Thought for Today (10/3/2018)

Having the vocation of being a peer support specialist for veterans does have its rewards. Not the financial kind, though I am paid for what I do, but the spiritual kind.

Today, as I began a group I facilitate every week, there in front of me sat fifteen veterans recovering from PTSD, alcoholism, drug addiction, schizophrenia, manic depression, and a myriad of other mental health issues. Each one looking down in the dumps as they were caught up in a plethora of negative feelings.

As I start each group that has new veterans in it, I always introduce myself to include my past history and my own ongoing road of recovery. Some of the new people positively responded when they heard that I am a veteran of three branches of service and I have been in recovery for 26 years now. The majority though, were still unresponsive.

I, then delved into today’s topic: Using The Five Senses For Recovery. When the veterans heard the topic, most of them had the usual reaction of “Ah crap, another touchy-feely group of feelings!”

The first sense was the sense of smell, I started them with my own; “Whenever I smell meatloaf it reminds me of all the times Mom, before she passed away, made my birthday dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, homemade biscuits, and finished off with a German Chocolate birthday cake.”

With that it took off! Each veteran bringing his favorite smell and why it was; “cut wood” because it reminds me of Dad and me cutting wood together.” “The smell of fried chicken Mom made!” “The smell of the air just before a thunderstorm starts.” With that, the spirits lifted a little.

Then, the sense was sight, I started with a photo I have with me asleep in a recliner with my grandson asleep on my stomach. “That photo is full of serenity. Thinking back to when that photo was taken and how when we arrived at my son’s house my grandson was really fussy. I asked my daughter in law to hand me the boy and I sat down in the rocking chair with him. I started rocking him and talking softly to him as he fussed. Soon enough, he was sound asleep lying on my belly and I fell quite content and fell asleep too. My son came in and saw us and took the photograph.” You could see the reaction in the veteran’s eyes as they thought back to their own children. Once again we went around the room letting each veteran share their own response.

We turned hearing and I asked what song took them back. I shared that I attach songs to memories and that helps me remember them better later. My favorite song that I shared was Tommy James and the Shondells singing “I Think We’re Alone Now” because it reminds me of my first girlfriend as a young teen.   The mood lightened even more as each one shared a song with fond memories.

Taste, mine was Dutch Lettuce because it was a meal my family had when all we had was each other. It reminds me that even though we didn’t have money then, we had the love of Mom and our sibling love. Once again, as each shared their own story of taste, the others all listened intently.

Finally, we were to the sense of touch. A few had a knee-jerk reaction that touch can’t evoke fond memories! I shared that every time I touch velour I remember the Christmas when I came home on leave and Mom’s car had given up the ghost. On Christmas Eve I hitchhiked up to Grinnell, about 18 miles North of where Mom lived at the time. At the local car dealership I bought Mom a brand new Buick Century that had the popular option of the time of velour seats. I stayed in Grinnell until I was sure Mom had gone to sleep and then drove it back to her house. I parked it outside the kitchen window and crept inside. I put a ribbon on the key and put it underneath the tree. The next morning I waited until last and then gave Mom the key. She laughed thinking it was joke so I walked her to the kitchen and pointed out the window. Mom cried tears of joy for at least 20 minutes. She kept that car through two engines and until it was almost completely rusted out. When she finally got rid of it 15 years later, she told me it was one of the saddest days. Each time I touch velour, I remember that whole story. Then each of the group shared their story. For one it was sand because it reminded him of his childhood home on the coast. Another was a quilt his grandmother made for him. Yet another was his cat.

As we finished our session I told them that during the time today I watched 15 different glum people start smiling and they went from slumping to sitting up straight. As we straightened up the room they were joking with each other and giving each other feedback about one’s story reminded another of a good time. I told them they didn’t have to spend a penny to change how they were looking at life today. One walked up to me with a tear in his eye and thanked me for helping him find a little peace.

It is for this, watching someone else’s life improve, that I do this job.

So the thought for today is:

Spend a little time helping another and the reward you receive is greater than gold. ~ ME

Posted in Mental Health, Nourishment For The Soul, Sociology, Writing | Leave a comment

Thought for Today (10/1/2018)

I’m sitting here today, thinking about the past 10 days or so, and wondering what to write.  11 days ago, I had surgery on my left shoulder and unlike my last shoulder surgery, I was started on physical therapy 3 times per week the following day.  Being left handed, there was a transition period I had to go through learning to do things with my right hand.

I am also a person who has never been able to sleep on my back. Yet, I had to learn to do so.  To make the transition easier, we purchased a nice overstuffed leather recliner for me to sleep in for a while.  Now that I have learned to sleep this way, I am getting more restful sleep with a couple hours of deep sleep every night.  Before the surgery, I was averaging 40 minutes of deep sleep per night.  The downside is that I have to sleep in the recliner to get that restful sleep.  Somehow I don’t think the Mrs. Iowegian will be up for getting rid of the bed, so she’ll get the bed to herself and I’ll be sleeping in the living room.

Then, we got hit with the senate confirmation hearings of the supreme court nominee.  Fingers pointed back and forth, allegations were made not only by those giving testimony, but also by the senators, and America became more divided, with no compromise.  This partisan thinking spread throughout the land with people on both sides of the issue emulating the politicians.  I voiced my opinions on this issue in previous posts and will not regurgitate them here other to say if he is found to be lying, his career in law should be ended.  If she is found to be lying, she should be civilly held liable and made to be make restitution.

Combine this all with all the mid-term ads on television and radio where each party is slinging mud at the other.  Each party trying to further divide Americans.

My thought for today combines previous thoughts but brings them all together to a degree.  If you find yourself stressed by politics, family issues, or whatever, take the following steps:

  1. Turn off the TV, radio, computer, and all other external distractions;
  2. Put on comfortable clothes or completely disrobe, whichever you prefer;
  3. If you have an aroma defuser, put in a soothing aroma and turn it on;
  4. Close your eyes and concentrate on deep breathing to release stress;
  5. Disengage from the outside world for 30 minutes or more;
  6. When you feel relaxed, enjoy and remember the moment; and
  7. Re-engage while determining what to re-engage with and what is not worth having in your life.

I wish you all well.

Posted in Higher Thinking, Nourishment For The Soul, Self Help | Leave a comment

Spicy Sweet N Sour Chicken

It has been a long time since I have posted a recipe, but I finally found another recipe I like!

Spicy Sweet n Sour Chicken

As much as I hate leftovers, sometimes I get on a certain food binge. Today I made a recipe I came up with last week,  more Pear & Raisin Chicken.
I diced up a red onion, 1 tablespoon of minced ginger root, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, a teaspoon of crushed red pepper, a teaspoon of black pepper, 3 bosc pears cut into cubes, the juice from one lemon, and a half cup of raisins.
I started by sautéing the onions, garlic, and ginger.
Then I added the pears, raisins and lemon juice and a half cup of water. Chicken broth would probably work, but I don’t have it.

I added the pepper (both black and red at the same time I put in the package of chicken for stir fry from a local grocery (1.5 lbs). Cooked at 6 on the stove dial until the chicken was almost done and then lowered it to simmer for another 15 minutes covered.

Last time it was spicier but this time the tastebuds first experieced the sourness of the lemon, then by the sweetness of the pears and raisins, followed by the spice of the garlic, ginger, and pepper.

It was cool to taste sour, sweet, and spicy in every bite, but next time I’ll add more red pepper.

I will have this again for sure!

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Thought for Today (9/30/2018)

After being off work for 10 days, I return to work tomorrow.  I have never been so happy to go back to work in my life.  Since the last presidential election, all news has been political, the vast majority of it negative.  This last month, with mid-term elections looming in November, even the commercials started getting political.

I turned on the TV to give me something to do while drinking my morning coffee.  In the past two hours, every commercial was political until just now has been political.  Of course when it came to a non-political commercial, it was about a medicine for vaginal itch and that was followed by a medicine to help people engaged in unsafe sex prevent contracting HIV.

Starting Tuesday morning, I will be back at the workplace helping veterans and way too busy to pay any mind to the inundation of politics and other topics that in my humble opinion, have no business on TV, especially when children might be watching. After work, I will be too busy taking care of chores at home while the Mrs. Iowegian is away to visit her family overseas.

So my thought for today is:  Be thankful for what you have to keep you busy in life. ~ ME


Posted in Politics, Self Help, Sociology, Writing | Leave a comment

Follow-up on The Senate Hearings Concerning Kavanaugh

I just checked Ford’s credentials at Stanford. She is not a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, but an “affiliate” in the Psychiatry department. She does not meet the California requirements to be a psychologist or represent herself as one, yet she did so while testifying before the Senate. Also, she lied on her polygraph and admitted it in front of the Senate. Finally, she said while negotiating when to testify that she is claustrophobic and could not fly yet has flown many times on vacations not only in country, but also overseas. Every day brings more and more fabrications in her story which brings into question either her integrity or her sanity.
Is it possible, just as it is with Stockholm Syndrome, that dealing with abused women on a daily basis has gotten her to believe she is one herself?
To this end, I am not saying Kavanaugh is a saint either. I understand having to defend yourself on any occasion can be very stressful and aggravating. Having to do so in front of one’s spouse and multiple TV cameras would only make that stress greater. I heard him answer questions more than once and what might be considered side stepping others.
In the end, neither is pure as snow, but this is in my opinion nothing more than the Democrats trying to get votes in the mid-term elections. If my belief is true, everyone involved in creating this debacle should be thrown out of congress.
It is time to quit accepting deplorable behavior from elected officials and vote each one that is unethical out of office! ~ ME
Posted in Constitutional Law, General Rantings, Politics, Sociology, Writing | Leave a comment

Thought for Today Freebie

I have been reading on social media that when the FBI investigates Kavanaugh there will be a shit storm afterwards for Kavanaugh and the Republican Party.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but take these items into consideration:

  1. All the FBI will do is collect statements from people whether or not they have any recollection of the allegations and turn them over to the senate.
  2. After all is said and done, we will be in the same position with one side claiming something happened back in the 80’s and the other claiming it did not happen, with them involved anyway.
  3. There will still be those claiming it happened not matter what is said and others claiming it did not.
  4. Ford stated in the polygraph that her letter was accurate as to what happened. Yesterday while answering questions from the prosecutor, she stated there were things that needed to be changed.  One of which was she originally stated there were four people in the room when she was assaulted; under questioning, after everyone failed to support her story, she now wanted it to say only her, Kavanaugh, and Mark Judge were in the room. Credibility is now weak at best.

Where does it all get us? Nowhere.

After analyzing all the statements and testimony, I have come to the conclusion, no matter how despicable and deplorable it is, this is nothing more than partisan political positioning by the Democrats trying to drum up mid-term votes. They don’t care that they have destroyed Kavanaugh’s family life and reputation.  They don’t care about Ford, although she may be in collusion with her party.  They just want to win seats and will do anything to get there.

I have never voted a straight ticket before, but to send the message to the Democrats that we still have morals and they have crossed the limit, I will be doing that in November (and not for the Democrats).


Posted in Constitutional Law, Nourishment For The Soul, Politics, Soap Box, Sociology, Writing | Leave a comment

Thought for Today (9/28/2018)

When things get agitating and overwhelming, as in the recent senate hearings, you can either get caught up in the drama and become polarized in your views, or you can choose to know when to disengage.  Getting caught up will negatively affect your quality of life, and disengaging will allow you to remain calm and collected.

Know when to disengage. ~ ME

Posted in Higher Thinking, Self Help, Sociology, Writing | Leave a comment