fond of, because I have. Not because I’m bored, I have enough creative projects to keep me busy for years. Because it’s the healthy thing to do. Because like my cousin pointed out when you’re in a relationship the other person can help you with things. I hope she meant cooking, laundry, and cleaning because I sure do get tired of doing them by myself. I am worth loving. I am a worthwhile human being. I am a radiant spiritual being. I am loved and adored by God.

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While last week went really well, I also experienced something rather unpleasant – someone insulted me. It felt like a few jabs and a right hook. I’m speaking about this to make a point. When I told my mom about it, she said, “Maybe they were trying to encourage you.” WHAT!?! When did insults become a form of encouragement? If my memory serves me correctly, insults are a form of verbal abuse. I don’t know anyone who performs better under attack. I didn’t fall down. I don’t know what keeps me up? Some days, I wonder if I have the strength to keep going. How do I stop listening to the wrong voices and start listening to the right ones, especially my own?

The moral of the story goes something like this: ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME. Self-judgement and judgment from others is not helpful. What’s helpful is to look at your progress in a constructive way. Be honest with yourself about what’s working and what needs to be changed. Give yourself credit for the things you’ve accomplished even if other people don’t. Like my therapist so wisely pointed out, people who aren’t your family see you in a different light. Yes, that’s true, they can mirror back my good qualities, and they don’t know what a pain in the ass I can be. πŸ™‚ That’s what’s great about meeting new people, it’s a clean slate, there isn’t any animosity.

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Some nights I go to bed and wonder if I could’ve gotten more done. Am I pushing myself hard enough? Did I waste time? Did I make healthy choices? I have my ailments. I won’t list them here. They’re my burden to carry. They’re what I get for fighting fire with fire instead of choosing peace. It was my lesson to learn. I have to forgive myself and find ways to ease the pain. Which brings up some interesting questions: Can I let go of the pain? Can I choose pleasure? Who am I when I’m not struggling? Who do I want to be? I realized that it’s only when I doubt myself that others begin to doubt me. I have to be a warrior.

Oh, the thing I was going to elaborate on because it sounded confusing. I don’t live in a completely unscented world. My shampoo and face wash are scented, and I can burn candles. My detergent, deodorant, and soap are unscented. I didn’t realize when I started switching to unscented stuff that it would make me hypersensitive to scents. It’s not all scents, just certain scents especially sweet smelling perfumes. I’m not the only person who is sensitive to scents. That’s why I get so frustrated because I’m made to feel like I’m weird and the only one who has issues, when I know for a fact other people do.

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I haven’t switched to a raw vegan diet, that’s going to take some time. It’s a destination that I think would help me on many levels. Right now, I’m sticking with the things I usually eat. Breakfast: Green tea with honey, banana, almonds, flax seed oatmeal with milk. Dinner: I almost always make a spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumber or avocado. And then either a baked potato with sour cream, Amy’s bean burrito or Morning Star Farms veggie burger or nuggets. I need to learn how to cook or get more creative with my meal plans. Yes, I’m still drinking a Pepsi with dinner, I enjoy the caffeine and carbonation. It’s probably my only vice since I don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs. Unfortunately, soda has a lot of sugar. At least I am aware of this, and awareness precedes change.

Enjoy the extra hour and have a great week,

Julie

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a poem

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I’m waiting for permission. I’m waiting for a sign. Some call it stalling. Some call it wasting time. You and I both know we could have something divine. No one but my soul knows which path is mine. Every time I walk away from the light, I stumble, trip, and fall. We are here to give, and in giving we receive because love is cool like that.

It was written all over your face, and yet you claim otherwise. Two words I’ve heard a hundred times, “Hi Julie,” sound completely different coming from you. I didn’t mean for this to happen; it wasn’t written on my to-do list. It happened slowly over time; it became undeniably sweet and compelling. While I can deny my feelings and pretend it doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, I think about you.

You doubt my love which is the only thing you should believe. I owe you more than that, I owe you symphonies. I’m being too honest. I sound desperate and everything comes out wrong. We only want what we can’t have. We crave a challenge. We like mystery. I’ll be your paradise vacation, stars twinkling, laughter, and kisses.

I’m scared. You’re scared. Let’s be scared together. Reality is harsh. I know what reality does to relationships. If we’re not careful, life will chip away at everything we’ve created. I also know when two people weather the storm together, the storm runs out of rain. I’m strong on my own. I can be strong with you. I can’t get back on track because there isn’t one. The angels want me to find my own freedom.

I want you to be happy, even if it’s not with me. I want you to be brave, even when no one is watching. I want you to have faith, even if it’s in the stars. I want you to be grateful because God doesn’t make mistakes. I want you to hope with all of your heart that the love you need will find you and keep you warm at night. Amen. God bless.

Have a great week,

Julie

(It’s Halloween, and I’ve written what looks like a Valentines’ day post, lol πŸ™‚ I will have another blog up soon.)

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The Healing Room