Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's Your life... Live it!

I saw this video clip and it struck a chord with me. A few of the points that jumped out to me ...

Blame and Responsibility are not synonymous

Shape your own destiny by the attitude that you keep

You are Responsible for your Life!

What you think about... you bring about...

2009 has been quite the year. Stressful event after stressful event, resulting in an extremely stressful living situation. Compounded by personal attacks, and financial challenges.

Has it been a horrid year. In actuality no it has not. There have been multiple blessings throughout the year as well.

Am I going to enumerate the stressful events and blessings? No I am not. Suffice it to say it has been an “interesting” year in so many ways. I am happy to move on to 2010.

Throughout the process of dealing with this year’s “events” and the situations that led up to said events. A fair amount of frustration and anger blooming into a rage has built itself within my mind and heart. I choose not to live in rage and hate, so I have been trying to “lay it down and move on” … or “forgive” and move on.

Only to find that I’ve picked it back up and clutched it to myself. Compounding the frustration and rage, building it to even higher levels of intensity.

So of course here comes yet another unnecessary interruption. These have become commonplace this year, and a source of some frustration on my part. As anyone that writes knows having your train of thought broken …. Whomp there it is.

Ok where was I? Ah yes, to not carry around frustration and anger. To be able to let it go, and actually let it go. Does this mean that I condone the actions that resulted in the anger and frustration in the first place? One word answer to that, NO!

Inconsiderate people that do not take responsibility for themselves are a source of annoyance to me. Does that mean that I am willing to carry that anger around? Give them power in my life, by changing my focus to their selfish behavior. No, it does not.

So how to deal with it? There is the question. I had been focusing on laying down anger and forgiving. Seriously was not working for me. The more I “focused” on laying down anger and “forgiving” the more I saw the anger and the inconsiderate incidents, outright manipulation, self righteous crap, attacks and so on. Doesn’t sound like I’ve laid down any anger, nor forgiven.

Did you catch the key word? No? Yes? Either way here it is. Ready for it. Yeah ok here it is… ta dah… FOCUS. Yep that it; focus. Focus focus focus focus focus.

What you focus on is what you realize in your life. Rather ironic; in this case I was actually trying to lay anger down, and forgive. Must have at least a bit of a sense of humor about these things.

I had long since stopped saying why; and have been going over how do I do this. How how how how…

As a result I started seeing bits and pieces of how.

Change my focus from laying down what I do not want in my life to what I do want in my life. I am not talking about “things” I am talking about a way of living, a state of being.

I chose to walk in peace within myself. To actually live my life now. Not look for someone to blame for my own actions or lack there of.

As I proceeded in my quest for peace in my inner life. Various tools started jumping out at me. For instance, The slight Edge by Jeff Olson, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman, What you think of me is none of my business by T Cole Whittaker, The above video clip, The Serenity Prayer Came to Mind, as well as Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.

The Serenity Prayer :

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I can not change.
The courage to Change the things I can.
And the Wisdom to know the difference

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Really read what is written there. As for me, I can not change other people’s behavior. I can change my own, behavior, focus, etc. I can choose to live in peace and joy eventhough those around me choose to live in conflict. It doesn’t mean that I condone their behavior, or that I am not going to have to make tough decisions.

It means that I can be free to live my life, not drown in blame and anger, or freeze in overwhelming panic/anxiety attacks.

I choose to live. If you only choose to exist that is your choice, your responsibility… not mine.

My commitment to myself is to live life now. Yesterday is done, tomorrow will never get here. Live now! Appreciate each moment whatever the situation. Experience each sensation, allow myself to feel the emotion of the moment. Appreciate Life!

Happy New Year!

Life is a journey, it is your choice how you make the trip!
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming
Independent Team Beachbody Coach:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays... 2009 Holiday Newsletter

Merry Christmas and all that! Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, and so on for those of you that celebrate different Holidays and beliefs. Am I totally pc or what?

Actually it’s “or what”. Am I going to explain what I mean by that just now? Ahhhh… let’s see. NO.

So on to the “Christmas” letter…

Seems inconceivable to me that today is December 24th, 2009. The December is amazing to me, then it’s already the 24th, and 2009! How did that happen. I was just 5 yrs old yesterday…..

By the way, I’ll be 50 in February 2010.

There is a saying, “May you live in interesting times”. I know there is more to it than that, and I can not for the life of me remember what proverb it’s out of. Chinese I think. Not sure though. Doesn’t really matter. At any rate it’s ran through my mind repetitively this past year. Usually eliciting a sideways grin and a head shake on my part.

This year has certainly been a year of “interesting times”. It has been a year of testing and growth; intermixed with blessings and love. Ah, such is life. Interesting journey that it is…

My husband, David is doing fine. Still working on the railroad. Translated gone 2/3 of the time. So we make use of the time we do have together. A shared cup of coffee, a good laugh at a movie. Usually on dish in our living room. Since moving out on this ranch, most of our movie time has been in front of the TV; no point in dozing off in the movie theatre. Now there is the truth of it. Sit down to watch a program and snore our way thorough it…lol.

All things considered David is doing well. He is sound asleep as I am writing this. I figure if the man’s body is telling him he needs to sleep. Then he needs to sleep. If that means folks have to wait to visit with him, or he doesn’t run when they call. Then so be it. Frankly I’d rather have him rested and alert when he gets on the train. Much safer for all that way. Some people understand that, some don’t.

2009 Happenings:

January, got on scale. Freaked. 299 lbs. Started working out. Using Hip Hop Abs. Lost over 20 lbs. Then here comes life… full steam ahead. I got off track, on track, ate the track, off track, on track… and so on.

Early in they year. 3 major blizzards. 6 ft and taller snow drifts.
2nd of 3 blizzards; drifts buried the kennel runs. All Poms pulled inside. Not happy campers…they wanted out to play in the snow.

2nd blizzard. End of March. I fell off a 6 ft drift. Wouldn’t have been anything other than another roll in the snow; except, I hyper-extended my left leg. Pulled/sprained/twisted torn from glutes to Achilles. Couldn’t bend knee, wouldn’t support me. Went to see docs, strapped on hinged brace, grabbed the brandy bottle and did what I needed to do. Knee bends now. Whoo Hoo! Rehabbed it through the rest of the spring, the summer and fall.

Early April, buried in 3rd blizzard, wind howling like a banshee. Monster drifts on top of monster drifts. Dogs still inside. Let out for bits of exercise and back inside. Shredding mountains of paper for bedding…

April 14th… sat down after taking care of dogs. Ice pack on knee, David gone on train. Brandy in hand. Turned on the boob tube to watch The Biggest Loser. The bloody phone rang. I tried but I didn’t make it in time. It starts ringing again, I got it, My mom’s neighbor is screaming in the phone “Your Mom’s house is on Fire!” click, she hangs up. I couldn’t believe it. I tried calling her back, no answer. I called my voice mail service. Same message… screaming “Your mom’s house is on fire!” I drove over there; trying not to panic, wondering if she was burned to death. Got there, Fire streaking up into the night sky. The neighbors had broken down the door and dragged mom (Anna) out. She was and still is alive. Confused, paralysis in legs, but alive.

She lives with us now, still isn’t standing or transferring on her own, but she can move her legs. Progress.

Family home of over 100 yrs, total loss. Of course no insurance. Ah…well… It’s just a house… just stuff… It truly amazed me the number of human scavengers that showed up to dig through the rubble. Like a pack of hyenas on a rotting carcass. Frankly it disgusted me as well.

May… I think it was May… Aunt Marty Died. She was a Grand Dame. Loved that woman. She passed on in her 90’s. I miss her, but I wish her well in her new adventure on the other side.

June: Dad came to visit. Pop’s turned 82 in August of this year. He wired my kennel and an out building. I tried to get an electrician to help him, but he would have none of it. I enjoyed watching him. Enjoyed sitting out under the evergreen tree in our front yard in the evenings having coffee and cigars with him. Was a good visit. Pop went back home to Minnesota. He still lives out in the middle of the woods.

August: Uncle Clarence Died. He had been ill for a while and dementia was setting in. Now he is no longer ill, trapped in a deteriorating body.

Sometime this year; can’t remember just when I decided to become involved in Facebook and Twitter. Reconnected with some old friends and acquaintances. Have met some wonderful folks from around the planet. Some which are acquaintances; some which have become very good friends. It has truly been a pleasure. One I hope to continue as our lives unfold.

We had a special treat on Thanksgiving. David was actually able to be home that day and share in the celebration. Usually he is on the train and it looked like he would be once again this year. However providence intervened and he was actually home. Aunt Martha, cousin Linda, David, Mom, Ben, and I enjoyed a day of visiting, watching the parade, dog show, and of course the meal.

It was also a day of realization on my part. I’d been in denial for quite some time as to our youngest son Ben’s physical condition. Unfortunately; it seems he does have Huntingtons. I had hoped upon hope that all three kids… now adults, would avoid that particular genetic twist from their biological mother’s line; but alas that is not to be.

So far the Elder two, Rocky and Donna seem to be fine. I hope that continues to be the case.

Rocky and his family are living in Colorado. Rocky and Crystal are excellent parents and their children are thriving. Rocky is a high school principal. Two of Rocky’s boys are in cub scouts. Busy Busy family. Crystal has been and continues to be a blessing in Rocky’s life.

Donna and her 2 boys are living in Casper Wyoming. Doing fine from what I hear.

Ben, his wife Eve, and their pets live in Gering Nebraska.

So far this winter season we have had a couple of major snowstorms that dropped a couple ft of snow each time. Amazes me that so early in the season and we have already had over 4 ft of snow on this little ranch in the hills. We have had a number of snows since the two early ones in October. The sub zero cold came on early as well. Lasted a couple of weeks and has moved on. Frankly I am hoping that is the end of it for this winter season, but that is not likely the case.

On a very up note, we have not had the howling winds this season. That has truly been a blessing.

We actually did put a bit of a Christmas tree up this year. It’s abt 2 ft tall and sitting on the buffet…lol. Major contrast to the massive decorations we did in town. Perhaps another year will bring more decorations, only time will tell that story.

The day is getting on once again, and I need to start cooking something for supper. All in all it has been a blessed year. There is a roof over our heads, a warm fire in the wood stove, stacks of firewood in the yards, and love in our hearts…

Be well, live in joy…

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Blessed New Year!

David, Mary, Anna, Min Min and the rest of the Happy Hairballs
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream In Wyoming With Our Pomeranians

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Health Care Savings Could Start in the Cafeteria

You put the best fuel you can in your car... so it will run. The same goes for your body. The better the fuel...the better your body's performance.
A friend, posted this article from the New York Post on facebook.

Something to think about...

Life is a journey, how well you take care of your body will determine how well it functions on your journey.

Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming With our Pomeranians

Independent Team Beachbody Coach: Helping Others Help Themselves!

The article is as follows.....

Photographs by Jodi Hilton for The New York Times, except top left by Tim Sloan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

The Full Yield, a start-up, aims to help employers cut health care costs via better food choices, from salads to yogurt parfaits. Its board includes Gary Hirshberg, right, C.E.O. of Stonyfield Farm.

By MELANIE WARNER Published: November 28, 2009

Steven Burd isn’t a doctor or a medical specialist. But he sure can talk like one.

“I can take any standard diagnostic procedure and there’s typically a five- to tenfold difference in the cost of that identical procedure, whether it’s an M.R.I., CT scan, a diagnostic catheterization, a colonoscopy, you name it,” says Mr. Burd, the chief executive of Safeway.

Four years ago, Mr. Burd, whose grocery chain is the nation’s third largest, became something of health care expert when his company saw a looming financial crisis. In 2005, Safeway was forking over $1 billion a year to provide health insurance for its workers, and the cost was rising 10 percent a year. It was Mr. Burd’s moment of truth: he realized he could no longer stand by as health care costs ballooned.

“We were saying ‘Wow, we’re paying almost twice in health care costs as what we’re making in earnings, and in five years it’s going to be another half a billion dollars,’ ” he recalls.

Similar sticker shock is confronting all kinds of employers, which together provide 160 million Americans with health care coverage. But the cost of delivering that insurance has surged 31 percent over the last five years, representing the fastest-growing single corporate expense, according to Towers Perrin, the management consulting firm. Those costs take a huge bite out of the bottom line and hurt employees, many of whom see their paychecks shrink as employers pass along the extra costs.

Shelly Wolff, head of the health and productivity consulting group at Watson Wyatt, says she has seen C.E.O.’s who’ve dealt adeptly with tough issues like climate change become completely flummoxed by health care. “It’s a board-level deal for most companies,” she says. “A lot of companies are saying ‘What do you do with health care?’ ”

In home offices around Boston, a shoestring operation of three full-time employees is working on an unusual answer to that question. As the wrangling over trillion-dollar price tags continues on Capitol Hill, a start-up company called the Full Yield is undertaking its own version of health care reform by using a simple, low-tech premise: Eat healthier food and you’ll become healthier.

The idea is to help companies move their employees to better diets that, the logic goes, will ultimately reduce their visits to the doctor’s office and the operating room — thus cutting costs.

“We need to put food back in the heart of health care,” says Zoe Finch Totten, Full Yield’s chief executive. “It’s the cheapest way to deal with health and the simplest, and definitely the most pleasurable.”

OVER the last six years, Ms. Totten, an associate at the Jefferson School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a nurse midwife by training, has been working to create a 12-month nutritional program different from anything that’s been tried in the workplace before.

Part one of its two-pronged approach is a line of Full Yield-branded food intended to take the guesswork out of what constitutes a healthy diet, while also reducing the need for cooking, which so many workers say they have no time for. Consisting of fresh items made with natural, whole ingredients, the food will be sold in corporate cafeterias and in the prepared-foods section of local supermarkets.

Unlike most corporate nutrition and weight-loss programs, which offer predictable prescriptions about portion size and calorie control, Ms. Totten’s plan allows employees surprising amounts of free rein in deciding how much to eat. “You can eat when you’re hungry, as much as you want, as long as you pay attention to when you’re full,” she advises. “And then you can eat again whenever you feel hungry.”

This may be music to participants’ ears, but it’s a controversial message that runs counter to the advice of many nutrition and obesity experts.

F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, director of the New York Obesity Research Center and chief of the division of endocrinology, diabetes and nutrition at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, says it’s an inappropriate message in a nation full of overeaters. “It just isn’t true that people stop when they should,” says Dr. Pi-Sunyer. “Americans are overriding their satiety signals. So to say eat until you’re satiated is not a helpful health message.”

But Ms. Totten contends that overeating doesn’t result from a nationwide failure to count calories, but from the fact that so many people consume a diet of processed, refined foods. “People overeat Doritos because those foods are designed to trick the body’s beautiful ability to be able to self-regulate,” she said. “When you eat primarily health-supporting foods you will recover those protective mechanisms.”

Those who make that change and join the program are urged to eat Full Yield’s food or their own similarly whole-food-based choices exclusively for at least three months.

Part two of the program involves tracking those employees’ progress by collecting a variety of data about them and partnering with insurers to analyze it.

“A lot of employers are doing these modest and piecemeal efforts at wellness and they have not worked,” said Gary Hirshberg, the chief executive of Stonyfield Farm, a yogurt maker, and a member of Full Yield’s board. “This is a comprehensive health management program with food as the base. And it’s going to save companies a lot of money.”

Groupe Danone, Stonyfield’s parent company, has invested “seven figures” in the Full Yield, according to Mr. Hirshberg.

If Ms. Totten and Mr. Hirshberg are correct, the potential for health care savings is huge. A study in the January-February 2009 issue of the journal Health Affairs concluded that 75 percent of the country’s $2.5 trillion in health care spending has to do with four increasingly prevalent chronic diseases: obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Most cases of these diseases, the report stated, are preventable because they are caused by behaviors like poor diets, inadequate exercise and smoking.

Obesity alone threatens to overwhelm the system. In a recent study, Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy and management at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, found that if trends continued, annual health care costs related to obesity would total $344 billion by 2018, or more than 20 percent of total health care spending. (It now accounts for 9 percent.)

Dr. Thorpe also said that if the incidence of obesity fell to its 1987 level, it would free enough money to cover the nation’s uninsured population.

At first blush, the notion of eating our way out of huge public health challenges like obesity, diabetes and heart disease may seem an overly simplistic and idealistic fix for complex, multifaceted problems. But health experts say that, in fact, an apple a day does keep the doctor away, and that many studies prove it.

Dean Ornish, president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says he has spent the better part of two decades doing research showing that diet and lifestyle changes can undo even severe heart disease.

“Within a month, we’ve shown improved blood flow and 90 percent reduction in the frequency of angina,” he says. “And within a year we’ve found that severely blocked arteries became measurably less blocked. We know this stuff works.”

More recently, Dr. Ornish says, he has published research showing that some of those same diet and lifestyle changes can actually turn on genes that prevent disease and turn off those that cause heart disease, as well as prostate and breast cancers.

BUT, of course, persuading people to trade French fries and doughnuts for kale and quinoa is much easier said than done. Market researchers in the food industry have long known that people often say they will eat healthier or exercise more but never get around to it.

In spite of the increased incidence of obesity in American society and in the workplace, 40 percent of large companies surveyed by Watson Wyatt for an April report say that less than 5 percent of their employees participated in workplace weight management programs.

“A lot of us have piles in our homes and our offices that we’ll get to when we can, and changing how you eat is often a bit like that,” says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, which represents large employers on health care matters. “I don’t think you could possibly overestimate how hard this stuff is.”

Despite the considerable challenges, there are notable examples of companies that have successfully prodded their workers to become healthier, thus trimming health care costs.

I.B.M., for example, says that from 2005 to 2007 it invested $80 million in what are broadly defined as employee wellness programs, and thereby saved $190 million in health care costs. Some $79 million of that was in fewer medical claims; the rest came from reduced absenteeism and “presenteeism” — a measure of lost productivity when employees are sick on the job. “A relatively small investment can have a big payoff,” says Joyce Young, I.B.M.’s director of well-being.

That was certainly the case for Diane Akin, a product quality manager in I.B.M.’s storage technology division in Tucson. This year, she received $300 in rebates from I.B.M. for completing online programs in physical activity, nutrition and preventive care, courses that inspired her to go on an exercise and nutrition kick.

“I lost 40 pounds and my cholesterol and blood pressure are down,” says Ms. Akin, who is in her mid-50s. “I don’t think I would have done it otherwise. The incentives, all the online support groups and goal-setting and monitoring really helped.”

Ms. Akin added that she was no longer worried about becoming diabetic, a condition that could have hit I.B.M. with an annual bill of as much as $20,000 in treatment costs.

Similar incentive programs at Pitney Bowes have helped it shell out 18 percent less than what the average large employer does in per-capita health care costs, according to Brent Pawlecki, its medical director.

In addition to online programs with financial incentives, as well as smoking-cessation and weight-loss plans, the company’s wellness programs include eight on-site health clinics for treating common illnesses, as well as reduced co-payments on medications for diabetes, asthma, hypertension and breast cancer.

Perhaps the biggest corporate success story is Safeway, a rarity among big employers in that it has kept per-capita health care costs from rising. Annual costs at the chain, based in Pleasanton, Calif., are roughly the same as they were in 2005, when Mr. Burd decided to tackle the issue.

He says Safeway has achieved this leveling by shifting its plan toward cheaper generic drugs and through the company’s voluntary Health Measures plan, in which employees are checked for their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and whether they smoke. For each test that’s passed, workers are rewarded with reductions in their payroll contributions to health care coverage. For individual plans, this can add up to almost $800 a year.

But analysts say Safeway, I.B.M. and Pitney Bowes are exceptions. Aside from chipping away at employee benefits, most employers have not made much of a dent in their health care bills. Although “wellness” and “lifestyle improvement” programs are common — 60 percent of big employers have them — companies continue to pay more and more in medical costs. This year, costs went up 6 percent, on average, according to Watson Wyatt.

IT’S a Thursday morning, and Ms. Totten of the Full Yield is lugging a canvas bag full of fruit scones and a cooler stocked with Greek yogurt parfaits along the streets of Boston. She is on her way to a meeting at one of the company’s first three customers: John Hancock, the life insurance and financial services company.

Ms. Totten usually shows up at these meetings with goody bags of Full Yield food, often containing breakfast, lunch and dinner. Developed by a large food service company and produced at its facility in Connecticut, the choices may include turkey chili, quinoa salads, salmon cakes, chicken tagine, mixed bean wraps and whole-grain peanut butter cookies.

Peter Mongeau, vice president of human resources at John Hancock, has sampled the food many times and calls it “outstanding.”

“For me, it was like going to a fine restaurant,” says Mr. Mongeau, among the 300 employees who will be going on the Full Yield program early next year.

To encourage the purchase of Full Yield food, which is priced at $6 to $7 a meal, employees will get $100 worth of coupons that can be used in John Hancock’s cafeteria and at 18 local Roche Brothers grocery stores.

Another Full Yield pilot customer is the City of Boston. Meredith Weenick, associate director in its office of administration and finance, says she was drawn to the plan’s more scientific components. Employees who volunteer to participate will have seven or eight biometric measurements taken at least three times in the 12-month program.

Some of these measurements — for cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index — are commonly collected by employers with extensive wellness programs. But other measures chart new territory, by looking at triglycerides; blood glucose; waist circumference; C-reactive protein, which tests for inflammation; and hemoglobin A1C, if someone’s diabetic.

Such data, along with what participants provide in detailed diet diaries and health risk assessments, won’t be accessible to employers. Instead, Full Yield researchers, along with Harvard Pilgrim — which is the insurance company for Hancock and the City of Boston and is a pilot customer itself — will analyze the data against insurance claims to gauge improvements in health.

As part of the program, the Full Yield will give employees access to nutrition coaches by phone, as well as personalized online health pages containing the biometric data, exercise and eating tracking tools and information on things like how to cook whole grains and make salad dressing.

Noting that the pilot programs have yet to start, John Hancock, the City of Boston and Harvard Pilgrim all say they don’t want to reveal specific projections about savings. Ms. Weenick says she thinks that “plenty” of the city’s 750 initial enrollees will lose weight, lower their cholesterol and blood pressure and bolster their overall energy levels.

“We feel certain this will have an effect on our bottom line,” she says, “but it will probably take a few years to get there.”

Judith Frampton, vice president for medical management at Harvard Pilgrim, says that when it offers the Full Yield plan to its 1,100 employees in January, she believes it will succeed in attracting and retaining participants where other programs have failed. That’s because all those unconventionally cheery messages about food consumption will be a source of inspiration, she says.

“I think weight loss is more than likely to be an outcome, but this isn’t really about that,” she says. “It’s about adding things to your life and feeling better psychologically and physically. It’s a hugely important message.”

New York Times

Health Care Savings May Start in Employee Diets -

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wow... I am Actually Free...

Wrote this post sitting in Sheri’s Restaurant. The first time in years that I’d written into a notebook rather than directly to my computer… I started writing a bit after 6 am… when I stopped it was after 11 am. To say it’s rather long would be the understatement of the year…

Shipped Grizzy to his new forever home this morning. I’ll miss hiss happy face. However; I know he is going to a wonderful home filled with love and 3 Pom playmates.

Had to be at the airport at 5 a.m. to make his 6 a.m. flight. Sent him in a larger crate than had planned; but it worked out better for him anyway. So that was a good thing. As I set here writing this he is arriving in Denver, then heading on to Texas then New York.

Full day ahead. I stopped at Shari’s for breakfast before I started the rest of my errands in Scottsbluff. Strong hot coffee and a good breakfast. Great way to fuel the day. Frankly after this breakfast I won’t be, needing much more “fuel” for the entire day. Lol.

The past few days have been tension filled and trying. It was wonderful to sit down and enjoy my breakfast in peace.

Whatever real or manufactured crisis’s that comes up will just have to be handled (or not) by those directly involved.

Oh, and yes my cell phone is shut off as I am writing this. I’m actually writing in a notebook. As in a spiral paper notebook, lol. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done this. Usually I sit at my computer and write.

That has been a major challenge since April 14th. The day my mom’s house burned down and we brought her to live with us.

She has needed a lot of care and attention. Which;’ has been a major adjustment for the both of us.

This has been quite the interesting year. I think it’s a Chinese proverb that says “may you lie in interesting times”. Not sure if that’s a curse or a blessing, lol.

This year has certainly been “interesting”.

Late March: 2nd major blizzard of the winter- Had to pull the entire kennel inside. Snow drifts buried the fences (fences are 52 inches high) and outside yards. Dug dog houses out so could take dogs in. The dog houses are 52 in high, 4 ft wide, 7 ft long. BURRIED. Thankfully, they were dry inside.

Fell off a snow drift, injured my right leg. Unable to bend knee. Muscles so traumatized and swollen from glutes to heel that the leg wouldn’t work. Hyper extended knee, and knocked it out laterally as well. Took several months of healing and rehabbing to bring leg back into normal function. Knee is still questionable (11/16/09) when it comes to getting down on hands and knees.

First week in April. Third major blizzard of the season. Using hinged brace to hold knee. Kneel has to be taken care of. David (husband) is gone on railroad ¾ of the time, and exhausted when is actually home.

April 14th, 2009 – House fire. Good by 100 years of accumulated memorabilia. Good by to mom’s house pets-they burned. Nearly, good by to mom. The neighbors saw the fire when putting their kids to bed. Jumped the fences, broke in the door, and grabbed mom. Put her in a broken power wheel chair and drug her outside. No one knew the wheel chair was broken. Her home, her birds, her dogs, everything she had; burned. Mom went into shock. The pain and loss of her pets and home too much for her to bear. She lost the ability to move her legs, lost her comprehension, and slipped into a severe depression. It was questionable as to whether she would survive the emotional trauma, let alone recover. (A Dear friend named Pat Munn, was invaluable help during this time. Frankly I don’t think I could have kept mom here without her aid. – and in the state she was in I don’t believe she would have survived a transfer to a nursing home)

Mom is still unable to stand, has severe swelling in her legs and feet; however she can move her feet and I heard her humming a tune yesterday. She has become very close with one of our house babies. She and Peanut have adopted each other. I think this has played a major part in her recovery process thus far.

May 2009 – Aunt Marty died. She was mom’ older sister. A great lady indeed.

After mom’s house burned and she came to be with us. Her brother, Clarence, who lived on the same acreage slipped into a depression, then dementia, had a hellish several months and died. This was in August.

Mom is now the only sibling still living. She had 1 sister and 5 brothers. Martha B.-(Aunt Marty), Eugene –(Unk), Clarence-(Stubby), Delbert-(Buss), Dale, Jim.

Throughout all tis my husband’s blood sugar has been all over the place. Too high, then way too low. Three times he’s crashed and I’ve brought him back out of an extreme sugar low. Cold skin, soaked in sweat, fixed pupils, confused, comprehension lacking or gone. No memory of event after necessary blood sugar levels restored. Yes I bring him back. Bu I always wonder… what if I miss it. What if I’m gone or sleep through it. Why is this happening at home, and not at work? Ah ha! He’s not taking his insulin at work.

I’ve shut down my business, for the most part, for another year. This year. Of course the overhead continues; whether you have sales or not. Ask any small business person; they’ll tell you.

Year before last I stepped into a rescue operation that I mistakenly thought would take a month or two. It turned into a 2 year nightmare. I felt sorry for the dogs so I said yes when I was asked to take responsibility for their care. OMG!!!!!!!!!

It was a nightmare getting rid of the vermin they were infested with; fleas, and a variety of nasty worms. Fencing climbing, biting Feral dogs scared out of their minds.

Most of them are placed now. All to f the infestation is gone. YAY!!!!!!!! Cedarcide kills fleas, as well as their miserable nasty eggs, in case any one needs help with that. It actually works better than everything else I tried. Believe me I tried all the typical remedies. Goodwinol shampoo has cedar oil in it now too. Does a fine job on the miserable little monsters.

I so HATE FLEAS! The rescue operation blew our dog numbers up over 200. That is way way way too many. Never Again!

I’ll help if possible, but I WILL NOT bring a mess of dogs on property again! EVER!

I was a good hearted fool! People I thought I could count on; I found out I could not. The emotional blackmail made a very difficult situation absolutely horrendous. No more!

The situation was complicated and exacerbated by a crushing back injury. It was questionable as to whether I would be walking; or be confined to a wheel chair. Back surgery was recommended, but with so many dogs counting on me for feed, water, etc. It was an untenable option. (August 2008) With the help of a very good chiropractor the pressure on my spinal cord was relieved and the business of rebuilding my core muscles continued.

It was made very clear that physically I could not continue as I had been.

On a positive note; there was a person that stepped up and helped greatly to sort out the nightmarish situation. She worked tirelessly coordinating the placement of these poor dogs. Frankly I don’t know what I would have done without her.

Back to this year (2009).
June 2009- Dad came to visit from Minnesota. It was great to see him. We snatched some moments in the evenings to sit in the zero gravity chairs out under the evergreen tree. Drank hot black coffee, smoked a cigar and visited. Good memories. Pop is 82. There is some kind of knot on the base of his skull behind an ear that he refuses to have checked out. His choice. I hope we are able to see each other again in this life.

David was on vacation in June. He slept the most of it. I spoke with out doctor about it. She said the exhaustion is a result of the instability in his blood sugar levels.

A few days ago David came home from work with an ashen look to his face. He told me there had been an accident on the rail. The first question I asked was “was anyone killed?” This time the answer was yes. A man David had known and worked with for over 30 years had died on the rail that day.

Every day David goes to work I wonder if he is coming home alive. That day the answer for that man’s family was no. No more: friend, no more husband, dad, granddad.

Then I thought of the conductor and engineer that were on the train that hit him. His death they will carry with them always. Even-though, there was absolutely nothing they could do to prevent it.

Now bring on the crap letter from Susan Dennis. This is not an - Oh poor me I got a crap letter from a loathsome person thing.

That crap letter actually jump started a thought process. Looks like all things have their purpose, even though it can be difficult to see it at the time.

I know what was written was false. I know that she is an irrational abuser from past experiences with her.

Something is off here. Why was there such a strong reaction in me?! It’s not because she is important to me. Truth be told I care nothing for the woman. I’d rather she was not in my son’s life, but that is not my choice.

She is about as significant as an annoying house fly that was smashed by the flyswatter on a white cabinet.

So, what’s the friggin deal?!

Maybe the reaction that letter elicited in me is due to my history of growing up with a verbally/emotionally occasionally physically abusive uncle. Never knew when he would go off. Try to run your horse down with a truck, beat your dog to death, slam you on the floor, scream at you till you couldn’t think. It was never the same from day to day. One moment he was John Wayne in a great old western, the hero! The next he was Freddy Krueger on a bad acid trip!

Mom was no slouch with the verbiage or the switch whip either. Or a horse halter when it was handy.

No clear boundaries other than do what I say when I say it. Whether you understand what I said or not.

Then deny it. It never happened. Really? Then why is the dog dead, and where did the bruises and welts come from? But you are my family, you couldn’t have done that. You love me, I must have deserved it. I must have done something wrong. I must be Responsible!

Doesn’t matter what it is. I am responsible. There must be something I can do to make things better. To make you happy. To take care of you.

There is a dog starving in China.
I’m responsible!

There is a cat run over by a car in Georgia.
I’m responsible!

My mother’s house burned.
I’m responsible!

My Adult Step daughter hates.
I’m responsible!

The world is going to end in 2012.
I’m responsible!

Facebook is slow today.
I’m responsible!

My husband’s blood sugar is out of whack.
I’m responsible!

My husband has a temper tantrum.
I’m responsible!

You are not happy with your financial situation.
I’m responsible!

Your adult kids are hitting you up for money.
I’m responsible!

It snowed and ruined your plans.
I’m responsible!

***** What Friggin Hubris!
Know what, I’m responsible for everything and everyone.

No wonder I’ve been having anxiety, panic attacks, mood-swings, suicidal depression over the years.

Good grief. Yeah that’s it. I gave myself a good – as in very large- amount of grief. Emotional pain and frustration galore.

An “interesting year” and a crap letter led to an epiphany!

Guess what?! I am not all powerful. I am NOT the fix it all lady!

I have been given a wonderful gift. All of that weight; the weight of responsibility for everything and everyone has fallen off.

To all those that have taken advantage of my erroneous sense of responsibility. Guess what?! It’s bloody well over!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow… I am actually free…

I am free to enjoy my life. Without the guilt of other people’s choices.

I am responsible for my life.
I am responsible for my choices.

You are responsible for your life.
You are responsible for your choices.

You are responsible to teach your children – and set them free to live their adult lives and make their own choices.

Some things just are what they are.

I am free to live!
I am free to live in JOY!

You can be free Too!

Life is a journey, lighten the load and the hike is much more pleasurable...

Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyomiing.
Happy Healthy Hairballs: Otherwise known as Beautiful Pomeranians

Independent Team Beachbody Coach: Helping you help yourself.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hateful Rantings of an Abusive Woman: Susan Dennis

Unfortunately, Yes some women are abusers too.

Yesterday we, as in my husband, David and I received a bit of the worst behavior from a person I had not spoken with, nor had contact with since the last spate of nasty letters. Last time it was in email form right about the same time of year. Actually in her previous attack she waited until after Thanksgiving to start her tirade. This tirade took place in 2005; while I was recovering from prolonged life threatening illness and the resulting major surgery. Frankly it caught me totally off guard, and I made the mistake of trying to have a reasonable conversation with her.

Major mistake; it is impossible to have a reasonable conversation with a person that is totally unreasonable. Previously as in this time there were no conversations leading up to her irrational attack. Just the attack; and the resulting emotional turmoil.

This time, as in last time, she requested that I keep her tirade a secret. Foolishly last time I did not publish her behavior. In keeping her secret I inadvertently enabled her to repeat her behavior without fear of exposure. I foolishly thought by simply having no contact with this person I could avoid her abusive behavior. I was wrong.

One of my friends asked me a very valid question; and suggested a course of action. “Why should you be complicit in her abuse of you? I'd publish the letter verbatim and give her full credit.” She was right, by keeping her secret I was being complicit.

I thought about this throughout the day and following night. I reread the tirade. Starting to think oh well let it go maybe it will go away. No it won’t it escalates. Sadly this seems to be typical behavior in people on the receiving end of abuse. Myself included.

That maybe it will change, or maybe it will go away or they didn’t really mean to be abusive. Whether it’s verbal, emotional, or physical abuse; it does not just go away. By the way, they did mean it. Every bit of it.

By keeping her “secret” I put myself in the position of victim to her abuse. No thank you. I will not empower this abusive person. Just as I am responsible for my words and actions. She is responsible for her words and actions.

Here is her hateful libelous abuse in her own handwriting. With my response following.

What she says in her irrational rant is untrue. Yes, I can prove that her tirade is untrue.

This hateful person’s name is:
Susan Dennis
2317 East C Street
Torrington, WY 82240

If you have dealings with this person. Keep in mind that the person you are really dealing with; behind the smiling mask, is the person that wrote the following hateful letter.

Sadly this ranting person is my youngest step-son’s mother-in-law.

I refuse to be the victim: to her abusive bullying behavior. Oh and by the way. No I will not be baited into a physical confrontation.

Her unprovoked irrational attack makes me concerned for my son and daughter-in-law.

The truly sad thing is that our wonderful son has Huntingtons. We love him very much. He always has been and always will be welcome in our home.

There is also a comment regarding my mother. My mother’s home burned to the ground in April of this year. It was a total loss. This home had been in our family for over 100 years. No there was no insurance. My mom lost everything in this fire, home, personal property, family photos, her beloved pets. She has since been living with us. As a result of the stress of the fire she has lost the ability to transfer herself from wheel chair to chair etc. On a bright note she is now able to move her feet, so we have high hopes that she will be able to stand again. She is 82 years of age.

Right click on the photo and open it, in a new tab, or new window, and it will enlarge to full size. I scanned her letter so there could be no question as to the author of said disturbed missive.

Page one of Susan Dennis's irrational abusive tirade:

Page 2 of Susan Dennis's abusive unprovoked tirade:

My Response:

Enough! I will not keep your secret. I will not be your victim!

True enough, this attack has saddened me.

It brings to mind a very difficult transition for my step daughter; Donna. She had a very difficult time adjusting when her father and I were married in 1991. She was a young adult at that time. She has since moved to another city and is raising her two wonderful boys.

I can't help but wonder what the logic behind Susan's attack is. If there is any at all. I have had very little contact with this woman over the years. Frankly I've avoided her like the plague. Who knows perhaps that is part of the problem. In truth I've avoided her because of her behavior. She does not have to like me. If she wants to burn up energy hating me that is her choice. It really makes no difference to me.

However I will not condone her behavior by keeping it secret. I will not allow her to abuse me or victimize me.

I chose to not be a victim. If someone is abusing you. You do not deserve it! It is not your fault. Get help!

Victim-Assistance Online
Victim Assistance Online is a reference, resource and networking centre for international victim assistance community, including victim assistance ...

Life is a journey, how you live it is your choice. You can choose to not be a victim!
I choose to not allow a hateful woman steal my dream.

Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming
Beautiful Pomeranians

Independent Beachbody Coach: Fighting Obesity One Person at a Time

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I do not believe I would have been so gracious

The video clip is from the Passion of the Christ. I haven't worn a cross since I watched it. I don't know that I ever will again.

Considering what He could have done, and what He chose to do instead; I am amazed. I am thankful for His sacrifice. Yet, it was a very good thing that it was not me. Perhaps that is why I am still here in this life; rather than home.

I do not believe I would have been so gracious


My Savior Loves My Savior Lives Lyrics



My Savior Loves My Savior Lives Lyrics

I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at His right hand
Stands one who is my Savior

I take Him at His word and deed
Christ died to save me; this I read
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my savior

full lyrics

more Casting Crowns lyrics

Life is a journey, because of His Sacrifice I am free to be.

Mary E. Robbins

Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming
Beautiful Happy Healthy Hairballs: Otherwise Known as Pomeranians

Independent Team Beachbody Coach: Fighting Obesity One Person at a Time

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

RealClearPolitics - A Record You Can Believe In

I saw a link to this article on my facebook page. It struck a chord with me. Today must be my political day. Actually I read some rabid political nonsense this morning and it stuck in my throat; so to speak. So political articles and such are jumping out at me today. I found this to be very interesting and worth a repost. I hope you find it informative as well.

Life is a journey, some days are real trips
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming
Beautiful Pomeranians

Independent Beachbody Coach: Fighting Obesity One Person at a Time.

RealClearPolitics - A Record You Can Believe In
By Eugene Robinson

WASHINGTON -- It's been a year since a healthy majority of American voters elected Barack Obama to change the world. Which is precisely what he's doing.

Like many people who desperately want to see the country take a more progressive course, I quibble and quarrel with some of President Obama's actions. I wish he'd been tougher on Wall Street, quicker to close Guantanamo, more willing to investigate Bush-era excesses, bolder in seeking truly universal health care. I wish he could summon more of the rhetorical magic that spoke so compellingly to the better angels of our nature.

But he's a president, not a Hollywood action hero. Most of my frustration is really with the process of getting anything done in Washington, which is not something Obama can unilaterally change, nimbly circumvent or blithely ignore. One thing the new administration clearly did not anticipate was that Republicans in Congress would be so consistently and unanimously obstructionist -- or that Democrats would have to be introduced to the alien concept of party discipline. It took the White House too long to realize that bipartisanship is a tango and that there's no point in dancing alone.

Step back for a moment, though, and look at Obama's record so far. His biggest accomplishment has been keeping the worst financial and economic crisis in decades from turning into another Great Depression. Yes, the $787 billion stimulus package was messy, but most economists believe it was absolutely necessary -- and some believe it should have been even bigger. Yes, Obama continued the Bush-era policy of showering irresponsible financial institutions with billions in public funds. Yes, the administration bailed out the auto industry -- and we actually heard the president of the United States reassure Americans that General Motors warranties would be honored.

But these and other actions convinced the financial markets that the White House would do anything to avoid a complete meltdown. The economy grew at a rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter and, while unemployment may not yet have peaked, the odds of a strong and fairly swift recovery have greatly improved.

Responding to the crisis required creating an enormous fiscal deficit that Obama will spend years trying to cut down to size. But not even the most conservative economists recommend attacking the deficit before the economy is stabilized on a path of growth. Only Republican demagogues think that's a good idea.

On national security, Obama moved at once to categorically renounce torture -- a big step toward removing the ugly stain that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney left on our national honor. It looks as if Obama will miss his self-imposed one-year deadline for closing the Guantanamo prison, but a delay of a few weeks or months will be worth it if the administration succeeds in developing a comprehensive legal framework -- consistent with our ideals and traditions -- for bringing terrorism suspects to justice.

Obama should have supported a full-blown investigation into apparent Bush-era violations of national and international law. And, at a minimum, he should allow the limited torture probe ordered by Attorney General Eric Holder to follow the evidence wherever it might lead.

But at least the administration is on schedule in withdrawing combat troops from Iraq. I don't think Obama knows the right answer on Afghanistan; I'm not sure anybody does.

Obama's months in office have been so action-packed that it's easy to forget some of the historic steps he has taken: Nominating Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic, to the Supreme Court. Going to Egypt and speaking directly to the Muslim world about cooperation rather than conflict. Embracing multilateralism as the template for U.S. foreign policy in the new century. Accepting the scientific consensus on climate change. Investing in "green" jobs and education reform as key engines of economic development.

And then there's health care reform. I've been impatient with Obama's strategy of letting Congress take the lead on writing legislation, but he's brought us to the brink of truly meaningful reform much faster than anyone could have imagined a year ago. We still have some fighting to do over two words -- "public" and "option" -- but it looks clear that the principle that everyone is entitled to health insurance, a Democratic Party goal for at least six decades, is about to become law.

Quite a record for 287 days: All that, and a Nobel Peace Prize, too.

reposted from: Real Clear Politics

Health Care Insurance Reform

First Lady Michelle Obama discusses it as a woman, and as a mom:

The video is from First Lady Michelle Obama, the following post is my writing. Full of my opinions and such.

Over the past 10 years health care has become a predominant issue in our lives. Now all in all we have good insurance. If there is such a thing. Even with the insurance it was a major financial struggle to not declare bankruptcy.

This year has brought the inconsistencies from state to state to the forefront of my mind. After my mom's house burned down. I looked at having her placed on our insurance. Can we say pre-existing conditions. Totally pointless. Every issue she has is a pre-existing condition, she is 82 years of age. Yes she has medicare. She is also on an extremely limited income.

We are working with the state programs to supplement her insurance. She wants to retain at least a semblance of independence.

Insurance, needs to be consistent from state to state. What is available, what isn't. The way things are set up now is a confusing nightmare.

Another instance. A friend of mine that lives in Montana. Her first name happens to be the same as mine, Mary. Mary F lost her husband a couple of years ago after difficult illness. Now she is on her own. She is running her own small business, receiving a bit of a social security check from her husband's income, and tending bar as well. This is a proactive, woman that takes care of business. Not a sit and whine take care of me woman. She is not eligible or medicare, and can not afford insurance coverage.

This past year she became ill and had to have surgery. Now she is being hounded for the medical bills. She is already paying them 400.00 per month and they are hounding her non stop. She is facing medical bankruptcy. This is just wrong!

Case after case after case of the same kind of crap! OMG, can we say price gouging! If you look for any supplies for senior care or for disabled people suddenly the prices are multiplied drastically.

Even with insurance, my husband's and my prescription costs, have tripled over the past 3 years. Our copay has tripled in amount. I look at the small business owners, farmers, ranchers, and I know that most do not have insurance that covers prescriptions, if they have any insurance at all. What choices are they having to make. Keep an employee or buy the drugs your body needs to function. How's that for a choice.

Something needs to be done! Sorting out what to do, and actually accomplishing positive change is the challenge.

Difficult enough without all the propaganda, and outright lies, as well as fear-mongering, those opposed to ethical treatment of all US residents are broadcasting every which way.

Party Politics seriously needs to be put aside for the good of the Nation as a whole. Do I see that happening? Unfortunately no I do not. The ironic thing is, that I used to be a Republician. At this point I am totally disgusted with the self serving manipulative behavior this political party has exhibited.

No Longer a Republican!

By the way, yes I did vote for Obama. Is he going to be able to work miracles. Get a grip people, of course he isn't. Is he going to be able to make a difference? He already has. I don't know how much he is actually going to be able to accomplish while in office; but he has set the ball in motion. It is a major challenge for any President to accomplish major change in this country due to the unmitigated party politics that always seems to ensue.

Every dirty trick in the book is usually pulled out and tested to see if it will work to trip up the process for change. Sad commentary on those utilizing such tactics! Honor obviously does not come into play in their political, business, or personal policies.

Yes I am a natural born U.S. citizen. Yes I love my country. This is my physical home. Yes I am disgusted with some of the unethical practices I've observed over the years. Both in the private and public sectors.

Here is another thought. Licensing for doctors, nurses, cna's, dentists, insurance agents, etc should be on a national basis. Not by individual state. Why? To keep the licensing requirements consistent across the country, and to flag unscrupulous individuals.

Just a thought or two...

Life is a journey, engaging your brain changes the view...

Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming
Beautiful Pomeranians

Independent Beachbody Coach: Fighting Obesity One Person at a Time

Monday, October 26, 2009

Forgiveness: How to let go of grudges and bitterness

This Post is reposted from the Mayo Clinic Site

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge or embrace forgiveness and move forward. By Mayo Clinic staff
Photo of Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D.
Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D.

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Your mother criticized your parenting skills. Your friend gossiped about you. Your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness and even vengeance.

But when you don't practice forgiveness, you may be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Here, Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., discusses forgiveness and how it can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is forgiveness?

There's no one definition of forgiveness. But in general, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentments and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness is the act of untying yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to the offense committed against you. This can reduce the power these feelings otherwise have over you, so that you can a live freer and happier life in the present. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Doesn't forgiving someone mean you're forgetting or condoning what happened?

Absolutely not! Forgiving isn't the same as forgetting what happened to you. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life. But forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness also doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of being unforgiving and being forgiving. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems. Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stress reduction
  • Less hostility
  • Better anger management skills
  • Lower heart rate
  • Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse
  • Fewer depression symptoms
  • Fewer anxiety symptoms
  • Reduction in chronic pain
  • More friendships
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater religious or spiritual well-being
  • Improved psychological well-being

Why do we hold grudges and become resentful and unforgiving?

The people most likely to hurt us are those closest to us — our partners, friends, siblings and parents. When we're hurt by someone we love and trust — whether it's a lie, betrayal, rejection, abuse or insult — it can be extremely difficult to overcome. And even minor offenses can turn into huge conflicts.

When you experience hurt or harm from someone's actions or words, whether this is intended or not, you may begin experiencing negative feelings such as anger, confusion or sadness, especially when it's someone close to you. These feelings may start out small. But if you don't deal with them quickly, they can grow bigger and more powerful. They may even begin to crowd out positive feelings. Grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility take root when you dwell on hurtful events or situations, replaying them in your mind many times.

Soon, you may find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. You may feel trapped and may not see a way out. It's very hard to let go of grudges at this point and instead you may remain resentful and unforgiving.

How do I know it's time to try to embrace forgiveness?

When we hold on to pain, old grudges, bitterness and even hatred, many areas of our lives can suffer. When we're unforgiving, it's we who pay the price over and over. We may bring our anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Our lives may be so wrapped up in the wrong that we can't enjoy the present. Other signs that it may be time to consider forgiveness include:

  • Dwelling on the events surrounding the offense
  • Hearing from others that you have a chip on your shoulder or that you're wallowing in self-pity
  • Being avoided by family and friends because they don't enjoy being around you
  • Having angry outbursts at the smallest perceived slights
  • Often feeling misunderstood
  • Drinking excessively, smoking or using drugs to try to cope with your pain
  • Having symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Being consumed by a desire for revenge or punishment
  • Automatically thinking the worst about people or situations
  • Regretting the loss of a valued relationship
  • Feeling like your life lacks meaning or purpose
  • Feeling at odds with your religious or spiritual beliefs

The bottom line is that you may often feel miserable in your current life.

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. It can be difficult and it can take time. Everyone moves toward forgiveness a little differently. One step is to recognize the value of forgiveness and its importance in our lives at a given time. Another is to reflect on the facts of the situation, how we've reacted, and how this combination has affected our lives, our health and our well-being. Then, as we are ready, we can actively choose to forgive the one who has offended us. In this way, we move away from our role as a victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in our lives.

Forgiveness also means that we change old patterns of beliefs and actions that are driven by our bitterness. As we let go of grudges, we'll no longer define our lives by how we've been hurt, and we may even find compassion and understanding.

What happens if I can't forgive someone?

Forgiveness can be very challenging. It may be particularly hard to forgive someone who doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of their sorrow. Keep in mind that the key benefits of forgiveness are for you. If you find yourself stuck, it may be helpful to take some time to talk with a person you've found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider or an unbiased family member or friend.

It may also be helpful to reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who have forgiven you. As you recall how you felt, it may help you to understand the position of the person who hurt you. It can also be beneficial to pray, use guided meditation or journal. In any case, if the intention to forgive is present, forgiveness will come in its time.

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?

Not always. In some cases, reconciliation may be impossible because the offender has died. In other cases, reconciliation may not be appropriate, especially if you were attacked or assaulted. But even in those cases, forgiveness is still possible, even if reconciliation isn't.

On the other hand, if the hurtful event involved a family member or friend whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness may lead to reconciliation. This may not happen quickly, as you both may need time to re-establish trust. But in the end, your relationship may very well be one that is rich and fulfilling.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don't want to?

These situations are difficult. If the hurt involves a family member, it may not always be possible to avoid him or her entirely. You may be invited to the same family holiday gatherings, for instance. If you've reached a state of forgiveness, you may be able to enjoy these gatherings without bringing up the old hurts. If you haven't reached forgiveness, these gatherings may be tense and stressful for everyone, particularly if other family members have chosen sides in the conflict.

So how do you handle this? First, remember that you do have a choice whether to attend or not attend family get-togethers. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to go, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. It's important to keep an eye on those feelings. You don't want them to lead you to be unjust or unkind in return for what was done to you.

Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol as a way to try to numb your feelings or feel better — it'll likely backfire. And keep an open heart and mind. People do change, and perhaps the offender will want to apologize or make amends. You also may find that the gathering helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

How do I know when I've truly forgiven someone?

Forgiveness may result in sincerely spoken words such as "I forgive you" or tender actions that fit the relationship. But more than this, forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. The offense is no longer front and center in your thoughts or feelings. Your hostility, resentment and misery have made way for compassion, kindness and peace.

Also, remember that forgiveness often isn't a one-time thing. It begins with a decision, but because memories or another set of words or actions may trigger old feelings, you may need to recommit to forgiveness over and over again.

What if the person I'm forgiving doesn't change?

Getting the other person to change their actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. In fact, the other person may never change or apologize for the offense. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you more peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing.

Forgiveness takes away the power the other person continues to wield in your life. Through forgiveness, you choose to no longer define yourself as a victim. Forgiveness is done primarily for yourself, and less so for the person who wronged you.

What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness?

It may help to spend some time thinking about the offense you've committed and trying to determine the effect it has had on others. Unless it may cause more harm or distress, consider admitting the wrong you've done to those you've harmed, speaking of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically asking for forgiveness — without making excuses.

But if this seems unwise because it may further harm or distress, don't do it — it's not about making yourself feel better by apologizing. You don't want to add salt to a painful wound. Also, keep in mind that you can't force someone to forgive you. They will need to move to forgiveness in their own time.

In any case, we have to be willing to forgive ourselves. Holding on to resentment against yourself can be just as toxic as holding on to resentment against someone else. Recognize that poor behavior or mistakes don't make you worthless or bad.

Accept the fact that you — like everyone else — aren't perfect. Accept yourself despite your faults. Admit your mistakes. Commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect. And again, talking with a spiritual leader, mental health provider or trusted friend or relative may be helpful.

Forgiveness of yourself or someone else, though not easy, can transform your life. Instead of dwelling on the injustice and revenge, instead of being angry and bitter, you can move toward a life of peace, compassion, mercy, joy and kindness.

Forgiveness: How to let go of grudges and bitterness -


I found this post to be interesting and useful, I hope it is useful to you as well. Heading into the holiday season; old hurts and such tend to resurface. Perhaps this will help to make the holidays more of a celebration than a trial by fire.

Life is a journey, enjoy the trip.
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming
Beautiful Pomeranians

Independent Beachbody Coach: Fighting Obesity One Person at a Time

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Whoo... another 3 lbs down!

Monday I got on the scale. Lost one pound from monday to monday. weighed 279. Did my wed weigh today. Dropped 3 more lbs. 276. That's 9 lbs down since october 5th, 23 lbs total down for the yr. 27 lbs left for my 50 lb goal this yr! rockin it off! Shakeology, Hip Hop Abs, Turbo Jam, journaling my food intake. Whoo Hoo! makin it happen!

Team Beachbody® Coach Mary Robbins |

Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream In Wyoming

Monday, October 19, 2009

Increased Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Control Products for Pets

Heads up folks... be careful of what you use. These products can be dangerous for your pets! For that matter they can be dangerous for you and your children as well.

The following article is from the EPA's website.

Remember your furry friends depend on you being well informed, and using good judgement.

Increased Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Control Products for Pets

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control due to recent increases in the number of reported adverse reactions in pets treated with these products. Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and, in some cases, death of the pet.

Flea and tick products can be appropriate treatments for protecting your pets and your family’s health because fleas and ticks can transmit disease. While many people use the products with no harm to their pets, EPA recommends that pet owners take precautions when using these products. People should carefully follow label directions and monitor their pets for any signs of an adverse reaction after application, particularly when using these products for the first time. Also, before use of these products on weak, aged, medicated, sick, pregnant or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to pesticide products, EPA recommends that a veterinarian be consulted. Additional safety tips are available for taking care of fleas and ticks on your pet.

Pets may experience adverse reactions from flea and tick control products, including spot-on treatments, sprays, collars and shampoos. However, the majority of reports to EPA are related to flea and tick treatments with EPA-registered spot-on products. Spot-on products are generally sold in tubes or vials and are applied to one or more localized areas on the body of the pet, such as in between the shoulders or in a stripe along the back.

List of Registered Products

EPA has provided a listing of EPA-registered spot-on flea and tick products (10 pp, 63k, About PDF). Since the chart previously located on this page reflected only a portion of the numerous pet spot-on products available, EPA felt that pet owners and consumers might be led to believe that only those products listed were the focus of concern. In fact, EPA is intensifying its evaluation of all spot-on products and is providing a more comprehensive list of these products.

EPA is not initiating a product recall of these products nor is the Agency suggesting that the products not be used. EPA recognizes the importance of the products in effective flea and tick control. EPA’s objective at this stage is simply to advise consumers and pet owners to exercise caution when using the products and to monitor pet behavior following their use, as some animals have experienced adverse reactions following treatment.

Regulatory Agencies are Taking Action

EPA is evaluating all available data and information, including:

  • reports of adverse reactions,
  • product market share,
  • clarity of product use directions and label warnings,
  • product ingredients, and
  • pre-market safety data submitted to the Agency in support of registration of these products

This assessment may result in EPA action to require changes in the registration status of certain spot-on products. EPA will be working collaboratively with Health Canada to address this issue, as Canadian regulatory officials have identified similar concerns about the use of spot-on flea and tick products. EPA will be updating this page periodically to provide the public with the most current information on this issue.

Health Canada has identified similar concerns about the use of spot-on flea and tick products. EPA and Health Canada met with product manufacturers to begin discussions about this issue. Read about the May 5, 2009 EPA spot-on meeting with registrants (20 pp, 2.9 MB, About PDF).

For more information

For more information, please visit EPA's Pesticides Q&A database.

Increased Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Control Products for Pets | Pesticides | US EPA

Shared via AddThis

Life is a journey, the trip is much more pleasurable with furry friends!

Mary E. Robbins
Happy Healthy Hairballs: Otherwise known as Pomeranians
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming

Independent Team Beachbody Coach: Fighting Obesity one Person at a Time

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

So many of us feel responsible for everything. That’s what I said, every friggin thing. Hello folks some things are out of our control. The thing is to live proactively, rather than feeling guilty about something you could not have done anything about anyway, and being beaten and knocked about living reactively.

Am I talking to myself as well, oh yeah. Of course I am. Don’t all writers…lol. This life is a wonderful gift to be appreciated and enjoyed. Not a curse to be slogged through and endured. The same circumstance can surround 2 different people, with to totally different effects on their lives. What makes the difference?

Each person’s attitude. The winds blow on all of us, it’s up to us how we set our sails.

Came across this article on beliefnet. Enjoy.

Living the Serenity Prayer:
By Eileen Flanagan

Many of us know and love the Serenity Prayer:

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

God, grant us serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Many of us spend too much time anxious about things we cannot change: the economy, the weather, traffic on the freeway, or people who annoy us. As a result, we don’t have the energy to make the most of the opportunities we do have. Recognizing the difference between what we can and cannot change can help us live more peaceful and productive lives.

Acknowledge Your Conditioning

Some people have a harder time with the first line of the Serenity Prayer, accepting the things they cannot change, while others have a harder time mustering the courage to change what they can. Often these patterns can be traced to family or cultural conditioning. Reflect on the messages you received growing up. Were you expected to be passive and submit to what others wanted? Were you trained to be in control, so that letting go is more difficult for you today? Sometimes just acknowledging your family or social conditioning can help you to let go of old patterns that are no longer serving you.

Pay Attention to Your Inner Voice

When you get a feeling that something isn't right, pay attention. That may be a sign of something you need to change. We human beings have a tremendous ability to deny our inner truths or talk ourselves out of making changes that might seem scary or difficult at first, but usually we know what is right deep down. Pay special attention to intuitions that persist over time or that come with a sense of peace and clarity. The more you pay attention to your Inner Voice, the more clearly it will guide you.

Know Yourself

Many spiritual traditions teach that knowing yourself is a lifelong pursuit, but one that can help you feel more at peace with yourself and other people. Spending time alone—walking in the woods, meditating, or journaling—can put you in touch with what's really going on inside you. When you acknowledge these feelings, you can make a conscious choice about what to accept and what to change, rather than letting yourself be ruled by unconscious feelings.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, but many of us waste too much energy beating ourselves up over them. While psychologists have not agreed on one standard definition of wisdom, they do agree that one of the qualities wise people share is the ability to learn from their mistakes. When things don't go the way you hoped, instead of focusing on what you did wrong or what someone else did to mess things up, think about what you might do differently next time.

Cultivate Optimism

Monitor your pessimistic thoughts and try to find evidence to refute them. Psychologists have found it is particularly helpful to censor categorical words like "never" from your thinking. Just because something didn't work out last time, that doesn't mean it won't work next time. Instead of simply repeating positive affirmations, point out to yourself the things that you can do to bring a more positive result in the future. Cultivating optimism has been shown to make it much more likely you'll be able to change the things you can, as well as accept the things you can't.

Practice Letting Go

Life is full of opportunities to let go and trust. Practice with the little things: a lost earring, a flat tire, or an uncooperative toddler. In such situations, take a deep breath and monitor your thoughts. If you are angry or frustrated, don't pretend you are not. Just observe your own emotion, and then see if you can release it with a deep breath. For many people, prayer helps. Turning a problem over to a Higher Power can bring tremendous relief.

Cultivate Community

Whether it's a religious congregation, a Twelve-Step group, or just a gang of really good friends, community can help us develop wisdom. We need people who will tell us when we're acting wimpy or pigheaded, as well as point out our strengths and encourage them. We also need people who will support us when we hit tough times and cheer for us when we succeed. If you don't have such support in your life, think about where you might be able to find it. If you do have people like that, count them among your blessings.

The Wisdom to Know the Difference - Living the Serenity Prayer -

Shared via AddThis
Eileen Flanagan is the author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to Make a Change–and When to Let Go. Visit her website

Life is a journey, enjoy the trip.
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream in Wyoming
Happy Healthy Hairballs: otherwise known as Pomeranians

Independent Beachbody Coach: Fighting Obesity one Person at a Time.

'Daily Affirmation' Video