Posted in Rays Of Sunshine, The Journey

Love and Happily Ever After

So I am sure that many people ponder the true meaning of love! However, I am not sure that everyone is willing to feel vulnerable enough to find any answers. I do believe there are some necessary ingredients in “love”.  For the sake of this particular post I want to point out that I am speaking of the love between 2 people that are either married and or in a committed relationship that is intended to be long term. 

There is more than one way to maintain a committed relationship! Having said that; maintaining a committed relationship that is loving and mutually respectful takes work every single day. It is much like anything else worth while in life: good health/ losing weight, raising well rounded children (sideways glance), a good education, a fulfilling career……it takes hard work, dedication, mindfulness, passion and a ton of patience!!

For me I do not think any of the above is done well on our own, I know that it is because I have a relationship with a very loving, supportive, forgiving and ever present God that makes me the person I am:  I will never pretend to be the spokesperson for most peoples idea of a highly religious individual but I know full well that I couldn’t have made it through the things I have made it through much less continue to strive to be the person I want to be on my own.

I happen to be a hopeless romantic and I have always long for a “happily every after”. It took me years to realize that I can have “Happily Ever After” but it doesn’t fall in your lap and it most definitely won’t occur in a storybook manor and no 2 couples will have nor should they have the same path to get there!

Posted in Rays Of Sunshine

The Weird Category

I read some where (don’t quote me) that nurses have one of the highest rates of mental illness. I can understand why! Anyone that has a heart doesn’t stay in long term care unless they care! Of course there are some nurses that play tough (fuzzy wuzzy) but for the most part you don’t make it any length of time as a LTC nurse without having a heart. I would like to add that the home I work at now far surpasses any other facilities I have worked at in the past when it comes to caring nurses, CNA’s and caring families! So props to us for that!

So: The Weird Category. I was getting report from a nurse this week and some how the term weird came up. I told her that I would put myself in “The Weird Category”. I think it causes me just a little bit of trouble and it requires a lot of patience!! My personality seems to be associated with a Big Heart . Unfortunately they don’t pay well for “Having A Big Heart”.  I find the term: Weird to be endearing for some reason. I think it means that people these days are far more accepting toward people that aren’t in the “normal” category. So although I have little love for what “Politically Correct” has gotten us, I absolutely love that fact that my children are far more open minded toward people than my generation.

At any rate if you show up on our door step with one of our children rest assure we will waive you in no matter, race, gender, sexual orientation.

Posted in Rays Of Sunshine

Shame isn’t a must


There are so many great blogs/articles that cover/explain the shame associated with childhood abuse. I will try to create links to them because I think the single worst cruelty to occur to an abuse victim is the feeling of shame. Shame leads to so many other negative thoughts and feelings about our self worth that it creates a terrible downhill spiral for victims.

The truth is that the abuser robs us and in my opinion they win if we feel shame, guilt, self doubt and/or feel that we have to keep it all a secret or else others will look down on us.

Just like depression is a dirty word so is: victim, rape , domestic violence, addiction and/or any other form of abuse. If we could find a way to change the way we look at these words, these people, looking at them like they aren’t poor pathetic soles may  help to encourage them to behave in a new way: they may feel as though they are : “normal, confident, smart, assertive and so on. Everyone should own their own feelings, but we could all do our part in lessening the stigma associated with survivors of abuse!!

If someone that you know or love has been abused, please do what you can to help them feel empowered!! It may be a challenge at first but it is worth it!!

Posted in Rays Of Sunshine

Why does it have to be so difficult

There is so much baggage to carry around after a sh*t childhood. Each day that goes by seems so flipping difficult than the day before.

2 weeks ago my mother moved in with me. I embraced it the best I could, thinking this will surely lead to some  kind of mental health!! I really thought it seemed healthy. Then My mom’s money from social security disability was loaded onto her account. She made a list of reasonable items that she wanted to purchase and when I tried to show her some options online for a phone she started giving Roger (my husband) a hateful look and started yelling at us that she would not be paying for any bills! Then my “crippled mother” took off out that back door down toward the gas station. That was around 2 am & did not knock on the door until 6 am and when she did asked me: why  didn’t you tell me? Referring to the argument we had before she left.  Some how my childhood came up and I asked her why she was running off like she did when I was a child.

Posted in Rays Of Sunshine

The story according to Cheryl

Around March of 1977 21 yr old Cheryl decided she would leave Mississippi. According to her she had every intention of taking all 4 of her children. As the story goes her husband (the father of the older 3 children) would not let Cheryl leave with any of the children except the 3 month old baby. It was unusually warm this March. Cheryl & her husband Carl and the 4 children are all out in the yard. Cheryl tried to leave with all the children but Carl  threatens her if she takes any of the kids other than the baby. Against her will she leaves on foot with the clothes on her back and the baby.

Before too long Cheryl is stopped by a lady that ends up buying a plane ticket for Cheryl and baby back to Central Illinois.

Over the next 3 years Cheryl would marry James Ahearn (J.D.)  with this marriage came a German Shepard name: “Lady” who would protect the baby/toddler, often a bit too aggressive but protective nonetheless!  Cheryl and her family lived in an apartment on Condit street. At 3 years old her daughter started preschool at Anna Waters Headstart in Longview……

Posted in Rays Of Sunshine

Cheri/Cheryl/my crazy Mom/Mam ma

I really think what amazes me the most is that it took until  I was 36 yrs old before I decided I should come to terms with the FACT that my childhood had A-LOT to do with the person I am today. I won’t throw all the craziness at you at once: My Mom raised me by herself….OK well she definitely raised me by myself: as opposed to with siblings….(unless you also take in to consideration the fact that she married several men and I spent some time in foster care over the years) So the story according to my mom: She moved down to the southern united states after being born in Clinton, Illinois. She had 4 kids 1 year after the other 2 boys and then 2 girls, me being the baby born 12/16/76. Apparently at some point my mom came back to Central Illinois and allegedly became pregnant with me before moving back to Mississippi .

So, on December 16th 1976 Cheryl Louise Notto (Followell) gave birth to her youngest daughter: Sunshine Ray “Notto”.  By the time I was 3 months old my mom decided it was time to pack it up and come back to Central Illinois. Her husband at the time: Carmello Eugene Notto decided she could leave with me but she would not be leaving with my older siblings. (as my mom tells it)


Posted in Rays Of Sunshine

Recovering from your Childhood

I am just starting on my most difficult and private journey. I want to get this part of my story out first and offer what resources I have come across. At this point in my life my story actually starts out: Recovering from childhood abuse before your spouse becomes a victim.

1. You move through the shame and secrecy that keeps you isolated
2. You move through denial and acknowledge the truth of your abuse
3. You make it possible to get understanding and help
4. You get more in touch with your feelings
5. You get a chance to see your experience (and yourself) through the compassionate eyes of a supporter
6. You make space in relationships for the kind of intimacy that comes from honesty
7. You help end child sexual abuse by breaking the silence in which it thrives
8. You become a model for other survivors
9. You begin to take back what was taken from you
10. Telling the truth about our hurt and our loss lessens the power it has over us

Do you need to tell comeone about your experience of sexual abuse or assault?

Call 1.800.656.HOPE