Friday, January 30, 2015

Farm Friday: From Farm to School, a Guest Post

I have a guest post for you today from Julie Ellis.  Julie has written a post on the advantages of being a farm kid when it comes time to fly off to college.  Take it away, Julie!

From Farm to School 
Going to college is a big step for anyone. But if, like me, you grew up on a farm in a rural area, you may have worries about “fitting in” with lots of kids from urban and suburban neighborhoods – after all, their lifestyles have been way different from yours. What could you possibly have in common? These were my worries too, but I’m here to say that what I learned on the farm was the perfect prep for living and studying with others:
  1. Everyone has to do his/her part for the “family” to be successful. Dormitory living is a bit cramped, to say the least. No one is going to pick up after you, and no one is going to like it if you don’t do your share to keep the bathrooms clean. This I learned from the age of 5, while some dorm residents are just now learning! 
  2. You have to be independent and able to learn things on your own. Nothing promotes these skills more than being a part of a farm family and totally relying on yourselves for your entire livelihood. In college, the expectation is that you are completely self-reliant in your learning and your living, and I have been able to teach some peers a thing or two about that!
  3. You have to be a problem-solver. Crises on farms, big and small, occur all the time. When a car breaks down, you can’t call a cab; when you have a late spring freeze, you don’t just lose your garden bedding plants – your entire crop is at risk! In college, crises occur too – big and small. You don’t always get the classes you want; you forgot a paper that is due; you’re out of money and still have a week left to go. If you’ve learned to “roll with the punches” of farm life, you get through these crises easily.
  4. You know how to be by yourself. Lots of kids with urban backgrounds live hectic busy lives with people around all of the time. College life is a lot like that, and it’s fun, but there are also times when you need to be by yourself to reflect and to deal with you own issues. My life on the farm prepared me well for these times, and I am grateful.
Do I absolutely love college? Yes. Have I made friends from all sorts of backgrounds? Yes. Was I prepared academically and socially? Yes, and Yes!

Author’s bio:  Julie Ellis believes that, only through experiential knowledge does one become an engaging and creative writer. Her degree in Journalism and a host of real-world study and experience has made her a permanent and popular blogger for

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Happy birthday (+/-), Blue!  How's it feel to be 15?  Doesn't that make you like 105?  What's your secret?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

One of Life's Many Mysteries

Why is it that I blow on my coffee to cool it down, but I blow on my fire to heat it up???

Friday, January 23, 2015

Farm Friday: Mystery Tracks

Mystery tracks in the snow.

What could they be?

Mystery solved.

Sure.  Roost on my porch.  Poop on my rocker.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Coming Clean

I miss writing.

I miss writing for what it gives me.
I miss it for allowing me to bond with others and make them laugh, and to provide help sometimes.
I miss it for "talking" to the folks who stop in to read.

Looking back, I've only posted very sporadically on this blog in the last couple of years, and I've submitted next to nothing to other publications.

I did go back to work part time around the time my writing slowed down, but I'd be lying if I said that was the reason.

Truth is, life just got friggin' HARD.

And although I'd never shied away from writing about the stressful things in my life, there seemed to be a shift.  I felt like if I were to continue writing about the daily goings on under my roof, it would be less how-to from a Mom who'd been-there-done-that, and more Jerry Springer.

Writing about PTSD and trauma and RAD of my young children, in the vein of venting and commiserating and also educating?  What's wrong with that?

Writing about misdemeanors of now adult children?  Not so easy to go there.

Writing about the fall-out of parenting children with mental illness, trauma-based or otherwise? It's all in the name of keeping it real.

Writing about 911 calls, paramedics, police, questioning neighbors, in-patient admissions?  We've moved on to a different realm.

And aside from the parental side of my life, there's the marital.  How does one write about a separation after 26 years of marriage and not feel just wrong on so many levels?  There's privacy to think about, my kids to think about, my feelings, his feelings, trying to figure out how I feel/he feels/where we stand from one day to the next.  How do you write about that sh**?

Hence, the absence.

And hence, after giving it some thought, the "coming clean".

Although I know first-hand all that is wrong with "wearing a mask", it is something I have been guilty of.

Nothing to see here!  We're just one big happy family that managed to go from three kids to four through international adoption of a special-needs child, then from four kids to six with the addition of two older internationally adopted kids with mental health issues including RAD, PTSD and more!  Woo hoo!  Plus my husband and I were high school sweethearts that got married when Reagan was in office!  We can weather ANY storm, right?

Holding that image up for all to see is a disservice to me, to my family, to my readers.

If I can't write on my blog that it's ok that we are where we are, how am I going to convince my kids?  How am I going to sell it to myself?

The truth is, it IS ok.

It's ok that two of my three adopted kids have had their lives dominated by the fallout of the trauma-born mental illness that is often part of the fabric of the lives of adopted children.  I have dealt with those issues with dignity, compassion, and love.  I have been able to tell my children that no matter what they do, I will always love them, even when their actions have caused me to take drastic measures such as eviction, filing charges, hospital admissions, outpatient programs, residential treatment facilities.  It means I love them enough to do whatever it takes to help them become the best persons they can be, even when they may feel that my actions prove just the opposite.

It's ok that life is difficult for the entire family when one of my children (one that's wearing my genes) is dealing with the ramifications of his own mental illness demons.  He didn't ask for it.  My husband and I, given our unique genetic histories, should never have spawned children.  It was the perfect storm. What the family has gone through in dealing with his (and the others) sequellae have stretched us to the limit.  I love my kids for their resilience, their flexibility, their adaptability, their compassion.

It's ok that my husband and I may not have a happily-ever-after marriage.  It just means that we're honest enough with each other that we can attempt to deal with it, that we can own up to having problems, and we can have the courage to try to fix them.  I can't tell you how things will end with us.  All I know is that we're trying to figure out if we have what we need to make our marriage succeed.  The answer may be yes, and it may be no.  Right now the answer is elusive, but I pray that God will show us the answer in His own time.

So that brings me here.

An owning up.
A coming clean.

I'm done with hiding.  I will use discretion to a degree to protect and respect, but I will no longer hide.

I am proud of myself for having weathered so much, and to still have the strength I need to deal with problems as they continue to surface.  Let's face it, my life is one big Whac-a-Mole game, and I have to keep sharp and quick in noticing the issues and dealing with them as they arise.  Have you ever watched someone playing Whac-a-Mole?  Their face is always a mixture of both fun and determination. I've got to keep that smile on my face and have fun.

It's life.
It's MY life.

And it is what it is.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Inspiration Sunday

To all my fellow Trauma Mamas, or Mamas raising kids with other "invisible" diseases like Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, ADHD, etc, etc, etc, know that I understand your pain.  When the judgement becomes unbearable, when those who don't understand turn away and walk out of your life, know that there are those of us who DO know.  And if we never meet, I've still got your back, just as I know you have mine.  Oh, and also?  
I love you.

Image source

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Metaphorically Speaking

To all those concerned about me from my previous post (Wake Up),
don't worry.

I was speaking metaphorically.

My new day is my new year.

All the chaotic things that have comprised my life the last couple of years are behind me now, like a dream.

I am waking up to the dawn of a new era.

2015 will be The Age of Anne.

Look out world!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wake Up.

It's morning.

Out my window, the sky is shining.

I stretch, I yawn, I rub sleep from my half-mast eyes.

My dreams linger.

Awful things.

closed doors

It's morning.

The dream fades.

I leave my bed, and I start my day.


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