Childhood Trauma Affects Your Entire Life

Childhood Trauma Affects Your Entire Life

This. This is the piece of the puzzle from my childhood that I've been missing. This. This is the secret I've been hiding behind my smile. This. This is what countless children and adults in every zip code, every corner of your life face while navigating learning, relationships, careers, and even their long-term health.  Exposure to adversity in childhood by trauma or chronic stress actually changes our physiology, affects our brain development, and even alters our body's transcription of DNA. Childhood trauma does NOT just go away as we grow up. As an elementary teacher for fifteen years, yes, I have lived, experienced the hardships trauma and chronic stress cause for a child. I have seen children struggle to learn, battle for impulse-control, toil to maintain friendships, all while suffering tummy aches, headaches, lack of sleep. But that's not the end of their struggle. These children left my classroom, having learned to read and add and subtract.  But what about their tummy aches, headaches, and chronic deprivation of sleep?  What happened to those beautiful...
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Take Back the “Function” from “Dysfunction”

Take Back the “Function” from “Dysfunction”

I spent years reliving the dysfunction in my past. So much so, that I was unable to grow emotionally. And then I saw this sign in a local coffee shop: I just had to have it, because it exemplified everything that held me back in my relationships, my profession, my life. Let Go to Grow I have successfully survived post-traumatic stress, transitioning to post-traumatic growth.  My dysfunction of suppressing the truth for years kept me trapped in a dissociative state where I knew the truth, but no one else acknowledged it, making me feel silenced, powerless.  Angry.  Until I finally spoke up in trauma therapy, opening the door to my prison of silence.  And I let it go. Function from Dysfunction By reading the text of my past aloud in trauma therapy, it allowed my mind to close that chapter, freeing it of the re-reading I had been doing to try to make sense of the dysfunction that I had survived.  The new chapters of my life are written by...
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Love and Loss

Love and Loss

Sharing Love Through Heartbreak When I came across this image, the love I saw through their loss, my heart stopped for a moment, and then I read the corresponding news article about the last day of a five year-old girl who died in the arms of her parents. The image was heartbreaking, yet beautiful. The healthy little girl, diagnosed with a quick-growing, rare form of brain cancer, left the family with limited time to share. The hospice nurse captured this moment as the little girl drew her last breaths.  She lay on her mother and father as they held her, gazing sweetly at her while her favorite Harry Potter movie played in the background. They were there for her first breath, and they remained there for her last. All Humans Love, and All Humans Experience Loss This picture evoked a human empathy that touched me personally.  I recognize through my relationships other parents who have faced love and loss.  I, myself, have lost...
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Routine in Life Stifles Your Fire

Routine in Life Stifles Your Fire

It’s hard to admit, but honestly, the only time I really clean my house well is when I’m expecting visitors. The rest of the time, it’s more of a clean as needed routine. I feel we experience life in this same manner - going through our days, on autopilot, just getting things done and settling into a groove.  (Or worse yet, the grind).  But consider the electricity in the atmosphere when a change blows into our routines. Feelings of excitement and anticipation create that unmistakable fire of feeling alive. It is staggering the ease positive energy puts into our activities when we break from our norm. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing to clean my house more often, but the task sure is easier when I am looking forward to a visit from friends! Cheers to making each day special and different from the last!...
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Failure is Really Success

Failure is Really Success

There is Only One Winner It's easy to classify yourself as a success or a failure, especially in the world of athletic tournaments.  But, does it have to be one or the other? This past hot, humid weekend, my husband and I attended a two-day lacrosse tournament for my child’s travel team.  Success did not come easily in this competitive field of teams, and with our team's failure to secure wins, we were recorded on the final tournament bracket as the losing team. Losing is Not Failure Underdogs, beaten by ten points almost every game, our team continued to show improvement in each match. Our players ran faster, blocked more defensively, and made more passes with increased confidence.  Still, these beatings were difficult to watch with the referees' bad calls and some rough play by other, more aggressive teams. Our hearts bled witnessing our children struggle match after match. Find the Success When You Fail My enthusiasm and general cheerfulness got the better of me...imagine this:...
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Struggling with Your Kids at Home in the Summertime? Help Has Arrived!

Struggling with Your Kids at Home in the Summertime? Help Has Arrived!

Summer, Sweet Summer with My Kids... Yes, like you, summertime has brought my kids back home to me.  The week school ended, I don't know who was more excited for summer break - my two children, their teachers, or me!  Visions of us sleeping in, making homemade pancakes to start our lazy days, and trips to museums, parks, etc. all dancing in our heads. But, two weeks later, fruit snack wrappers littered every end table and coffee table surface, wet towels laying near the towel racks, half-filled cups in bedrooms with none available in the kitchen cabinet for me to use, and both my daughter and son's bedroom carpeting was decorated with the myriad of clothing that somehow just couldn't make it into the dirty laundry basket. Yet my kids' requests kept coming - drop me off at my friend's house, pick me up some new shorts for practice, can we go to the waterpark? I am embarrassed to admit this, but even with...
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Happiness is Easy to Find and Yours to Give

Happiness is Easy to Find and Yours to Give

The Gift of Giving Unexpected gifts are the best. Last week, I received a beautiful memento from a friend. I had been looking for a special statue to rest at my brother's gravesite, but I was struggling to find just the right one. My friend knew of my desire and made it her quest to locate just what I was looking for.  Presenting me the beautiful fairy statue was a symbol of our friendship, but also a touching reminder that giving is the key to happiness. Suffolk Fairy Emily Statue by HomeStyles True Happiness is Giving it Away The fact is, the graciousness you reveal by the act of giving is even more valuable than the gift itself.  You can give a smile, give your time, give your compassion, all with no cost but great benefit to you.  As Maya Angelou so thoughtfully said, "When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed."  Remember, every time you give your happiness away, you are gaining happiness in...
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