Friday, November 29, 2013


Mama was the mistress of passive aggression.  I say was because she rarely does that activity at 94.  Now I say this with love...because that was not and is not all that there is to her.  She is an intense woman of love.  You are blessed to be loved by my Mama!  Not only did she raise her 3 biological children well but she also fostered more than 15-20 children. 

I find psychology fascinating.  We have come so far into understanding the physiology of the human mind.  For example, we now know that mental health is not a flaw of character.  We understand that our personalities are sometimes held mysteriously in the wrinkles and curves of our all too human brains.  One portion of our brain creates memory, another creativity...etc. etc.  Yet personalities still remain more than the sum of our chemicals and physical dimensions of brain.

Back to Mama, sometimes when she was with family or close friends and her kids were in the room she would start speaking about some issue, some frustration that she had with us as children.  Those frustrations ran the gamut from not picking up after ourselves to open rebellion against her in some form or another. 
Witnessing how much that hurt...having her air her frustrations to others, and not to just me...grew and grew inside of me.  Imprinting is the word that is now used to describe this annoying thing that happens when we witness our parents actions over and over and over again day and night for the first 18 years of our life.  When you see a certain behavior over and over and over again from parents...even if you loathe that behavior, chances are very, very good that in your adult life, with your family and friends you will repeat their actions.

For example.  Last night we were visiting with my husband's brother and his wife.  Out of my mouth spills my frustration that our daughters rescued two cats and a dog, and if any care is given to those animals,  litter boxes cleaned, animals groomed, or routine vet visits the bulk of the care is mine. 

All three of the animals sleep on my bed, and since my husband has passed I do enjoy their comfort.  Yet, instead of going straight to the girls and speaking to them about my frustrations it builds inside of me, like an evil seed, and then pours out on innocents who have no desire to hear!  I honestly had no intention of saying those words.  Consciously I NEVER wish to speak in a negative way about or towards our beloved daughters.

Almost instantly I realized what I was doing, but I realized it a second to late to stop my actions. 

The reality is that I should have spoken to the girls.  We could work out a schedule together so that I'm not always the cat clean up committee.  They HAVE helped me from time to time with the critters.  They do give the critters lots of time for snuggling, and love giving.

Overcoming imprinting requires a great deal of effort.  Yet IT CAN BE DONE!  The first step is realizing, recognizing our behaviors.  If we can't seem to overcome them on our own there is absolutely NO SHAME in going to a licensed counselor, or psychologist and getting behavioral therapy.  In fact it takes great courage to face the imprinting and change yourself for better!

Passive aggression is something that I CAN OVERCOME!  I do not want to pass this behavior on to the next generation!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013's that time again.  The time when we eat ourselves into a coma, and then some watch sports (not me), some spend this time with their family.  In my home growing up there was a huge family on both my Mom's side and my Dad's side close to us.  So we took turns getting together on holidays.

I remember as a little girl sitting at the kitchen table listening to all the ladies while they peeled, boiled, scrubbed, and chopped things into amazing delicacies.  It wasn't the cooking I was interested in.  (I didn't like it then, and I don't like now.)  It was the family information that was dispensed in those clean, cheery kitchens.  Even then I was, as my Mother described, "A little pitcher with big ears."  (What does that phrase mean by the way)?

The men were all in their pre-assigned roles of sitting in front of the television screaming and cheering for their favorite sports teams.  My beloved Papa didn't really care for sports...but didn't want to be in the kitchen (the women's domain).  So he usual lived in a sub-world of his own, neither sportsie or kitchenish.

Oh the glorious food!  Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sometimes au gratin potatoes.  So many types of pickled things, beets, cucumbers (dill and sweet pickles), I'm certain there were other types as well but I don't remember them.  Breads of various and sundries sorts.  Turkey...mouth wateringly juicy and delicious.  (Nobody was vegetarian, but if they were they would NOT have told anybody and risked offended the cook).  Desert?  Who had room by the time they had ingested the above listed plus many, MANY types of vegetables?

Several hours later there were the desserts, pumpkin pies (one of my personal that nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves combined to create unbridled joy in the palate.  There was brownies, cookies of all sorts and varieties, and did I mention the REAL WHIPPED CREAM for the pie?  That was almost better than the pie itself.  The rich fullness of that cream was a necessity to accompany pumpkin pie.  Don't skimp...I prefer the pie covered with at least an inch of whipped cream!

I didn't realize consciously that gratitude was part of my celebration until I was an adult.  Oh I heard the adults mouth platitudes about their various reasons for thanksgiving.  All I thought was, "Quit talking and let us eat!  I'm SOOOOO hungry!" 

Then (Many years later) I was married and creating my own Thanksgiving feast.  It was just my husband and our precious little 2 month old daughter.  I adored the realization that I was now part of my own family circle.  A family that I was a part of creating.  We did go to extended family celebrations but not on THE day of.  Gratitude became not just a once a year thing, or especially not a mindless listening.  Thanksgiving became just what it was intended to be, a platform of gracious gratitude.  My heart was filled with that emotion even more than my digestive system was filled with all that luscious food!

This will be the second Thanksgiving that we have celebrated without Nyle my beloved hubby of 27 years.  I thought it would get easier as time went by.  Maybe it will in 10 years or 20.  Right now?  There is absolutely nothing even remotely close to easy about it!  Indeed this second year has seemed harder as the reality becomes more intense that he is NEVER coming back to us.  We, in this life, will NEVER see the man who was my sweetheart, and the adoring Papa of our daughters.

I couldn't bear for Nyle to be gone longer than two nights in our entire married life.  In 1 years and 11 months of his absence it is LONG past two nights!  I have always preached to others going through this exquisite type of grief that they would make it through.  There would come a time when the absence didn't occupy your every waking moment.  Now I feel like I was lying to them.

Yet I DO KNOW that Nyle would wish us (his family) to remember him with laughter.  He loved to celebrate, and that is how he wishes us to remember him, in celebration.  So we will reach out, love, and rejoice that we have so many joyous memories of Nyle.  If some tears are shed along the way that is also OK.  Today emotions are accepted.  We can give thanks, thanks for the 27 years of love and living we were blessed to experience with Nyle, Neto, Bingo, Nagoo Nayou, Nyle the Pile, and I won't even begin to list the acting roles he played that he was called from time to time.

SALUTE my darling, and please know that with our Thanksgiving we give thanks for YOU!  We didn't get to keep you long enough, but really when you love somebody so much, FOREVER will not be long enough!

Heart Hit

"Retard," was the weapon of choice.  It was a direct heart hit.  It wasn't, for once, ME that was the recipient of this angry hatefulness.  This young man had the misfortune of living in a time when unique was called something else, something lethal in a child's world, DIFFERENT!  DIFFERENT must be written just like this.  It has to have capital's because DIFFERENT was something that you heard shouted at your tender child's psyche.  It passed any boundaries or safeguard that you worked to install over that place.  Another heart hit.

I had been DIFFERENT now for four years of school.  I mean, let's face it, I WAS different.  I lived with a chronic illness.  I had spent many, many hours in my bed, and my fantasy world.  My best friends were all 70 years of age, and older.  They understood the health issues that framed my daily life.  The children my could they know what it was like to awaken in the night gasping for air on a regular basis.  Could they know what a childhood was like with oxygen tents and ER visits in the night for oxygen?  Really, how could they fathom what it was like for a 6 year old to live on slippery slope that could quickly slide to death.

I wanted to help the young child.  I wanted to stand with him, for him.  Instead I realized that while he was the target the cruel children ignored me.

Ignored felt much better than being cornered on the way home from school by two boys.  They actually planned on beating me up.  I barely even knew these boys.  I was saved by the brave actions of a young man who had a crush on my foster sister.  He was Native American, Indian is what we called them in the 1960's.  The Cowboy's two to one Indian ran before his ferocity.  I didn't care that his motivation was to get in the good grace's of Charlene.  I just knew that I had reprieve!

Ignored kept heart hits from being mine.  Ignored meant that I could live most of the time in the fantasy world that always lived inside my head.  I carefully constructed this fantasy to keep the actual world I lived in and all the trauma and drama at bay.  I CONTROLLED my fantasy world.  I allowed no mean kids.

The taunting grew worse.  Emerson was now constantly barraged by cruelty.  Some of the kids devised the cruelest torture of all.  They would act as though they liked him.  They would include him in their recess play.  When he started to relax and feel safe the camouflaged weapons of pain came back out.

Emerson would be diagnosed today as, Asperger's or some form of Autism.  The label used in that time that covered any and all mental manifestations...a simple word RETARD.  Retard is what you were called if you acted DIFFERENT.  It didn't usually mean that your brain was any special kind of DIFFERENT.

I spent an entire school year thinking that I had to actually be RETARDED.  What would your child think if they heard that label used over, over, over, over, over, over, over, over, each and every single day, five days a week?  Unless you had the armored hide of an armadillo those strikes would wound deeply.  

That label was not directed to me when Emerson was in our school.  I was safe because there was a new target.  The taunting got so vicious that if you were different you were called an EMERSON.  I saw the affect that this constant viciousness was having on Emerson.  He really was a sweet, sensitive kid.  I did NOTHING to stop the bullies.  Really what COULD I do?  I was already powerless.  If I stood up for Emerson he would not thank me.  (At our age the opposite gender still suffered from a severe and positive case of COOTIE'S).  If I stood up for Emerson I would again BE the target instead of Emerson.  I DID NOTHING.  I stood by and watched Emerson go from a sweet, sensitive kid to a wounded huddling creature.

I have since watched nature shows when you see a predator attack another creature as prey.  I have NEVER watched that scenario on purpose.  I will be watching a show about a Mom Tiger with her pride of cubs.  Cute gamboling cubs learning about the world they are born to.  Tender, fluffy and fun the cubs tease each other and playfully wrestle together.  Then SNAP...some predator sees the babes at play...slightly too far from Mama Tiger and the scene of fluffy and fun turns into mayhem and murder.

Seeing that scene always reminds me of what we did to Emerson.  I say, "WE," because even though I never hit him, or taunted him, I also did absolutely nothing to protect him, or to have him as a friend.  At almost sixty I know that doing nothing to stop pain and violence is pretty much the same as perpetrating it.

Emerson's parents took him out of school at the end of that year.  I have prayed since that he was able to get hope and help.

Unfortunately, the minute that Emerson left our school, I was once again the primary target of the hunters in my class.  That's how I still think of them, hunting stealthily...eyeing their prey (me), and then SNAP...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


It's November 26th, and you have set a goal to have three books published by the end of 2013.  You finally are able to get a word processing program for your computer, but find the help menu to be well, less than helpful.  I think if you were a computer wonder like my honey was you could make it work.  Simply put...don't have those skills.

What do you do when frustration and impatience threaten to turn your day to gray?  What is the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back in your life.  You know, a camel with a heavy, heavier, heaviest load that finally goes sprawling from one last tiny straw.

I feel as though I'm quite capable of handling the enormous challenges that I'm often handed by life.  I can cope with, face, and handle effectively the very worst that life can give.  Then it's the tiniest thing that pushes me over the edge.  Clean clothes that slide out of my hands to a dirty floor.  My cat's trying to kill each other at night...on top of me!  Trying to publish 3 novels in one year and having every single type of clerical challenge imaginable. 

So back to my question.  How do we cope with not the great big life hardships (death, financial ruin, divorce, child's disability, spouse's disability, etc. etc.) but with things like dropping and breaking a dish that belong to great-granny.  Struggling with a Word Processing program that is NOT user friendly to a 57 year old lady who quit using computers professionally in 1993.

These are my go-to's.  I read something uplifting to my spirit.  I pray.  I focus on my blessings, and remind myself of what they are.  I watch something that makes me laugh...deeply from my belly.  I read a good book.  For me that's one that includes romance, and possibly mystery.  I visit friends or family.

The hardest coping strategy for me is probably to just sit still.  That's right, not moving, not pulling my thoughts into alignment.  Allowing my thoughts to drift, backward, forward, sideways, and seeing where those thoughts will take me.

Writing a blog post is another way that gives me strength.  Venting, talking about the current frustration of my life, suddenly things seem more clear, and I can chuckle a bit at myself (the type of laugh that reminds you that we all are human and make mistakes) and then move forward again.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Accountability, Duty

It was a difficult job for me.  Financial work was definitely not my area of strength.  Everyday I would think to myself, "How on earth did a people person like myself windup Executive Secretary of FINANCE?"  I made many mistakes as I learned what the duties of my job were.  In my little office I would close the door and pray for help many times a day.  Stubbornly my mind kept eschewing the ideas.

One day I made a foolish mistake.  It wasn't something that caused any repercussions for my employers.  I could have made excuses (and there were valid reasons for my mistake). I explained the situation to my husband and asked him what I should do.  His response was excellent and I still use the advice  now, 25 years later.  "Don't make excuses.  Say, I'm sorry that I made this mistake. I corrected my error quickly and it will not happen again."

I was so afraid that I would be fired.  I was still in probation time.  I couldn't afford to lose that job.  My job got us health insurance, AND paid for Nyle's tuition to Law School.  At $15,000.00 a year that was nothing to take for granted.

Literally shaking I entered my bosse's office.  I sat down (so I didn't fall down) and explained the mistake.  I then apologized, and affirmed that it would not happen again.  I was so afraid to hear his response that I looked down at the floor.

"I appreciate your honesty.  Please be a little more careful." 

That was it?  The reaction that I had given so much energy towards?  Then I started shaking for a new reason.  It's called relief.

How many times in life do we have the opportunity of facing our accountability.  It's an opportunity that can lead us to better behavior.  It also helps if you recognize that EVERYONE has made mistakes in their lives.  Even your boss has made mistakes.

Shakespeare said, "To err is human, to forgive is divine."  How about when you are on the divine side of forgiveness.  Do you hold grudges?  Or do you make a conscious choice to forgive, and let the mistakes of others slide away into the past?

In the Bible there is a story about a man who can not pay a debt that he is owing.  He goes to his creditor and begs for more time to pay back the debt.  The creditor is a gentle, kind man.  He generously agrees to give the debtor more time.

Then the debtor finds himself in the position of creditor.  One of his employees who has borrowed money from him asks for an extension on his loan.  The debtor now turned creditor refuses to give the man more time. 

Hearing of this action the original creditor calls the debtor in to his office.  He explains that he has heard of his foolish and unforgiving action.  He explains that since the man will not give his employee an extension and forgiveness he will now follow the debtors actions.  He is calling the loan due.  If the man can't pay the loan now he will seize the man's possessions.

How often does that principle apply in your life?  Are you ever forgiven from a mistake only to then turn around and judge or criticize someone for making the same mistake that you just made?

Do you face your mistakes with accountability and awareness of the duties of your life then turn around and judge others harshly?  "Judge not that ye be not judged, is a principle from the Bible. I find that it is a valid principle in any walk of life.

A friend who had a very controlling, miserable Father said to his Dad one day, "You know Dad it must be very nice to be you.  You NEVER make any mistakes.  It's always someone else's mistake...never yours."  I fear that the Father in this situation simply did not understand what his son was saying.  Accountability and duty were not words or actions that he used.

Take stock of your life.  Do you feel comfortable with the level of accountability and duty you exercise in your own life?  If not what do you plan to do about it?  

Wendell's Honor and Duty

When my Dad came home from serving a full-time LDS mission (he and his family paid for that mission.  Dad received no recompense for his service in the Southern United States.  He did not just teach people the principles of his Christian faith.  He put faith into action, serving others, many who did not share his religious convictions. World War II was raging.  Dad did NOT agree with the concept of war. He was a true pacifist...not afraid to do his duty to God and country, but well aware of the absurdity of traveling to a foreign land for the purpose of shooting total strangers.

On his mission he taught Christian principles of love, faith, duty, and honor...these types of positive ideals.  Now Papa was faced with the choice of waiting to be enlisted (Mandatory for men of his age and robust health) or he could sign up hoping to choose his type of service.  He chose to sign up.

Originally he was assigned to the "Flying coffins."  Those were the glider planes.  They were called that for a very significant reason.  The casualty rate of soldiers involved in glider service was abysmal.  Papa had a lovely fiance waiting at home for him.  He planned to return home to her alive!

He was a paratrooper (jumped out of planes), and an infantryman.  Not really the type of service to guarantee a homeward track but better than gliders!  He wrote home to his beloved parents after his first day of war.  He said, "Well I've now been involved in conflict.  It's terrible.  I lived.  Now I'm going to change the subject."

Duty, and honor were not some vague abstract ideas to my Father.  A pacifist in the trenches, Papa let duty guide his choices.  He didn't speak to me much of that period of his life.  He was very protective of the women (mother, sisters, daughters, wife) in his life.  He did not want them scarred with the images that tortured him for the rest of his life.

One story that he shared I loved.  There was a break in the battle action.  He decided to go for a short stroll.  (The Phillipine countryside was lovely.  Except for the wounds of war.)

As he began to walk across a bridge a young man about his age started up the bridge from the other side.  They caught sight of each other at the same time.  Papa and the Japanese man were supposed to be enemies.  They locked eyes, each wary of the other.  Papa said it was like both of them felt like it would be ridiculous for them,  two strangers to hurt each other...they both ran down the way they came.

Some might see that action as cowardice.  I see it as the brightest of courage.  Papa used to pray that he would never see anyone that he had wounded or killed.  It takes great courage to see a man who is supposed to be your enemy, and then let him live.

Papa told of one member of his platoon that delighted in the killing and bloodshed.  He took pictures of all his "kills," as he ascribed them.  He proudly showed the photos to all and any.  Papa tried not to look at them. One small glance was enough.  The soldier had pictures of women and children that he had killed proudly.  They might have been "Jap Sympathizer's" was his reasoning.

What a contrast in approaches to war.  One man delighted in the blood and killing.  The other man was only there because of his deepest respect of duty and honor. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor which was a part of Dad's country.  He was there in the Phillipine's to keep war from reaching his home shores.  To my Papa there were clear reasons for war.  To protect home, country, and to fight to protect his right for religious freedom.  Those were the reasons and the ONLY reasons to fight in a war.

Papa was very proud of his patriotic service.  He didn't vocalize much about that pride, or the honor and duty that took him to that war.  Yet when the 4th of July parade marched past he would get a tear or two in his eyes as the flag went past.  Proudly he would put his hand over his heart.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Writing Interview

I went to a Christmas boutique with our girls, and our niece.  As we were traveling through I met a lovely woman.  She is a writer, and has a publishing company as well.  She told me that on her blog she interviews writers to give them more of a forum for marketing their books.
You can read this interview at  I had lots of fun with the interview.

By the way my pen name is Vivian Varlowe in case anyone knows me by another name.  This was the name my Mama had chosen as a child to be a published author with.  She is an excellent writer.  I was grateful when she gave me permission to use her pseudonym.

Thanks to any and all that have contributed to my work by giving me support in my endeavors.  Thanks to my beloved cousin that convinced me that I had talent and needed to share it.  Thanks to my darling daughters who have spent most of their lives hearing me speak about what I wished to write.  Thanks to my parents who were both terrific writers, and my Mom for working with me, and reading to me tirelessly.

Thanks to my beloved honey.  He never read any of my books all the way through.  (He was struggling with eye issues that made reading anything longer than a couple of pages problematic).  I read some of my work to him and he told me, "You are a good writer CJ.  Finish a book.  How many people can say they have written a book?"  Coming from Nyle...I felt like my writing could fly.  He was an amazing writer.  I would easily put his writing alongside such greats as C.S. Lewis,  Norman Vincent Peale, and the author of Lord of the Rings (which for some reason I can not think of his name right now).  Seriously Nyle was the best writer that I ever read.  I fell in love with his writing before I fell in love with him.  (I met him as an independent contractor typing his manuscript and other items).  He worked for a film company.

I was typing a screenplay for him.  It was medieval fantasy.  In the writing of those pages I fell in love.  I seriously thought, "If he can write this rhythmic, poetic form of writing I want to know more about him.  We only had 5 official dates, and he proposed.  It was crazy, crazy, but I'm so very, very grateful for the 27 years of love and learning we shared!

So again, thanks...and please read my interview and give me comments!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Robert Louis Stevenson and I

The Swing, by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
   Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
   Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!

As a small asthmatic child often confined to my bed my beloved Mama would patiently, lovingly read to me by the hour.  There was virtually no daytime television for children then.  (No, I am NOT older than dinosaurs...OK...maybe some of the younger dinosaurs!)

Mama did her best to help me focus on the bright parts of life, and learn from the hard parts of life.  The day that Mama introduced me to Robert Louis, changed my life forever. 

I remember that amazing morning.  We were snuggling in my small bed.  Mama held a large volume that contained multiple childlike stories, and lots of delightful poetry.  Mama read the above poem to me.  She then closed her book and sat quietly for just a moment.

Then she said, "Caroljoy, did you know that the man who wrote that poem started his life just like you?  He was asthmatic, had a very poor immune system and was stuck for long periods of time in bed, just looking out the window.  He looked out the window wishing that he could get up, get dressed, and just plain live."

"Really?" I replied with wide open eyes. 

"Yes," my wise Mama said.  She continued, "He wrote books and poetry lying in bed, just like you have to do lots of the time.  There weren't any oxygen tanks for him when the asthma was so bad that he could not breathe.

I stopped and wheezed in and out.  "Do you think it scared him sometimes Mama?  You know when no matter how hard you try the oxygen just won't come in?"

My Mom looked down at my small self.  My lips were just the tiniest touch of blue.

I was laboring just to get air.  When I became an adult she shared with me how the doctors told her and Papa that I couldn't live, I was too allergic, too immune compromised.  Yet she and my Papa as a team continuously worked to help me look forward to a future.  They helped me to find ways and means to be a contributing human being...contributing towards making the planet a better place.  Even though at times I do that work from a recliner, or bed. 

Robert Louis said (I'm paraphrasing), I have written in the throes of fever, in the midst of coughing spells so extreme that I had a hard time focusing on the paper.

Mama said, "Mr. Stevenson wrote lots of books.  I am certain that as he lay in bed he would make up different worlds, he would travel places in his mind.  No doubt his parents, and other family members gave him lots of books so that he could explore, grow, and use his mind when his body did not work properly."

This concept rushed into my small brain.  "Mama, could I write poetry, novels?  I have a good imagination.  If I wrote books what would that be like?"

That is how it started.  I would lie in bed and create worlds.  I would even think of the interaction of my characters and speak out loud as one or the other of those characters.  The time became more friendly, while I focused less on my struggles to breathe.  The distraction actually helped me to calm which usually made my asthma a tiny touch better.

I owe you a grand debt Mr. Stevenson.  I hate that you had to suffer from this rotten malady.  Yet somehow you wrote a book about a tropical island, "Treasure Island," and at that point you had never seen a tropical island!  Yet your description was so real that I could hear the waves, see the water in vivid shades of blue and green.

You, Mr. Stevenson, helped me to gain a vision that life was not all about my miserable health.  You helped me learn my letters, and then find creative ways to make the letters and words sing,, dance, and distract. 

Of course, my Mama and Papa had a little bit to do with it as well.  (Gentle smile)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


As a tiny new born baby I was so severely allergic, and asthmatic that my parents were told that I should NEVER be laid down in a crib.  The good doctor swaddled me in a thin receiving blanket and I started to wheeze as I struggled to get out of the blanket.  (Maybe not such a wise demonstration on his part?  Can you say malpractice?) 

Have you ever held a baby for twelve hours or more a day?  It wasn't very long before both of my parents were absolutely exhausted and close to collapse.  Papa worked a full-time job.  I had a brother and sister, both of them also needed love and attention.  Then there were meals to cook, church volunteering to do....on and on and on.

Our church group heard about the situation.  Soon there were volunteers coming in some days around the clock to hold me.  I literally was passed from one person to the next.  My Mama has told me all of my life, "It was such a rich blessing that you were not afraid of being passed from person to person with strangers."

You see this brings up another point, I simply was not allowed to cry.  In that time 1956 the only treatments for asthma was oxygen, hospitalization (sterile environment), and cupping.  What is cupping?  Cupping involves cupping your hands and then pounding on someone's back. some of my most severe times of asthma they would "cup," me in this manner multiple times a day.  It HURTS!  Ask a loved one to try it on your back.  You will soon understand what I'm talking about.  This cupping motion helps to break up the all too thick mucus that asthmatics have.  (Sorry for not warning the medically faint of heart).  Of course I could not cry!  That almost every time proceeded a terrible attack, and a trip to the hospital.

Mom and Dad were told to prepare for the worst.  The good doctors that they took me to concurred that I would not live for very long.  I actually remember medical professionals around my hospital bed whispering, "This child will die young."

How does all of this tie in the subject of "Boundaries and Borders" you ask?  I'll tell you.  Spending that incredibly formative time in my life (birth to almost 2 years)  gave me the sense that there is no such thing as "Stranger Danger."  Add to that experience my naturally trusting disposition and you have a human that doesn't always recognize the importance of discretion.  One friend lovingly told me, "You are a very open person.  Since you are so open it naturally invites others to be open as well."  Thanks friend for that compliment.

The problems started when I married a delightful, brilliant, RESERVED man.  I would talk to people not only about my life, and blessings and problems, but somehow in my bounderless mind his stuff was mine to share as well.  (We were married, right)?  WRONG!  I had to learn, sometimes the hard way to keep my vocalizations silent when it came to my husband.  His stuff was NOT mine to share.  There were very rare exceptions.  When we went through health crisis after health crisis with my darling I had to have support.  Fortunately I had many, many loving friends who gave me love and support, and DID NOT SHARE any of what I told them!

I had to go to counseling before I began to solidify in my mind the concept of respect for others boundaries.  Now don't be confused.  I did not go through life gossiping about anything I was told by friends.  No, I reserved that too open sharing for my husband. 

I try now to be more mindful of the concept of boundaries.  Yet, I still am extremely vocal about my life.  "Sit down, I'll tell you all about my entire life in 5 minutes or less!" 

Now is a new version of challenge.  Nyle has passed away.  His entire life was a lesson in enduring well.  I want to share his life with others so that they can be inspired (as I am) with Nyle's wisdom, gift of laughter, his giant mind, and heart.  He'll forgive me, right? 

Boundaries exist for a reason.  In the world they define counties, states, and countries.  They even may define your yard (I'm looking at the chain link fence outside my Hillside Home as I type this."  Do they exist to shut people out?  Or do they exist to define?   Many, MANY wars have been fought over where boundaries of land lie.  So boundaries can define, protect, but can they also limit?

What if your personal sense of boundaries is so profound that you can't let any other human being into your heart, mind, and life?  Can boundaries restrict?  You bet your bippy baby!  (For those who had the misfortune of being born beyond the 1960's a bippy is a mystical thing that Goldie Hawn (mom to Kate Hudson), spoke about in the comedy Laugh-In).

Boundaries can be the basis for many unhealthy mental issues, things like Agoraphobia (fear of going outside your habitat), Claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces...especially when others are confined with you in that tight space), or Arachnaphobia (fear of spiders invading your boundaries...they should stick to their habitat which is anywhere outside of MY HOUSE!) 

Today, look at yourself.  Do you have healthy boundaries?  If you do NOT, do you wish to learn how to change that?  Are there others that do not respect your boundaries?  How do you express that dynamic and change it?  I challenge you to take just 10 minutes, a pen and some paper (or for those of you who MUST do ALL THINGS through technology) notes on your version of technology.  Write, do I respect the boundaries of others?  If not how do I change.  If yes, move on to this next question.  Are there others who do not respect MY boundaries?  How do I go about fixing that situation.  You can NEVER change another human being.  They must change themselves.  On the other hand if someone is not respecting your boundaries and will NOT respect your boundaries, shore up your courage and explain to them kindly but firmly that you need some space.  (You probably will have to define what "space" entails.  If they don't understand respecting boundaries they still will not understand the term "space."

Sometimes we need a professional counselor, or a well trained clergy to help us work through boundary issues.  There is NEVER any shame in getting education and assistance.  NONE OF US can make it through this life WELL without the help of others.  REACH OUT...this may be my most important statement in this long post, DON'T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE!  Change may be hard, it may pinch, pull, and stretch us further than we wish to pinch, pull or stretch.  Yet life is all about that...challenges to teach us and make us stronger.