Welcome and happy Sunday…

Welcome to my new followers~

How I appreciate you all~

There is a method to my madness~

Not as mad as I once was 2006-2008.  Hearing voices, hallucinating, buzzing and messages I had to write down and give to various priests and people.  No one was safe except for a few.  The devil even attacked me and my daughter one night.  God was at the center of all my delusions.

But once I started the antipsychotic drugs everything pretty much stopped.  I went on to earn my Master’s Degree in psychology and worked in the field 2011-2015 until stress caused a relapse of symptoms.  I took a Sociology Teaching job at our local community college and loved it and my students appreciated my teaching until a fight erupted in the classroom and stress again took me out.

I am now on permanent disability and I enjoy writing, gardening, doing yoga, meditating, walking, cooking, cleaning, tidying, and spending time with family and my pups.

I have written a May series on the mentioned activities above but have taken a little break.  Not sure anyone liked the cleaning one haha.  That’s ok.  It’s just where I am at.

Today is Sunday so taking a rest day.  Just some light yoga later and some cooking…

Hope you all have a great day and week ahead!

Pax

Victoria

May series cont..cleaning dare I write?

Well, it is the middle of May and this series is coming along with today’s topic being cleaning.  I cleaned today for two hours and even though I am tired feel so nice and relaxed in my nice and clean home!  Did some yoga and pet the doggie and now I write when the house is nice and quiet with my candle burning to give me inspiration.  I am calm tonight.  This is my routine lately, which I enjoy.

I know I have been writing a lot in this May series about my coping techniques to get me thought this quarantine but it is not always easy.  I have my days still; although they are getting farther apart happy to say. And I have found that by writing about them I think more about what they mean to me and have been doing them more so that I practice what I preach.

I use rewards a lot to get me to the next task and it is working so going to keep it up.  A nice cup of coffee or some relaxing tea.  Just some ice water can be a reward.  A nap.  Time to relax in the garden.  Relaxing music or heavy metal which I have on now- Enter Sandman by Metallica ha ha I still like to rock to some of the finest music ever made.  Off to never never land, boom!  The idea is to withhold the treasured reward until you are done with the task at hand and take breaks if needed.  Or just push through like my adult daughter does.  She is sick this week so the cleaning fell on me, which I don’t mind.

I don’t per say enjoy cleaning, but love the results so that is a motivator.  I always have my music on with my earbuds and the music guides my rhythm of working.

Today I took my time with each task and deep cleaned several areas which had gone untouched for a while.  I won’t bore you with details but the area behind the stove is cleaner than ever now!

When I am dusting I meditate on many things.  What a mundane but needed task!  I think about how my chores are a sacrifice for God and hope that by my good work will realize heaven one day.  Of course I believe in His grace and mercy but I also know that I must do my part while on earth.

Of course challenges will arise, but they are like solving puzzles and can be interesting and fun. One thing  I have been doing really well with staying at home and cooking more is not wasting much food and getting creative with what I have on hand to fix up my garden and home.

I still go to the store but just a small one where they wear masks and I of course wear one too.  I also use Amazon quite a bit…

Back to cleaning, if you do nothing start with setting your timer for ten minutes and find something small to clean, a drawer, a small area, doesn’t matter but surely you can at least organize something.  It will feel satisfying probably and if you are in the mood you can keep going with it or do something else.

If you regularly clean then do extra.  Deep cleaning needs to be done from time to time and you will burn calories and get a good work out.

Well that is my blog for the day.  Seems kind of boring but besides being necessary, especially now, it is something anyone can do and it will take your mind off your problems for ten minutes if you focus on the task and like I said I use music if that suits you.

Pax

Victoria

May Series cont… The Art of Meditation~

I would like to get to the place where I did everything in a meditative state.  Do things mindfully, enjoy them, relax into them.  Even the hard parts of the day when something goes wrong, to just notice it allowing the distraction, and come back to center of my mind, which is clear now and without delusions for the most part.  I have always had the tendency to be grandiose with my ideas so it is hard to separate the delusions with excitement of life, and then meditating upon the excitement the day has unfolded.

I am getting used to not going anywhere.  Staying at home.  Meditating more and allowing it more into my day.  I have many rituals, tendency towards OCD is a part of my diagnosis.  It’s hard to relax your mind when so much is turning around up there.  But I use cbd oil and other products to enhance my meditation practice.

Meditation is not just zoning out although that is sometimes where my mind goes.

I really need to get better at it but find it hard when I am obsessed with my music or other thoughts.

But I have been taught not to worry when that happens but to just go with it.  Eventually you can relax your thoughts enough that nothing disturbs you.

Here’s my definition of what meditation is…

Meditation is the relaxing of your mind to try to induce a peaceful state.

I get there quite often when I least expect it.

I find peace and quiet to be my choice drug when my life seems out of control…

It is hard to stop and smell the roses all the time so I try to meditate with music to help relax my thoughts.  If an intruding thought of some misdeed of my past enters my mind I crush it out with memories of good times replacing the bad.

I also use lavender through the form of incense and oil and also natural mood relaxers as mentioned above).

I sometimes sit for hours in my blue chair in my green meditation room.

Sometimes I think about God and my love for Him.  Sometimes I think of nothing.  Sometimes I think of my loved ones especially my grandma who died many years ago.  Honoring our ancestors can also be a form of meditation.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like it though and that is ok too.  Going with the natural flow of the day is what works best for me.

Pax

Victoria

 

A Satisfying day in the garden…

I had a huge success today for somebody with Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder!

I worked for two hours in my garden, which is huge because I usually only work out there for a half an hour max but today with breaks I spent at least two hours.

Feels good.  But the sad part is that the more you do the more you realize you will never be done.

Yet I get a giddy feeling in my belly when I know I am going out there for the first time of the day.  My dogs lead the way.  They know!

The theme for today’s blog is overcoming obstacles, often with the help of my soulmate, my hubbie of 28 years…

Gardening is a lot like life, just when you think you have it figured out something goes right or wrong.  Never a dull moment.  And like life so rewarding at just a little or a lot (like today) of progress.  Anyone who is interested can read my list below my signature of all I did today with minor comments.

Also did yoga and walking today along with my spiritual practice.  Caught the sunset as usual.  Not happening naturally like it was before I blogged that I have been catching it.

We are not promised another day in this life.  Impermanence is another theme of this blog.  All I see right now in my garden is life and weeds.  Weeds are like the problems we have in our every day life.  We have to tackle them or they get out of control.

Daily check in~  How are we doing?

I am good, activity always puts me in good spirits.

How are you? On top of our brain health hopefully, physical, spiritual, acting as if everything is normal, etc…

Driving  two hours tomorrow to pick up my meds that would cost over a thousand dollars because my insurance sucks!!!  Now that we are at stage two in lifting regulations for businesses, the reps are once again bringing samples.  My saving grace.  Thank you Jesus!

And then picking up dinner at either Mexican or steak cuisine.  My husband is treating because I have been spoiling him.  I love to.  He is my love, my friend, my comfort, my annoyance lol, my helper, etc…

No such thing as perfect in any marriage but we have gone through so much and now are at such a good place that it just feels divine.  Thank you to St. Joseph!

Anyways, off to write some more on meditation for the May series.  Anything done with purpose can be meditative!  Even writing.

Pax

Victoria [The joy of gardening…today’s tasks]

The Inspector is my dear daughter who is my usual helper in the garden, who is sick today with tonsillitis, could only come out to inspect and give me guidance.

  • Threw away the debris, crab grass, rocks in trash
  • leveled the ground for our new sitting area in the side garden
  • Inspector gives approval and makes suggestions which I do and receive the green light to proceed
  • lay down weed block with the staples my husband separated for me obstacle number one- found the right pliers
  • obstacle number two- ran out of weed block.  Time to improvise, success
  • added small decorative bark to front area.                      It looks so nice! Outdoor chairs, umbrella (my mother’s day gift from my kids), and a kiddie pool to soak our feet in on hot days.  I am predicting that 2020 will be a nice weather year if nothing else…
  • obstacle number three ran out of bark, , solution pick up more tomorrow at Whispering Tree (isn’t that a lovely name for a nursery where I wear a mask and so do they and no lines but great plants and materials plus tools!)
  • watered and gave Vitamin B for new orange tree dedicated to the honor of Larry Byl who passed away last week, my best friend’s husband.
  • Watered new succulent hanging plant garden my Mother’s Day gift to Mary Queen of Heaven, all the saints and angels.
  • Threw out rocks/concrete around African tree
  • Threw out pile of branches and leaves that my hubbie trimmed many weeks ago.  But he raked them up and I collected them in a trash bag and took them to the trash.
  • Took many breaks in between to meditate, relax and do light yoga and eat healthy.
  • Took a moment to grieve the loss of Larry RIP
  • Blogged
  • good night

 

 

With a mother’s heart…

I wish all of you a Happy Mother’s Day!  All woman need to be celebrated today I believe…

Jason Mraz has a new song called Wise Woman which is here just in time for Mother’s Day.  Beautiful rhythm and melody and the words capture many woman in my life.  For we are not mothers because we give birth to a child, no we are mothers when we care for another needs; albeit a pet, spouse or anyone in our life that we may touch.

I have 3 mothers. I am very blessed.  I have my mother in heaven, Mary, who helps me at every turn.  I have my adoptive mother who means the world to me because she chose me and loves me so.  And I have my birth mom, who is amazing and I wish I could get to be in her life more but alas it is not to be.

And I am a mother of 4 (3 still living) and was very blessed by them all weekend.

More gardening tomorrow.

God bless you all!  Especially moms who either have schizophrenia or are moms of children who have schizophrenia.

Pax

Victoria

 

Wishing…

I wish I could help the whole world, delusion, but I can pray…

I wish people would stop calling it mental health and start calling it brain health…

I wish the pandemic would find a cure, soon…

I wish the world will still be connected once they do find a cure…

I wish, I wish, I wish.

Fighting apathy today.  Been through so many emotions this last week but not giving up.  Off to my sanctuary garden which is really coming along.  If you are interested in gardening see my blog of my May 2020 series on the benefits of gardening.  See right side bar under May series.

This pandemic has brought much good into my life.  My family is closer than ever before except when they were children but it’s different now with them being adults and having their own opinions.  It’s like a bouquet, you never know what you’re gonna get in there that may surprise you.

My garden brings me so much satisfaction, joy and peace and the fact that my kids are helping making a team effort is super awesome as well.  Dogs love it too!

My house has never been cleaner although I really need to do some deep cleaning especially the blinds and windows.  Ah next week.

Today after I garden a bit, I am taking a shower to get ready to go see my oldest son and his wife for a socially distanced barbecue at their new home which I have not seen yet.  Super excited.  We’re bringing brownies my daughter made.

What are you up to this weekend?

Pax

Victoria

Waves of emotions feel just right…

I am learning how to lean into my emotions.  This has not always been the case, quite the opposite…

With the sudden death of my best friend’s husband,       Larry RIP, a week and a day ago, her deep grief, my trying to be a good friend, the possibility of him having passed from the corona virus and her now having symptoms, I find myself at peace tonight with God’s will.  If this is the rapture, My Lord, I am ready.

I planted a tree today in Larry’s honor.  An orange tree.  My orchard is expanding.  I love being out in the garden and think of Larry a lot.  He was a go-getter, energetic and funny and sympathetic and empathetic at whatever I was going through or that of his wife, my dearest friend…

So felt sadness, fear and anxious in the morning today, but then joy being out in the garden with my hubbie, and adult son and daughter.  Beautiful day with our kiddie pool to soak our feet.  Dogs close by, Cinnamon following me inside when I went in to do something.  Excited to be with their adults.  Butter eating anything she can find, Oh Princess Buttercup, such trouble you get in.

I love my dogs.  They follow me everywhere and since I have been active again, they are happy to go with me as I say, “Lets go!”.  But when I need more rest they are there too.  Kind of like how God is with us even in troubles such as these.  I know i am not alone.  I love my God and He loves me.  It’s simple.  We’re not fighting anymore.

These are my thoughts tonight.  Off to chill with my music and maybe some light yoga just to stretch.

Pax

Victoria

May series~benefits of walking…

Ahh!  The joys of walking.  I have walked my whole life really, with breaks in between due to injury, surgeries, births and lack of motivation.

I first walked to school as a child.  I liked it.  My little shoes hitting the street rhythmically with occasionally falling in the gutter water as I would try to balance my feet on the curb and down I would go.  The one walk when I was 5, coming home from kindergarten, when a massive St. Bernard dog hopped over the fence and chased me down licking me to death with a new best neighbor coming to my aid.  Ah life was so simple then…

Then there were the walks to high school, getting high on the way or after…

I could go on but I feel to share now how walking has helped me to get over a lot of very hard times.  When I was first on disability due to stress (2015) and had free time I would walk away the stress. I would walk for up to 14 miles a day with the average being 10-12.  I got skinny!  But got bored with that much walking.  And tired!  Felt like Forest Gump in reality…

Now I walk because I like to but it’s weird because I used to walk all the time by myself when I was motivated.  But since COVID-19, I only walk with my daughter I just feel safer that way as I am not the best to make some social distancing judgements.  And that is very important right now.  At least that is what the media tells us.  Some of us believe it and others like me question the need but do it accordingly without protest.  Anyway, it is much easier to get in the habit with a partner for accountability and motivation.

So walking the same route for the last 40 days has been to Harsin, my favorite street with a hill and pretty houses and now is the home of a little lending library which has become the highlight of our walk. There are all kinds of things to see around my neighborhood.  From watching the flowers bloom, to seeing large weeding projects expand, to saying hi to different dogs and people, UPS bringing joy to somebody as it does to us when it stops at our house, whether it’s food or some new hobby or just more of this and that that ran out.  Simple pleasures in life are not ignored right now!

But when I was walking solo (and I will again…), getting out the door was the hardest part.  Once I started walking, even if I didn’t feel like it, I can really say that I ever regretted the walk.  Oh sure, there were times when I would turn back because I just couldn’t do it (rare) or because of the temperature being too hot, cold or windy.  Dressing in layers helps though, starting out with a light jacket and t-shirt underneath.  I warm up after about 5 minutes and just tie my light jacket around my waist.  I always bring my phone and measure my walks with a Fitbit.  I average 5-8 thousand steps a day 6 days a week.  Today was a rest day only 3,000 steps.

Walking for at least 30 minutes really helps my moods to be more stable.  I sleep better at night when I walk a lot.  Right now I have an injury on my toe so have to walk in sandals that are comfy and hook in the back.  But once it is healed I hope to return to 5 miles a day.  Setting a goal helps, start small and build each day you walk.  If you don’t have a Fitbit your phone probably measures your steps and if you’re like me and have your phone on you for much of the day (have to have my music and my earbuds), your phone will track your steps which is very rewarding to see how many miles and steps.

Walking as a form of meditation done solo can be very therapeutic.  Setting an intention for someone or something as you’re walking and then meditating on it while walking and I’m often praying or have my music.  I tend to look down a lot when I walk because I am just happy anywhere I am walking.  I do stop and smell the roses (pun intended) but just being outside for me is at times overwhelming by the beauty in nature.

I have walked everywhere practically from miles of streets in Italy to walking back and forth on the carpet of my small home.  Neighborhoods in all parts of the Central Coast of California, hiking trails with my dog or a friend, some with an intense incline, beaches, tourist spots, you name it, I have walked it.

I have even done walk at home videos on Youtube favorites being Leslie Sansone happy walk one mile up to her five mile video, or Jessica Smith.  Both these lovely ladies are very upbeat and will teach you proper form and get you excited to walk at home, much of the time only needing a computer and small space to walk, walk, walk!

“And that’s all I have to say about that [walking]” Forest Gump

Pax

Victoria

p.s. next in May Series is healthy eating which I will warn you I eat the same thing almost every day 80% of the time…

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road…

When are you coming down?

When are you going to land?

Not every day can be perfect and today was one of them.  It is only now after relaxing by myself for a bit and processing my day with a spiritual friend that I am able to write.

I am not going to share my day though!  Hah that would be too boring…

Just the end.

I caught the sunset and have been doing so for the last few weeks.  I can see it from my meditation room and the few quiet moments tonight as it was descending this song came on.  Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Sarah Bareilles.  Again music comes to my aid to enhance an experience.  And the answer to those questions is that my future lies beyond the yellow brick road.  For me that song had great significance in my recovery from schizophrenia.  As I said goodbye to my delusions I would sing with Sarah.  Oh how grande!

So what else do I have to say goodbye to?

Life as we once knew it, which is now riddled with fear and chaos.

To giving up.  I will never ever give up!  I can’t, I won’t.

Please if you are reading this don’t give up hope.  You can always reach out to me at victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com which is a private email closely monitored.  Thank you to the numbers of people who have written to me sharing their pain.  Some of them I have lost touch with others are still in my life.  The important thing  is to reach out if you are hurting to family, friends, therapists, psychiatrists and 911 if needed…

The hard way out would be to commit suicide but I would hurt too many people so it would be safe to say that I have many protective factors on my side.  Not all are so fortunate.  If you fall in this category, please know that I care about you.  I pray for my readers all the time…

I would like to say goodbye to my non productive days like today was.  My lowest point was lying on the master bed, which I had just made at 5pm, with a pile of clean clothes in my arms curled up in the fetal position.  I was just trying so hard to be productive and what I really needed was just a  good old fashioned lie down.  I proceeded to fold the clothes while laying down which I do not recommend if you want your clothes to be folded properly (hehe).

I realized soon after that my blood sugar was low after I ate a delicious chocolate m n m cookie and felt much better.  And drank my water after my umpteenth cup of coffee.

Well that is all for the night.

Working on my walking blog for the May series.  Hopefully will finish and post tonight.

Do you all like when I put pictures?

Seriously, email me at victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com as my email in-box has been quiet this week ha ha.  It helps me to listen to you and is safe.  And in this lock down a good idea to at least call, text, facetime, or email someone in your life, if not me, who has been a support or may be.  People, especially me, are not perfect but human connection is needed now more than ever so reach out.  Go and may God bless you!

Pax

Victoria

 

The Benefits of Gardening…

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Just less than two weeks ago this area, minus the one planted lemon tree, was covered with weeds, car parts and a riding lawnmower!  My daughter weeded and I did all the raking to level it out and today added the surfboard which is on borrow.  I love to watch surfing!  My son did dig the hole for the orange tree this evening so tomorrow will plant it.

Just one example how the Corona virus is getting my gardens in shape.

Obviously today’s topic is gardening.  here is the blog I wrote last night and succeeded on most of my garden mission today.

~

Gardening!

Ah I love that word as the satisfaction that gardening can result is beyond powerful.  I often think that if I had discovered gardening before believing in God I might never had found God.  But it is in nature that I see God so I wonder if He would have spoken to me through the plants (not out loud ha ha).

To take a weed ridden piece of land or containers if you don’t have a yard and have some flowers or vegetables or even herbs and take care of them and watch them grow as you care for them is extremely rewarding.

I remember when I used to have the stamina and desire to garden all day long and then at night looking outside in the dark and shining a light on all my hard work and the beautiful plants I had planted and the lack of weeds.  Savoring the moment and getting up the next day and doing it again throughout the season.

I have several areas in my yards that need attention right now.  But the weather has been weird this year… hoping to get out there for a bit tomorrow with my daughter.  She is my awesome weeder.  I am lucky in this way.  Wait I don’t believe in luck actually.  I am fortunate to have her help anyway.   She weeds and I make everything else happen.

Here is the basic process in case you haven’t gardened before~

Weed and clean out all rocks

Break up the soil several feet deep if possible

Add amendment to the soil

Rake it in to mix with the soil

Plant away and water according to weather and the specific plants.

Add stepping stones and yard art to your liking.  I just got a metal peacock  (see pic above) with vibrant colors at the local nursery, my favorite place lately.

I have so much to do!!!!!  But got lots of time on my hands so tomorrow I’m getting dirty.

The way I know I can usually get myself out there before it gets windy or too hot or cold is to get dressed in my gardening pants, top doesn’t matter.  That sets the tone for the day.  I also say to myself, today is a gardening day on a day that I’m not going anywhere.  Tomorrow will be a gardening day!

The duties will be to finish weeding under the bench in the side garden (where my peacock resides), replace the stepping stones in a pattern I created, fertilize the lemon tree and move a bunch of green waste that my husband loaded up in the wheelbarrow, from the back to the trash can out front.

If I do more it will be to weed out front the rose garden (I have 6 rose bushes) and cut myself a rose because I lost a pound this week on WW and it is my reward.  Used to buy a bouquet but with these times… just cut one, either yellow, red or white with pink tint to it.  They smell so wonderful.  (ended up picking one of each colorJ)

I also hope my son digs the hole for the Valencia orange tree I just got which will go on the same side as the lemon tree which has produced one lemon in 2-3 years.  Finally realized I need to be fertilizing it.

Mistakes happen in gardening and much of it is trial and error according to your climate and zone, soil etc. But nature has a way of fixing things and the local nursery can be of great help to figure things out.  But expect some plants to die or not produce at all.  It happens.  Not all plants make it or thrive and others will do really well.

I happen to plant from transplants at a non-profit farm that benefits the mentally disordered in our area.  They do all the planting and gardening and sell the plants for next to nothing.  It is literally 3 long blocks form my home!  Only open on Thursdays and Saturdays though so my goal this week before Saturday is for my daughter to finish the weeding on the side garden so I can start planting some late season vegetables.

Notice a theme here.  Gardening is easier with help!!!  But I have not always had help.  I used to do all the weeding when my daughter was away for college.  Now I just wait for her.  I have some hip issues also so have to be careful with not squatting or kneeling too long.  I have a cushioned kneeling pad I picked up at the dollar store that has carried us through many seasons.  Saves the knees and pants.

Have I convinced you to start a garden yet albeit small and manageable?

Hope so!

Digging in the earth is especially rewarding even with gloves which I always wear now.  Rich soil, combined with regular watering and compost tea is my secret to happy plants.  You can make compost tea with a large bucket of water, some nylons or thin socks filled with compost in the water and let it make your rich compost tea in a week.  Let it set in a sunny area.  I need to make some.  Apply to the base of all your plants!  No miracle grow needed.  Apply tea as often as you like depending on the size of your bucket or container.

Gardening is methodical.  I take great care with all plants.  I love all life!

Of course the internet can give you way more tips than this.

The hardest part for me in gardening despite pulling weeds is getting out there so I tell myself I’m going to do it for ten minutes and see how I feel.  I usually keep going at least a half an hour but if it’s only the ten minutes that’s ok too.  The satisfaction is endless as is the work but worth it in the end.  (today was an hour!)

Pax

Victoria

p.s. Next topic in this May series is the benefits of walking!