Each and every person out there is so much more than one thing. We are each more than whether we eat meat or not. We are each more than whether we like roses or zinnias. We are each more than whether we like Coke or Pepsi products. We are each more than whether our favorite color is blue or green or red or orange or brown or yellow or purple or pink. We are each more than whether we like Tom Selleck or Tom Cruise. We are each more than whether we like country or pop or rap music. We are each more than whether we are white or black or Hispanic or Asian or European. We are each more than whether we are Jewish or Buddist or Christian or whatever. We are each more than whether we are tea drinkers or coffee drinkers. AND, most importantly these days, we are each more than our political beliefs. Stop choosing just one thing to base your friendship on with others. We are all so much more than just that one thing. Learn to look at the Whole Person.
I wonder about posting this and may very well get in trouble with one or both of my daughters for doing so, and most likely my son if he sees it. I apologize now. But, I’m posting it with hopes and prayers that perhaps, somehow, those who need to see it, will. If not, perhaps someone who has some influence with this person will see it and come help. However, in the back of my mind, I know that God knows about the problems, the reasons, and the solutions to this problem already and a solution will be had when God decides that it’s time for it to happen. So I need to just leave it alone. But I’m not because of my daughter’s wish that it could be different.
I saw a post tonight on FB made by my youngest daughter about Father’s Day. She is a loving, helpful, intelligent young lady who has a good heart, but it’s definitely a heart that been hurt many times. It was hurt again today. And there is really no reason for it to have been done other than hate, spite, bitterness, and pure meanness. What’s so bad is that the majority of those feelings are toward ME, not her. But you see, SHE is the one who is being hurt.
Divorce is painful for all of those involved, especially children. Sadly, this divorce was necessary but ended very badly. The couple involved have 3 children and now have 6 grandchildren. All of these want and deserve love and support from both parents and grandparents. After the divorce, ignoring the children started out as a way to punish me for having had the audacity to file for divorce and for taking it public. After repeated attempts by the children to somehow maintain some type of connection and those attempts being rebuffed, they decided to quit trying. After all, why purposefully ask for someone to hurt you? This lasted for a while and while it hurt, life was livable. Slowly, one of the children tried again, this time to be told that it would only be possible if the child followed HIS rules, HIS way, and on HIS time schedule. Since the child was now an adult, this child took exception to this and once again, negotiations came to a halt.
Negotiations — normally thought of as a means to solve a business or judicial problem. It’s not one that takes place between a father and child who is merely looking for love and acceptance. It should NEVER be used in this instance.
Again and again, one at a time, they would try. Again and again, one at a time, they were rebuffed. Hurt again. By a mean, hard-headed man out for revenge. Which he was extracting a piece at a time.
The kids went on with their lives. They fell in love and married. One of them moved back to her hometown where the father lived.
Eventually, the child living in the hometown reconnected with the father. I have no idea what the negotiations consisted of, and don’t want to know. And to be truthful, I was hurt. I did not understand how it had happened, but through therapy and prayer, I came to understand the importance and came to be supportive of the reconciliation. After all, I had been hurt that he ignored the children—how could I now be hurt because he was no longer doing so? A bit hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?? It took me a while, but I overcame my hurt feelings and fully support their relationship now.
Unfortunately, after 27 years, there is only that ONE reconciliation that has taken place. There is one daughter and two grandchildren who are doted upon by the grandfather and his wife. There are two children and FOUR grandchildren who are totally ignored by the grandfather and his wife. I wonder if they think about the feelings of these grandchildren. I wonder if they realize that each birth that is ignored, each graduation that is ignored, each Christmas that is ignored, each birthday that is ignored — these things hurt. And the grandchildren have done nothing to deserve it. They listen to their two cousins talk about the gifts, the fun times, the accolades they receive from their Papa and Ninny, and they realize that they deserve those things, too. But they don’t get them—because their grandfather took a vow at the divorce to always do everything possible to hurt their grandmother and that THEY are the collateral damage.
So far, their have been 22, 22, 18, and 18 birthdays ignored and not celebrated with 17 and 16 birthdays acknowledged and celebrated. There have now been 4 high school graduations ignored and not celebrated with 1 high school graduation acknowledged and celebrated. Each lack of acknowledgement and lack of celebration is deeply felt. And all because of the desire to hurt the grandmother.
I now call UNCLE. I give up. I acknowledge that you are the victor and the the hurt you wish for is complete and felt. My prayer is that you understand that your wishes have come true and that you Quit taking it out on your two children and four grandchildren. Become the type of father and grandfather for these 6 people that you are for the other 3. You can’t imagine what wonderful children you have. And you are missing the blessings from 4 Amazing grandchildren!! You may continue to hate me. You may continue to seek revenge upon me, but leave the kids and grandchildren out of it. They had nothing to do with our divorce. Period!
I look at the four grandchildren you ignore and I see funny, intelligent, caring, considerate, giving, loving, hard working, giving people. You would be so blessed to have them in your life and would get nothing but love and good times from them — if only. You don’t have to care about me in order to love them. You owe me nothing; you owe them everything. They want nothing from you but inclusion. It would take nothing from your life to love them; you don’t have to give up anything. All you have to do is to include them, love them, and receive great blessings from them. Each of them will add to your joys.
I look at the two children you ignore and see wonderful adults. They both have the hard-working traits that you taught to them. They have worked hard, they have been wonderful parents, they have loved fiercely and deeply. One has served his country, retiring as a LTC from a branch of service that you, too, served in. I cannot fathom how that does not make you proud. To know them would give you countless opportunities to brag, to make others believe that you have done a good job in raising your children. You don’t have to care about me in order to love them. You owe me nothing; you owe them everything. They want nothing from you but inclusion. It would take nothing from your life to love them; you don’t have to give up anything. All you have to do is to include them, love the them, and receive great blessings from them. Each of them will add to your joys.
It’s easy. Just do it.
And if you have not got the courage to say “I’m sorry and I’d like to get to know you,” to your son and daughter and your four grandchildren, then I pretty much agree with the below statement from your daughter — “I hope your day sucked.”
Pray for me, pray for my children, and pray for my grandchildren. Shoot, pray for my ex and his wife. Some of you know who I am and who I am talking about. Some of you may understand my story and some of you will think that none of it is true. I can’t do anything about that and that’s fine. For my grandchildren’s sake, I hope that the prayers reach his heart. All I wish for is love and recognition for my amazing children and grandchildren.
This is my daughter’s original post. ——
I got to spend the day with my wonderful husband and his family which included Papa and several brothers, nephews, and brother & son-in-laws who are all GREAT fathers.
I just wish I could have spent the day with my dad. It’s such a shame he is not willing to be part of our lives (well, most of ours anyway).
Happy Father’s Day to all the men who stand up and care for their children and grandchildren. The rest of you – I hope your day sucked.
A year ago a teenager in the small town where my children grew up took her life. Much has happened in that town in the past year. Parents, grandparents, and a sibling grieved along with family members and close family friends. Adults and children cried; they got angry; they held onto each other; and they asked — Why?
As in most cases, we may never know the real Why. But, we can watch what has happened in this last year and we may come to a conclusion. We have seen a town rally around a grieving mother and brother. We have seen teenagers begin to understand what life is about. We have seen young and old hearts touched. We have seen movements begun to help us all remember #SweetCaroline and to hopefully combat suicide. We have come to understand the importance of organ donation. We have seen many turn to the Lord to understand. We have seen those who have contemplated suicide in the past have their eyes opened. And with each of these things, we still see her smile each time we are touched.
Through Facebook posts and through my family who still lives there, I have watched the townspeople and the teenagers do things to make sure that Caroline would never be forgotten. As I was looking at Senior pictures today for my grandson, I was again reminded of #SweetCaroline. In this picture, you will see that my grandson still keeps one of Caroline’s pictures with him in his vehicle.
We ask ourselves why people take their own lives. Sometimes it is so that others will cherish their own. #SweetCaroline Know. Your. Worth.
I’ve been gone for a long time. Writing had become too hard for me. Admitting my failures, being too honest with my hopes and wishes, letting too many people into my heart, allowing others to see the hurt I was experiencing with the death of my sister, knowing that I had opened up with everyone — all those things became overwhelming. So, I disappeared. I crawled back into my hole — that hole that was safe, where no one could reach me. And I stayed there. For far too long.
I’ve tried to crawl back out for the past few months, but each time I took another step on the ladder, I’d doubt myself. Did I really need to crawl out or should I just accept life as I had allowed it to become? I’m still not sure about the answer to that one, but I figure I’ll make another attempt at reaching the top.
As this new year begins, I began to look back to the beginning of my blog. I’ll admit, I’ve been lax lately. I’ve struggled to post and have found that I had to have a lightening bolt inspiration to do so. I hope that I can do better in this new year. As I looked back to the beginning, I reread my “Little About Me” to see what has changed. In some ways, nothing. In other ways, a lot. I have become much more informed about clinical depression. I have been inspired by the many friends and strangers who have left comments on my posts. I have found some things in which I was just pure wrong and others in which I hit the nail on the head. Do I still struggle with depression? Yes. I do. Is it as overwhelming as it has been in the past? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. A while back I told a friend that I had come to the realization that I was just going to be depressed for the rest of my life and that it was too hard to get better. I’m not sure if that’s so.
So, as 2019 begins, I wish you all a wonderful new year — full of love, laughter, and all the wondrous things available in life. I am praying that I will be filled with inspiration and the desire to become much more active on A Light At the Top Of The Hole. We shall see.
And, now, back to the beginning…………
I am just a person. I am just like you. I am nothing like you. I have dreams, fears, needs, wants, demons, and joys. You may have these, also. I have suffered just as many of you have — abuse, rejection, put-downs, disappointments, unfulfilled expectations, and terrors. Do I understand why this has happened to me? No. Will I ever fully understand? Probably not. Is it fair? No. Can I change those things in my past that have made me “me”? No. Do I wish I could? Of course. Knowing these things, what do I plan to do about it? Not sure yet, but I do know that I’m going to change. I am going to become whole again (although I wonder if I was ever whole to begin with).
I was first a daughter. I am a sister. I was a child. I was a student. I was then a wife. I was then a mother. Then, I was no longer a wife. I was a teacher. I am now a retired teacher. I am my children’s biggest cheerleader. I am a Grams who cherishes her grandchildren. I am a loyal friend. I am a floundering Christian. I am a lover of knowledge. I am someone who has spent time in a Mental Health facility. I am a person involved in on-going mental health therapy. I am a person who yearns to love and be loved. I am a person who wants to understand all the “why’s” of life. I am a person who has many fleeting interests. I am a person with big dreams. I am a Southerner. I am an expert in the art of sarcasm. I am a lover of words. I am a person who has lived behind an array of masks for most of my life. I am a person who is constantly climbing to reach the light at the top of the hole that I find myself in quite frequently. I am a person determined to become whole. I am Betty (although Social Security and the DMV insist that I be Elizabeth.) I am now a Blogger.
If you choose to leave a comment (which I sincerely hope that you do), please feel free to ask questions, challenge me, or disagree with me. I will always do my best to give you the most intelligent answer that I can give. Remember, though, that I am someone who is living with clinical depression and I only have my own answers. I am NOT a mental health expert. I am a mere mental health “be-er”.
Please recognize that while I may make posts that contain some scientific information about clinical depression, I am in no way claiming to be an expert about anything. I may post videos found on YouTube or elsewhere on the Internet that contain some factual information. I do fact-check as much as possible, but please do not hold me to be 100% correct — I will just normally post something that has drawn me in and that I think others may be interested in. These videos may use information that I have learned through my readings or perhaps was introduced to me in my Psychotherapy sessions.
Please remember that I do reserve the right to delete any comment on my blog for any reason whatsoever, whether it be rude, abusive, profane, or just in my opinion, doesn’t help anyone. Remember those of us who suffer from depression are normally very sensitive to criticism and have enough people in our day-to-day lives whose purpose in life seems to be to blow smoke up our butts. With that in mind, please do not use my blog to bash me or anyone else. That certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t question or comment on concepts, but let’s keep it polite, please. Your comment or question may very well be something that someone else is questioning and is seeking answers to. When we all join in on a conversation about mental heath, we are lessening the stigma that is so pervasive. My blog is designed to help you look into the disease of clinical depression, see it though MY eyes, and to hopefully be able to spot the warning signs in those that you love. My goal is for all of us to learn from each other. With that in mind, please do share in the comments and share my blog with others. This will only reach and be a help to others if it is shared.
Thank you for joining me in my search for A Light At The Top Of The Hole.
As we head into 2019, I have become truly troubled today by someone’s post in our local prayer group that I administer. And that breaks my heart.
A member of our group had posted asking for prayers for her child who is struggling during this holiday season with depression. So very many people truly struggle during this time of the year. We are bombarded on television, by friends, family, social media and everywhere we go and everything we do, reminding everyone that we are in the midst of a “happy, wonderful, joyous time of the year”. Sadly, that is not true for many. As I had posted a couple of weeks ago, this time of the year is a true challenge for many, for so many reasons. They are reminded of times past when things were good, when they had good health, when they watched the joys and fun of the season through the eyes of young children. These people may now have severe medical problems, be alone, have financial problems, or perhaps they may suffer from clinical depression. Any or all of these aspects can create real problems for these people. We cannot take their struggles lightly; not if we care. Not if we are God-fearing people who strive to understand this disease. You see, Clinical Depression is not just feeling sad. It’s not just feeling lonely. It’s not just not having enough faith. It is a MEDICAL problem. It’s like having cancer, or diabetes, or heart problems. It’s having a chemical imbalance in your brain. This chemical imbalance needs treatment, just as the cancer, diabetes, or heart problems need. Do you tell someone with cancer to forget their doctors, that their medicine or treatments is not necessary? No, you don’t. Not if you care.
While I truly believe in the mighty power of God, that does not mean that I can turn everything over to Him and not do my part. God can work miracles. God does work miracles. But, God expects us to do our part. Our faith, our healing, our salvation is not automatic. It takes us to do our part.
It is my belief that one of God’s miracles is in giving us doctors and therapists and medicine to help, heal, and cure our bodies from diseases. It is my belief that if God did not intend for us to use these doctors, therapists, and medicine, He would not have made them possible.
And, that is my problem. We had a member in our group tell others (in a response to the mother who had asked for prayer) that doctors and medicine are useless in treating depression. He stated that we just need to contact him for help in healing our depression because through his faith, he had been able to heal his depression. I’m certainly not going to say that God did not heal him. But, I do wonder if this gentleman suffered from Clinical Depression or perhaps just from a mood disorder. I have no idea. Many people call many things “depression”. Only a doctor can tell you if you actually suffer from Clinical Depression or not. Can God heal depression? Of course, He can. Does He always do so? Well, does He always cure our loved ones of cancer? Does He always make our hearts work correctly? Does He snap His fingers and cure people of drug or alcohol dependency? No, He doesn’t. He can, but He does not always do so. He expects us to do our part. Am I going to stop praying to God for healing? No, but I’m not giving up my meds, either.
I believe that it is wrong for us, especially in a prayer group, to advise others to give up their doctor, to give up their medicine, and to ONLY believe that he and God are going to cure you. You may say, but, Betty, where better than in a prayer group to tell people to trust in God? That’s my problem. I do trust God. But, I also trust His gift of doctors. I tried not to answer this member’s comment because of the pure anger I was feeling about it (and yes, I admit that I was angry that he had told that to people and I have spoken to God about it) but in my heart, I had to ask him to please not advise others to give up their doctors and medicine. I hope I was respectful. I hope I was kind. I hope I was correct in doing so. I had hoped that he would understand. By his reply, I don’t think he did.
I have spoken my peace and explained my actions and have prayed for the mother and her child who is suffering. I have prayed for the millions of others, including myself, who struggle with any health-related concerns. I have asked God to continue to grant us His blessings and thanked Him for His many blessings we have received. I hope I have done my part.
As we are getting ready for the Holiday Season, I’ve been on the phone a couple of times with my daughter, Gina, getting ready for the preparation of my family-famous Cornbread Dressing. She is taking on the task this year of preparing the dressing for our family gathering. Over the years, I’ve had a few people ask for my recipe so thought that now is as good a time as any to share that with you.
Grams’ Turkey and Dressing
Let me first say that this makes a LOT. I do not know how to make a little bit of dressing. Since we normally have between 10 and 20 family members present, we need a LOT. If you don’t need a LOT, then you will have to figure out how much of whatever is needed to make what you need. Good luck and have fun. I must also say that in the past couple of years, certain family members (Will, Gina) have asked if they could have their own personal pan of dressing with gravy to take home (they don’t want to have to fight to make a plate for themselves as normal people do), so I may have to increase my normal recipe listed below to make that possible. No one said this was a healthy dressing — it’s just my family’s dressing that they love and covet and beg for and better learn to make themselves because I’m not going to live forever.
Largest Turkey I can find
2 large bags Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Dressing (Gold Package)
3 Boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix
3-4 Large Onions
6-8 Large Colored Bell Peppers – 3 Red, 3 Yellow, 2 Green
1 Container of Chicken bouillon Cubes
6 Cans Chicken Broth
2 Turkey Legs
1 Turkey Breast
2 pounds Butter
2-1/2 Dozen Hard Boiled Eggs
Gallon-size Freezer Bags
Thick Aluminum Foil
Additional items that make all the craziness not so crazy:
1 bottle of Kahlua
1 quart of Half and Half
1 Jar of Maraschino Cherries
1. Mix a White Russian (Kahlua, Half and Half, and a couple of cherries) to sip on while doing your preliminary cooking. When finished, make another.
2. Put Turkey Legs and Turkey Breast in oven to cook. Use 1 stick of butter to cover them well. Add salt and pepper as needed. Put foil over meat to keep from drying out. When baked and cooled well, strip meat from bones for use in dressing and gravy. Place in a storage container (I normally use gallon-size freezer bags) and place in fridge. You will need to divide these so that half can be used in the dressing and half in the gravy. Place drippings in a jar and place in fridge. Keep bones to throw into the pot while making the broth.
3. Hard boil, cool, peel, and chop the 2 dozen eggs. Place in a gallon-size storage bag and place in fridge. You will need to half these, half go in the dressing, half in the gravy.
4. Cook the 3 boxes of jiffy cornbread according to package directions. When cooled, break up well, place in storage bag and save for dressing.
5. In a Large pan, melt 1 stick of butter. Chop the onions and bell peppers and sauté until tender. You may need to add more butter. You want the veggies coated well. When done, place them and all drippings in container and place in fridge. You will need to separate these, using ½ for the dressing and ½ for the gravy.
6. Around 10 – 12 that night, I place my turkey in the oven at 250 degrees. I pat dry the turkey, salt and pepper it well, and place into the pan. Make sure that you have lined the bottom of pan well with thick tin foil. Use plenty so that you can totally wrap turkey and seal it well before placing in oven. I add one and a half sticks of sliced butter inside the turkey. I add another stick or sometimes more butter to the top and into leg cracks of turkey. I add about a 12 oz. cup of water to the bottom of the turkey pan. Place in oven and leave it alone until the next morning. Depending on size of turkey, it should be done first thing in morning. Remove from oven and let cool. Reserve all drippings.
1. Mix a White Russian (Kahlua, Half and Half, and a couple of cherries) to sip on while doing your cooking. When finished, make another.
2. Remove turkey from oven. As soon as possible, drain all drippings from pan and re-wrap turkey well so that it will remain moist. Depending upon how much meat I got from legs and breasts, I sometimes need to use a bit more meat from the actual turkey to put in the dressing and gravy. It’s your decision as to how much meat you use for what. We like a LOT of meat in our dressing and in our gravy.
3. Using a large pot, add water and 10 – 12 bouillon cubes to make additional broth to be used in dressing and gravy. I normally add the turkey leg bones to the large pot of water and bouillon cubes while making additional broth. Let this simmer for an hour or so. Keep an eye on it so that it stays full. (Add additional water as necessary and maybe more bouillon cubes. You want this to be strong.) Sometimes, I need to make more so make sure you have plenty of bouillon cubes on hand. If you made this last night, hopefully you placed in fridge before bed to be used when mixing up dressing.
4. Mix up dressing – In an extremely large container, mix Jiffy Mix cornbread, Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, half of the pepper/onion mixture, half of the chopped eggs. Mix these items until well combined. Add chopped up turkey meat from the legs and breast. Mix again until well combined. Add salt and pepper as needed. Don’t need much salt, but we like a lot of pepper. Do this for your own taste. Place this mixture into your butter-greased baking dishes. I normally get 2 – 3 of the largest baking dishes and then several smaller dishes of dressing. (We like to have extras for folks to take home.) Once placed into the baking dishes, start pouring your broth into the dishes. I will use some canned broth and some of the broth I made using the bouillon cubes. I normally will use more canned broth for the dressing and save a good bit of the home-made broth for my gravy. Use whatever you like, though. You will want the dressing to be soupy. Very soupy. So soupy so that when you place a spoon on the top of the dressing, broth will fill into the spoon. That soupy. I then pepper the top and cut up a stick of butter (at least – depends on how big your casserole dish is) to place on the top of the dressing before cooking. You want a LOT of butter. Act accordingly. This will be baked in a 325 – 350 degree oven until browned and juices have been absorbed. Do NOT overbake. I am terrible at saying how long to bake something. I don’t measure time; I just watch it and take it out when done, but it’s probably 45 minutes to an hour for a large pan. For a smaller pan, you figure it out.
5. It’s probably time for another White Russian (or a beer, or sweet tea, or wine – whatever floats your boat.)
I use my largest soup pot to make my gravy in, but start it out in a large chicken fryer. Using your drippings that you removed from the turkey legs and breast pan, as well as the drippings from your big turkey, place them in the chicken fryer. Heat and make a roux using flour and water and add slowly to the drippings to thicken it up. When at the right consistency (you decide what that consistency is), add a can of broth. Mix well and let it heat up well before transferring to the large soup pot. At this point, just start adding stuff. I add the chopped up turkey from the legs and breast that I made, half of the chopped eggs, and half of the onion/bell pepper mixture. This is where I decide whether or not I need to strip more turkey meat from the big turkey. Do so if needed. Did I say that we like LOTS of meat in our gravy? Add broth as needed. Do this slowly so that it doesn’t become too watery. Sometimes, I need to make more roux to add – depends on how crazy I’ve gotten in making too much. (Although Will says that you can never have too much gravy.) Continue to let gravy simmer, stirring occasionally and slapping people’s hands when they decide to just eat spoonfuls of gravy. Add salt and pepper as needed. (Sidenote: A couple of years ago, my grandson, Jake, asked for a bowl after everyone was finished eating. When his mom asked why he needed it, he said that he wanted some soup. Upon questioning, he pointed her to the gravy and said that he wanted a bowl of Grams’ Chicken Soup. Go figure.)
At this point, it’s usually pretty crazy in the kitchen so it’s most definitely time for another White Russian (or a beer, or sweet tea, or wine – whatever floats your boat. Shoot, it may even be time for a nap.)
Cook on, people. Cook on.
Now, it’s time to bring on the fixings — Cranberry Sauce, Sweet potato casserole, Mashed potatoes, Mac & Cheese, Broccoli salad, Squash casserole, Pickle tray, Ambrosia, Assorted pies, cakes, cookies, or Pumpkin rolls, Hot rolls and butter, and whatever else you happen to come up with. Oh, my gosh, and we can’t forget Sandra’s famous Green S*it. It wouldn’t be a holiday dinner without it. (And that’s a story for another day.) After all the prepping and cooking, it’s time for all that family fun and tummy stuffing.
No matter what you cook, what you buy, where you go, or who you are with — I hope you have a Blessed Thanksgiving holiday.
It’s been 52 years now since I whispered in your ear for the first time. That whisper was, “Happy Birth Day, sweet little boy”.
On October 5th of each of the last 51 years, I have whispered a short prayer in my heart.
On this 52nd year, I again whisper the following in my heart:
Happy Birthday, Allen Lee.
I pray that you are healthy.
I pray that you are happy.
I pray that you are safe.
I pray that you Believe.
I pray that you are loved.
I pray that you love.