Tag Archives: change

In celebration of she


Today we gathered as a family to celebrate my moms life.   My sisters and brothers families were there, we were minus only a handful to make the gathering “whole”.  My mom would’ve loved to have seen us all there together, and as I watched the “goings on” of all,  I know she would’ve been so pleased that so many came the long distance, and at great expense, to honor and celebrate her life.    My parents divorced many decades ago, but my dad and his girlfriend came.   I saw my dad physically choke up once or twice,  particularly when he was watching the slide show that my niece’s husband put together from our combined collection of pictures of my mother.  My parents were married 27 years, they had five children, built two family homes from scratch to finish with very little “contracting” out.   At one point I walked up to my dad and hugged him, told him how lucky we were to have him.  His reply?   “No, Donna, how lucky I am to have all of you!”

Alongside the pictures of my mother playing on the screen, depicting happy times, a playlist I had created for my mother a couple years ago played in the background.   The choice of flowers, white mums, roses, and a spray of blue delphinium, were absolutely beautiful.   My mother would’ve absolutely loved it.  Filling the inner circle of this wreath sat a beautiful urn with mother of pearl enhancements that contained my mothers remains.   My mom loved mother of pearl, abalone, it was her favorite stone.  On the same table were “keepsakes” that mom had saved, postcards, letters, cards, pictures.  It was so tastefully done, and I know my mother would’ve approved.  I know she would have!  Also included were pictures of my youngest and oldest sisters, whom I hope and pray mom is reunited with.

Last night my niece made dinner for all of us, including my dad, his girlfriend, three of my brother’s four children, daughter-in-law,  My sisters husband, both of her children, son-in-law, and two of her grandchildren, my brothers friend, and her daughter.

One of the nicest things for me to hear was “young cousins” playing, laughing.   It was magical for me, and reminded me of my own, our own childhood gatherings with cousins.  It helped give sense to my moms passing – New generations making memories that will hopefully last them a long lifetime.   Oh the truly innocent and silly things they were doing, like making farting noises down a heat vent from the second floor of the farmhouse into the  first floor kitchen where the adults were gathered.    It was their laughter that I hope to never forget, I hope THEY never forget!

I could not be happier with how nice today turned out, the last couple of days actually.  I’m writing this blog so that in the days to come when we are all back to our busy lives, and feeling the loss of my mother, I can come back to this to recall, relive, reunite with the love that flowed, commonality, my family.

My mother was the strongest woman I’ve ever met.   I will always love her and be grateful for giving me life, and teaching me all she did.  I will miss her love, her encouragement, her help, her care when I was ill, her sense of humor.   I will miss her!

Now, personally, the events of this past week, up to and including my mothers passing, has made me realize that I have some work to do on myself.  I will likely share about this in future blogs, because writing is a valuable, helpful tool for me.   But it’s going to be okay, I will be okay, because I know I’m still teachable!

My daily goal, first and foremost, is peace.   In order to achieve this, I need to learn some new skills on how to handle my own emotions, particularly “anger”.    This is probably something most learned in childhood, but I was such an “emotional child” (annoyingly sensitive I’ve been told!)  it was easier for my family to not deal with my emotions, to perhaps “pacify” me.   I am NOT blaming anyone, I believe my parents, my family, myself, we all did our best.     But what worked then (well, it really didn’t even work then either), no longer works and is not appropriate.

I have spent the last couple months stuck in anger.  This wasn’t the first time this has happened, the last time it was this severe was a few months after my sister died.   I ended up hospitalized with such.  I have made many changes in my life, I have consistently improved upon myself, and the quality of my life, my choices, the people in it.   I’ve created a safe, loving, peaceful (for the most part) life for myself.   But what good are these changes,  learning how to set boundaries, recognizing when I’m being taken for granted, standing up for myself, and all the changes I’ve made if I don’t go “all the way” and change my OWN inappropriate behavior?!?    I am the only one who can do this for myself!   Anger scares me – my own and others.    Certainly I can learn new skills!   My life, my relationships will improve.  Particularly when circumstances and opportunities to which the only control I have is how I handle myself!       Yup!   It’s time.

Tell those you love how much they mean to you.  Forgive others who trespass against you.   Forgive yourself.    If you can’t say it, write it, or say it with flowers, or sweets.    To quote Nike…..     Just do it!


Artistic growth


As I continue with the art challenge to post pictures of my artwork for 6 days on my facebook page, I am having an internal conversation with self.

I look at the scenes and see how much I’ve grown as an artist, and always, as a woman.   I have been trying to find my very first painting to post, alongside my last.   I think what I need to do, for my own sake, is to repaint an earlier piece.

I know it’s important that I honor every part of my journey.   I am mostly self taught, with a few classes with awesome teachers.  I’m now looking to take some classes on painting animals, because I’m enjoying it very much.  The roosters I’ve been painting have come easy for me, but when you add the body, the sprawling and presence of many beautiful feathers, I become perplexed and sometimes, overwhelmed.  But I know I can do it, I can learn this.  I know i will.

Most of my earlier Santa’s have taken on a provocative look.   I will share this lightly.   Most of my Santa’s noses ended up looking like male genitalia.   My students and I would laugh over it, and many comical, highly amusing stories have come from my earlier work.   Perhaps now I can paint noses as I’d have to reach deep into my long term memory to paint male genitalia!   I say that laughing, laughing more, and laughing loudly.

Just like our growth as a person, an artist has to start somewhere.    The ideas and things that I have in my head that I’ve yet to put to canvas are so different from my paintings of past.  But that’s because I’ve changed, we all change.   I’m not the same person I was when I designed and painted prior.   I see things differently, and my colors and interests have evolved.   Honor the process, Donna, honor the process.

God speed to you and yours

There’s another storm a


Dragged my butt out of bed this morning because my cat was persistent.  I was dizzy, my head felt separate from my body, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to even get down the stairs.

An unproductive day bothers me.  I feel the need to accomplish.   But carrying around severe clinical depression in a knapsack on my back, some days I have to give myself a break.  Sometimes getting out of bed is the one and only accomplishment I’ll get done.   I have friends, friends who understand the talons of this disease, and encourage me to do the basics.

So when I was able to make it to town to get milk and a few groceries (We are in between storms here in Vermont, and I should’ve shopped LAST week!), I was thrilled with myself.  Managed to get the garbage out, and then took a three hour nap.  Cold medicine helped me lift my head from my favorite couch pillow, and I felt well enough to paint.   Happy!

The market where I went to get milk, bread, basics, there was a woman my age who was working.  She was friendly, pretty.   We spoke briefly on the impending storm, and she mentioned she had to shovel her drive and walkways.   I comically shared with her that Winter, three-four years ago I had a plow bill of about $450, and I figured I’d have to sleep with my plower to get the bill paid off.   She did a huge belly roll, surprised that I said that.  “I have no one to plow, my husband died in July”.   “I’m sorry, I said”.

Normally here, I would offer a brief  pause in my day to listen, if she wanted to share.  I wasn’t feeling well enough to stand there much longer, so I wished her a good day and drove my ass home.     All the way home I was thinking about her.  Man, she’s still green with her loss, that is a hard hard trek.   But she was working, was very friendly, KIND, and I said a prayer for her.   So many friends are experiencing loss right now, or serious serious illnesses, life threatening.   It’s hard here in New England in Winter.  I can go all winter without seeing my next door neighbors.  It’s just the way Winter is.

As I was painting tonight, (working on farm animals, not my forte, but I want to get good at painting them!), I thought again about her friendliness, her kindness, and somehow, some way, I will do something kind for her without her knowing it.   She so deserves that.  Facing such pain and changes in life, for her to be MORE than civil, is, in my book, awesome.

Now I’m going to go finish this Rooster, and then head to bed.   I’m finding that I don’t want to go to bed.  I love my bed, I truly do, and my bedroom is pretty.  But I’m finding it harder and harder to get up.   Need to boost up my D3 intake, and get outside, in fresh air, no matter the weather.   But today?  Today I think I did very good, given how crappy I was feeling.

Kindness is so contagious, and in her circumstances I dare say “courageous”.


Defining a man


If you judge others based on appearance and tattoos, you may clearly bypass a beautiful being.

Tough, rugged, by virtue of his turbulent upbringing.  I think his tattoos serve like my scars do, a place where he has been, that has helped mold or shape him into who he is today, and perhaps places that he never wants to return.   Evidence of an imperfect life lived out perfectly.   Because the harshness that he experienced has been redirected, chiseled into strength.

A husband, a father first, above all.  Selflessly he gave up his beloved motorcycle for the purpose of spending more time with his family, and to assist in his goal to always be there for them.  A family man, a man who loves his beautiful, intelligent wife without boundaries.  A man who took this beautiful, intelligent, complicated young soul as his son.  He IS his father, his dad.

He helps his neighbors, refusing monetary gift.   The other day I heard something out my window, there he was on a dangerous ladder, up 15′ or more in the air on its top wrung, rescuing the neighbors cat who had perched himself up a tree.    The same man who the day before mowed my lawn.   He’s never asked why I don’t or cannot do it.  I will tell you.  I have a push mower.  And if I use it, the vibration causes my hands to go numb, and it remains for several days, leaving me unable to do much.

He and his family have shoveled my walks in the winter, gifted me with a plate of whatever they were barbecuing, holiday treats that bring a smile to my face and make my taste buds dance.

He goes off to work each day to a job that most men wouldn’t even consider.  And comes home each day to their home snuggled in the home behind me, perched next to the woods, and so nicely kept.  Unless there is a storm, and his expertise is needed elsewhere.  Then?  There is no telling how many days he will be gone.  He returns to his family which also includes two cats,  one, a sphinx, who suffered the same fate as he, blind in one eye.  And yet, he still does this potentially dangerous job, and obviously WELL.

I cannot tell you the numerous times he has helped me with his neighborly friendliness.   I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked out my kitchen window and smiled at the making of this family.   I once would look out in guarding protection of a single mother with her young child.  Now?  Now I look out and see a family who enjoys their life together.  Who spends their off time together doing quality things.  Now?  I feel protected!

Heroes come in many forms.  And while I know he would never want, nor consider himself a hero, I am grateful for his friendship.   He is proof to me that one can change their lives, with intense hard work, and the constant flow of choices that he makes, for the betterment of himself and family.

At times I’ve seen him followed by a dark cloud that he can’t seem to shake.   It’s at those times when I wish he would see himself as those who love him do.  An incredible, perfectly imperfect being that makes this world a better place!

The next time you judge someone on their looks, their tattoos, I suggest you take a second look, a deeper look.  You just may be walking away from one hell of soul that would bring light to your dark days.  Who helps without judging, and for me?   Makes me feel that I am okay, perfectly imperfect with all my “shit”, and deserving of others help and friendship.

I dare ya!

Perseverance, persistance…


Today has been a relaxing day reading, resting, watching the tube.  Yesterday I went to Boston with friends to attend a Nerium Regional meeting, which was AWESOME!  Whether you are looking to change your finances, your life, or want to have fun with a great group of people, check out my website:   donnascully.nerium.com  (Has to be accessed from your top browser).   Anyway, I’m really happy with my choice, and really excited about joining this organization.  I’m meeting new friends, looking and feeling much better and least important to me at the moment (which shouldn’t be! LOL) is making moola.  If you want more information email me…  I think you’ll be happy you did!  Not an ordinary product, not an ordinary company, not an ordinary opportunity… psyched psyched psyched!

Anyway, the travel to Boston and back can be a bit long, but I was with two fun and crazy women so it went quicker and was a lot of fun.

I’m reading the book by the founder of Nerium “The Slight Edge”.  Excellent reading, learning, philosophy.  Can be used in all areas of your life.  You might want to check it out!

My thoughts today have been on change.  How exciting and at the same time scary it can be, but how necessary it is for growth.  I have said “Failure is not an option” for the majority of my life, but in The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson spoke about how failure is inevitable and it is a wonderful and powerful way to learn….. Okay, so I’m changing my motto to “perseverance, persistence will get me where I want to go!”

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be a scorcher here.  Oh sweet humidity, you make my body hurt and my hair frizz!  Grateful for air conditioning.

I’m working on a new blog, going outside of my comfort zone to do so… am excited about it and am now off to work on it some more!!!!!!   Have a good night! ♥

The familiar driveway….


As I drove out, looking at the beautiful, old brick buildings with black shutters I thought about my history here.  My grandparents both worked here.  My grandfather as a haircutter and my grandmother in the laundry department.   My grandfather would tell us that crazy people lived there.    He shared how they would have to tie them up, how they were locked in rooms, which was sadly true, but I think he embellished to scare the crap out of us.    He liked doing that.

I have driven in and out this driveway now too many times to count.  Starting in the 80’s for a few years weekly or biweekly, then sporadically over the years.  I’ve been pretty steady the past couple of years going once or twice a week, sometimes three times.  I lived there for 2-3 weeks a couple years ago this month, and back in the late 80’s.

Today I drove out thinking how different I feel now.   I’m becoming a person who has boundaries, who has coping skills, who for the past couple days is very excited about life.   Today I am not consumed with pain, distraught from loss, depressed to a point I could not function.  Today I am vibrant, I am very much alive and I am very grateful for my therapist, psychiatrist, very grateful.   I’m in my 50’s, I want the rest of my life to be peaceful, serene, I want to throw away the wet blanket of depression and be happy.  Today I am.

By now you’ve figured out, it is a mental health hospital.   When my grandparents worked there the ignorance of mental illness was immense.   Patients with mental illnesses are no longer treated like they were then.   It wasn’t just this hospital but all.  Thank god for awareness, for research, for advanced education and treatment available today for those with mental illness(s).    The stigma remains, and ignorance is always present in any aspect of life.

In 1988 I was hospitalized there for my 2nd severe clinical depression.   Back then you could have day passes, where as now it isn’t allowed.  Well, on my day pass I spent the day with my then husband.   Anyway, the depression was still weighing heavy.  Upon discharge I went immediately into outpatient therapy.   Thus started the difficult journey of anti depressants.   The side effects, the month it takes to kick in, what will insurance pay for, what can I live with?   A few weeks after discharge I asked my psychiatrist if the med I was on would alter my menses.  Nope.   The woman who wasn’t able to have children from disease in my teens, surgery after surgery… well, she was surprisingly pregnant.  I went cold turkey from my meds.  Was so sick, a mess, my psychiatrist was upset because you are supposed to ween off such heavy drugs.   I will share with you that my psychiatrist at the time, researched and suggested EST (Electric Shock Treatment).  I was a mess, but I couldn’t do this.  I was pregnant.   Talk about an “awakening”.   “One flew over the cuckoos nest” flashed in and out.  Nope… let’s find another way.

Weeks later I miscarried.  What a whirlwind, and then plummeted lower than I thought possible.    I could go on and on, just don’t care to.   Not even sure why I’m sharing this today, I haven’t thought about this in years.   It’s funny all the thoughts and memories that flash before me in a seconds time.

Let’s move ahead to today.  To driving out the driveway, smiling, accompanying Bob Dylan, happy.

This sweatshirt USED to say "VERMONT"!

This sweatshirt USED to say “VERMONT”!

I drove out happy and a person who has direction, gratitude for where I am right now, and hopeful that the next time (not to be negative) the clinical depression comes to bite me in the ass, I will already be in treatment and have learned coping skills, warning signs, things I can do every day to help myself.    I am very very grateful.

On my drive home I thought about how fortunate I have been to have the care I have and am receiving.   I no longer feel “less than” anyone else because I struggle with depression, anxiety, and ADHD which was diagnosed just this past year.   I don’t feel shame or embarrassment, thus why I share such personal things.   I am not unique, I am of a large population of people who struggle with mental illness.   Today?  Today I feel like a person who is doing her best, given the cards dealt, and today?  Today I am doing well!!!  Today I am ready to rejoin the world, my career, and even thinking about perhaps dating.  Wouldn’t that be something!     I’m aware that the “waiting for the shoe to drop” cynical thoughts are present, but this morning, waking to familiar and frequent dread, I was able to use the skills I’ve learned and turn my day around.   HUGE!  HUGE!  We’re talking HUGE!

I am grateful, I am focused.   I know this isn’t just a fluke, this is the result of hard work, changing my behaviors, thoughts.   I hope I remember, the next time this shit knocks on my door (which could very well be tomorrow) how to help myself, how to bypass the crap, how to merge from this hellacious road into Hope Lane.   Gratitude.   Self respective, worth, and even some confidence!  Who would have thunk?

As I’m getting ready to end this blog “The Circle Of Life” came on.  I smiled.  Yep, “The Circle Of Life!”   As I drove out, looking at the beautiful, old brick buildings with black shutters I thought about my history here………. so so many.


E is for expectations


I just poured myself a glass of wine.  I’m trying to compartmentalize my day into one small box that I can store away and yet there is one word that keeps popping up and will not fit… So I have decided to simply break it down…

I have spent a couple of decades of my life in 12 step programs like AlAnon looking within.  Looking at my expectations of others, are they too high?  too low?  What are my expectations of myself?  Always being told that my expectations of self were far too high and were the very cause of a lot of stress in my life…. sighs… I digress.

The past couple of days I spent on Cape Cod with a friend.  I had a wonderful time.  He was a very accomodating and generous host, wanting me to see as much as I wanted, to be as busy as I wanted (or not wanted) to be, but most importantly to dump the stresses that I have been carrying around the past few weeks in my head.   It worked 95% of the time.  It really did.  I let my hair down, I laughed, sang, swam, was almost taken out in the powerful undertow lol, fished, ate very well, and unbelievable to me… my second night there I slept the entire night only waking up twice.  That is unheard of for me.  I want to go back! lol

On my way home (which was a day earlier than planned) I hit a point of anger with myself because I realized I had succumbed to the family disease of worry…  Now, I take claim full ownership of my decision to leave and flee the likes of “Earl”… but what has become clear to me is that I have never really looked at how I have allowed my families expectations of me or the family disease of “worry” to take charge.   I say this not with any vain or lack of love, quite the contrary, but a deeper understanding that once again, my SELF expectations to please those I love (family) have come in between “to thine own self be true”…. therefore… it needs to be addressed.

For every finger you point there is three pointing back at yourself!

A new door opens….


As he was removing my old front door I couldn’t bear to look.  This door which was believed to have been 60+ years old had not locked in over 15 years, was not able to be fully shut in 6, had broken glass and on two occasions had been clamped and glued together.  It had certainly seen better days.  But I, like the majority of others, am a creature of habit… I resist change.     I was told I would also be losing the relatively new storm door that I had put on…  Think positive Donna, think positive… “I’m positive that I don’t like this!” lol

For the first time in the 22 years of my living here the front of the house was wide open for hours.   It was actually quite amazing.   It was as if stagnant or old energy left and new healing air filled my humble abode.  I could feel it as it was happening!   If there were a visual description it would be the departing of ghosts, debris, things no longer useful or healthy.  This lasted for almost 4 hours.

The new door was temporarily set into place,  plastic was stapled around the wide openings, the workers left for the night.  I stood alone looking at the door.    It had two holes, one for the doorknob and one for a deadbolt.. Imagine TWO locks!   I chuckled.

Yesterday they completed the installation, locks were placed and they handed me the keys.  I honestly felt like I had just been handed the keys to a brand new home.   Flashbacks to 22+ years ago when we signed the papers and were handed the key, the one old key that was soon lost to the old front door.   So much has transpired since then.  That was so long ago, what seems to be another lifetime ago.   I am now sole owner of this property, this is now my home.  The day I bought out my ex husband and bought this house was one of the proudest days of my life. 

It has been a long winding road to get to where I am today, and ironically I am not really clear where I am!    What I do know is, when that old front door came off my house, new healthy energy entered.   This new door, the locks, being handed those shiny new keys…. metaphorically speaking, it is a change of life for me.  This is a new beginning. 

I ask myself, “What color will I paint my new door?”   I will have to ponder that.   Now as I am painting in the room where this door is situated, I look over my shoulder at it and smile…  “Thank you for being the protector of my space, my possessions,of me… for locking the good energy in, and for the stately manner that you just ‘fit’.  Welcome to my world!”