teen years, Uncategorized

Forgiveness or forgetfullness

Forgiveness is such a complicated word. The words meaning hard to define. It is difficult to find the right adjectives to explain.  The meaning and reasons never the same. For each of us, it differs.

Let’s go back a few years… I was 16 and working my first real ‘wordly’ job. I had already begun to accumulate furniture. Free couch from someone’s front porch. Dresser my mom let me have.  Mattress from burnt out boys group home. I was all proud I had a job at a local fast food restaurant. I was given the position of ‘closer’ with a 50 cent raise even though I was the youngest employee. I wasn’t invited to visit co-workers homes. Maybe because I was the same age as their daughters who played soccer and went to after-school tutors. But I was respected for my work ethic, my positive attitude.

I would call my mother every Friday night. Collect from the slight warmth of the closed phone booth. We would catch up on each other’s lives. Hers filled with toddlers, efforts to find healing from her grief, and of course church. Mine with teen emotions, work, my learning curve, and overall trouble adjusting to a life she didn’t warn me of.

On one particular call she mentioned that Mr. W was passing through town in a few weeks and would love to take me for dinner. The W’s were family friends as their children attended the high school *1 that the community had. Many families who heard of mothers loss and grief tried to support and sent their many prayers on her behalf.

I was rather excited to be going for dinner. Seeing someone who knew my past life. An escape from my dull life of work and sitting in my lonely barren basement suite. I put on my best new to me clothes. Walked the dozen-plus blocks to the designated restaurant. The only one I really knew of. It sat beside Mr. Mikes all you can eat salad bar. I splurged on paydays and gorged myself on the food.

Mr. W and I had a quick hello hug and went straight in to be seated as it was a chilly late fall evening. No sense spending any unneeded time getting a chill. The lights were the proper dimness of an evening restaurant. The music quiet in the background. He ordered a bottle of wine for us and appies while we perused the menu. It was still such a rare occurrence for me to be in a restaurant. I was careful to never order anything very expensive yet not the cheapest for I wanted to maintain an unobtrusive middle ground at all times.
The evening was quite nice. We chatted reminiscing of a time gone when had a family and knew life no different from the sheltered commune. He caught me up on how the children were doing. Young adults now really. Attending a Christian college down south. Back then it was a time of snail mail. I diligently wrote many letters. Few returned them. Some grand friends I have to this day did. I kept those letters carrying them with me from place to place for decades. Hugging the friendship and love to me that they meant.

The wine finished, table cleared, and bill paid. We made ready to take our leave. He offered to give me a ride home as it was now dark and snow had begun to fall. I gratefully agreed and hopped into the front passenger seat. Before I had time to latch my seatbelt W reached over to give me a hug. But it wasn’t just a hug. It came with hands groping and a wet tongue reaching towards my aghast open mouth. My quick ducking, flailing arms, and wiggles to evade advances thankfully were not fought physically. Verbally, of course, I was berated for enjoying a dinner without wanting to give a proper thank you. Fortunately and sadly I was becoming quite agile at these piggish men. Those are different stories. I walked home steaming mad at this end to what had been a great evening for me.

The next time I spoke with my mother I shared my shock my anger my betrayal of this man who was to be a safe person. This is when the worst blow hit. My mother’s response was, ‘Oh I forgot to mention that about him.’ She arranged this dinner. The time, the place, the man and HER daughter who was but a child teen still in need of guidance, of protection. She FORGOT to mention to me she was setting me up with a known pervert.

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This is where the problem with forgiveness lies. The version that was being used at that time by those people. It was a forgive and forget motto. Oh, you said a swear word pray then forgive and forget. You had an affair, you hurt that child, you went to jail for abuse, you starved your children, the list goes on. We will have the congregation pray for you. We will forgive and forget. Although we will try to remember to not leave our children unattended with you. We will try to warn others not to leave their children alone with you and maybe your offspring for who knows. That is the forgiveness I grew up with from 10 to 13 when I walked out. Now as an adult I don’t give a shit when being told ‘I’m sorry’. I care about actions.
I didn’t intend this post to be a rant, however, I recently read an article on forgiveness. I also had this memory pop into my thoughts. So I have jumped ahead a good few years in my reminiscing. However, writing from the heart is more important than chronological order right.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on forgiveness. For it is a powerful weapon wielded by the ‘victim’ that takes away power.

 

 

 

lifestyle, Uncategorized

My parents’​ lifestyle change

Our lifestyle was determined by an author who wrote many books explaining what Gods meaning was in the Bible. What we ate, wore, the age men and woman could marry, social interactions, our daily schedule, our seclusion from society. Her word held in high esteem and studied daily.

Our diet was a big change for many. For many coming from a meat and potatoes, butter flavored mash, desserts, fast food, and other mainstream diets. Well, it was incredibly hard to adjust. The diet consisted of two meals a day, primarily raw for the first few years.  It’s no wonder that my mother couldn’t conceive after having me for years. I can only guess at how much weight she lost those first few years. It’s a wonder I was such a chubby cutie. I must have been fed more often although there are not many left to ask.

My mom had a story that they laughed about. When she and my dad were driving to the community after they were married she had a list of all the things she would need to set up the house for them. When I heard the story I would imagine them driving along in the forest green international pickup with its log camper on the back. The road curving and twisting as they kept driving farther north. I can feel the excitement she must have felt inside going to see the home they would share together. Starting a life with the man she loved above all others. Holding her list of all the things she needed to start life as a housewife.Shopping-list-coloring-page

Photo used from

Turns out mom knew very little about the lifestyle she had married into. Dad had disappeared for a year and then called her up and asked her to marry him. He had found God and country living in the year he was gone. He was no longer a computer engineer for a well-known railroad company. He was now a member of a self-supporting community that lived by the good book and the books explaining the good book. She had no idea the life she had signed up for. On that first drive reviewing her list of things and finding only TWO items were approved. Yes, that’s correct only two items were approved for their new lifestyle and diet. Salt and flour.  Yes, that’s correct salt a flour!

She would laugh as she told the story. It makes me sad for I remember her 5 foot  5 inches  95 pounds. Her skin often yellow tinged as though suffering from jaundice. The stress of her God-fearing husbands’ judgment causing her eczema outbreaks to worsen. Her appearance as a 40-year-old woman was a far cry from the photo’s of her as a healthy dimple-faced 22-year-old from the wedding photo.

Over the years the diet had changed. Things like adding yeast, sugar, oils, baked and cooked foods. Even a light supper was added. Working the land, being active and outdoors tends to burn a high amount of calories. Eating vegan three times a day or less would make it difficult to intake enough calories.

Carribean, Uncategorized, vacation

Saint Lucia

I have been feeling right off since I got home from our wonderful holiday and haven’t been liking anything I have written so far. It all felt so superficial and empty of heart. So I decided to share photos and tidbits of Saint Lucia. To have been somewhere so beautiful, so tropical, so not anything I could have dreamed of. It has reminded me of how far I have come. I keep thinking of the first place I rented. I was 16 and working a minimum wage fast food job. My basement suite was empty – empty as in I slept on the slab of wood on top of milk crates that the family had placed as a shoe shelf in the closet.

Like my boyfriend put on my birthday cake this year ‘You’ve come a long way baby’. IMG_0937

I placed a caption on most of the photo’s although the beauty speaks for itself.

 

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The view from our couch never ceased to amaze me
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Waking to the beautiful Pitons brought a smile and such a feeling of joy
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Lucky rainbow
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Incredible Sunsets
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Awestruck by the beauty
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I was frozen in place watching the sunsets

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Deep sea fishing – makes me feed this fishy’s
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Double rainbow across the Piton
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I wasn’t too sick to grab my camera for a shot of the rainbow
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Loving the rainbows even when I was about to toss my cookies
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Sunsets never cease to amaze me
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Family or flock of cuties
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I never stopped being amazed to be there
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Selfie sticks are harder to use than I thought!
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Best place for snorkeling
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I may have hyperventilated a few times but I kept trying
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I was in awe of what I saw beneath the ocean
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Sulfer springs at the volcano
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Is supposed to take ten years off!
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The volcano that feeds the sulfur springs
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Sharing my pastries with the locals
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Our sitting room view
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Hummingbirds should be the national bird for how many there were. I couldn’t believe I caught part of him!
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Crazy awesome guy reminded me of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz movie
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I took so many photos watching this little guy climb the plant to eat the juicy leaf he was after

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Our welcome basket included a water gun – because the birds are so pesky and brave!

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Tet Paul nature trail was full of wonderful information about the island’s foliage and gardening

 

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View from ‘Heaven’, well worth the climb

 

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One of my new favorite flowers.

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Famous Friday night street party / fish fry. Their music puts any nightclub’s volume to shame!!

It just seemed fitting to share a post about the incredible vacation we had. I feel so blessed so happy to have the life I do.

childhood, Uncategorized

I hoard toilet paper

There I said it. I collect toilet paper. And not that scratchy cheap no name stuff. Definitely not the Green planet friendly tp. That stuff is worse than the tp at the govt funded buildings. I mean Charmine, Cottonelle,  Royale, and other baby soft brands. If they are on sale it comes home with me. Stuffed under handbags, in the back of the closet, in the kids’ washroom.  I buy the kids’ Store brands or other sale but still quality brands because it’s cheaper and they have no sense of the word waste as teenagers.

I know why I buy it. I understand buying on sale is a good idea. That being thrifty is the way to become a millionaire. That is not why I do it. I have this fear hidden deep in the darkness of my consciousness. I am afraid of using paper thin, sandpaper rough, one ply tissue. The kind you would be able to steal from the local library. Sounds ridiculous right. Wrong. I was so broke – a whole different blog story there for another time… I was so broke I would sneak into the public library and stuff a half used roll into my backpack.

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I can still see clear as day me sitting on the toilet. My black canvas satchel with its cold metal buckles on my lap. Trying to get that giant commercial size roll out of the case without making noise or breaking it. The metallic taste of fear on my tongue. The desperate need for tissue at home.

So now I have toilet paper. Good toilet paper. So soft it’s a kittens fur wiping your bottom. According to commercials. Or maybe so soft bears love it. Hoards of it in my closet, in the bathroom, in the kids bathroom. And I bought more today because it was almost half price. I am sure it will be double when I need it. So I buy more. I buy it for the sale not because I can’t help myself. I tell myself I’ll be good and buy only one giant bulk bag, not the maximum limit. That would be silly right! 🙂 Then I stress all the way home if I should have bought more while it was on sale. Or if I spent too much buying things like toilet paper on sale when I didn’t need it yet. Either way, I end up with a stomach ache.

So there it is. Why I hoard toilet paper. And probably food on occasion. Definitely speaks to my dislike of wasting anything. Throwing away anything when it can be donated. For I will never forget having to steal toilet paper.

childhood, Uncategorized

Walking in the dark

After working the late shift the other night I climbed into bed with my 16-year-old daughter to visit and hear about her day. She had to take the late bus home that day which was a first. I asked if it was dark walking home from the bus stop. ‘Yes it was scary,’ ‘did you call your brother?’ I asked.  ‘No I used the light from my phone and walked fast hoping nothing would jump out at me,’ was her response.

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Her walk in the dark reminded me of the first place I lived after getting on my bicycle and riding away from the ‘farm’ at 13. That is another story for another time.  At any rate, I ended up in the same house I had lived in as a child, even had my old room back. Like that didn’t depress the shit out of me. The community school only went to grade eight so I worked at the bakery from 4 am till 1 pm Monday to Friday. The house I lived in was over a mile up a mountain. I watched the telephone poles be installed. There was no pavement, no street lights. Moonlight was my only guide if I was lucky. I would walk down the mountain using the path as a short cut. It was pitch dark usually. Occasionally the moon came out from behind the clouds illuminating the pathway. I was terrified of mountain lions, bears, and god knows what else. I have no idea how I managed to not only wake at that ungodly hour but to force myself into the cold darkness down that mountain.

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One day at church the elementary school teacher was speaking about things that made her day and my morning walk was one of them. She loved to wake up hearing me sing as I skipped along the path to work. Brightened her day waking to my cheerful song. Little did she know I was singing to keep the paralyzing fear from overcoming me. I had no choice but to get to work walking that path in the dark. Fear wasn’t an option.

Funny it hits me now that in all the things I have done in life:  fear or failure was never an option.

childhood, Uncategorized

Best mistake my father made

The best mistake my father made was to let me join him that one Christmas break watching the VHS tapes he picked up on brainwashing and mind control. It was an unintentional gift that has lasted me throughout life.

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I’ll never forget the families wanting to get their children back that wouldn’t leave. How they didn’t stop searching for them. Trying to get thru to the youth, the person that they knew and loved. How the person in the commune just didn’t hear the words. I mean really hear them. They would listen and try to explain to each other why the lifestyle was good or bad depending on who was talking yet neither party actually heard the other.

In the videos, it was explained how they got these lost souls, these people who were searching for something more. How that lifestyle was appealing and dominated all other choices. Why they stayed and believed. One young woman maybe early 20’s stuck in my mind. She wanted to leave but couldn’t get away. They kept at her until the methods worked and she became pliant to their lifestyle suggestions. Or maybe she just gave up and gave in fro sheer exhaustion.  Another young woman felt the opposite. She refused to leave she wanted that life regardless of the hurt and abandonment her family felt.

What made them pliant, willing believers? It wasn’t  beatings, rape or physical abuse like you may assume. It was segregation, hunger, lack of sleep, heavy physical labor that finally made her pliable to them. This is where I connected the dots that I was right. That it was wrong how I was being raised. Don’t get me wrong here. The community I was born into was nothing like Wako Texas and other extreme sects. It was a community built to live off the land, to be self-sustaining and off the grid. However, as with any good values, some extremists thinkers were a part of it. Of course, the deep religious beliefs didn’t help.

Earlier that year I had gotten in trouble for something I’ve conveniently forgotten. In the ensuing teen outburst and tantrum, I went for the phone to call child services as ‘it was wrong to be raised like this’. The consequence to that was to be locked into my room for a few days on bread and water twice a day brought to the door and escorted bathroom breaks a couple times a day. The hook and eye lock I had installed at the outer top corner of my door to keep my little sister out now had backfired for that is how they locked me in.

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I was livid. How dare they treat me like this. Make me a prisoner, lock me up, the injustice of it all. True to teenage form I got over it. I wrote the thousand word essay on my wrongdoings and after my allotted days I handed it over. And was promptly in trouble again for plagiarism for how could a 12-year-old write a decent essay? One who grew up with adult conversation and companionship, with books, sermons, and discussions, not friends, preschool, playdates, and television that’s who. Needless to say that disbelief in me further solidified my resentment. The resentment that had been building for a while and would continue until it burst out.

Many years later I was at a self-help weekend retreat. Similar methods were used. We had to stay at the hotel at night and weren’t to return home or be in contact with our friends and family. We shared rooms with strangers. Were woken early to hike a nearby hill prior to breakfast. We spent days digging deep into our painful pasts, resurrecting the scars that brought each of us to this workshop. I saw the signs and smiled to myself. I joined in all the exercises for you will only gain what you’re willing to put in. I believed there were life skills to be learned regardless of the red flags. I wanted to heal any issues I had so I could have the emotional tools to be a good single mom to my young children. I wanted to be able to provide the best childhood I could to them and mine wasn’t exactly role model history. So I did my best and ripped open my scars baring them to these strangers. I learned to accept myself and love myself. Near the end of the weekend, we were divided into small groups and given an assignment for the next day. We were given a song and told to come up with a performance. The stress of a public display, to dance and screw up, to fail in front of everyone was terrifying. The feelings of insecurity and fear. Clammy hands wiped on thighs,  nerves strung tight, we were all on pins and needles.  Thankfully my group didn’t have to go first and we were part of the big circle watching the performance. It was then that I noticed and saw exactly what was wanted what was being done.

It wasn’t a dance or performance. The leaders wanted you to jump and move in such a way your adrenaline would pump through you. That the fear and insecurity would be overwhelmed by the physical motion. Then you immediately stop close your eyes and fall back into the arms waiting for you. Your bodies natural reaction to the adrenaline the rush of emotions, the immediate calm with all those hands holding touching you that you had bared your soul to cried with was an emotional break. Shaking crying and the high from the release. It was an addictive feeling. Like the high of a drug that envelopes you with warm lethargic joy, love, happiness. Yet this was legal, expensive but legal. For those that didn’t realize what it was, what gave them those awesome feelings that would become an addictive retreat.  then came the pitch for the next retreat at an even higher price! Thank you, dad, for teaching me what you did!!

childhood, Uncategorized

Fear or was it

I know I have been writing about my single digit years but last night I remembered something and thought to share. My teen daughter is totally loving scary movies and Insidious 4  came out recently. She just had to see it with her friend, another avid fan. As I was driving them home from the movie they talked how they wouldn’t be able to sleep a wink. That they would need large cups of coffee to start the day at school. It made me smile and also  reminded me of when I was so terrified I couldn’t even close my eyes.

I was thirteen and had just left the community. I was done with the overbearing control that was welded with the expectation that no questions would be asked. I was currently sleeping on the floor in the guest room across the hall from my aunt and uncles bedroom. Dad had been dead a few months now and life was supposed to be back to normal but I just couldn’t.

I was angry, depressed, and lost. Life didn’t matter. The world should have stopped the day that he died. Instead I was on the floor in a strange room, with a strange family that was ‘family’. My future was being discussed in hushed tones without any thought of talking to me.

My heart race as I lay on the floor in the dark, the hall light slipping in through the unlatched door. It felt as though there was a giant boulder on my chest. The weight was unbearable. It was hard to breathe. The weight of it was suffocating me. I closed my eyes hoping to sleep to ignore this awful feeling. But when I closed my eyes all I could see was my fathers body all mangled and broken. His body choking on the blood and lacerated organs. I would open my eyes wide and try to think of giant fluffy puppies. I would close my eyes and the image of his body laying there eye bulging out would pop into my mind. Like a vivid picture, as though I was there. I would gasp air trying to breath trying to think of anything but that. In exhaustion my eyes would drift closed and his body would be falling and  falling and falling crashing down. His voice calling out to me would jerk my eyes open again. There was no escape from the pictures in my mind or the weight of pain and agony on my chest.

I slept with my Bible open on my chest for months. The only way I felt remotely safe enough at night was with my Precious moments Bible on my chest. The actual weight ( in hindsight it is similar to a weighted blanket ) of the Bible eased my constricted chest. Helped me take in a breath and try to block out those horrible images.

This went on for days, week, months. My depression depended. My anger grew. No one reached out to me, instead they worried and prayed. What happens is Gods will.  As an adult with children, having made it through I just would love to go back and  shake some people and say  ‘WAKE THE FUCK UP’. Actually there is much more I would say but I will leave it at that for now.

 

childhood, Uncategorized

Why did I bite the man

How come you bit him my parents asked. “Because he said I could,” was my simple answer. Earlier I had been sitting on the stairs coming up from the basement. I wasn’t allowed downstairs but I was halfway so technically I was obeying. The men lived in the basement once their cabin burnt down. We all ate meals together and worked together as a whole.  This man that I recall feeling close to yet had loathing for had come by me on the steps. Maybe I was waiting for him. Hard to know what my little five year old brain was thinking.  I have no recollection of asking him. The only memory I have is sinking my teeth into the soft flesh of his hand between his thumb and forefinger. Once my teeth clamped down I just wanted to keep biting harder and harder not letting go. A voice in my head said I couldn’t. It would hurt him I thought. I need to let go I thought. Yet my jaw was locked into the bite. I don’t recall him making a sound. I just clenched my jaw, sunk my teeth in trying to hard not to go too far. Not to bite too hard. My teeth marks were there to stay. Little teeth indentations in dark shades of purple. I don’t recall having any repercussions from that action. I suppose the fact that I had asked permission and he’d said yes was enough. As a youth I wondered what would have caused that want in me as a young child. Did he do bad things to me? I would never know.

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As a youth of the streets my mother would cry out for prayers for her wayward  daughter. Why was she gone, why did she deny the Lord, why was she a herion addict and drug user, as loose woman. Ironically I never touched herion, didn’t really do hard drugs, didn’t drink often and always choose to do it safely where some pervert couldn’t get me. My mother and the leaders of the school never once mentioned I had been denied return to the fold. Never admitted to the community I had come back begging to live with my mother to be one of them again. Promising to be a devote follower and never question them again.

So I wondered. Mother wondered. Others wondered what could have happened to me as child to cause me to turn my back on God, on life in the community, on my family. Who could have hurt me so. Was it the man that I bit, some other man who lived in our home. No one  not even me thought maybe it was being turned away from my own mother. Being sent away as an unwanted bothersome thing. No one thought what internal damage that trauma might cause my already aching heart.

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I will never know why I bit him. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I may never know why I did many of the things that I did. I now know that the biggest hurt of all even more than my father, was being turned away by my own mother and the community I was born into.

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childhood, Uncategorized

New Years

2018 is almost upon us. A time for a fresh start to many. I didn’t grow up celebrating the new year that I can recall.  I would laugh when I wrote the previous years number down as we all do from time to time. As a youth holidays were always very hard as I strongly felt the pain and loneliness of not having a family that wanted me enough. Yet New Years never bothered me. It was a time to work for extra pay. Or for that guaranteed day off. I never got the big deal about it and to tell the truth still do not.

I do not need to wait for a new year to resolve to change or be a better person. That is something I endeavour every day and hope that we all do. Learning new things, pushing my boundaries, trying to be a better mother, partner, friend, employee, person as a whole is a daily effort that I do not want to ever stop trying for.

I started this blog in the late summer in hopes of using this platform as a tool to help me write. It is hard to write about the past. The stories do not fall out all nice in chronological order with proper grammar and language. The depth of emotion that was felt is not easily described.  The telling of stories with a friend over a cup of coffee or glass of wine does not a writer make.

I will not stop writing my story. I will not stop striving to be more active and out in nature. I will never stop trying to be a better mother, friend, person. I may stumble and fall but I will get back up again. New Years day or not.

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childhood, Uncategorized

Buried carrots

As I stood at the sink washing the carrots from my garden I remembered all the buried carrots from my childhood.  Quite literally. You see when I was about five my parents worked the market gardens as they called them for the community.

If you haven’t read anything previous from my blog… I was born into a self-supporting community. There are many titles that can describe the life I was born into. Today we will stick with simply self-supporting. Other days …

We had large personal gardens and separate fields for community market gardens for income. Other things were started and some stuck. Sawmill, granary, bakery, cookbooks, juice, and charcoal to name a few. Adults from all over came to live and work in the community for various reasons.  Some came from as far away as China others from much closer.  They came for different reasons. To hide, get away, to learn a different way of life, to sober up from an addiction, to pursue a relationship with this particular way of being a Christian. The labor was always welcome. New believers were accepted with open arms. Provided you adapt to the lifestyle of course.

I digress, back to the carrots. I remember how very cold it was. Stamping my little feet, jumping and swinging my arms to get the blood pumping.  My nose either exposed to the freezing cold or wet and humid behind a muffler. The beauty of the crisp fall did little to help me forget my frozen fingers as we sorted the wet carrots pouring out from the tumbling drum. Cold water, cold carrots, cold air. A cold that gets into your bones and never lets you warm up. Holding our hands over the fire barrel trying to thaw some feeling back into them. There were a few of us children ‘helping’ the adults work. We were given the odd colored carrots, yellow or purple ones. I would pretend the carrot was a doll and make up great stories.  If it wasn’t so cold I would have been tempted to nod off as I waited for them to finish for the night.

Why they harvested the carrots and then buried them deep underground with a backhoe I can only guess. Twice the labor and a cold unpleasant work environment. They must have determined it was not the greatest way for it only happened that one winter. Buried carrots is a memory I will never forget.