Trauma Treatment

Written for all who have had multiple traumas and try hard to be “fine”.


Everyone thinks I’m fine

I haven’t been so shut down since parts were cut off me last,

since I was carved on,

cut for the healing of me.

And isn’t that what trauma work is.

A carving.  A clearing out,

a reworking of the old wound

cleared away for the new to heal all complete and pink.

Everyone thinks i’m fine

I haven’t been so shut down since last time I said

“I’m fine, thank you.”

In answer to a question that wasn’t one.

Everyone thinks I’m fine

And that’s OK.

I will be again one day –

And what they think

And what I am will line up nice again.



Love Unreturned



Wrote this song somewhere between Phoenix and Seattle on Southwest jet headed for home after being gone a week.  It’s a rather somber song.  But somber is OK sometimes, too.


Love Unreturned

I See You there

I stir inside

I reach

And cold you turn away

I must be wrong

I try again

It’s true

My love is unreturned

Now kind your face

When my heart’s stone

You try so hard

To win me back

All safe with you.

It’s trust again

I reach

And cold you turn your gaze.

I must be wrong

I try again

It’s true

My love is unreturned

Cello (This is you, Annalee:) Think soulful baltic sad and tears sounds with piano

We must be wrong

We try again

To stop

This dance of no return


Here’s to today, taking love gestures from the others around us:)




Tiger Lady

I’m Tiger.  Mostly Tiger.  A tiger that likes to roam to the out-of-way places.  A perfect day for me would be rugged miles under sore feet, running fast and free and strong.  Power swimming across a frigid stream, pushing, forever pushing body beyond the easy ways.  Tiger Lady I am, with too much round, and short.  Not every Tiger Lady looks like The Williams Muscle Sisters, the powerhouses who beat tennis into submission.  Some Tigers are pudgy and slight.  Some are awkward and pale.  Because Tiger is not a look, it’s a heart condition. One that causes starry eyes and aggressive wonderings. 

This condition of mine has not helped me make friends.   My girlfriends are the best collection of human beings on the planet, and not a-one of them appreciates this side of me.  Shall we say they like me despite my vicious cross-country vigils.  Seems that the tiger types I’ve come across are who I wish I were.  They tend to be highly competitive, and have a body to match the drive.  Not wanting to be slowed by the likes of me.   And not much for books and thoughts and …   definitely a requirement for my dearest of friends.  I’ve not found a Tiger-Lady soul sister yet.  How can I complain?  My own body disowns me in my crazed march.  I’m not made for such brutality, and yet desire it more than comfort. 

My husband says therapeutic marijuana might just be the thing.  I guess I’d rather have a powerful desire to do something I’m not physically capable of, than to have the desire taken away.

I have been altogether unsuccessful in the making of a Tiger, other than a couple of my kids, who I think must have come by these passions honestly, because the other two and my husband, and all my friends haven’t caught the bug.    When I met my husband, I had been running daily from my college apartment through narrow streets, past the college dairy, and tilled corn fields, up the hill to the Whitman Mission Memorial and back again.  A seven mile trek.  I was running every morning with this rather nerdish fellow, and did appreciated having someone along for saftey, but really was not interested in his interest in me, and definitely didn’t want to give him any ideas … so begging a favor, asked my then-friend to come running with me so that nerdish fellow would stop needing to.  I look back on it all now with amazement.  How did Adored Future Husband manage to run seven miles?  Since the day till this day, Adored Husband has never run as far, or even a quarter as far.  False advertising, I say.

It’s not only others that have let me down.  It’s me, too.  A true Tiger Lady is fearless.  I’m your basic Chicken.  Yes, I love to conquer a mountain.  I also will never feel comfortable stepping over crevasses, hanging by ropes, tip-toeing cross shale that sits atop a death cliff. Which is where the quandary comes in.  I do not fear pain from pushing my body.  I fear pain from dropping my body down a distance. 

Tiger Lady must be tough.  I can’t carry more than a fanny-pack or my back starts acting up. The whole thing is ridiculous, really.  What I want to do I’m not built for.  Which brings me to heaven.  I think about a sweet boy just our son’s age who, after a terrible accidental overdose is locked in an body that can hear and speak some, and understand everything, but has no ability to move.  Can’t move his hand to hold a thing, can’t move his body at all, can’t see, can’t walk, can’t run, has to eat pureed food by mouth as his trachea has finally been removed…  And I think about Heaven sometimes.  Think of what it will be like to run for miles over mountains, months and years on end, and never tire.  Where Tiger Lady’s are welcomed, and so are wheel chaired boys. 

Early Betrayal and Marriage Prayer

Stepping into crust of snow, I walk into the stinging white beside a man keeping pace, together faces pink with low temperatures.  He is alone this day.  His Marriage, like the crunch under our feet, is on especially rough surfaces.  We walk and talk.  A long time I listen.  And then respond.  I tell him about the early stages of betrayal.  The small shifts in attitude before a heart of stone has taken shape.  The betrayal of another – the pull away.  The secret thoughts that say to self “I can do better”, “I shouldn’t have to put up with this crap”.  “She says that to me all the time” he says to me.   “And so do you,” I reply.  The past 35 minutes have been descriptions of all the ways she is no good, and impossible.   He hears me.  The story is the same for all the couples I work with, and for my own life.  Unique scenarios, with the same denigration of love.  The toxic seed of heart that abandons the other while still sitting beside her.  While still holding his hand.  Which is why she says she can’t trust him, says he feels unsafe around her, the loneliness, being invisible, being hated.  The heart feels abandoned, even when words and actions of the other follows the rules.  The heart that betrays the loved one in exchange for love of ‘my rights’.  We talk about how much easier it is to see another’s rot than our own.  That even in marriages looking quite put together, we indulge in betrayal thoughts dozens of times a day. 

I ask “Do you pray together?” This couple attends a Bible study and support group, attends church.  They are believers.  The type who walk the walk.  Christians who want God’s will, who weep at the kindness of the Lord.  And I ask if they pray together.  “No, we don’t,” he says.  “How would we do that?”  And I pause.  No one has ever asked me what marriage prayer looks like.  And as we move ahead a step and then another, I hope my words match the stirring at the core of me.

Then I laugh.  I catch the puzzled look out the corner of my eye.  “I know a lot about what not to do.”  Prayers can’t be used to blast the other person.  “Dear Lord, I pray that you help my husband to not be such an absolute selfish narcissistic jerk”.  The sad eyes wrinkle into a smile.  “A prayer like that will ruin prayer for the two of you.”  I know, from experience.  Doing the opposite works better.  “Lord, I am selfish.  I’m blind to the garbage in me.  I can only mostly see (my spouse’s name) faults clearly, and not my own very well.  I pray that you show me how to love _______ ( put your spouses name here).  Help me see how I hurt (him/her).  Give me clues for making (his/her) life a joyful one.  Life here is short.  Let me be a blessing for the days (he/she) has left.  Let me be a warm place for (him/her) to come to.  Please forgive me for harming this person I love so much.   I’m not good at love, we are so different.  I pray this all in Jesus name, amen.” 

We walk in silence.  He understands.  I encourage him to not use this prayer script, but to pray from his heart with her near him, and plead for God to give him what it takes to love his wife.  Its hard to do when the other person feels like an enemy, but it works. 

The only reason my adored husband and I are still together is because we pray.  We would have strangled each other if we hadn’t continued to pray.  We are just naturally too dysfunctional, selfish and warped to follow simple directions for making changes.  God has had to change us one prayer at a time.  We don’t pray just right all the time, either.  Sometimes we break all the rules for praying, and harm each other in our petitions to God.. .especially me.  But we move back towards each other and God.  It’s our only consistent healing habit that has saved us from ourselves. 

It’s easy to betray.  The heart finds ways to reject the one who knows too much about me. The reason the subject of betrayal belongs with marriage prayer is because betrayal, even at its earliest stage, is the invisible aggressor that destroys love, and prayer is what stitches love back together.  God is the one who kindly reminds us of all the ways we harm the other, and shows us again how to love, even when the other person is unlovable.  Especially when the other person is unlovable.  White underfoot, we move beyond despair toward God love.  To the only thing that stops betrayal and brings us together again.