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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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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The gift I didn’t know I needed

The gift I didn’t know I needed

I've spent thirty-two years with the mistaken belief that because my brother died in my childhood, he didn't really exist.  Strangely, I always had him in my thoughts and on my mind, but it was more like a fantasy life I was experiencing, wishing him to be there, but believing he was only a figment of my own imagination.  I wasn't consciously aware that I was practicing this disassociation routinely until I wrote a blog post this year about my experience living and loving a terminally ill sibling and shared it on Facebook.  The responses I received were overwhelming.  Childhood friends and my brother's teachers all reaching out to me, sharing their own memories of my brother, Mike.  I got choked up reading these online conversations reliving our experiences with Mike from so long ago.  I read stories I wasn't even aware of, because I had stopped talking about my brother in seventh grade when he died.  Only the handful of closest...
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Winning Through a Loss

Winning Through a Loss

He lost.  The long struggle to win was lost.  But he never quit fighting.  He might have been the weakest, but he was a strong fighter.  And I was his eternal cheerleader.  He was only thirteen when he died from the disease he was born fighting.  I was only twelve when I lost my brother, Michael, my best friend.  He taught me so much in those twelve years...how to fight the good fight, to never let struggle get you down, to appreciate what you've been given, and to have the faith that we've all been given a special path to travel in this life that will lead us to our purpose, and possibly, that purpose is to touch the hearts and inspire others to keep up the good fight. His struggle to catch his breath, have a productive cough, or even simply convince someone to please pick up that Lego piece he had dropped for the hundredth time, stole every bit...
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