The Things We Leave Out

“What an odd thing a diary is; the things you omit are more important than those you put in.” Simone de Beauvoir

I have four blogs left to write; when I saw this quote, I really stopped to think about what I hadn’t written about yet.

There are lots of near death stories: swimming topless in Lake Sakakawea with a bunch of girls, while our friend (as a joke) drove the boat away, as I dog paddled frantically to stay afloat.  Jumping off of the catwalk into the middle of the river because my boyfriend told me he would hold my hand and then let go. Was it an omen for the marriage? Riding with same boyfriend in his car, spinning “cookies” on the lake as the ice made cracking sounds below us…. I survived those times.

I have always loved to hostess parties and there were a couple of great ones, including my friends 16th birthday (the friend who drove the boat away in the above paragraph), which I talked my folks into letting me have at the farm. When the bars closed, adults joined us, going into the house to visit with my parents. Finally at 2:00 Mom asked me to tell everyone to leave. My parents didn’t drink; I don’t know what they were thinking. I got up the next morning and my sister Lisa was out with a garbage bag, picking up the beer cans. I went out to help and she said she had found one sock and one pair of underwear underneath the grain truck.

My 16th was really fun. I took all of my birthday money (sorry Grandma) and talked my cousin into buying a keg. It fit perfectly in my car where the spare tire was supposed to go. It was an old station wagon my Dad was letting me drive, after I rolled my first car. The party was a huge success.  The police raided it, but I don’t think they really expected us to leave; they just enjoyed watching us run. Some of us girls camped out in the station wagon. Our friend Clyde, showed us a safe place to park, where he didn’t think anyone would bother us. I shudder to think of our naiveté; It never occurred to me that someone would think of bothering us. The next morning, we went in to town early to have breakfast. I remember the looks on the early risers, as we crawled out of that car. We looked wild; we really weren’t.

I have left out many stories that I could use to prove a point or validate a decision I made, but they involve other people, so I hold those back, from you my diary.

I haven’t shared, in much detail at all until now, how incredibly much it has hurt me, that there are friends and family members whose disapproval of my blog sometimes weighs me down like a layer of dirt guilt. The violation of my youth is enough; the missing support adds to the pain and is harder to put away when it is current. Don’t ever doubt that those of you, who have supported me with your kindness, will ever be forgotten by me.

Some of my greatest disappointments were women in my life who betrayed me. Men I was trained to expect it from, but not the girlfriends I trusted. I wished women were more supportive of each other, more honest and less bitchy. We tend to be our own worst enemies sometimes. It is hard to fight the peer pressures and spousal pressures, but I’m hopeful we are learning. Loyalty is priceless; let’s keep learning.

There are other things I wouldn’t put in a diary and wouldn’t write to you; moments of bad decisions, shame, and things that don’t need to be remembered. Posterity, how do we want to be remembered? I told my oldest son one day, “When you get up to do my eulogy, don’t put me on a pedestal and make me sound like someone I’m not. Tell the truth.” He grinned and said, “Don’t worry Mom, I won’t, and I will tell the truth” Now I am worried.! 🙂

I don’t know if anything I have left out is more important than anything I’ve said. What’s important is the outcome: a life well lived, a family well loved, gratefulness for friends, and hopefully a dog, or granddogs, and a bottle of wine.





Good morning, would you do me a favor? Grab a cup of coffee and sit down with me. Pour a nice shot of creamer in it; add a bit of sugar, if you like, but sit down and talk with me. I’ve been thinking  and wonder how many of you are worried about content. Maybe you are worried about something large or something small; we always seem to find time to worry about something. In order for you to feel contentment today, what would have to happen? Take a couple of minutes and think, “What would make me feel content today?”

Is it something that you can control? Is it something that’s really important in your big picture? Is it someone else’s behavior, or someone else’s thoughts?

This isn’t my typical way of writing a blog. I have been putting all of them in a word document, so that I can print them off for family. I have made changes back and forth sharing my story and trying to encourage you in yours.  In the process realized I Havent addressed feeling satisfied. Contentment is so important for our survival. Stress is a huge cause of so many diseases and problems in our lives.

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to one of my sons about a new relationship. He said, “Mom, we are both really content.” I felt so much peace, when he made that statement; to have contentment in any area of our lives and not want more? His statement got me to thinking about my life and what makes me content. The forerunner is when our children and grandchildren are safe and healthy. I always think happiness can be a rollercoaster, but their health brings me contentment.

Then I began thinking about my children’s level of contentment, and friends levels, the nations.. I spend a lot of time thinking! So now I am asking all of you in writing, “What makes you content?” Do you feel the need for more money, more sex, more excitement, more respect, more job satisfaction, a happier marriage, good health? If you think about it, and formulate a plan, maybe you can achieve it. If you are looking for the Vikings to win a Superbowl, well I hate to tell you, but you have no control and may never feel content! (I am writing this the week after the Eagles won, good for them…. :)) What exactly is it that you want?

Prioritize: Would you give up money for your health, or your children’s health? Would you give up job satisfaction for more money? Are you willing to give up respect for more control? Would you give up your health for anything? Are you doing these things?

I don’t expect answers back. A friend recently told me that even the blogs she can’t necessarily identify with, make her think.. I really like that she would think about what I write; that’s all I ask, not that you agree or have a “wow” feeling, but that you think.

I wish you contentment. I wish you enough.



The Will to Survive

Why does one person survive and another struggle?  Two people can have similar things happen to them, abuse, service in the armed forces, an accident, a disease? One seems to deal with it and put it away, some may put it away and let it fester, and in some it festers continuously, with no relief in sight.

We all know friends who struggle to quit a bad habit like smoking, eating, swearing etc.  One will decide to change a behavior and it’s done.  Another will try over and over again with no satisfaction.  The Rolling Stones lamented about their lack of satisfaction.

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no
When I’m drivin’ in my car, and the man come on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more about some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination
I can’t get no, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey
That’s what I say
I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no
When I’m watchin’ my tv and a man comes on and tell me
How white my shirts can be
But, he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me
I can’t get no, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey
That’s what I say
We could make our own lyrics, with whatever issue we have.


“When I’m sitting at the table and a cookie comes sliding across

I don’t think about my A1C, I listen to the cookie say, “listen to me.

”I can’t get no, I can’t get no”  🙂


Talking about the will to survive fired up my thoughts this past week.  I have a couple of friends with cancer, another with health issues that are surmountable while challenging, a family member who seems never to be able to move past her past, and a parent who swears he’s ready to die, sitting in a chair apparently waiting for it, while it never comes..

I have been asked many times what helped me.  I have to tell you I don’t know.  I think my strength and determination helped a lot and not being able to hide from it, because of the close family ties.  Maybe some of the genetics, of being the older child in the family, have helped?   I have always said that I truly believe that I made a decision to “flip the switch” in my head.  It would be horrendous to say that someone will cure their disease by making that decision, but statistics say that the will to live matters.  I’ve seen it make a difference, am seeing it now in friends.  Your determination, stubbornness, desire, drive….whatever you want to call it, can make a difference on longevity, if you use it to look for other treatments, to drive you to make dietary and emotional changes that may help.  I exercise not to lose weight and not because I always enjoy it, but to keep my A1C in check.  I have learned to like more salad… (I’m a good farm girl though and bread and cookies are my temptation.)

I have the will to survive; I believe I do. Every situation will tell a different story, and while I hope that I’m not tested, I know it’s coming; some challenge that will push me farther than any other has. I will do my best to survive; I know you will too…


Surviving Divorce.

Writing about divorce is as personal to me as writing about abuse or death.  It sends a weight to the pit of my stomach.  I don’t write other people’s stories and that’s why I’m cautious about this subject.  There wasn’t just me.  There was a spouse and there were children.  Little children who deserved better.

When we pick spouses, we base that decision on many things, love, lust, need, fear, compatibility, escape, ambition, life goals, family suitability… When you are young, I had just turned 19, you don’t know yourself and you certainly are clueless about who you will become.  The newsflash is your intended spouse has the same feelings.  You start out with plans and they go awry, you fight, and pout and beg; there are a few good weeks, and the cycle starts over again.  Eventually someone says enough, or one or both of you make decisions that most people can’t come back from.

When my first marriage ended, I told the children.  One was very young, one was happy go lucky, and one cried and told me it was his fault.  When I assured him that it wasn’t, he said, “Mom, I’ve been praying to God, that you and Dad would get divorced.”  I knew that I didn’t have a choice, no child should bare that kind of responsibility, to want to protect his family so much that he should be pushed to pray for a divorce, in order to have peace.

No one starts out in a marriage planning on a divorce. We all start out wide eyed and innocent, hoping.. no planning…. on the best.  We bring children into it and sometimes we fail.  Typically it’s not just one spouse who fails, both play a part,  I firmly believe though that one person can’t make a marriage work by themselves, not year after year.  There has to be a commitment by both to the marriage, to the family and to the commitment.  In a bad marriage there is no  50/50, it’s 75/20 or sometimes even 90/10, but that isn’t sustainable without someone’s hurt getting too deep.

When I moved to Williston, after my divorce, I started dating and eventually remarried.  I remember distinctly, a couple of women in town who had been divorced twice.  It had been and I’m sure continues to be challenging to be a divorce’ once, let alone twice.  The stigma, even in this day and age, continues to suggest a harlot, a red letter A, plastered firmly on your forehead.  I smile when I write this because it’s archaic, but yet sadly in small towns, it’s true.  I looked at those women and said to myself, “That will never be me.”  You know how God loves that when you make ludicrous statements like that.  God says, “Watch this.”

Well watch I did, not just watch, but I experienced my second divorce.  I was one of “them.”  I had joined a club unwillingly; oh I had initiated the divorce, because I had apparently finessed the talent of poor decision making.  I dated a bit and frankly I lost my appetite for it quickly.  I had learned a lot and was still learning, wanted to learn, wanted to and had decided that being single could be great.  I learned to enjoy being single; the freedom was something I hadn’t experienced before.  I learned to survive divorce.

Do the children survive?  They do, some more quickly than the rest.  My children’s father and I were decent divorced parents; we kept the kids out of most things.  Children are smart though and they always know more and see more than you think.  If my mother had divorced my father, would my life have been better?  Sometimes the damage is already done and it’s hard to know.  I bare full responsibility for my poor decisions.  In a world where everyone likes to shirk their faults and shift the blame to their pasts, or abusers, I won’t.  I could have done better.  I have done better. 🙂


Close to the end…

When I started blogging, my goal was to be disciplined enough to write one years worth, 52 weeks, of blogs on surviving.  I jump in and out of my own sexual abuse survival experiences; while trying to find something that is humorous or will interest you the next.  What was I hoping to gain through this process?  I had many initial thoughts, but now I think it was my voice, and while I was finding my voice, so were millions of women in the “Me Too” movement across the United States and even other parts of the world.

The “Me Too” movement is part of a pendulum motion that has left some men afraid of flirting, not knowing exactly where the boundaries are, afraid of missing a cue and adding to the unsureness of their place.  Rest assured the pendulum will swing back into a place that most of us will find comfort…we will have found our voices…hopefully people will listen to them and if they don’t we can only get louder.  The movement is important, as uncomfortable as we sometimes feel dealing with it.  My blog has made people uncomfortable too.  My sense of knowing it was right comes from you who read it.  I have men and women read it; people from many different countries (Australia, China, Philippines, Spain, Germany, South Africa etc. ) have read it and that is exciting to me, not because those people make me think differently about my purpose of writing, but because I know we are the same..what matters to us is the same.   When we get past the rhetoric and fear, we are more similar than not, regardless  of color, religion, sexual orientation etc.

I have 8 weeks left to write; to share my thoughts and continue to finesse my voice.  I’m going to stay honest and keep myself vulnerable.  When I’m done with my blog, I may continue to blog periodically but won’t post on Facebook.  If you are interested after that point, you can “follow” the post, which means whenever I write something, it will show up in your e-mail box, like a bad penny.  🙂 I have several book ideas roaming around in my head.  I started one years ago, but lacked the discipline, and to be fair, the time to finish it.  My priority first will be to write about my mother’s death.

When Mom was given the sentence of Lung Cancer; it happened so fast we were unprepared.  That’s how cancer works; it snaps up with no apparent provocation and slams the victim into the wall with its severity and the fear it so generously provides.  I don’t believe anyone can be prepared for it.  It also is a horrifying experience for the family.  I’m not going to say in any uncertain terms that when you are fighting for your life and fearful of losing it, that your families feelings are as important…….or are they?  They would be to me, but as my husband tells me, “You don’t know until you experience it.”  The hospice pamphlet we were provided with was helpful, but it didn’t help any of us prepare for what was coming, until the dying process that occurred at the very end.

I hate very little and very few.  I don’t want to give my power and energy away to anyone, or anything that doesn’t deserve it, but I have a strong feeling about cancer, and my way to work through that feeling is to give it a voice.  I hope you will continue my journey of survival with me the next few weeks.  If you are willing to personal message me any insight or thoughts you might have, please feel free to send them to me.  If you have a favorite blog of mine, feel free to share it, or PM me and let me know.  We have been in partnership the last year and I hope it has meant a fraction to you, what it has meant to me..



Valentines Day is fast approaching; I hope you all are in the thralls of whatever your definition of love is.  I think talking about what love means, to each and every one of us is important.  There are so many miscommunications in our world, because we don’t talk to each other, and ask the important questions..  Sometimes we ask the important questions, but the answers we get aren’t honest.  Love is complicated! Here are some descriptions of love for you to think about:

1.Wikipedia says, “Ancient Greeks identified four forms of love: kinship or familiarity (in Greek, storge), friendship and/or platonic desire (philia), sexual and/or romantic desire (eros), and self-emptying or divine love (agape). … The term s’agapo means I love you in Greek. The word agapo is the verb I love.

2.The Bible says, “1 Corinthians 13:4-8New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

This is the definition my Baptist Grandmother read to me, when I asked her what love is.

3. Buddha has some wonderful things to say about love as well; the first being that you need to love yourself.  Not love yourself in a narcissistic, self-centered way, but love yourself in a healthy way.  Take time for yourself, your mental health, and your physical self.  Hug yourself and know you are good and worthy of love.

When I read through the definitions, I could see in my head examples of couples to fit every description.  Love works when two people have the same definition.  Love changes through out a relationship depending on life experiences and age. Love works the best when you both grow.

I have been fortunate to be loved, by men, children, friends, pets, grandchildren….. Most of those loves, of course, have been different from one another.  Affection will always be important, trust, kindred spirits, someone who will put me first just once in a while. I think love can be defined by who will let you put your cold feet up against theirs; who will let you have “just a couple” of their French fries; who will correct you privately when you’re wrong; and who will still love you when you are being stupid…

Survivors seek love, by their definition.  Loving someone means exploring that together; and coming through the relationship whole. This week let’s think about love, giving love, and receiving love.  I hope the warmth of it surrounds you and propels you forward.

Happy Valentines Week!



Grandma, Are You ?

My grandson had a situation in his school where a boy brought a gun to school.  In an effort to continue conversation, I asked him a question.  “Was he a Native?”  “Grandma, are you a racist?” he replied.  “No Carter, Grandma doesn’t think she’s a racist.”  Then why did you ask that first?” he rebutted, forcing his grandma to rethink her question.

Growing up, I never thought about race.  There were no black people that I remember;  we grew up on a reservation, with many Native Americans, but while we were culturally maybe a little different, I only thought of my classmates as my friends.  We played whist instead of studying, partied and were just normal kids.

I wasn’t allowed to date a Native American, although there were some I would have liked to have dated :).  I never understood why we weren’t allowed to date and when I asked my parents their only answer was, “Because.”  When I pressed, Mom would tell me that there were too many cultural differences.  I’m guessing there were Native boys in my class who were told to stay away from the white girls.  I don’t know that for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised.  It was one of a couple of times when I realized there were differences or at least perceptions of differences  by the adults.

I have told you before that we didn’t have a lot of money and that I was expected to work from an early age,  10 years old driving grain truck, which seems impossible by todays standards and at 14 was cleaning motel rooms, at the Sunset Motel.  I bought much of my own clothes (or they were hand-me-downs),  my saxophone reeds and many times, my own lunch (Snicker Bar and a Tab :),  and dinners.  I was a Jr. in High School when I first heard of JOM, The Johnson O’Malley fund, which was money appropriated for Native Children during the Johnson administration.  I found out about it when a friend told me that when they needed tennis shoes, that they went down to Gronos’s Department Store and charged them to JOM….instruments JOM etc.  I was at that time waitressing at the bowling alley, getting up at 5:30 AM many mornings to work until school started, then on nights when I didn’t have other activities, working until 10:30 or so, whenever closing happened to be.  I didn’t understand why some of my friends got free stuff and I had to work.

I don’t agree with all the furor over some of the things that are political hot points.  I have two grandsons who are 1/8 Ojibwa.  The Ojibwa ran the Sioux out of the Minnesota/Wisconsin territory sending them to the Dakotas, where they took over land from other tribes.  Land grabbing has gone on since the beginning of time, and frankly still is today, if a government entity thinks taking your land is in the best interest of the public, it will take your land, regardless of race or culture.  Is it right? no.  I think anyone who has had that happen would agree, but it does happen..

Something that I do wish I understood in high school was the treatment of Natives after the land grab; especially the schools they were sent to that were government and church sponsored; children were torn away from their parents, sent away to be abused and starved and treated like animals.  This I know: all people regardless of color, race, religion etc. love their children and would feel their hearts break into pieces, to have their child ripped out of their home (except for a few psycho cases which could fall into anyone of the above categories).  Personalize that for one minute…. children are an important part of culture,  families and communities.  The treatment was appalling and caused anger and angst that will take time to heal.  You and I know many cultures have not been treated well in the process or aftermath of war…Japanese concentration camps, the Jews in Europe, the Black slaves, the Irish slaves, the Chinese on the railroads…. the list goes on and on.  The Vikings didn’t start it as they raped and pillaged their way across Europe but they certainly perfected abuse, at that time.

We can’t go back and change our pasts, any of them.  There aren’t enough checks, in the mail to heal people.  Leaders of tribes and some members of Congress, who are trying to garner votes, have convinced many that money is the answer but it’s not.  The answer is to ask yourself, regardless of whether you are gay, black, white, male or female.  Am I a racist, a homophobe, a hetrophobe, a sexist?  Do I hate Christians, or am wary of white people?  Until we ask ourselves the questions and deal with the answers, it’s hard to move forward.  Until the intent of heart is there… Until we have the guts to question ourselves and put the conversation out there…. We have to at least try and understand the other perspective, if we don’t try, we miss out and we fail, all of us..

It sounds simplistic and I do not know everything; I do know victimization and I do understand survival.  Being angry about the past, stops us the survivors in our tracks; it glues us to this period of time, and it gives the victimizers the power.  Take the power back, let go of your past and look ahead to a future that you control..

I looked into Carter’s dark brown eyes, at his high cheekbones, and his bright smile.  “Your grandma loves every ounce of you.”  “Please don’t ever think otherwise.”  He got me to thinking and while some of you will judge or disagree, or want to shut the question out of your head..  Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the questions?

Survive, don’t be afraid.