Monday, July 26, 2010

Love's Power

When your feeling alone till a friend says they care

This is the power of love

When you have very little but you choose to share

That is the power of love

When your child is sick and it causes you pain

This is the power of love

When your feeling sad and a hug makes you sane

That is the power of love

When your day's been tough till your dog licks your face

This is the power of love

When battling cancer and sister would take your place

That is the power of love

Love is a gift that keeps on giving

It is what makes our lives worth living

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Are you suffering from panic attacks

If I can help one person out there struggling with panic attacks, then my personal story about anxiety and panic disorder is well worth it. I have a Master's degree in counseling and psychological services, but having struggled with this affliction throughout my life is what gives me "expertise and credibility" on the subject.

What is a panic attack: The DSM-IV descibes a panic attack as "a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, which comes on suddenly and peaks within ten minutes or so." According to the American Psychological Association, symptoms of panic disorder "last as long as thirty minutes or as little as fifteen seconds." "They can form a cyclical series of episodes that last for extended periods. Often, those afflicted will experience significant anticipatory anxiety and limited symptom attacks between situations where attacks have previously occurred."

intense fear or apprehension
fear of dying
feeling that one is "going crazy" or feeling out of control
shortness of breath, choking feeling or smothering sensation
muscle pain or tension
hot flashes/cold flashes
chest pain or heart palpitations
dizziness or feeling light-headed
de-realization(feeling out of your body)
burning sensation/numbing sensation
hypervigilence (being overly aware of environmental or bodily sensations)
strong urge to "escape or flee"

One of my worst bouts of anxiety, panic disorder and panic attacks, was when I was about twenty-eight years old. Mind you, I suffered from them at a younger age, but it wasn't until my twenties that it became very severe.

One of my earlier recollections of anxiety was when I was about nine years old. I was laying in bed when the feeling came over me. I wanted to flee and get as far away from my body as possible. I wasn't sure why I had this feeling of dread and fear when I was just relaxing in the comfort of my own childhood bedroom. Then there was the time I was about ten years old. I was laying on the livingroom couch watching t.v., and without warning, I felt like I was going to die. I walked into the kitchen where my father was standing. I was sobbing and telling him about the wierd symptoms I was experiencing. He wanted so much to help his little girl, but had no idea what it was or what to do.

The anxiety and panic continued throughout my childhood and peaked in young adulthood. Eventually I was suffering with full-blown panic attacks. I was working at a group home for adults with special needs when the panic attacks were the worst. Here I was, twenty-something and responsible for 8-10 adults and feeling like I was falling apart. One of my scariest incidents was when I was driving the company van with all ten residents. I thought, "OH Man, here we go again," as the feelings of panic came over me suddenly. I felt like I was suffocating, dying, going crazy. I considered pulling the van over but I was on an interstate, where there was no getting off. The fact that I knew I couldn't get off the highway, made the anxiety and panic even worse. I eventually got everyone home safe, but I will never forget it. I felt like I had run a marathon as my legs were sore and shaky following the panic attack.

There were also many incidents in college where my boyfriend would have to talk me down. He was patient and loving and learned that I regularly had these bouts of anxiety. He and my sister became very important to me when I was having a bad panic attack.

Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to anxiety and panic. I have come a long way since the days of constant panic. There is hope for living a good life, in spite of panic and anxiety.

Here are some ideas and tips that have helped me:
Take your shoes off when having feelings of panic or anxiety and rub them into the floor or ground. This skill may sound odd, but really helps get you back in your body.

Self-Care-Get enough sleep, eat nutritional foods, take vitamins or supplements, pamper yourself by taking a bath or a nice walk(anything just for you and no-one else), exercise or move your body and avoid alcohol as this can exacerbate the anxiety

Talk to a therapist or counselor who specializes in anxiety or panic disorder. You can work together to find the best treatment for you. It may include medication, talk therapy, bio-feedback, or other ways that are a fit for you.

See your Primary Care Physician to discuss your anxiety and panic. They may want to rule out any physical problems. (Make sure to keep them in the loop if you are seeing a therapist or counselor).

Get support from friends and family you trust. Just talking about your anxiety can often alleviate the scary feelings that accompany it.

Read articles on the internet-You will realize how common anxiety and panic disorder really is in our society. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Try not to give too much power to the anxiety. I know what your thinking, "Easier said than done" but take it from someone who has learned from experience. I just don't give anxiety the power I use to in the earlier days. Try to focus your attention on something that gets your mind off your mind. Do things that you love or have a passion for. ( I love to garden, walk, hub, read, watch movies and listen to music, to name a few)

Love yourself-You are not bad or damaged because you suffer with panic attacks. Oh, and you or I are not crazy!

Panic attacks can decrease in power as you learn more skills to cope with them. I have gone through several months of remission, many times in my life. Even when it does come back for a visit, I am more prepared with ammunition which I listed above

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lost in the Abyss

Darkness envelopes her wounded soul

Bruises of pain and sadness

follow slowly and steadily behind

Engulfed with feelings of isolation and despair

She slips deeper and deeper into the morbid abyss

Where sinister souls claim their prize

From weary lost minds which hold no sense

She climbs now from her self-induced muck

climbing upward only to spiral back to the tomb of darkness

Escaping the torment for only moments at a time

until the plunge becomes like mocking tones

that delve and penetrate deeper into her sanity

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hope and Help for Depression

Hope for Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in our society.  It not only affects adults, but children and teenagers as well.  As a person in the mental health field, I have seen how devastating depression can be. As a person who has struggled with depression firsthand, I see hope and possible solutions for this particular diagnosis. I hope you find my article on depression, helpful.

Am I depressed?

Here is a list of symptoms that can help you assess whether or not you are suffering from depression.

Change in eating habits-Are you finding that your eating more than usual or that you have no appetite? (weight gain or weight loss).

Change in sleeping habits-Are you finding that you are sleeping too much or having difficulty getting enough sleep?

Change in social habits-Are you finding that you are no longer interested in getting together with friends or family and just want to hide out and isolate? Or are you finding that you are going out more than usual and exhibiting high risk behavior? (ex: heavy drinking, promiscuity).

Feeling alone and self-deprecating

Feelings of sadness or apathy

Losing your temper easily/irritablility


Feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed

Feelings of hopelessness

Feelings of dread

Trouble concentrating or tracking

Trouble functioning day to day (ex: gettting out of bed and doing basic tasks, like showering)

Thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide

Depression or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a common and serious medical condition which makes one feel overwhelmed. The condition can wreak havoc on a person's life and interfere with normal functioning. Depression can occur once or several times over a person's life time. It is estimated that depression affects about 14 million Americans or 1 in 6 adults over a life span.

Here are some suggestions to help reduce symptoms of depression:

Talk to your doctor, health- care professional or therapist if you believe you are depressed. They can assess you for depression and help you decide the best way to treat it.

Excercise, move your body-Studies have shown that just moving or excercising can help reduce the effects of depression.

Talk to loved ones that you trust-talking about your feelings of depression can make you feel better. Many times you will find you are not alone in your depression. Knowing you are not the only one that has felt this way, can have a uplifting effect.

Self-Care-Though you may not be feeling up to pampering yourself, it is important to do just that. Loving yourself enough to take a bubble bath or any activity that makes you feel good. It is also important that you try to have a well-balanced diet and at least eight hours sleep. It can be challenging when one is depressed, but it is possible. As I stated earlier, limit your alcohol use or better yet, take it out of the equation all together.

Remember, Depression is a very treatable condition. If you are finding that your lows are lasting longer than usual, please see a doctor or therapist.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Goodbye My Love

Our love developed out the blue
Most didn't picture me and you
I noticed uniqueness others can't see
I saw your strengths like you did in me
Why is everyone saying your bad
I feel so connected, the loss would be sad
You were my creative soul that needed a muse
We thought love alone would win and not lose
College friends constantly telling me, "leave"
The stories and judgements, there is no reprieve
I beg you to tell me that it isn't true
You promise your loyal and I believe you
Until that day the dorm became hell
They told me you loved her, on my knee's I fell
I swore I would never love you again
I just hope It doesn't make me fear men

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What a Dream I Had Last Night

Have you ever had a dream that made you happy until you had to wake up. Last night I had one of the best dreams of my life. I strolled into the kitchen, all smiles, and the family knew their was something up. I finally admitted that my happiness wasn't just a good night's sleep but auntie was in love.

In our house, we love to talk about our dreams openly. I admitted that I was feeling sad because the man I loved was just a figment of my dream imagination. Living with teens, they had no problem telling me that "it was just a dream auntie."

I don't know if you have ever had those type of dreams that affect your day. I actually felt like I was going through a grieving process once I figured out my lover wasn't real. I was grieving the fact that the man I loved and was going to marry, was just a dream. Not even the best therapist in the world could help me work through this sudden end of a relationship. How dare my subconscious do this to me. How can I work through this?

I am now going to admit who the man in my dream was. At first, I remember him being a good lookin guy that I didn't know. As the dream continued, I realized that the man I loved, was none other than "Robert Downey Jr." Not only was it one of my favorite actors that I have followed through my life, but no, it was much more than that. I found out in the middle of the dream that my boyfriend was "Iron Man." Pretty cheesy huh? Hey, I don't control my dreams, so no judgement please.

I eventually got through my day because of the support of family. They teased me, questioned me, and asked me to talk about the dream. The more I talked about it, the better I felt. I told the kids that this dream man would be the only reason auntie mama would ever consider marriage and moving out.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

Lier Lier Pants on Fire, Hanging on a telephone wire

You show the world your Calculated, conncocted persona

You hide the dark, sick, evil man you really are

Your accomplishment of Naval Seal is just a trick

You took that little girls innocence like it was nothing

All because of your sick, preverse needs

She use -to trust and believe that people were basically good

She use-to believe in santa, the easter bunny and princes'

She now see's the evil that lurks all around her

To keep her sanity and keep pain at bay, she pushes down the event

Until that day on the bus with her teenage friends

You stepped in not knowing she saw you, the wolf in sheeps clothing

"What is happening to me? she thinks to herself"

"She can't breathe, her head is spinning, she feels ill

Her mind goes back to the event that she wanted to forget Forever

Back to the time she was twelve and swimming at the beach

Fun with her friend turned into Nightmare as his brother approached

I don't know you, why did you call me over to the shallow inlet

You make me do things, touch things, for what seemed Forever

Make it stop, Make it stop...Why is this happening to me

All the while manipulating younger brother to dive in the deep end of the lake

So you can hurt a little girl that just wanted to play at the beach

Finally a voice in the distance yells for little Maggie to come home for lunch

She is no longer a prisoner of his ugly wrath and knows it is safe to leave

She runs as fast as she can, away from the monster

Maggie goes home a changed little girl, Never to be the same

Party Wings

Teriyaki Party Wings


1 bag of cut up chicken wings and drummies

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons brown and white sugar

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon ginger

Shredded fresh garlic


Mix ingredients in large bowl

Marinate chicken for 2-4 hours before baking

Put chicken in baking dish or on baking sheet

Pour some sauce on top of chicken

Bake chicken at 350 degrees for one hour

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tips for Parenting Teens

Tips from Auntie
I know I'm not the only person out there whose pulling their hair out because of teens. Don't get me wrong, I would be a lost soul without my niece and nephew, but lately, my little darlings have changed. The change is a developmental one, called pre-teen and teen. Wow, how did we get here already? One morning as I waited for these two sweet kids to skip downstairs for breakfast, I was stunned to realize that someone had performed some kind of switch. You know, like in the movies, "The Stepford Wives or Body Snatchers." My perfect niece and nephew were now people I didn't recognize.

In past writings I have mentioned that I am helping my twin sister raise her two, beautiful children. It is both an honor and a privilege. As with anything great and well worth it, there is always going to be challenges and struggles. Here are some ideas that may help, as you enter the "Teenage Zone." Good luck and happy parenting.

Talk slow, loud and clear when asking your teen to do chores as they are great fakers. They like to pretend they either don't hear you or they don't understand you. I believe my dad use to call this "Selective Hearing", when I was a teen.

Teens love to shirk chores and moan and groan until your so exasperated you figure you might as well do it yourself, but don't. I like to use the parenting method I call "It is your choice." Now I don't waste my energy begging them to help out. Once I pull the ole, "well, if you don't dump the garbage, I guess we can't go to the beach this afternoon, but it's your choice."

Don't be naive and assume that your teen is listening to you as you speak to them. Recently when I drove my nephew home from school, he pulled the major, Blow Off! This means that they answer you by just picking out a few words from the conversation. I have become a master at knowing when I am being answered, with no real understanding of what I really said. On this particular day, I said that I had an errand to run in town. I thoughtfully stated that I would bring him to Jimmy John's (his favorite fast food sandwich shop) for his after school snack, since it was close by. As I said the words, "Jimmy John's", he suddenly came to life and looked at me. I said, " did you hear what I just said?" He stumbled over his words to make it sound like he did, but eventually admitted he only heard the words, "Jimmy John's." I begrudgingly re-stated the story I had told him. He laughed and apologized for blowing me off.

Know where the teens cell phones, ipods or other electronics are located at all times. In our house we have family time following dinner. We watch t.v., play games or just relax. The rule is that during family time, no-one (including mom and aunt) can be distracted by electronics. Little did Laura and I know that when we thought the kids were being little angels and following the rules, they were up to no good. While we were thinking they were quietly watching a family movie or show, they were really on one of their electronics. I figured this out when I noticed a Glowing Light under my nephews blanket. Busted! He can't get away with this little trick anymore.

Know when to be quiet with your teen as it can be hazardous your health. Lately, when my niece is upset (which is pretty much All The Time), I have learned that the best policy is to stay Quiet and Calm, lest you want to see a little girl turn into a mini monster. Here is an example: Ellie-(in a whining, screaming voice), "where are my new shorts?" Auntie- "I just put them in your upper drawer." Ellie-"Quit yelling at me auntie." Auntie-"Honey, I'm not yelling." Ellie-"I just asked you nicely where my shorts are and now your yelling at me." I now know, that you just stay quiet. Answer the question and quietly walk away, even if your teen is freaking out at you. Added replies from you will just make a bad situation worse.

Don't ever admit to buying clothes anywhere other than the popular, big name stores that teens deem cool. Laura and I have learned that when you buy clothes at sears or second hand stores, you tell the teen that you bought them at Abercrombie, American Eagle and the like. The times we've been honest, the clothes were never worn. Also, when shopping with your teen, Never say you picked something out for them to try on. I always say, "try this on, the cool sales lady thought you would look great in this." When I use to admit it was me picking out an outfit, I would get the big eye roll followed by a rude comment, like, "This is gross, I can't believe you think this is cute."

Don't take teen behavior personally. They are acting and behaving normal for this developmental stage. Stay strong and talk to other parents that have teens or those who have already been through it.

When your having one of those really tough days with your teen, just remember this stage won't last forever. Some day we might even miss all this hormonal drama? and the important thing to remind ourselves is how much we love them.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spaghetti al Pomodoro with Chicken


Spaghetti Al Pomodoro

Boil spaghetti, angel hair or any type of noodle you prefer.

Broil, stir-fry or bbq chicken-whichever you prefer and cut into bite sized pieces. (I use a wok).


  • Spaghetti or angel hair pasta

  • 1 Pkg boneless, skinless chicken breast

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 Medium onion

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • (2)or more 14 oz can plum or whole tomatoes

  • 1 Tsp sugar

  • Dash salt/Dash pepper

  • 8 Basil leaves

  • 1 can black ollives


Put olive oil in pan. Add diced onion to pan and grated fresh garlic. Saute garlic and onion in oil till they get warm.  Add rest of ingredients and cook until warm.
Pour Pomodoro recipe on top of noodles.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese or shredded cheese (to taste) on top of pomodoro.


Ode to Mom and Dick

You were always there for us when twinners needed you,
Your our special adopted mom & dad and dad Dick threw our shoe

Isn't it funny how life tends to go,
when our kids are naughty, now their shoes we throw

We always knew you both had our backs
Whether our day was bright or our world was black

You helped us to get through good days and pain
You loved us through struggles it was never in vain

You mean more to us than you'll ever know
You showed us Christs' love and helped us to grow

Through fires, houseboat, Dougal's and more
our memories stay with us, especially of Lore.

Love Your Second Daughters