Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Caregiving and Stressed? Here's a Solution & a Book Giveaway!


"The months and years devoted to caregiving can be vital, limiting, critical, and frustrating. They seem endless when you are in them."
 ~B. Lynn Goodwin

Are you a caregiver? By caregiver, I mean someone who is serving in any of these capacities: a mother caring for children, a grandmother helping to raise grandchildren, a companion to an ailing friend. Or, as author Lynn Goodwin knows firsthand, a full-time caregiver to her aging mother for seven years. If you are  caring for others in any capacity, and you have the least little stress about it, this author and her insightful new book are for you!

Please welcome my WOW-Women on Writing Blog Tour Guest, B. Lynn Goodwin, the author of You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers. She is a freelance writer and editor who has put her passion to pen: assisting those who assist others relieve their stress and take better care of themselves. Lynn believes one of the most powerful ways we can do this is through journaling.

I'm truly enjoying her new book and I know you will, too. It is inspiring, practical, and oh, so therapeutic. Lynn encourages caregivers to not only process their stress through very simple writing prompts, but to celebrate what is right in their lives. And with the tips that Lynn offers, anyone can begin to journal, even the most reluctant or time constrained of us.

Today, Lynn offers us wise counsel on self-care and some great writing prompts to help us get started. If you're game, let's go! And there's a book giveaway, so make a comment here and you will be eligible to win a copy of You Want Me To Do What? Enjoy, and get your pen ready! Lynn is here "live," eager to respond.


Replenishing Your Reserves
B. Lynn Goodwin


Has life evolved to a place where everybody else’s needs come first? Do resentments expand like a swollen spring river? It’s a familiar predicament, and you are not alone.

When I was my mother’s caregiver, I often needed to put my personal needs on hold. I drowned my resentments in comfort foods. Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies were a favorite. I’d pull one after another out of the box and stuff them in my mouth mindlessly as I drove to the pharmacy or the post office or even the grocery store.

I got back in touch with my physical needs, as well as my mental, emotional, and spiritual ones, through my journal. In there, I could vent, delve into issues, and untangle messes. My journal allowed me to finish a thought without interruption. It encouraged me to analyze, celebrate, and find the hope that had become elusive. After I processed my own issues, I had the energy and good will to reach out again.

Often I would start with one of these three simple sentence starters:

• Today I feel…
• Today I believe…
• Today I want….

Any response was right, as long as it came from the heart.

Here are three responses to “Today I feel…” :

Today I feel poverty stricken. I hate having no income. The money you give me doesn’t count. It feels like an unearned gift. I want to earn my own money, detached from you. I want to feel productive and independent. I don’t want to feel like a nine-year-old doing chores for an allowance. Selfish? Maybe, but when do I get to do what I want to do? Don’t get me wrong. I love you. I know you need me, even when you toss your head and say, “I can do it myself.” But when do I get to leave the stale odors and draining drivel of this place and do what I want to do?

Today I feel sad. You didn’t want your breakfast. You didn’t want to talk. Neither do I. I want to stare at the dust motes floating in the sunshine that’s streaming through the screen door. So mindless. Like me. If I were a dust mote, I’d have no hands or feet or responsibilities.

Today I feel hopeful because Kristi is coming in while I go shopping and I’ll have an extra hour. I’ve been e-mailing this really nice sixty-year-old divorced man on Craigslist, and today we’re going to meet for coffee at Starbucks. I have a coffee date and I feel like a teenager sneaking away to meet some hottie.

How would you respond? Try it right now.

Journaling releases mental toxins and deepens awareness. It helps the strong, sane, safe, healthy, hopeful parts of you emerge. Do not underestimate its power.

I’d love to hear how you finished “Today I feel…”

~~~~~


Learn more about Lynn, her book, workshops, and editing services at http://www.writeradvice.com. You can purchase her book there or at amazon.com.

72 comments:

Cheryl Wright said...

Lynn (May I call you Lynn?),

Your Today I feel journal entry made me cry. I babysit my 9 1/2 month old grand daughter. I have her from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday. The weekend is not long enough to recuperate. Then it's Monday all over again.

Today I feel as I've felt so many days in the past 6 months, trapped, stifled and resentful because I have lost my freedom - the freedom I had dreamed of all of my working life.

Before I had you, I didn't always manage my retirement/writing time efficiently. But that was my prerogative. It was my life, I could manage or not manage my time, regret it, try a new routine, scrap it, whatever. I was free. Moreover, I could pick up and go to the mall any old time I wanted, just for the heck of it.

I hate having to design my life and my writing around you. I feel as if I have lost myself and the way back is narrowing with each passing day.

But that cute little face, those bright eyes, they melt my heart. And although I am happy to say good night and good bye every evening when your mother takes you home, the next morning I am up and out of bed and hurrying through my daily chores so that I can be showered and ready to welcome you into my day. Of course by noon, I'm pooped and resentful again.

But I have a dream - one day soon, you will be old enough to go to kindergarten and I'll be happy to be free once more. The question is, will I be as happy as I dream I'll be without you?

Cheryl Wright said...

Thank you Jan for letting me know you are hosting Lynn today. You were so right. Her book is right up my alley. As I read her journal entry, the tears began to flow. I felt ashamed of my own resentment because I love my granddaughter so much.

Journaling helps whenever I take the time to record my thoughts and feelings. I now believe that I should make it a daily practice to help ease the daily anxiety.

Jan said...

Oh, Cheryl, now YOUR comments brought tears to my eyes. I am happy that Lynn spoke to your heart. You express so very well what goes on inside of you—your transparency is lovely and tender. I think you speak for many caregivers, especially grandparents, who are being asked to help raise little ones. I will hope that your words put to paper will help you stay faithful to Sian and to yourself. It is a delicate balancing act.

I am very eager to read Lynne's response to you! I, too, discovered the power of "venting" as I called it onto paper many years ago. This form of "journaling" out my frustration, literally, saved my life when I was overwhelmed with parenting and household duties. My husband (now ex-) was a 70-hr. a week guy so I pretty much raised 3 children by myself. On the edge of burnout, I started scribbling my feelings out on scraps of paper when I was in the car—bank deposit slips, fast food bags—they received my angst. In those moments, I began to make the connection. I would write and I would feel better.

Over the years, this habit evolved into "real" journaling and then writing. And a career was born, if you can believe that! I am a huge proponent, Lynn, of healing via writing. Writing can save our lives. :-) I recall even writing one time: "What cannot be expressed cannot be healed."

Cheryl, today, may you be gentle with yourself when you feel tender... Much love to you!

cream_city_chick-A-DEE said...

I didn't think of myself as a "caregiver" (for my husband) for a long time. He had cardiac bypass surgery in '05 & for a long time afterwards, I waited patiently for him to "get back to normal," to recover. Then, he developed type 2 diabetes, & again, I waited for him to adjust. I'm an RN, so I knew that each person does this in their own time. I helped, educated, supported, etc., all as patiently as I could. Finally, I realized that this was no longer the man that I married, that he not going to be strong, vital & independent anymore & that I was now his caregiver in many ways.
While I don't have to do a lot of physical things for him, there are many emotional care parts of care giving that fall to me. The most difficult for me has been to accept that he has changed so much & that the man I married isn't "coming back." I had to go through a long period of mourning for that man, & adjust to the new person that he has become. It's a day-by-day process & I've found that journaling has helped me so much! It gets the sadness & feelings of loss that come to me "out of my head" & onto paper, letting me put them away for a while.

Susan

Lynn said...

Cheryl, your journaling is amazing. The phrase "trapped, stifled and resentful because I have lost my freedom" takes me back. That was exactly how I felt, and "trapped, stifled, and resentful" particularly resonates. Maybe it's the "t"s and "d"s in every word.

The line "But that cute little face, those bright eyes, they melt my heart" warms my heart. We see a complete, realistic, honest picture of the narrator. Great job. Thanks for setting such a wonderful tone here.

I'll be running a journaling workshop through e-mail that will start on January 19. If you'd like info about how it works, please e-mail me at Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net.

Thanks so much for what you shared here, Cheryl. Kindergarten will be here before you know it. I'm glad you're recording this journey in writing.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Jan, thanks for your great response to Cheryl. When I read "On the edge of burnout, I started scribbling my feelings out on scraps of paper when I was in the car—bank deposit slips, fast food bags—they received my angst. In those moments, I began to make the connection," I knew that you truly understand what this process is about.

I love being on this very supportive site. Thanks so much for inviting me, and thanks to Jodi at WOW: Women on Writing for helping me put the book into the world.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Dear Susan,

Cream_city_chick-A-DEE is a great name. No one would guess that you have been through such an emotional, stressful time with your husband and his condition.

I appreciate your struggle, which you so eloquently state in "The most difficult for me has been to accept that he has changed so much & that the man I married isn't 'coming back.'"

"Scribblings," as Jan said above, are a great way to get immediate frustrations out. I'm so glad the process is already helping.

I'll be running a journaling workshop through e-mail that will start on January 19. It's a great place to share and get positive feedback. If you'd like info about how it works, please e-mail me at Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net.

Thanks for sharing here.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Caroline said...

For a little over a year my mother moved in with our family. I was taking care of her and 2 kids under the age of six. It was so hard for me. I had no idea the pressures of care giving. Although it was very difficult at that time, it was rewarding and I look back at that experience and see how I grew. I wish I did journal at that time...I think it would have really reduced my stress.

But...

Today I feel...happy and alive. I feel in control (at the moment anyway ;). I am living life without excuses anymore. And that is a very good thing for me.

Lynn, thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights with us today!

Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord said...

Today I feel like I read the exact right words I needed to. Your first "I feel" statement could have been me talking.

I spend a lot of time writing - most of my days, actually, but it's things like email, blog comments, blog posts... I don't always write just for me, with no audience in mind other than the nothingness that written words can disappear into (especially those typed onto a computer and never printed). I need to do more of this. I'm not a caregiver, unless you count to myself (!!) (totally different scenario, I understand), yet no matter what we're going through in life, journaling in this way seems like the perfect remedy.

Today I feel...
Today I want...
Today I believe...

Those three statements will take me further into my journey of knowing and loving myself.

Jan said...

Lynn,
Such supportive comments here! May I ask, what other things did you do to take good care of you while caring for your mother? Were you able to get someone to pitch hit for you on a regular basis? Were you able to exercise? I found that early morning walks on the beach really helped clear my mind and get rid of frustration. This, only after my kids were in school, of course. Then, before the next round of chores hit or errand running, or meeting app'ts started, I'd sit down and record the thoughts that came on the walk.

Just curious what else you might have done for you to stay sane...

Caroline said...

Cheryl,

I just want to address your journal entry... Oh how I have felt the same! I quit working to take care of my kids. I thought it was going to be a time of joy. Instead, I found myself exhausted and resentful at the end of the day. I looked forward to my kids going to bed so I could have "me time." I felt like I lost my soul. Yes, I love my children dearly. But watching babies and toddlers is the most exhausting time. I too felt trapped and tied down to nap schedules. My escape was taking my kids to Target, just so I could get out of the house.

What you are doing is hard hard work. I eventually got a nanny to come 2 days a week so I could get out. Please know that what you are feeling is normal! And that this time does go by so quickly. You are amazing and strong...and your granddaughter will benefit so much from your lessons and presence.

Peace to you.

Jan said...

Susan,
My heart really goes out to you in support of this journey you have been on. Such a difficult thing! We never really know, do we, what someone else is going through! I am sorry you have had to experience this, truly.

I am heartened, though, by the fact that you have had the clarity to process the grief of your loss—because this change with partner you knew and loved is profound. Yes, it is a day by day thing. So glad you found that journaling helped. It is so powerful and your story attests to that! Blessings as always.

shiny mamaof6 said...

Lynn, I am so glad that I found your guest post here. What fabulous wisdom you share. I'll be looking for your book.

Today I feel grateful that I have learned how to honor my needs as well as the needs of my children. For many, many years I put everyone before me and it filled me with resentment and guilt when I did do something for myself.

Now that I see myself for the beautiful spirit that I am I can equally take care of my needs and the needs of my family.

Jan said...

Caroline, thanks for sharing your story too! Again, who would have known that our ever-cheery Caroline had been strained caregiver. So glad to know that you made it through that time and are thriving today. You do take good care of you from all that I read—exercise, trying to eat right, having hobbies that nurture and excite you—and those really do help us be our best selves. Kudos to you. And thank you for your kind comments to Cheryl. So dear...

Lynn,
Your online workshop sounds fabulous. What a great idea!

Jan said...

Megan,
I appreciate your insights too! Often, it doesn't seem to matter if we are caretaking others or ourselves. The pressures and distractions and excuses can be the same. May we tend well to ourselves, no matter what!

Aren't these 3 questions just so powerful?! Wherever we are in life these can serve us well. I really looking forward to incorporating them into my journaling regimen too. Thank you, again, Lynn, for honing in on these.

~~~~~

Ok, here is my answer to the prompt:

TODAY I feel proud of myself that I am taking time for me. I can easily push through a day and be a work horse, but today, first thing in the morning, I chose some "fun" activities for myself. I am going to do a bit of American Girl Doll shopping online for my granddaughter and imagine her joy... Bake some chocolate chip cookies and savor the smell of baking in my kitchen. I've lit my usual candles throughout the house and have music playing. I'll also write a note to a friend. Letter writing to me with lovely paper is pure joy! And I took extra time to blog today, which I usually don't do, connecting with old friends...

Lynn said...

This is a great reminder that it's never too late to journal, Caroline. "...I look back at that experience and see how I grew" is an excellent starting place.

I, too, feel in control (at the moment). How I identify with these parentheses. All these wonderful posts are making this a very good day. Thanks!

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Jan, thanks for asking. I wish I could tell you differently, but my most frequent exercise was moving my hand in and out of the box of chocolate chip cookies. That's one "stress reliever" I've given up.

I needed was to get outside of myself, so I was very lucky to work part time with Project Second Chance, the Contra Costa County Library's Adult Literacy Program.
Being of service to others, who gave back without even realizing it, renewed and refreshed me.

Thinking back, I remember some wonderful sunset walks in my neighborhood. Today I walk Mikko McPuppers twice a day. I often let him lead and he helps me see the paths, the leaves, and the world in new ways. You're right. It's a wonderful way to clear the mind.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Dear Megan,

I can't tell you how great it was to read "Today I feel like I read the exact right words I needed to." Thank you!

Being a caregiver for yourself counts. Absolutely! You are wise to see yourself in that role.

If you ever want to share 15-1500 words that you've written, I'm happy to read it. Sometimes it's good to hear what works.

Take care,

B. Lynn Goodwin
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT?
Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Caroline,

Thanks for the wonderful response to Cheryl, and Cheryl, thanks again for the honest, clear writing. Both of you are empowering all of us who are reading.

Take care,

Lynn

Lynn said...

Dear Shiny Mamaof6,

I love that name. Thanks so much for this heartfelt comment. There is so much power in your closing statement, "Now that I see myself for the beautiful spirit that I am I can equally take care of my needs and the needs of my family."

I love the growth, and I suspect you have great stories to tell. Keep writing and sharing. I already get a sense of who you are from just these few lines.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT?
Journaling for Caregivers

Karen said...

Today I feel disconnected.

I'm a caretaker in the sense that I have three children, ages 12 to 20, and a husband. I work from home and so am available to all of them pretty much all the time.

Sometimes, all I want to do is curl up in my favorite chair with my books, notebook and pens and just get lost in my own thoughts. I love them all and my husband probably takes better care of me than I do myself. I think that people often take better care of their loved ones than they take care of themselves. I'm blessed to have my husband.

Jan, I have to admit that I just finished your book, which I downloaded and printed out months and months ago! I happened to pull it out from a stack of books I have and was delighted to find it, as the timing was perfect. Lynn's book/workshop sounds like a natural followup.

I was led here today by your comment on Whole Latte Life. Lynn, it's so nice to "meet" you!

Lynn said...

Jan, I love the attention you give each blogger, and I am thrilled that you have so many special reasons to be proud of yourself. Great details! Without looking back, both the lit candles and the sounds of music are images that stay with me.

Caregivers should feel PROUD. I want to encourage that. If you are reading this, what makes you proud of yourself and your loved ones today?

Take care,

Lynn

Joanne said...

Though I do have journals, they really aren't for my personal use. I use them in writing projects, a different, unique one for each project. And they often do seem to parallel the real life sentiments here as I explore my storylines, characters, experiences on the pages. And since they say we write what we know, I'd suspect there is an element of my truths in those "writing" journals as well.

Lynn said...

It is delightful to meet you too, Karen. I love the line "Today I feel disconnected." I woke up yesterday with the same feeling, so you are not alone.

Two of your lines ring true to me:
"Sometimes, all I want to do is curl up in my favorite chair with my books, notebook and pens and just get lost in my own thoughts."-- Yes, yes, yes. Twenty minutes often works well for me, but sometimes I choose to keep going.

"I think that people often take better care of their loved ones than they take care of themselves." What a great definition of love!

I am so glad you came in. I have to check out Whole Latte Life.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice, com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Joanne, this is a great recommendation for writing journals. I like the idea of one for each project, though I've always been afraid I might have trouble putting my hands on the right one.

Do you keep them all in one place? Do you color code them?

I am sure you are right when you say they "parallel the real life sentiments (as you) explore ... storylines, characters, experiences on the pages." What kinds of stories do you write?

Take care,

B. Lynn Goodwin
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Jan said...

Lynn,
You have such a gentle ear and heart for hearing what has been said here—and what is unsaid, as well. You nurture us all by your words...

Jill,
So glad to hear this new tone of confidence in your voice. With six children, I am glad to know that you are continuing to learn how to hold yourself in tender care, just as you would your dear ones. You are shiny!

Karen,
Thanks for stopping by! So important for those of us who are moms to take as good care of ourselves as we do others. I remember my own mom (there were four of us) staying up let, well onto midnight, just knitting, or reading or doing something for HER. She often got up early to do the same, though most often I would find her at the ironing board already at 7:00 a.m. We must all find our ways to self-nurture, ESPECIALLY when we have families to care for. Otherwise we can become drained oh, so easily. Hope you will continue to find ways to take good care of you.

Glad you liked my e-book, "The Awakened Woman's Guide to Life." Ladies, if you don't have one yet, just click on the Newsletter button above and I will be delighted to send you one. It's free!

Christina said...

I read your journaling and I think it is beautiful. I cry because your words come at time where they are really needed. The holiday season, ya know?
We homeschool and my mother living with us can be difficult sometimes. Difficult as in, exhausting.
Each morning pen in hand, I sit and my words pour so fast, I am rarely able to get the jumbles words to page. Blank my page sits.
I remain grateful for my days though.
; )

Lynn said...

Thanks so much for writing, Christina. It's especially important to care for yourself during the holiday season. The stakes can seem so much higher--especially if we lose track of what the season is really about.

I love that your "words pour out fast." You sound like you are have the potential to become a prolific writer. If you ever want to share a sample of 15-1500 words, I'd be happy to read it and tell you what sticks with me.

Take care,

B. Lynn Goodwin
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Jannie Funster said...

I am more-or-less between heavy care-giving right now. Our daughter is 8, but independent enough to not need me as much as she used to.

"It is not my time to suffer." (I read that at Tess' The Bold Life Blog and it has so stuck with me.

I do have a dozen journals from my child's first years, before I began blogging. I remember one day when she was 2 and particularly driving me nuts I asked her "What should I do when you act like this?" to which she replied, "just write in your book, Mommy!"

She knew.

And when it is my time to care give again, to my mother. My father. My husband (he is 22 years older than I,) I know the written word will get me through. And when my daughter cares for me words will be her fortress too, I imagine.

Lynn said...

I absolutely love the lines "I remember one day when she was 2 and particularly driving me nuts I asked her "What should I do when you act like this?" to which she replied, "just write in your book, Mommy!"

"She knew."

I learned a great deal about both your daughter and you in this blog post. Keep writing. If you ever want to share a 15-1500 word piece of journaling, I'd love to tell you what sticks with me.

Thanks for sharing this here.

B. Lynn Goodwin
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Jan said...

Joanne,
With all the writing you do it does sound like different journals are a good idea. And I do bet that much of YOU comes through (and your feelings) in those various projects. :-)

Lynne,
I appreciate your transparency about what you did or did not do in terms of self-care while caregiving. What that says to me is that journaling was really really important to your well-being, definitely a release valve. I've often thought of my early journaling as similar to a pressure cooker. When my life (or me!) felt like it was ready to explode, I'd write to let off steam. Here's an analogy: Just like one of those old-fashioned pressure cookers...when the pressure builds inside, some steam whooshes out those little holes at the top, it rattles a bit, huffs and puffs, then settles down once more so it could cook so more without exploding! Or caregive.....(wink)

I concur, Lynn, that caregivers should be darn proud of their efforts. We work very hard at taking good care of others. It is a respectful and worthy role.

And while you all have been having fun here I baked a batch of cookies (something I haven't done in eons) which truly felt like an act of self-care. Fun! Though I did share them with my hubby and will send some off in a care package to my daughter at college tomorrow. Caregiving, I'd say, in a less stressful form.

Cheryl Wright said...

Jan - Thank you. Today was a lovely day, full of hugs and kisses to and from Sian. Maybe releasing my feelings here freed me to give and receive love today.

Lynn - I appreciate your tender response to my comment/journal entry. Prompting me to write and share how I feel was indeed a release and a relief.

Lynn said...

The pressure cooker analogy is perfect, Jan, but what I really want to write about is those home baked cookies. You've given me an idea.

I'd love to bake cookies, but I can't feed them to my dog or send them to my sister's family.

I wonder if there's a way to send them to some of our servicemen. Anyone have any ideas on that?

Lynn

Lynn said...

Cheryl, I am so glad this worked. I wish you could see the smile on my face. Write again...anytime.

Lynn

Cheryl Wright said...

Caroline,

Thank you so much, so much for your encouraging words and for understand how I feel most days.

Children, grandchildren, young children on the whole is an exhausting joy - mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. It helps to know that neither of us are traveling this road alone.

Strange enough, I did not have these feelings with my two children. I silently resisted the temptation to take care of my granddaughter, almost to the end of my daughter's maternity leave. I was afraid of the same things I am experiencing.

Sometimes I feel as if I should have listened to my heart. Yet despite the tumbling emotions, I still believe that I am building a bond with Sian in the same way my mother built and maintained (to her death) a bond with my daughter.

I'd hate to find out that I lost the blessed opportunity to develop a lifetime relationship with my first grandchild. As Jan said, it is a delicate balance.

I've been an avid journaler for many years yet, somehow, when these feels are most intense, I find it difficult to write. Lynn's practice and the challenge she put forth, was both an eye and a heart opner.

Tonight, before I go to bed, I am going to use the three prompts to help me "release mental toxins and deepen awareness".

Lynn said...

Cheryl,

Without even looking back at your writing, I know you said something to the effect that you should follow your heart. I could not agree more. I'm always amazed at the way I dig more deeply into my truths when I write.

I also remember the words "heart opener." What a great phrase! Thanks for checking in.

Lynn

Wendy said...

Today I feel tired. Tired to my very core. Bone tired. I am caregiver to my wonderful husband, who is at the end-stage of lung disease. He was diagnosed almost 8 years ago.

This once vital, professional, caring and happy man has changed into a needy (but very sweet) man who cannot even get washed in the mornings without help. His strength and vitality has drained away. He takes a few steps and has to stop and rest. He cannot breathe without supplemental oxygen. And does not leave the house.

Two years ago, I started a blog called Caregiving is Not for Wimps. This was a way to keep my sanity. I vented, I raged, I cried in those postings and strangely enough, I was supported. Other bloggers sent me hugs, comfort, prayers. I was amazed! I had not met these people. Really didn't know anyone, but let me tell you, the power of blogging buddies is tremendous. Never before have I felt so much good energy being sent my way. And in return, I have sent my own healing thoughts and prayers to my blogger friends in need.

I do journal just for me, every day. And yes, it has saved my life. For on the written page, I find release. I can explore. I process emotions and begin to understand where they come from. And (sometimes) what to do about them.

Sorry for this long comment. I got carried away. This is an excellent post. Will look forward to your workshop, Lynn.

Oh yes, before I go. I changed my blog back in July to Changes with Seasons, because I was tired of being defined by my husband's illness. I now post about gardening and grandkids - happy things.

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

I am so enjoying this wonderful back-and-forth discussion as well as Lynn's post on journaling. Such wonderful women! I always imagine Jan as a woman standing before me with her arms opened wide and her heart lifted as we do in yoga, a big, clear smile on her face and "welcome" in her outstretched arms. I'm getting that same uplifted-heart feeling from Lynn, too. And even from the other women posting here, too. Such a wonderful, healthy place to be, with women who are honest, clear and good.

I don't journal; I tried it a few times and it didn't seem to take. I live alone and my head is constantly buzzing with my own thoughts and activities since there are no others' to intrude upon my own. Maybe I'm just journaling it all in my head since I have so much time at my disposal to do so? If I ever am drawn to journaling, I like the three "I" statements to start the process.

Big hugs and blessings to all who visit this wonderful place!

Nina P. said...

I have to admit I don't journal very often. Instead, I tend to write my feelings down in a poetry or occasionally, story telling style. I find it a release of emotion and a form of meditation (if you will) where I can focus and find answers.
I did use a formal journal to keep my sanity when going through a break up after 12 years of being in an emotional rollercoaster relationship. The journal allowed me to vent frustrations, angers fears, etc... it helped to clarify my feelings. It's easy to exaggerate feelings when they're kept roaming endlessly around in the mind: they seem to become bigger than life. Journaling helped to shrink them back into reality and make them more manageable. That was 15 years ago now. I ran across that journal about 6 months ago and re-read it. I could literally feel the tension at the top of the pages and then feel the ease and final release as I wrote to the end. I find pen and paper are very therapeutic.
Today I feel Grateful. Grateful that 2 secret projects are coming together for surprise gifts. Grateful that I can have time to read and write today. Grateful to have read this today and share in the emotions of the responses. Grateful that my heart and soul are opening to unlimited possibilities, in with and though life.
Thank you Lynn and Jan for this wonderful post and place to share ourselves with one another. Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P

mermaid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mermaid said...

Today, I feel sad for the girl who has always had a hole in her heart. I feel such gratitude for the teachings on faith, patience, kindness, and compassion to fill that hole.

Journaling is highly therapeutic, as recognition of our process is often the first step in going deeper into healing.

This sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you.

Laura Hegfield said...

today I feel grumpy that I have to get up earlier than usual (5:00am) to go to an extra doctor's appointment with my youngest child...even though I wouldn't miss being present for the world. I feel worried that she hasn't gained and might have dropped another pound...I feel concerned that she will need to be tubed in the hospital again for failure to thrive, even though we do everything motherly and fatherly possible to encourage her to eat with love and gentleness. I feel sad that my daughter's relationship to food is skewed because she has Crohn's disease and I feel guilty that this nasty disease was passed down through my genes. And I feel gratitude despite all the complications of having a child who is chronically ill and having Crohn's and MS myself that even if I feel a bit grumpy today, I CAN get up and out of bed early to make it to a doctor's appointment with her-as part of her support team with her Dad before I go to my PT session that will follow. Yes, I feel grateful that I can get up out of bed and walk, even if I'm a bit wobbley. Even though I am a caretaker that needs others to care for me too. Life is good.

gentle steps,
Laura

Davine said...

Hi Jan, I really loved this post and I am definately going to get Lynn's book and have a read. I am my 91 year old dads carer and have been for the past 2 years since my Mum passed away. He has been pretty healthy other than being just old. But since turning 91 on Nov 9th he has just gone downhill. So to answer your prompt:
Today I feel... sad because I don't think I will have my Dad around me for much longer ...I feel guilty for thinking of the things I will be able to do...proud of myself for what I have done. Maybe this is the reason I started my blog - I needed the journalling outlet. Thank you so much.

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi Wendy,

I'm so glad you mentioned your discision to not be defined by your husbands illness. It was decision I took in 2000 with regard to my arthritis.

After three months rack with pain in my shoulders, elbows, wrists and knees - just slouched in a chair all day except to drag myself up for the bare necessities, I too made the decision to never, ever allow this disease that I had to live with, define my life or me as a person.

Kudos to you for changing your blog - your tune and your focus. I'm heading over to Changes with Seasons. I have a sneaky feeling I'll be follow you there.

Jan said...

Christina,
It DOES sound as if you have an overflowing plate, with TWO full time caregiving situations going on. I wonder, how many children you have and their ages? What a blessing that you have discovered the cleansing nature of morning journaling. Good for you! May the paper receive your words with grace. I know we do here....Peace.

Jannie,
Oh, your Kelly, she is a wise one, isn't she? To know that her mom can put her frustrations down in a book. And what a good role model you offer her.

My grandmother was a morning journaler and I think that is where I got my leanings. Each day, very early, coffee brewing, she penned just a paragraph in a day planner sort of book. Noted the time and weather (always the weather and temp.!) then just a bit about her life in that moment. It seemed she was ALWAYS caretaking people. A sick relative or a dying one. Her father lived with them for nigh on 30 years. When she died, she had stacks and stacks of journals. :-)

I will hope that you have a very nice span of time between caretakings! Give that smarty pants Kelly a hug from us...

Cheryl,
So glad to know that this conversation helped you today. I appreciate the fact that you are able to recognize the "tumbling emotions," because that is exactly what they do. Tumble through us, and without an outlet, they can take us over and do damage. My health issues for many years I know were amplified because I kept everything squashed down inside. I was silent. As I learned to find my voice, everything changed. May you continue to find peace in your decision to caretake — even joy, when it appears. And give Sian a hug too!

Wendy,
Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly about your caregiving challenges. I am so sorry to hear about your husband. May you both be held tenderly....

You have such clarity about how journaling serves you. I am so glad to hear this. I imagine that is why you have been able to stay stable despite your circumstances. I bet your inner wisdom has grown by leaps and bounds too through all of this. And because of your blog, as well. What a wonderful "service" you offered to others. It does sound like a self-nurturing thing to now blog about what truly energizes you. Again, your own words are healing you. Isn't that just marvelous! Blather on anytime. (wink)

Rose,
Thank you for your lovely "picture" of me and this blog. You know, I do feel like that. I hope everyone feels welcome here. Everyone needs to be heard, really heard, and affirmed. :-)

I struggled with journaling too. In fact, I wrote an article once titled "The Reluctant Journaler." These "I feel" statements do help and are enough...I've also used the form of unsent letters when I've been stuck or really upset. Let it out then dispose of it. Sometimes I can run it down in my mind like you, but other times it just needs to flow out like a river--ok, a raging river. Soon it returns to a peaceful inner flow. :-)

Lynn, aren't these women simply amazing? Truly, I am wowed by your stories and how resilient you all are. We are grand, aren't we?!!

Jan said...

Nina,
I love what you say about thoughts: Journaling helped to shrink them back into reality and make them more manageable. That is precisely how it feels to me, too! So glad to hear that this process served you well for so many years. And now, now your new projects are being birthed and I can feel your excitement. Wonderful! Gratitude is a lovely quality to hold in your heart. It shifts everything...

Mermaid,
Two very tender feelings being held at the same time: sadness and gratitude. One being healed by the other. I imagine that your writing helps you hold both of them tenderly, Ms. M. Breathe on...

Laura,
I had no idea that your daughter was suffering too. Oh, my, your household is quite amazing—how you hold the pain and the joy all at the same time. Your writing (at your blog) is so poignant, a form of journaling that you share with all of us. An honor to read, truly. You remind us of how important it is to caretake one another and allow ourselves to be taken care of too. Not always easy...

Laura, I am holding you and your daughter in thought, heart and prayer today. Intending for a positive outcome to your appointments. May all be well and at peace.

Davine,
Your love for your dad rings through. He is blessed to have you as a caregiver. And I am sorry for the loss of your mother. May sweet memories sustain you. And may you have the courage and strength to carry on.

For many of us, our blogs do seem like exercises in journaling. Something to be grateful for, definitely! Enjoy your dad as best you can. Perhaps record some of your finest memories of him and your mother. I wonder if that could be helpful. Lynn, what do you think about that? Peace to you, Davine.

Cindy La Ferle said...

This book sounds wonderful, and its premise is spot on! As a writer and middle-aged woman whose mother was recently diagnosed with early-stage dementia, I have been trying to make time to write my worries, fears, and feelings in a journal. Now I will be sure to do that.

Ironically -- and I know I am not alone here -- my husband and I just began to adjust to our new empty nest last year. Our amazing, independent only child launched his career in Chicago and moved into his own place. It was a little hard to "let him go" but we'd just begun to refashion our lives when my husband's father -- and my mother -- began to regress and suffer dementia. So we feel like parents all over again, but not in a good way. Unlike our son, our folks will not grow to become independent or on their own without us. It is sad, frustrating, and sometimes it feels unfair.

Lynn said...

Wendy, this is exactly the kind of writing that some people do in the workshop. It's a great place to find out you are not alone.

I love the way this goes from feeling tired to "I changed my blog back in July to Changes with Seasons, because I was tired of being defined by my husband's illness." Your issues are acknowledged, processed, and integrated into a larger you. WTG!

If you'd like to hear about the class, send me your e-mail and I'll send you some information. I am Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net. (You know what to do with AT and DOT. =))

Thanks for sharing here. Take care.

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Rose, you make an excellent assumption when you say, "Maybe I'm just journaling it all in my head since I have so much time at my disposal to do so?" If you don't feel like writing, talk into a tape recorder so you keep a record of where you are.

Thanks so much for your kind words about Jan and me. I feel truly blessed to be here.

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Nina, it sounds like you journal when you need to. Excellent! I love the way you are shaping the process to meet your needs.

I also love the list of things you are grateful for, especially "Grateful that my heart and soul are opening to unlimited possibilities...." Those are very powerful words. Thanks for sharing here.

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Nadia - Happy Lotus said...

Hi Jan and Lynn,

Today I feel really happy to be me.

One of my job descriptions throughout my life has been caregiver. For some reason or another, I have always been the strong one and the one who was able to withstand the storms. I think I mastered being a caregiver when my mother was sick with terminal cancer. That took the whole experience to a new level and I am grateful for it. It made me a better person.

I think the best thing a person can do to achieve inner peace is to come to love and accept who they are. Journaling is one method to do that so bravo to you Lynn for promoting that cause.

Being a caregiver, although tough, I think is a gift because it means that person is capable of giving love. Not many people can do that. The key is to just take time out for yourself so you can recharge and have some sanity. And to realize, nothing lasts forever and just make the best out of the journey.

Lynn said...

Mermaid, bells and whistles went off when I read "...recognition of our process is often the first step in going deeper into healing." Absolutely! Thanks for sharing that astute observation.

When I see people with holes in their heart, I wonder how long the breeze will blow through before they are filled and what new energy that breeze will implant. Thanks for helping me realize that.

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Thanks for sharing these "gentle steps," Laura. The specific details about your daughter's battle with eating and Crohn's disease and your own physical condition invite me into your world.

I love the way you rise above the very real limitations these diseases impose. This is wonderful writing, and the hope in it spirals upward. Save it, date it, and share it with your daughter when the time is right. You will give her a unique, three-dimensional perspective on who she is.

Thanks so much for sharing this.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Davine, you are feeling a very appropriate gamut of emotions. Blogging is a great way to process them, and it's certainly a kind of journaling.

I hope you keep a hard copy so you can look back at all you have written some time in the future.

I'm so glad that what I wrote spoke to you.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Cheryl, I'm so glad you "...made the decision to never, ever allow this disease that I had to live with, define my life or me as a person."

Wendy, I googled Changes With Seasons. Your photos are gorgeous. Very inspiring.

Thanks to both of you.

Lynn

Lynn said...

Jan, your comments are all so supportive. I can tell that you know and love these women.

I tried following your example and responding to several women in one post. It doesn't work for me...yet. I love your style and empathy. This blog is so warm and nurturing. Thanks for hosting it.

Lynn

Lynn said...

Cindy, thanks for saying "So we feel like parents all over again, but not in a good way. Unlike our son, our folks will not grow to become independent .... It is sad, frustrating, and sometimes it feels unfair."

That brings back such memories. I realized how much I missed by remaining childless as I watched my mother decline.

I am so glad you use journaling to help you process all that is happening. Someday, your story might be a great gift to pass along to your son and his family.

Thanks for your supportive comments.

Take care,

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Lynn said...

Nadia, thanks so much for acknowledging that caregiving can be a gift. "...the best thing a person can do to achieve inner peace is to come to love and accept who they are" is such a wise statement.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and warm spirit.

Lynn
www.writeradvice.com
Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Jan said...

Lynn,
I so appreciate all your wise and warm responses. I do think you would make a perfect blogger! I hope you will go for it and start one soon. I am confident you would be popular, fast! And help so many others....Everyone needs a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on, don't we? Thanks for being so attentive to everyone here. You have just been the best guest ever. :-)

Cheryl,
I guess I did not know that arthritis has been so present in your life. That is a huge challenge. But it definitely sounds like you made the right decision to honor your body by retiring. And your mind too!

Such a wise statement, may we never allow our physical ailments to define us. Oh, yes!

Cindy,
Feeling your angst about this. It is fortunate that you "write for a living" and that it helps you process all of your feelings. It does, doesn't it? I continue to hold both you and your mom in thought and heart at this time. I know it is hard....

Jan said...

Nadia,
You seem to be so in touch with the heart of caregiving. I love your perspective that it is a gift to nurse/minister/be present for someone in this way. Reminds me of Mother Teresa. :-) Your mother was very blessed to have such a faithful, loving daughter...Be well!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lynn and Jan – struggling to get this into one post .. the characters are way over 4,000+ - so here goes everyone ....

Part 1 of 4:
good to meet you and hear others’ stories and from our ability to read others’ travails we can all take something from you both, or from us (the commenters) that will translate and help us all.

For about 25 years now I have come out of my shell and have realised that I am so fortunate to be English, free, etc and when I came back here from South Africa I took on board a positive attitude and as far as I can continue to apply it. The most difficult parts are the family angles .. and I must work on that. Out of my ancestral strength of character I nowadays don’t worry about things if they don’t work out – I’ve already moved on to working out another way round .. I used to do this when I was younger, always had two or three options on the go – so I could never be disappointed.

In recent years I’ve worked out that what will be: will be: and has happened and therefore I need to move on; like everyone I’m really miffed at things that have happened and I may not make life easy for others (my family) sometimes, but at others I just put it behind me and think forward.

My mother (89) nearly 3 years ago had 3 major strokes in London (she lived in Penzance, Cornwall), which has left her bedridden, with left-sided neglect (which has mostly corrected itself), fed through the stomach, and now for nearly two years is nil by mouth – however she can talk and talk well, when she wants to. My blog articles are the kinds of thing we discussed and still do discuss – now with an iphone in hand for the pictures – which stimulates her: til she tells me when enough input is enough!

The first 9 months were in London – while they sorted out what to do .. and we were very lucky that she had her 2nd and 3rd strokes at the Acute Brain Injury Unit – so they put her in the ward. If she’d been elsewhere she’d have died. Mum asked to have a PEG tube fitted – and I’m pleased that she had it .. as we’ve been able to connect and establish that bond that was missing beforehand.

The things I’ve found difficult are that people, particularly my brothers and wives (none of us has children and I’m divorced) in our case, can relate to the patient in the bed – even recently with my cousin who’s a doctor and our mutual uncle, who’s just died – is it selfish .. or just plain ignorance. We don’t have many visitors, which is fine, but the carers also can’t communicate as best suits the person in the bed.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lynn and jan Part 2 of 4:

The other thing are the agencies .. so many agencies – as Mum is paid for by the National Health and is in one of their Nursing Centres – who owns whom? I have been battling for 2 ¼ years and had a session in London at the Assessment Hospital, when I wrote 30 pages .. and had a major challenge with one incident – when I was told that I should have been there five years before to know how bad it was! – well that answered that question!!

The PEG stomach feed is ‘owned’ by one department, the Speech and Language Dept does Mum’s mouth, the Nursing Centre does the care, the National Health Primary Care Trust have responsibility for paying for Mum and her overall wellbeing, paid for by another county (Cornwall) – her daughter = zero input.

The Nursing Centre, here in Eastbourne, had an appalling Deputy Manager, who has now left ... but I had no help, no understanding .. and I kept writing and complaining about various things that weren’t right – like Mum being sick, because the feed volume was too large – the Hospice doctor changed it, by dividing it into two .. and so I go on – I also had the police and social services called on me because of something that happened at the Home – I’m sure engineered by the Deputy Manager .. but that was earlier this year: so I’ve had my chips!!

Mum had 6 weeks in hospital – I’m sure again due to something that should never have happened, and again we’ve had some other challenges. Anyway I like the Manager and her life is ups and downs with all the changes, and changes in staffing etc. We are still working through things and now I don’t feel threatened like I used to .. it was unpleasant.

My uncle was also in the Home two years ago for non-weight bearing respite – and away from his house for 4 months – at that stage I lived in his house, lived here during the day, looked after his administrative affairs, and him in various local hospitals etc and then had another 4 months sorting him out with a disabled bathroom, and an outside platform lift – as the house is raised up.

While all that was going on I had Mum too and then my uncle needed more support from me – input and visits etc and came to rely on me more. This August he fell over triggered his prostate cancer, into bone cancer and he was dead within 2 months .. but who picks the pieces up – me! And there were family hassles there .. and at the Home, because after the Hospice he came up there to die .. he was too frail to get home, and sadly only lasted 11 days up there.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Part 3 of 4:

So through all this – right at the beginning with Mum .. I wrote out to friends and family letting them know the situation, but interspersing the letter with bits of interest that we’d chatted about or that Mum had sent me home to Google (Wiki) .. and then I’d turn up with that to read. I’d also cut out snippets from newspapers, magazines etc – bits of interest to read to her; I’d also write to everyone to get cards back .. which we did & at her birthday – I wrote out to remind people and then get the cards in.. and then thank them!! So we always had things going on that would include Mum. That’s what my uncle needed too (his wife had died 4.5 years ago) .. he said I kept him alive .. and he loved my blog! I had to post it to him .. and even in the Hospice, he told me all about the Texel sheep .. amazingly intelligent man.

The comments I had back about my letters were how positive and interesting they were .. hence my blog positiveletters.com ... which is a variant on the theme – but amuses Mum – though too much information now is difficult to take in. The iphone has been a revelation – I can show her the pictures and then we can talk about it ...

The other thing is that we have wonderful staff – but they speak all kinds of other languages and how on earth they communicate with each other I really don’t know – well I know they don’t .. because a disastrous miscommunication occurred on the last day of my uncle’s life .. which I have to live with. Communication is a tricky situation. People visit and they don’t relate that they need to talk slowly, clearly and succinctly – even though you keep telling them!

I get frustrated, but I do count my blessings – as Mum is looked after – and she’s as strong as an ox .. her mind is still as sharp as ever – albeit not perfect after so long in bed what can you expect. I’ve found my uncle’s passing is a huge relief .. and in a few weeks my part will be finished and I can get more ‘space’ – so now I only have one to worry about and not two – nor the journey to make only half an hour .. but the visit time made it a most of the day session.

I realise I’ve been very lucky – I’m strong enough minded to cope, I’m good at working my way through things, I’m confident enough to cope and my positive attitude has seen me through much – my uncle was always amazed at how I just seemed t take things in my stride. I have a saying that I say to myself when things go wrong or I have to start again .. I mentally turn on my heel, turn round and put the next foot forward.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Part 4 & the last!!

I am by no manner of means perfect, and I know God has dealt my mother a rough card – she’s had a tough life anyway and really doesn’t deserve this end .. she’s not in pain, but the craving for tea .. is too terrible. Recently she’s said odd things that have struck the heart – “you don’t know how much like purgatory it is when you put water in the flowers and you won’t let me have any”; and yesterday I kissed her goodbye, wished her well and said ‘look after yourself’ .. she said “how do you expect me to do that?” –

It’s heartwrending .. but I so admire her strength, as did my uncle (an in-law)... I guess we’re going through it because of what I’m learning and I am meeting such wonderful people through it. I still write to an American girl of 22, who had a brain surge, and who is absolutely delightful; & a Bangladeshi ‘girl’ whose mother, aged 52, younger than me and who can’t speak English had a stroke and cannot speak at all and is in a wheel chair; & some French parents, whose daughter did die ... I don’t speak French and my translator has died – my uncle!

Then here at the Home were two friends I’ve made: a chap who lost his wife (aged 49) to a tumour and she was ill for 2 years, and a friend whose father died of cancer .. but we had African connections and Derek, who lived in Kenya, was in the Home at Christmas two years ago. I see Linda quite often and bumped into Richard in the street today. So we had some good times amongst the sad times.

It’s being positive and doing what you can for everyone I think .. just being cheerful and happy – and boy I’m not that sometimes. I think I’ve wittered on for way too long .. the post I wrote that got lost on the airwaves somewhere was in a different vein and probably half this length ..

I hope some things have helped everyone else .. I can see some very challenging situations and I haven’t read the blog for 24 hours .. somehow we put ourselves in situations and only we can get ourselves out, other times we have to live with the situation s there is no apparent choice, other times there are people we can bring in to help – I have a healer for Mum – who has really become like a 2nd daughter – it is brilliant and we’re so lucky. She is a trained nurse, who nursed AIDS babies in the States, and who is Spiritual .. and who is about to go to India and have a week of silent retreat while she’s there .. I suggested she journal everything .. and she said – yes – it went right to her core. I just don’t do negative – my glass is always half full .. not everything is perfect here – but I don’t show it - & I desperately don’t want it to affect my future and my life so it’s not allowed to.

Other than that I’m fine .. I’m so lucky to have met all these wonderful people through blogging – hello!! With love and thoughts to you all .. especially if you’ve ploughed your way through this!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Jan said...

Hilary,
I am so happy to read this and learn more about your life. You HAVE been through a lot but your optimistic attitude is contagious. Your mum is quite blessed to have you caring for her, along with others who are blessing her presence, as she is blessing theirs. I hope you will continue to take good care of you as the days and weeks unfold. Keep writing those positive letters, a form of journaling, I'd say. They obviously keep your feet on the ground and your eye to the heavens. :-) Blessings!

Lynn, we sure have had a couple of days of excellent activity, haven't we. Marvelous stories, amazing women! Time to rest, eh? I will likely change the post tomorrow morning, giving folks across the seas tonight to catch up, if any need to. :-) That way you can look back over the comments and choose who you would like to receive your lovely book.

Ladies, I also hope that some of you might consider Lynn's online journaling class. Now that you have felt her presence personally, it is obvious, to me anyway, that she is a trustworthy and big-hearted guide. Write on! Healing is ours.

Cheryl Wright said...

WOW Jan,

65 comments so far. This is awesome. Have you ever had this many? This is a timely visit by Lynn with a timely and sensitive topic. I keep checking in to read what these wonderful and courageous women are saying.

Is is confirmation that we are not alone in our trying times and the feelings we feel guilty about and the emotional struggles we are often afraid and ashamed to voice.

Journaling is saving us and hopefully, those who are drowning in their lives without this practice will be encouraged to begin.

Jan said...

Hi Cheryl,
Yes, isn't it amazing? Never had this many comments, and there are 30 on this post at the other site. I am awestruck. This helps me see more clearly what it is we women need today. We do need a place to say what is really in our hearts, what is trying us, tugging at us, bringing us to tears and joys. And done so in supportive community. For the first time, this blog feels to me like a truly supportive circle. I am so grateful!

And Lynn has been such a big part of this. Her affirming, gentle nature to express it ALL is just so wonderful. Thank you again, Lynn. :-) You have truly opened our hearts even wider.

I am pondering how I can continue to use this site in this same way, to really give women an outlet for self-expression. I have one idea and will let it simmer over the weekend.

I think you are right on. Somehow we have been shamed to express our true selves, to use our real voice. Just writing this brings tears to my eyes. There is no need for shame. How do we all move beyond this—individually and colletively? This is big.

So thank you for continuing the conversation, Cheryl. This exchange has been a true blessing!

Cheryl Wright said...

Jan,

Enjoy is an inappropriate and inadequate for the heart issues we discussed and shared but it will have to suffice - I enjoyed the time here - the post, the comments and both your responses and Lynn's.

Thank you for hosting Lynn.

Thank you Lynn for visiting and sharing your thoughts, your practice and your advice.

Blessings.

Lynn said...

Hilary, I've read all four parts, and I can certainly say that
1) You have a great memory
2) You and your family have faced difficult issues with grace and dignity
3) You are so right that communication is tough
4) Your mother's line about the flowers getting water when she didn't stays with me
5) Your acceptance and courage stays with me

Thanks for sharing all of this, and Jan, thanks for the help in posting it.

Lynn

Lynn said...

Jan, we have indeed had some wonderful postings here.

If anyone wants information about my e-mail journaling class, please e-mail me at Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net. (You know what to do with AT and DOT, I'm sure.)

Jan, may I send you a notice to post on your blogs? Thanks so much everyone.

Lynn said...

Cheryl,

You are so right. This has been an amazing two days. I am in awe of the women who have written with such honesty and courage. Please keep journaling--with or without my sentence starts.

Who will tell your story if you do not?

Lynn

Lynn said...

Thanks for all that each of you have shared.

Lynn