When You Don’t Want to See…

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Our emotional lives can impact us physically in incredible ways.

In chapter 8 of The Body Keeps the Score by Vessel Van der Kolk, he goes over a heart-breaking story of a woman, Marilyn, who comes in to him for emotional intimacy problems. She says many times, “I must have had a nice childhood,” even after drawing a terrifying picture of what she sees her childhood as. With dark-eyed men near her and her father’s penis poking in at her in a cage.

She did not want to see what she already knew had happened to her – she suppressed her abuse and blinded her little child-self from seeing it.

The story goes on and eventually, 3 months into group therapy, Marilyn expresses to the group that she has started having visual problems, bumping into things and missing balls during tennis. Bessel connects her with some doctors that eventually determine that she has an autoimmune disease that erodes her vision.

A year into Marilyn’s group therapy, another member, Mary, shares her own heart-breaking tale. When she was 13, she was gang-raped by her older brother and his friends, that resulted in her becoming pregnant. Mary’s mother performed an abortion in her on their kitchen table.

After hearing Mary’s story, Marilyn said, “hearing that story, I wonder if I may have been sexually abused myself.”

Still, after a year of therapy, her sight degenerating, and despite her drawing of her childhood, she had not processed until that moment that she even MIGHT have been molested.

She didn’t want to, and in large part couldn’t allow herself to see she was sexually assaulted as a child… and her body kept that score.

This story has loomed large in my mind over the last 6 months.

Knowing something was underlying my inability to fall asleep in my own bed led me to tell God, “if anything happened to me, you can show me. I know I wasn’t ready as a child, but I am now. You are with me. Show me.”

When I started having several repressed memories of childhood sexual assault surface, I functioned normally through my days. One day, though, I had a repressed *sensation* surface and after that physical feeling, I could no longer function normally. This is when I started EMDR therapy and I also said to God aloud, “Okay, I don’t need to see or know any more. In fact, please don’t.” I have not had anymore repressed memories or sensations come up since then.

Over the last 6 months, I have noticed my vision rapidly decline, though. And it took about 3 of those months for me to clue in on Marilyn’s story and the finality I’d spoken over not wanting see this stuff anymore.

I’ve begun working with three aspects to “play” with my vision. One, I say, “I want to see. I want to see with my eyes and I am ready to see everything that happened to me traumatically as a child” multiple times a week. Two, I do a loose version of CFT (it’s not, it’s just what I do intuitively and it’s similar to sessions I’ve had before) around my eyes and over my eyelids. Three, I am working through the book Perfect Sight Without Glasses by William Bates alongside a video course from Esther, teach the relaxation needed to regain healthy eyesight.

I do have moments of much better vision with each of these methods. I am ready to see. I hope to have some good updates here as I progress to learning how to truly relax my muscles.

whispers: incest

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Why is there this word that cannot

Come off of my lips

For fear that the earth will shift.

When the meaning itself

Shattered heart and made little Her

Grovel, search, clamor, heave

For the part, laid open and bare.

This word that scorches my soul,

Gives me internal screams,

That robbed the cradle right

Through to the grave

While demanding my everything.

The hellish nightmare seeking to

Consume the child-size version… Of me.

A Mother’s Feast 2020

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2019 was a whirlwind of blessing, tragedy, sickness, life’s breath, miscarriage, and as always, beautiful chaos.
Our learning rhythm was not even a thing. I used to feel ashamed to talk about it when we had seasons that necessitated slowness or pause in this rhythm, but I no longer do. It’s a season, that is all. And sometimes those slow or paused seasons teach us more than the ones where I have a bunch planned in.

I tried in earnest to begin it at the beginning of January, but Oliver was then just 6 weeks old and it was WAY too much for me to manage at the time.
Not because of Melody (who at 17 is quite self-sufficient), but because this was the first time with multiple scheduled learners. Leela coming in to the fold and needing constant help with readings, math, and handicraft instruction was more than I was able to do with a voracious eater.

I tried again, making a plan for September to coincide with a contemporary school year. And then we had to flee our home and do an impoverished DIY mold remediation. It sound legitimately nuts now, but amidst sanitizing as much as possible for the first two weeks, I actually did do rhythmic learning with the girls! Then the actual remediation time came and I almost never saw the kids for 3 weeks!

January started creeping up on us and I got excited that our home renovations have slowed down and I do not have a needy little Oliver any longer, just a rambunctious little Oliver! Something felt off. And one night, I realized that I hadn’t planned for MY learning rhythm. I mapped it out quickly the night before the girls were to stay back up and it was just the boost I needed.

My prayer is that I can keep this up, even if I get pregnant again, even if I’m sick, or have a mini catastrophe again (please no, Lord!).

On the page to the right, I also have mapped out to do an hour of vocational studying a day, Monday-Friday, poetry readings in the evening, and to take time to blog (not necessarily public right away) on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

On the back of the page I have designated days of the week to be a specific task or delight – Sunday is food prep day and Tuesday is mending, for example.

I am prayerful that this will help me be more intentional and keep my focus a lot better for my family and myself.

I haven’t plotted out terms 2 & 3 for a few areas yet, but I am waiting on them and am okay with that pause, since I’m moving forward on the now.

Do you have a Mother’s Feast mapped out for yourself? Any days with rhythm and order? I’d love to hear what you do!

DIY Mold Remediation

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Read about some of our Mold Toxicity Symptoms in this post and our Sanitization Process in this post!

On the 13th, we hadn’t heard from the man who volunteered his time to help us. He’d told us that with 2-3 people, the house could be properly prepared with plastic and HEPA scrubber and the mold removed, in a day.
I made the decision to mask/goggle/glove up and help Daryl on the 14th, despite that he had said if I showed up that day to help him and the other man, Daryl would leave. He did not want me getting more sick. But neither of us realized it would be only him if I didn’t go! So we did the best we could. Thankfully, the mold-rated mask, hair covering things, and hill-billy shower we set up on our porch, kept me from breathing in enough mold to make me ill.

It took us THREE days to properly get the plastic up. By the end of the second day, even having one new friend come help us for a few hours, we still weren’t finished with the plastic. I was in tears and panicked. We only had until September 30 to be in our friend’s rental house, then we had no where to go. All I knew was we were not going back into our home until the mold was removed and Melody and I could both breathe in the home without symptoms.

I decided to put out a mass prayer request to as many people as I could, before the friend called us and asked to come help (and he did not have these updates!). Many people asked for updates, so I created a prayer request and progress journal, since I don’t use FB socially anymore. Many were able to read my whining, panicking, and fear – I’m sure I was a real joy for them and also sweet Daryl. They all loved on us through the panic, through prayer, financial support (there was NO way, with Daryl having lost his job, that we could even afford the materials for DIY remediation), and their time helping us remove the mold and get new insulation, flooring, and drywall put in and reestablish our home with safety AND beauty.

Getting the mold out was like an onion. You’d cut in and realize there’s another layer. It took well beyond the weekend we had anticipated! We didn’t get all of the mold out until the 3rd of October. Yikes!

Several people came and gave their time in the mold removal stage. Some came from out of town to help us for the day, others were from a new transitional living home in town that aims to serve the community. It was amazing to see those who braved the mold (with masks on) to help us no longer have mold in our home!

Then, we had a massive need for help getting sub-flooring and drywall installed, so at the very least, our home was safe for little ones to not… Fall through! Ha. Many people helped pitch in here. While we were in a hot frenzy (mostly me, less Daryl) and not as directed as if we were calm, still happened very rapidly (it did NOT feel it at the time).

By the evening of the 30th, our house mostly looked like this everywhere. The master bath had to be completely gutted of the tub and it was still exposed at that time (no drywall or subflooring), though.

Thankfully, we found out from our friend that their new tenant wouldn’t be in for a little bit longer, so we had until the 3rd. Time was still ticking!

On the 1st of October, our church family sent 15 people to help us and it was a total, amazing, beautiful frenzy that I completely couldn’t keep up with. Haha! While still anxious, I felt a lot better that night, more hopeful the house could be finished to a safe-point, before we moved back in with little children.

That kind of ends the mold remediation story, but what about the process, you might ask. I hope you did, anyway! Because the process is pretty easy, but time consuming. It’s definitely cheaper to DIY it (less than $1000, including restoration supplies) than we were quoted from a local company ($5,000+)… Who would not reinstall new drywall or subflooring at the end!

Let me start with the list of supplies for the whole shebang. You can take a look at it, here. I kept it updated as we went and gave our prayer warriors access to either purchase directly for us if they wanted (replaced all links as things were purchased) or could see our current needs to pray for.

As for the process, it was pretty much like these videos, except we didn’t have a massive crew of big burly men knocking everything out in rapid time! Haha! It was average Daryl and me (struggling from mold toxicity still), with some help every so often to revive our spirits and help us slam a lot of tasks off the list.

And, that’s about it. I’ll do some updates here and there, as I can afford to, about our health protocol for mold toxicity healing.

 

Moldy Belongings

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The first part of our mold story, Moldy Brains, is here!

On September 1st, after realizing the mold in our home was killing us, I looked online for websites to guide me in what we could safely take with us into a new/different home.

In the months since finding we had mold behind the baseboard (I swear it’s called something else, since it was so high up the wall, but it’s not coming to me), a few friends had mentioned a book to me, knowing I avoid synthetic things and toxic chemicals as much as possible. One of those friends happens to own a copy of this book, Nature’s Mold Rx, and lent it to me. I planned to mix up my own recipe of “robber’s” blend (plus thyme, read this cool little study) and see how it would work, after I ran out of the bottle that friend gave me.

I definitely noticed a slight improvement when diffusing, before we escaped. But eventually, I opened the windows, not thinking about moving the mold around, and it was just too much at the time for our bodies to handle.

I won’t share the first site I began following, as I later learned several pieces of information were inaccurate. But, I will tell you that it was very much a “save almost nothing if you HAVE to save anything at all” kind of approach, which I later learned is not useful for most people.

In those first two weeks, Daryl and I spent all our free time together at our home, masked up and with gloves, throwing things away and sanitizing what we thought we could salvage.

Mold Killer Spray

  • 1/2 teaspoon Sal Suds
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 25 drops robber’s blend (link to recipe, above)

Mix all in glass quart spray bottle, filling the rest of the way with water.

We began sloppily removing things and pretty quickly got MUCH wiser about disposal protocol.

Unfortunately, not only was the panic of health issues motivating me, I was also still cloudy-minded from Moldy Brain, time was rapidly running out before the remediation, and the initial website I’d trusted was not very… Accurate. Most of that two weeks was a gentle frenzy. I had no idea how gentle it was compared to what would come!

Here’s an example. With my vocational work, I have very slowly (over 5 years) collected tools to use indoors for more dynamic movement that are natural, for my own family and my clients. Cotton, rubber, cork. One of the things this website accurately stated is that if something is fabric and cannot be washed, it needs to be safely disposed of; if it can be washed, it is likely to be salvageable. So I kept and washed my cotton yoga straps with homemade laundry detergent (not soap) and “robber’s blend” essential oils. Rubber was iffy – so I threw away all 5 sets of my fascia balls. Cork was on this woman’s list for ‘absolutely don’t keep,’ so this is where my huge loss came in.

I’d purchased a large cork roller, cork domes, cork balls, and cork blocks. It was one of two items I resisted throwing away, not because of sentimentalism, but because of practicality. It took me 5 years to collect these items, when we were much better off financially than we were after Daryl lost his job.

About a week into this process, I was trying to find a natural flooring option for our kitchen that was affordable, easy to install, and didn’t encourage mold growth. My jaw DROPPED. This was mingled in the search results – Cork Flooring – The Mold Resistant Choice For My Family.

I stuttered it out to Daryl and then frantically looked up cork flooring and mold… And other websites were confirming this. Mold has a VERY difficult time permeating cork. I ran to our trash can, and dug out any bags I could that I knew were from the remediation (SO many bags) and began carefully searching for any of my cork tools to begin sanitizing them. That morning had been trash morning, so most of my stuff was gone for good… That never had to be gone… But I did find my big cork body roller, two cork fascia balls, and my tatami mat. Suddenly, I clicked into a different state and decided I was going to sanitize pretty much everything I had time for that could be sanitized.

So many things aside from my Restorative Exercise tools had already been thrown away in led-up construction trash bags.
Honestly many of the things we had already thrown would have been so time consuming to sanitize. With time running out, as we quickly approached the 14th to remove the actual mold in the walls, floor and insulation and having no financial resources to purchase sealable plastic tubs to store things in for later sanitizing… What had been frenzy in throwing things out, became very focused and deliberate in keep versus sanitize.

Scrapbooks and photos and many other things were disposed of. I took pictures of some things and sanitized even fewer, in terms of pictures. I saved sewing materials that could be washed, but had to throw out all the notions like thread and elastic for the cloth diapers I make for others. I couldn’t keep yarn… Because I couldn’t wash it in skeins. Any solid wood items were kept and sanitized with “robber’s blend,” but I felt sketchy about pressed wood composites. I may have been able to salvage them, too, but time was of the essence and I still wasn’t thinking 100%. I was closer to 70% at that point.

With baskets, (it’s how I store pretty much everything outside of the kitchen) if it was solid/wooden, we sprayed it down outside in the sunshine and then sanitized them. If they had anything more fabricy-like, I disposed of them.

I used our HEPA vacuum on all our books and sprayed them with our sanitizing blend. Then I let them air dry outdoors. This was the other “item” I waited on and hem-hawed over for the longest. We are a family that learns at home (and everywhere other than a “school” building). I have cultivated a decent collection of antique books from our Ambleside Online lists, that were at the time a phenomenal deal… so books were financially driving my hesitancy.

I had read from the first website that mattresses and books carry the most mold/mycotoxins in them. But I found a good site eventually that took a still very cautious, but also different approach about items. I was excited, because it was the first article I’d seen mention of a home learning family and their hesitancy to dispose of all their books, too.

In the end, I disposed of all of our cotton mattresses and pillows. I could not comprehend being able to sanitize in far enough through the layers to really kill mold and mycotoxins. So, we are currently looking for healthy mattresses for a family of 7! Ha. It’s good that I am a Restorative Exercise Specialist and we were already adept at sleeping on floor, cushion, or mattress.

The days of sanitizing were tedious, but it helped us to prioritize and even purge a lot of things we didn’t really need, too.

At the end of sanitization period, we were calm and focused.

The friend Daryl had made that used to work in mold remediation had said it could take three of us about a day to put plastic up in our home and cut all the moldy wall and floor out. The 13th was filled with a bit of weird excitement that this was about a weekend away from being done!

How wrong we were! 😂 I’ll take you on that journey in the next DIY mold remediation post!

Moldy Brains

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We had flooding in our area last year that did not enter our home from below, but the torrential rains that came with it, poured down our walls. While we knew we had a small mold issue in our hallway, we had NO idea how massive this problem really was and we also had no idea how deeply it was effecting several of us in the Baggins family.

Around 3 months later, Melody began struggling with suicidal depression. I was taking 5 hours to get our supplements and make breakfast – that was all I could do in 5 hours, nothing else.
I assumed Melody’s depression was unresolved trauma from her childhood assaults and we began a specialized therapy for her with an amazing therapist. I assumed my lethargy was still clinging from when I lost my longest-held miscarriage baby, despite that I’d had some decent months after his loss and then suddenly crashed again.

Over the late spring, I tore carpet out of our livingroom to begin paper bagging the floor. This is when we found mold behind the baseboard (the baseboard went a third of the way up the walls).

I tried to put furniture in front of it so that my littlest children couldn’t touch it.

In mid-July, Daryll was fired from his job of almost 6 years. He started helping a family friend with yard work and some light construction stuff. He started his own handyman business. Emotionally and spiritually, amazing. Financially, struggling.

None of us knew why, but for several months before September, all of the “bigger people” in the house would burp and fart the intense smell of rotten sulfuric eggs. Our poop also smelled like this.
We made plans to do a DIY mold remediation in mid-September, when the weather would be cooler, hopefully enough to work in a mobile home without the air conditioner on. Another man who was also helping our family friend, used to work in mold remediation and, along with my foggy/intense researching abilities, was helping us understand what we would need to do a professional job.

This August, though, everything shifted into high gear. It started getting worse slowly over a year, but at the end of August we had a gloriously cool Friday towards the end and decided to open up the house and get fresh air in. It felt so good! It was maybe the best and worst decision ever.

By the following Monday, both Melody and I had extremity numbness. I could barely think through a sentence, let alone get it out. Melody was more depressed than ever and I couldn’t get up and function at all. I required a lot of assistance, as I couldn’t feel things anymore. It wasn’t safe for me to cut things. I couldn’t properly hang laundry.

All of us were more agitated and upset with each other, including the littles. Our moods were all over the place over this whole summer, actually, which I chalked up to the stress of finances.
Daryll took a super blurry picture of me when I burst into tears over… I don’t even remember what, now, because with my mood being so all over the place (forget that everyone else’s was too!), we kind of all assumed I was pregnant again (I wasn’t)!

Look where I’m sitting – floor couch, right at mold without knowing it

Because I’ve dealt with B12 deficiency multiple times now, I thought that maybe when our arms went numb, that we weren’t getting enough adenosyl/hydroxy B12.

It didn’t make sense to me because we’d been muscle testing and taking everything we needed to. I also thought it was weird that we both developed B12 deficiency on the exact same day. That the next day, Tuesday, we both felt better, and then Wednesday we were both numb again. All the puzzle pieces hadn’t fallen together for me yet – can I claim Mold Brain for that time period? Ha.

On August 28 or 29, I started putting together a health protocol for mold detox, that we could do after our September DIY mold remediation. As I was reading through blogs for herbs, natural supplements, and holistic actions I could take, I started to re-read all the symptoms of mold toxicity. I realized we had most of them. Disbelief rapidly turned to horror, and then back to disbelief. (A week or so later, a friend who knows how diligent I’ve been to avoid sulfur because of gene mutations, would send me info about the link between mold toxicity and dental caries, too, something I struggle with!)

I really, desperately wanted it to be B12 deficiency. How simple – take more pills! – whereas I knew that mold toxicity required much more of an uphill battle.

By this point, Melody and I had both been muscle testing much higher for our supplements than we normally did and had run out of B12 for a day. A friend bought us a new bottle and also told us that we could move in to their rental home the entire month of September, as their new tenants weren’t moving in until October. While generous, it flew right over my head why they were offering, and I kept planning to stay there the weekend of the 14th only.

That last Thursday or Friday of August, Daryll drove him and I on some errands (I refuse to drive like that) and I was coming ‘in and out’ of myself. It was similar to when I come out of B12 fog, but different. Usually, it’s a straight upward feel to “being myself.” This time, it was like being on a roller coaster, up and down. I felt drawn to breathe in the air from the air system. When we got home, back to drudgery.

On Saturday, Melody and I took an insane amount of B12, and still wasn’t as much as I was muscle testing for. We just didn’t have enough. It did nothing. I began letting “mold toxicity” start to sink in, but I wasn’t entirely sure because how could I know for sure?

September 1, Daryll and I ran errands again. I started doing the roller coaster thing again, in and out of body. It was like something finally clicked in me and I knew it was mold. I burst into tears and said, “we have to get out of our home today, NOW.”

For now, this is the beginning of our DIY mold remediation journey – in our home and in our bodies. I continue this story in another post, Moldy Belongings.

Lemons and Lemonade… Or Something Like That

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This was a timely message that came to me today.

Recently, Daryl was wrongfully terminated from a job he has held for over half a decade.

Less than a week later, we received his final paycheck. No savings. No recourse to contest the termination (and honestly, with how shady the company was proving to be, no desire to work for a company like that anymore anyway). Just rapid, looming poverty.

And internal home issues that we planned to remediate within a month, purchasing proper protective gear and clean replacement building materials. Starting with this coming week’s paycheck. Ha!

But the reality is, outside of financial concern, God planned for this and knew it would be for His glory and our best interest in serving Him. This has spurred Daryl and I to move forward with vocations we’d be dreaming of and talking about for a year (or many years, in my case!). Things we knew He’d called us to, but we’d been complacent in or hesitant to step forward in faith to do.

Now, we can only humbly repent (turn away from the wrong thing) and prayerfully ask God to guide our steps and make us fruitful as we venture on new, challenging paths to bless our community.

Hopefully we can tell this story in the future, and tell of the beautiful things that came, despite our balking ways, and encourage others to not wait to heed God’s call!