Monday, May 31, 2010

Taking the Long Way Home, or How I'm Learning to Slow Down and Enjoy the Scenery

This next post if from my favorite guy. I met Greg last year and he's been a wonderful part of my life ever since. Thank you Greg for this post and for sticking out this friendship with me.



Taking the Long Way Home, or How I'm Learning to Slow Down and Enjoy the Scenery

A large swam of mosquitoes and gnats hovered over the sidewalk as i jogged past the lake by my apartment complex. It reminded me of something. Little annoyances, darting in and out, flying up my nose... This is how my head feels some days, although less so lately, scattered thoughts darting in and out, flying up my nose...

Six months ago this was how my head felt most of the time, but seeing a problem is the first step for dealing with it. A year ago... lets just say things were a mess.

I live in a culture of immediacy and, unless you are an Amish fan of blogs, I'm going to assume you do also. It's one of the trade-offs of when we live. My computer and cell phone gives me instant access to anything :), on the other hand, my computer and cell phone gives me instant access to anything :(. Any information I need, any song, any movie, email, text message, tweet, status update on Facebook, is instantly there. As soon as I think of something, I can look it up, or share it with friends. This is a double edge sword.

Five years ago to check my email, I needed to grab my laptop and head over to the coffee shop. At the coffee shop I would chat for a minute with the barista or a neighbor, then start up my laptop and check my email and scan a few websites. To check my email took at least 30 minutes round trip. Now my email just appears on my cell phone. I hear a "bloop" and it's just there.

Everything is now, but living with everything in the now, I lose something. I lose a filter. I lose social interaction.

Back in January I began an experiment, I wanted to find out what could happen in my life if I started trying to regain the little pieces I was missing.


The first thing I did was turn off my Facebook. My brother turned off his Facebook page a couple years ago, he said he did not miss it at all. My decision was based on asking myself this question, "What role does Facebook play in my life? Does it add 'real' value, or does it give the impression of adding value?"

I did not know the answer. I knew I spent a lot of time using Facebook. I knew I had a lot of old friends on Facebook. But what was Facebook's role, in my life, really?

It turned out I did not miss Facebook at all. Over the next couple of months I discovered more free time. I found the hour I was spending on Facebook (basically doing nothing) was an hour I could spend with real world friends, or an hour I could spend creating a sculpture out of pipe cleaners (I know, I'm weird), or an hour reading.


Turning off Facebook then led to turning off Twitter. Again, I did not understand how much of my attention was focused on Twitter until I cut out Twitter. But it's only 140 characters!!!

I was really starting to see how the internet and all this instant access was giving me the attention span of a sparrow. And then I saw a program on PBS that confirmed it!

At M.I.T. researchers have started doing brain scans on people while they email, text and use the internet. It turns out when we multitask, our brains don't do a good job at keeping up with the information overload. When I switch my attention from the email I'm writing, to the YouTube clip someone just sent me, to a blog post I'm reading, my brain has to reset its attention each time it switches a task.

Our brains are incredible!! Because it turns out, the more people do things that require switching attention, the better our brains get at switching attention. But the researchers were also finding when people get really good at switching their attention, they get really bad at focusing on things.

I still love my "toys" but I'm learning to find a balance and to re-evaluate the role they play in my life. I take a day every now and then and leave everything off. I take a techno-sabbath and reconnect with life at human speeds. I'll sit in quite and just listen to the sounds of the world. I'll read a book. Anything that requires focusing my attention for long periods of time.

The more I practice, the easier it gets and the less I feel like I'm living in a cloud of gnats.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Misplaced Treasure

*Yaaaawwwwnnnnn* Ugh, that Something Within woke me up at this lovely hour to bring you this little story. I am finding that if I try to "sleep it off" and post it later, I can't sleep for sh!t. Great sense of humor my GAAWD has.

My daughter sat me down and told me that she's worried about the people that have misplaced their Treasure.


She went on to explain that everyone is given a Treasure as babies to use, depend on, lean on, turn to, play with, explore with, yada yada. This Treasure brings people peace, serenity, purpose, happiness, balance and the like.

I said "How does one lose this Treasure"?

She went on the explain that Treasure is never lost. It is simply misplaced. Treasure never goes away.

"Do people forget about this Treasure? Do they put it somewhere and forget where they placed it? Do they give it away to another friend? Do they let someone else borrow it"?

"No Mommy, pay attention. Everyone has their very own Treasure. No one needs to borrow Treasure from anyone else. It gets misplaced simply because people don't USE it."

Hold the phone.............
.....................
..........
.....
..
.

My child just told me to pay attention.

She also told me a very valuable secret to this Treasure.

If we don't USE it, it gets misplaced. We don't lose it, we just misplace it. Ok. So I picked her brain some more.

"If people misplace their Treasure, and this Treasure is supposed to be so important, what do they do without it"?

"You know that one Mommy. I'm too young to talk about such things."

Great. Now I'm flying solo.

I wrap my head around this Treasure concept and come up with the following:

Everyone's Treasure represents their own version of God. Wait, don't get up. Stay put, sit back down. I'm not about to go on a religious rant or some half-assed lecture about Jesus. I really don't understand either of those two things so I'll try to keep it simple. Read on.

We all are given Treasure from the moment we're created. As children, we stick close to this Treasure and have lots of fun with life. Treasure is our homeboy as kids. We laugh at funny faces that our Daddies make, we giggle ceaselessly at a silly joke. We play. We believe. We give. We love.

As we get older, we lose sight of this Treasure. It's like we put it on a shelf and move on to "big and better" toys. We replace our Treasure with Life's stuff. With jobs, busyness, keeping up with the Joneses, and so on.

Some of us really get away from our Treasure only to force ourselves into trying to force it again in our lives.

For me, I forced it by using alcohol and drugs, relationships that were waaaay to unhealthy for me (or anyone), over-dependence on people, places and things.

Needless to say, this does not lead back to Treasure. It leads to an unmanageable life of insanity. The slow and painful kind of insanity. I digress.

Back to the point at hand; what my daughter was trying to tell me.

Life gets in the way. We misplace our Treasure with all kinds of other things.

It is our responsibility to find this Treasure again and USE it if we are to enjoy life again, as we did as children.

I guess the next question would be HOW do we find it again?

Maybe there's no one way to find it again. Maybe it's up to you to figure out how it's done. Maybe you already know where your Treasure is, you just don't settle down long enough to reach out and take a hold of it.

For me, I have to listen. I have to quiet myself long enough to listen to that Something Within that "speaks" to me.

When I am sad, irritable, bummed out, angry, or any other kind of "disconnected", I have to get real with myself, stop, ask myself "What is the real reason why I'm pouting"? Then I have to be willing to listen for the answer. It always comes.

Treasure never leaves us. We leave it. We misplace it. We turn our backs by trying to live this life on our terms. I didn't get too far on my own. How's it working out for you?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mixing It Up - An Interactive Post

I wanted to have a little fun with you guys today and mix things up a bit. After taking some inspiration from my cousin Denise (thank you Sweets), I wanted to try an "interactive" post today.

This idea comes from www.helium.com and should be a neat and fun way of sparking your imagination.

I encourage you to consider what ideas, emotions or feelings the photograph below evokes. You may want to write a poem, create a short story, or simply express a quick thought.

........................................
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...
.

Email your responses to crossing336@gmail.com and stay tuned for an updated blog showing off your creativity.

If you prefer ultimate privacy yet still want to play, let me know and I'll make up a funky alias for you.

Motivational Rant by Lady K

Here is another guest post from my NC friend Khristi. If you didn't catch yesterday's, go back and check it out. I love seeing the transformation in someone and how it shows in their writing.

Khristi's favorite hobby (between raising two adorable kids, being a wife and wrapping up her schooling and internship as a vet tech) is making beautiful and fun jewelry. I've bought some for gifts and they're are great! http://www.etsy.com/shop/ktnunna



Motivational Rant

A new beginning.A second chance.
Yours for the taking.
This is your world.
Only you are to blame for what happens.



A once in a lifetime opportunity here in front of your face.
What are you going to do with it?
My advice?? Take it and run.
Take it as far as you can and never look back.


No worries, no regrets.
Keep your head up and your nose clean and most importantly.
ENJOY YOUR LIFE!
Don’t let others bring you down or hurt your pride.

Live for yourself as well as others.
Strive to be remembered for something great.
Reach for the stars.
Chase your dreams.


Follow your heart wherever it leads you.
Walk blindly into the darkness knowing you can handle whatever life throws at you. Smile laugh and be happy.
Live your life right the first time.

There are no second chances.
Begin your life now.
Start living today.
Change your ways.

Be inspired.
Be motivated
and don’t look back.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I should (and you probably should too)

Today's post is from a friend of mine back east. She's amazing to me.

Thank you Khristi for you friendship and love. I'm better because of it.



I should (and you probably should too)

I've realized that I take so much for granted and that I have for a while.

I should pay more attention to the things around me
I should smile more
I should enjoy the beauty of nature
I should live each day as if it were my last
I should give myself more credit for my accomplishments
I should be happier, sing louder and love more
I should forgive my enemies and forgive myself
I should enjoy being
I should write more poetry
I should try to make others happy
I should relax more
I should get more sleep
I should quit worrying about what other people think and say about me
I should read more
I should try to learn something new everyday
I should put my guard down sometimes
I should quit worrying about the future and dwelling on the past.
Every moment is wonderful and I should try to make them last.
I should try to be a better me

I should start today

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Believe

Last night I was speaking with a friend on the phone. We discussed many things but one thing really stuck out and I wanted to share it with you.

My friend's daughter had been coughing all day. Mom was worried as the night progressed, her little one would possibly catch a fever and have to stay home from school.

During night time prayers, Mom and daughter said their protection prayer over her. They asked God for light of healing to be washed over her and for protection through the night. I'm not getting that prayer down word-for-word but you get the gist of it.

As Mom walked away, her daughter said something like "Mom, I'm going to be fine tomorrow because we prayed." Her daugther truly, 100% believed she was going to be fine because she asked God to watch over her and to take away her cough. 100% believed.

Mom now worried a bit more. Not only about the cough but now over "What if she's worse in the morning and gets disappointed at God?" Gotta love moms.

In the morning, my friends daughter was just fine. All day, only one to two little coughs, nothing like she experienced the day before.

The miracle here is not so much about the cough going away but more about what that little girl experienced. She believed something with all her heart as if it had already come true. There was not one doubt about it.

She experienced what we all can experience, if you believe. If you believe as this child believed, you can tap into that Something Within that heals us, not only physically, but spiritually as well. That's only the beginning...

When was the last time you really, truly believed, let it go, gave it over and had your own little miracle?

Monday, May 24, 2010

If I Should Die Before I Wake

I'm borrowing the inspiration (and the title) right from one of my favorite Little House on the Prairie episodes. I watched it last night (Netflix is my homeboy) and knew immediately that I needed to pass it on and say to my most beloved peps what they mean to me.

Remember when Ms. Amy's best buddy died on her 80th birthday, in her rocking chair while reading a "I'm too busy to come see you this year" letter from her ungrateful daughter? And how Ms. Amy faked her own wake just so she could get her own brats to come "see" her one last time? And when they all showed up happy as little lambs and Ms. Amy watched from under her black veil in the corner and then revealed herself shaming them all for not coming to see her while she was alive?...I loved it!

If I Should Die Before I Wake
This is my way of telling those that are closest to me how I feel, just in case.

Mom


As Ms. Bridgette said in last night's episode "Mother and I went nose-to-nose more times than I care to remember", so did we. I knew you and I have had our moments, days, weeks, years of painful emotional trials. Yet, you never showed how much I hurt you. You always welcomed me home with a smile and open arms. Your strength, sharp wit, beauty and intelligence never ceased to amaze me. If I had your life, I would not have lasted as long or as gracefully as you have. Thank you for adopting me into your life and into your heart. I hope as I've grown in my sobriety, you've seen the daughter that I meant to be. I love you.

Dad


You were always my hero as a child. You were my own 20th century Pa Ingalls, complete with a business suit, briefcase and a 8 track tape player in your Caddy. I've written alot about you lately as my healing from your passing almost 14 years ago had to come full circle. I know, I was always a bit of a slow one. I won't go on too much here as I'll be seeing you soon and we can catch up then. First thing I want to do is fly over to an Angels game, hang out on a cloud and talk your ear off the entire time while you try to listen to the sports casters on your hand held radio and watch the game. I love you.

Robin


I wish I could tell this to you face-to-face as I haven't seen you now in almost 4 years. I never took the time to come back to NC and hug you and never let go. You've been my best friend since 1994 on that day in Taco Bell on Western's campus.

You've never, ever condemed me though when I told you I was preggers with Riri, you came mighty close. Still, you gathered your grace and beauty and stuck by the side of your wayward, lost friend from Cali. You always knew just what to say to calm me down, to give me the love I needed, to pull my covers, to make me laugh. You always lived this life the way I wanted to, with the beauty and humor that I never had. I was blessed to have an Angel right here on Earth to guide me to the places in my heart that I never knew existed. Thank you for loving me when I couldn't love myself I LVOE you.

Jenniflower


GAAWD saved your friendship for the very last, when He knew I'd need it most. Running away from reality, moving to Vegas on a spree, both physical and emotional, and trying to raise a little girl on my own, you entered my life and made my last few years here so wonderful.

You loved me from the start. You're light shown across the room one day and I wanted what you had. And you showed me just how to get it. You're beautiful inside and out and I was so blessed to have been your friend and sponsee. You MADE my sobriety what it was by your guidance, experience, strength and hope. I was happy for the first time in years because of your walking me, hand-in-hand down this road to happy destiny. I wish I had met your Dad so I could have gotten one of those Daddy bear hugs that I've missed so much. Thank you for showing me how I could grow and become a better person, mommy, daughter, sister, and friend. I will take your memory with me and sing all the way to Heaven. I love you.

Jamie
I know you prefer to be called James but when we were growing up, you were Jamie. Since it's my last night on this Earth, I think you can let it slide. I'll keep it short as I know you'll appreciate that. I love you.

My Riley


You picked me to be your mommy. Out of all the mommies in the world, you looked down one day from
Heaven, looked GAAWD straight in the eye and said "I want that one. That one right down there wasting her life away and pissing everyone off. Yep, that's gonna be MY mommy." I used to always think of this and think GAAWD would have tried to talk you out of it but now, I know He replied "Good choice child."

You came into my world, shone your little light and I've never been the same. Even after you came, my choices grew poorer and I got even more lost, but you were that little anchor that never let me go too far.

You had my heart wrapped around that little finger from the moment the nurse brought you in on that pillow and layed you on my chest. Finally, we were together.

You made me laugh out loud everyday. You showed me that I could love a little piece of Heaven with every fiber of my body, heart and soul. You were my Gift and I hope that you knew how much you meant to me.

You would take my breath away countless times. You're becoming such a beautiful young lady. I wish I could stay to watch what you will become but I have no doubt it's going to be amazing! I will watch over you from Heaven and guide you gently as my father did for me.

I love you little acorn. Now, go grow into that gorgeous oak tree that's inside you.


There are so many more friends I'd like to say someone special about individually. I know that's impossible to do on this blog but not impossible to do in today's world with all this technology.

So tonight, before I lay me down for the last time, I'm going to make some calls and say what needs to be said, just in case.

I love you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Proud Mommy

There are many days when my Riri makes me proud. Sometimes the little stinker brings me to tears with the stuff she comes up with.

Today is one of those days.

Today marks her last date at the school she's been blessed to have attended for a whole year. She started out as a "follower" as her teachers put it. It was a big concern of mine as I projected into the future constantly that she would "follow" others down the wrong paths in life, as yours truly did.

Tonight is her big Pre-K graduation ceremony up on stage in front of all the mommies and daddies and extended families. I'll be tucked in the crowd somewhere but I know she'll find me and blow kisses my way throughout the entire show. I can't wait.


Attached is just one page from her report card. Don't look at it yet. Keep reading. Geez...you're just like me - let's get to the good stuff, N.O.W.!! Read on...

Today, Riri's teachers are commenting that she is a strong leader, no longer a follower. They focused this year mainly on helping her make the right choices. Good, that's what good teachers do. Blessed to have found this little school when we did.

Being a single mom has brought on many self-induced fears. Am I doing right by Riri? Am I raising her the best way I know how? Is she getting all she needs?

I have asked myself too many times "Is her father's choice of leaving and not being in her life turning out to be a bad thing?" "Do I need to listen to others when I hear their comments about how a child should have their father in their life, no matter what?" "Am I a good mom that is raising a confident, strong, happy young woman?"

Well, today I received the best gift a mommy like me could get - a great report from her teachers.

Don't get me wrong, there is work to be done on her excessive talking, her fidgetting in learning time, her being a bit too bossy and manipulative. There's also a check mark next to "Lies to obtain items. favors, or to avoid taking responsibility" which will definitely be discussed and worked on at home, pronto.

Ok, now go read the snipet from her report. I'll wait...

Frequency Code (per month): 0 = Never 1 = Occasionally 2 = Often 3 = Excessive

Feelings about Self and Others
1. Is sad, unhappy, or withdrawn 0
2. Is fearful, anxious, or worried 0
3. Feels lonely, unwanted, or complains that no one loved them 0
4. Is overly sensitive or easily annoyed by others 0
5. Blames self for problems or feels guilty 0
6. Shows signs of perfectionism, crosses out or erases constantly,
rips papers up and throws them away 0
7. Self-conscious, easily embarrassed or shy 0
8. Does not regularly interact with peers 0


Thank you to my Mother for paying Ri's tuition since she entered daycare at 1 years of age. It really paid off.

Thank you to my Jenniflower for helping me be the great sober mommy I have become.

Thank you to my friends that believe in what I'm doing as a single mom and don't give a rat's patootie about her not having her father around.

I don't have to bother telling those that have a problem with it to kiss off because they don't read my blogs anyway. If they can't see how amazing Ri is, we don't need them around anyhow.

This post is dedicated to my Higher Power that picked me up by the scruf one morning a little over 2 years ago, said "Enough, is enough - I have plans for you child" and put me back on my feet and on a path towards freedom, love and friendship. TUGAAWD.

And for my Riley...you inspire me to laugh everyday, to show my love to everyone I come across and to be myself. You amaze me with your beauty, your humor, your smile.

I wish I could protect you from all the harm you will face as you grow but I cannot take those learning experiences away from you. God is with you as He was always with me. I love you baby girl more than I can say. Thank you for picking me to be your Mom.

Elisabeth Joanne's Blog

I am beyond excited to introduce the following new blogger to you. I asked her to write a little something for me to post. She did and she did it perfectly. I shouldn't ever use that word but this is a close as it gets.

Everyone, met Elisabeth Joanne...you're going to see in just a few minutes exactly why I love this girl.

Thank you Elisabeth for coming into my life and making it sweeter.

Something Random - My First Blog - Filling the Void
The conversation had started so innocently. I was sitting in my mother's sunlit kitchen back in Wisconsin, snacking on grapes. I was home under the premise of "wanting family time." Reality was that I had recently broke up with yet another boyfriend and had to get away for a while.

"What do you want for your birthday this year?" My mother asked.

"I could use a nice set of pots and pans," I answered before thinking.

"What happened to ones we gave you last year?"

"Rick has them." Rick was the most recent ex boyfriend I had lived with. I could feel my mother's lecture come on before it even started.

"You know, you really need to stop living with men before you're married. You let them take everything from you, including your spirit."

"I know." I was surprised at how hollow and empty my response was.

My mind wandered back to something my father had told me as a teenager. I had been hell bent on self destruction, looking for ways to hurt myself physically to avoid the emotional pain I always seemed to feel. "Sometimes I wish my little girl didn't have such a big heart. Then it wouldn't hurt as bad when it broke." Perhaps there was some truth in his statement. I always felt like I had so much to give and was very generous with my heart and soul. Time and again this backfired, leaving me raw and empty.

"Are you even listening to me?" I heard my mother break into my thoughts. I hadn't been at all. Something about my normal sparkle and shine being gone. I nod. Yep mom, I let them take that from me too. I don't know what I have left anymore.

"What's it going to take to make you happy?"

She did not find humor in my response of whiskey and weed. Perhaps because she knew I wasn't joking. An akward silence followed. I stared out the window, watching a sparrow dance in the backyard birdbath. I wondered what it was thinking about.

Absentmindedly and half to myself I asked "When your soul is empty, how do you fill it back up?"

I hadn't realized I was crying until I saw a tear splash on the kitchen table.
--------------------------

That was just over a year ago now. Though my soul is still not back to its normal state, I know that I am moving in the right direction. This has not been an easy year. So much in my life has changed. A year ago, I would have never pictured myself here. Yet here I am, trying to fill the void with good, positive things. Everyday is a challenge. Every smile takes energy. I seek soul nourishment in all that I do and hope that in time, I will feel complete again.


Follow Elisabeth Joanne on Twitter ~ @elisabethjoanne
To follow Elisabeth's blog, go to
http://elisabethjoanne.blogspot.com and click Follow along top left side.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hope Now and a Little Gratitude

This song came on the radio this morning when I was getting ready for work. I've heard it many times before and thought it was nice but today, I listened to it.



Today my life is running parallel to the lyrics in this song. I am so grateful to have found my source of strength, comfort and serenity. That Something Within that has been there all my life watching over me, allowing my to fall but never abandoning me.



Thank you GAAWD for picking me up and bringing me to the place I never dreamed I could find. The place I was desperately searching for through the bottom of a bottle.


(Artist Niagra Detroit)

I'm glad I finally surrendered and gave It a chance.

HOPE NOW ~ by Addison Road

If everything comes down to love,
Then just what am I afraid of?
When I call out Your name,
Something inside awakes in my soul.
How quickly I forget I am Yours.

I am not my own. I've been carried by You,
All my life.


Everything rides on Hope now,
Everything rides on Faith somehow.
When the world has broken me down,
Your love sets me free.


When my life is like a storm,
Rising waters all I want is the shore,
You say I'll be ok and,
Make it through the rain.
You are my shelter from the storm.


Everything rides on Hope now,
Everything rides on Faith somehow.
When the world has broken me down,
Your love sets me free.


Lyrics snipped from newsreleasetuesday.com

Guest Post from Leslee Horner "Your People"

I met Leslee late last year on Twitter ( @lesleehorner ). I fell in love with her spirit right away. Since then, she's inspired me to become a vegetarian, a meditator, a reader, and a blogger.

Here's a post from her that I am honored to share.

Thank you Leslee for becoming such a great friend and a truly positive and rewarding influence in my life.


Here's a link to her inspirational blog "Waiting for the Click". http://lesleehorner.wordpress.com/


This post was originally written in October 2009.

*Your* People

I had a really hard week this past week. I was totally honest on my blog and it backfired. Well, it didn’t backfire so much as my truth didn’t fit with that of others. There were harsh words spoken (actually written) and I was caught off guard to say the least. But as the image that was held of me crumbled and a couple of “loved ones” fought tooth and nail against the “new” me, a beautiful thing occurred. My readers and friends started to stick up for me. Some of them shared how they could relate to my story. Others simply cheered me on for speaking up. A few defended me in a way that made their love and concern clear to me. And I had the incredible realization that I was finding *my* people.

I think attraction works in two ways, you attract those that are opposite and those that are like you. As you bring these people into your existence you are made acutely aware of what is in your heart. When you are with your opposites, you feel assaulted, uncomfortable, and uncertain. Their presence makes you question yourself. They make you take a closer look at what you value and desire in life. When you meet with your matches, you feel excited, loved, and ALIVE. You see all of their beauty and you want to wrap yourself up in it. They reflect everything good about you and you fall in love, not just with them but with who you are in their presence.

I believe that when you embrace who you really are - your passions, flaws, talents, mistakes - you begin to open up. Being authentic seems to send out some signal to the rest of the world. Suddenly, before your eyes people start showing up who share your beliefs and desires. You are suddenly aware that you are not alone and that you belong to a tribe.

I believe that all of us have a tribe. Sometimes your tribe consists of family or friends that have been with you from your earliest days. Sometimes it’s people who left and have returned. I’m also finding it can be made up of people from all over the world, some of whom you may never see face to face. But *your* people are definitely out there and the key to finding them is being true to yourself. Your peace and happiness are not worth compromising.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FEAR

My friend Leslee Horner has this amazing blog titled Waiting for the Click.
http://lesleehorner.wordpress.com/

My favorite quality about Leslee is that she has great insight to spiritual matters, not religious, but definitely spiritual.

She and I are doing a book study together. We are reading The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. We call each other on Monday night's and discuss the chapter for that week.

Last night we went over Part III which centerd around fear. We all experience it. What matters is how we deal with it.

For years, I personally ran from fear. I'd run emotionally from anyone that threatened to disturb my self-centered, self-destructive ways. I ran physically all over this beautiful country looking for a new beginning, only to run right back into myself. I ran spiritually because I had convinced myself that I was not worthy of God and that He/She/It absolutely had forgotten all about me, when in reality, it was me that had turned away from the Sunlight of the Spirit.

Back to the book. Here's one snipet that stuck out to both Leslee and I. I hope it does so for you too.
#15: "It (fear) is this personal devil which makes men fear the past, the present and the future; fear themselves, their friends and their enemies; fear everything and everybody. When fear is effectually and completely destroyed, your light will shine, the clouds will disperse and you will have found the source of power, energy and life."

The song "I can see clearly now the rain is gone..." is playing in my head but I digress.

Today, challenge yourself to face just one fear you have. Are you in fear of asking out that special girl that you're crazy about? In fear of saying "I love you" to your little sister? In fear of not doing your job perfectly? In fear of being true to yourself because of the risk of being rejected? In fear of speaking your mind? In fear of what other's think about you? In fear of not being liked? In fear of not fitting in?

Think about that one fear when it presents itself today. Ask that Something Within for a little strength and courage. Then face that fear head on, take action and see what happens.

F.E.A.R. = F*ck Everything And Run ~or~ Face Everything And Recover

Good Morning

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

I like to read daily devotionals in the morning. I always have 2-3 going at one time but each "meditation" gives me something special.

This morning, I choose to share from "Good Morning, 365 Positive Ways to Start Your Day" by Brooke Noel. If you need a positive shot in the arm each morning to set your day on the right path, I recommend this book.

Today's passage reminded me to keep being me. Often times, I am kind to others, happy-go-lucky, bubbly. More times than not, I do not get an in-kind response. This reminds me of a recent experiment I did at the office that I do not recommend if you don't want a quick trip to self pity land.

I am a receptionist. I wanted to test the "kindness" of others by seeing how many "hellos" and "good mornings" I would receive if I were not the first one to give them out when they walked in. It was a great experience in what not to do.

After receiving just one "Good morning, I'd like a decaf please", out of 19 people, I ended up in a world of self-centeredness and self pity. Not a way to start your long 8-hour work day.

What I had to press on to realize was it's not about me in the first place. Each person that walks into that office has a world of things on their mind. Maybe they are living in a troubled marriage. Maybe their biggest sale is about to fall through. Maybe they are having a bad hair day or their teenager just wrecked the family car. The point here is that it's not up to them to make me happy or to even share nice words. That's not why we are here. When I say here, I don't mean the office, I'm referring to being here, on this Earth for the short time we are.

It's about love. Now, you don't have to like everyone you meet along this path we're all trudging, but it is suggested that we love them. All the major religions in the world have this tucked away in their beliefs somewhere underneath all those man-made law's and must-do's.

It's about giving that smile, that listening ear, that hug, that eye contact. It's not about what we are given back in return. It's my job to take care of myself and to know that I am love. We all are, if we allow ourselves to be.

Even the grumpiest, biggest oof out there can show love, even if it's given out in the meanest, rudest way (trust me on this one).

In closing, here's another quote from Mother Teresa that I have framed on my wall next to where I read in the morning. I don't read it nearly as often as I should. But when I do, it puts things in perspective for me and my day ahead.

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. BE KIND ANYWAY.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. BE HONEST ANYWAY.
The good you do today many be forgotten tomorrow. DO GOOD ANYWAY.
Give the world the best you have though it may never be enough. GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. IT NEVER WAS BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tangled

"Sometimes we get overwhelmed with the details and complexities of our lives.

Sometimes we need some help to get untangled, to gain a new perspective.

Ask for help.

Help may come in human or divine form.

It may be seen or unseen.

Ask, and ye shall receive."
~ from God Wants You To Know

Friday, May 14, 2010

August 27, 1996

This is how it should have been:
"Hey Dad! Sure, sure, come on in. Sit right here like you used to when I was little.

How was your day? You look so tired. Are you feeling alright? No, no, I'm fine. Ed and I just had another fight, we'll be ok. He wanted me to leave him alone tonight so I came back here to rest. Thank you for always allowing me back home when I'm such a wreck.

So, can I get you anything? I never really see you hanging around in your under shirt. You always wear one of your funky "Cosby" sweaters. You just seem out of sorts is all. I guess that day in the garden with Mom really tuckered you out.

What? Oh that. Just my bandage from more laser work on this damn tattoo I never should have got. What a joke. I really regret getting it and am ashamed you and Mom had to find out about it. I've really fallen off the path you guys tried to set me on while raising me.

Hey! Stop that. You're not fat and you're not a whale. You always make me roll into you when you sit on my bed to say goodnight. It's just been years since you've had the chance.

Ok Dad, I'll keep Ned kitty with me tonight. We know how much she really loves sleeping on your head even though you're allergic to her. I find it adorable. Thank you for always letting Jamie and I have kitties around the house growing up.

Ok, you go get some rest. You look exhausted. Sleep tight Dad and sweet dreams. I promise not to wake you up tomorrow at the crack of dawn by tickling your toes that you leave hanging off the end of the bed.

Kiss Mom for me when you get in bed. I know she's already fast asleep.

And Dad, thanks for the talk. I've really missed being here since I went away to college. I'm know you don't approve of me staying with Ed. I appreciate you letting me live this life regardless of the consequences.

Ok Dad, goodnight. You can leave the door open a little bit. See you in the morning. I love you too!"

This is how it went:
"Oh, hey Dad. Ok, come in but I'm really tired. Ed kicked me out again so here I am. Hope you don't mind me crashing for the night. I'll be gone again tomorrow.

What? Oh it's just my bandage from more laser surgery on my tattoo. No big deal.

Yes I'll keep the cat with me. It's not my fault she likes sleeping on your head better.

Ok, goodnight. See ya in the morning but let me sleep in, k? What?...Oh yea, good night Dad."

That was at 8:00pm the evening of August 27, 1996. I had allowed meth and alcohol to take over the girl I used to be. The girl my father still saw underneath all the mess I had become.

Next thing I remember is my Mom frantically waking me up in the dead of night. I'll never forget the panic I heard in her voice "WAKE UP! There's something wrong with your father!!"

I ran into their bedroom. Dad was rocking back and forth, trying to stand and in tremendous pain mumbling about where the pain was. I could really remember is his hair being disshovled. It never was messy like that.

I took the phone from Mom, gave the address to the 911 operator and demanded that someone get here NOW! I ran outside to wait for the ambulance. It only took a few minutes before I could hear the sirens in the distance, paramedics climbing their way to my parents home in the Southern California hills.

Dad died at the hospital at 3:15AM the next morning. I never did get to tell him I loved him.



I love you Dad.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How Some Punk Rock Saved My Soul

This song carried me through the first few painful days (that turned into painful weeks) of my sobriety back in 2008.

I also have a secret crush on Mike Ness so that helped too.

SOCIAL DISTORTION ~ Angel's Wings


You say you’re down on your luck
Hey baby It’s a long, long way up
Hold back now, hold back your fears
You say you’re really down and out
And you feel like there’s no way out now
Let go now let go of your tears some more

How many times have you asked yourself?
Is this the hand of fate now that I’ve been dealt?
You’re so disillusioned this can’t be real
And you can’t stand now the way you feel

I don’t care about what they say
I won’t live or die that way
Tired of figuring out things on my own
Angel’s wings won’t you carry me home?

Chorus:
And when you’re down on your luck
Hey baby It’s a long, long way up
Hold back now, hold back your fears
And when you’re really down and out
And you feel like there’s no way out now
Let go now, let go of your tears some more

Repeat Chorus

I triumphed in the face of adversity
And I became the man I never thought I’d be
And now my biggest challenge, a thing called love
I guess I’m not as tough as I thought I was

I don’t care about what they say
I wanna marry you some day
Gonna wake up, it’s a brand new day
Angel’s wings gonna carry you away
Angel’s wings gonna carry me away
Angel’s wings gonna carry us away

Gonna carry us away
Gonna carry us away
Gonna carry us away
(credit to sing365.com)

Surrender

The next few blogs are going to be lyrics from songs that inspired me, opened my eyes, introduced me to my God, helped me stay sober in those first few weeks, that changed my attitude and that continue to do so.

If you have a chance to ever listen to some of these, I hope they can touch you with whatever trials you face.

I first heard this song the same year I was trying to stay sober. It was just what I needed to remind me that my God was going to take care of me and that everything was going to be ok. I just had to let "Him"...

SANCTUS REAL ~ Whatever You're Doing (Something Heavenly)


It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

[Chorus]
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...

[Chorus]
Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out
(credits to elyrics.net)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Strangers in Flight

Where are you going to? What are you running from?
Are you coming to Vegas for that crazy Bachelorette party where life long secrets will be made?
Are you coming back to the city from a weekend back East in the gorgeous mountains?
Are you traveling to see your Mother for the last time? Are you missing your Mother who passed years ago?
Are you the honeymooners dozing quietly in the back row knowing you've finally found true love?
Are you the guy in the bathroom line coming back from a weekend affair watching that couple wondering how you and your wife drifted so far away from that place?
Are you lost in peaceful dreams?
Are you buying more games on Family Feud?
Are you typing up your first draft of a long overdue amends letter?
Did you just spend your Mother's Day weekend saying goodbye to a dying loved one?
Are you wishing that crying baby would just stop wailing?
Are you the lonely Mom that would give anything to have her baby back after they were ripped from your life last year due to an illness?
Are you having another over priced drink wondering if that drink is having you?
Are you holding your sleeping toddler praying the plane will stay in the air for their sake?
Are you putting together last minute details to a kick-ass presentation that your career depends on?
Are you a teenager dreading that you have to spend part of the summer with your grandparents?
Are you a soldier heading off to war? Are you the hero returning for a two week reprieve?
Where are you going to? What are you running from?

As I lay in my ultra cozy, warm bed while my 5 year old sleeps soundly next to me without a care in the world, I watch your flight from my bedroom window. I wonder these things and more about each person on your plane, especially you.

I send up a prayer for all of you, to be able to find perspective in your trials, to find the serenity that has been bestowed upon me. I lay here in the dark watching the night sky for the next plane so I can do it all over again.

I smile and it clicks. It clicks with each blink of the planes lights. Everyone has a story. Everyone is fighting some kind of personal battle, no matter if it's self inflicted or the cause and effect of life itself.

The Click - be kind to everyone more than you want to as we are all connected somehow. We are all here for a purpose, even if it's just to learn kindness and tolerance for others, for yourself.

It's about time.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

TUGAAWD

"Tug a wad"? Nope. "To God"? Close. "What would tug do"?? Nice try.

It means Thank You God (God being spelled specifically with 2 A's for a reason).

It's my license plate and it reminds me every day to be thankful for the blessings in my life, even my 12 year old, falling apart 4x4 Toyota. They say those trucks can run forever so I'm testing out that theory.

Most days, I need lots of help from that Something Within with my gratitude. It's hardest on days where nothing is going my way and I want to stomp and pout like my 5 year old. Irony there is that I seem to do that much more than my 5 year old.

Today is not one of those days. I woke up with the golden morning light trying to make it's way through my closed bedroom shutters. It's warm glow was welcoming to another kick-ass day here in Vegas. TUGAAWD.

These last few days I have been experiencing some major gratitude thus leading me to be one heck of a happy camper. Here is where I'd like to share them with you.

One blessing in my life and the life of someone I love dearly is a victory over a tragedy that happened over 2 years ago. I have a very dear friend who was attacked in her own home my an unimaginable bastard who intended nothing but the worst for her. He didn't win. He didn't take this woman's integrity, her courage, her life. He had met his match once and for all. The police pumped 8 tazers into the scum just to bring him down after running out when they broke in the doors. That monster was sentenced to 40 to life without the possibility of parole yesterday. My friend will experience her first night of peaceful dreams in a long time. TUGAAWD.

http://www.ocregister.com/news/barton-246757-woman-life.html

Another victory, much smaller than the above but none the less, God had a hand in it. On Thursday of this week, I was at work trying to look busy. The thought "crossed my mind" to make a few calls about how to apply for a school zone variance for my daughter's upcoming school year. I had been meaning to make this call for a while but this day, that "voice" was pretty firm. Turned out the deadline for such applications was Friday and I needed to get moving if I wanted my daughter to have a decent school to attend in the fall. To spare you the specifics, I did the footwork that next morning and successfully enrolled my daughter in an all-day Kindergarten at a school that I never thought she could be lucky enough to attend. It's known in these parts as the school you want your kids to go to if you can't afford private. TUGAAWD.

I signed my daughter up for 12 weeks of YMCA summer camp. We have 3 wonderful, loving pets at home. The sunlight is still streaming in, lighting the room with a happy glow. My girl is sound asleep in her warm bed. I am getting healthy and fit again. My liver is no longer "on the blitz", my weight is down to healthy numbers, I feel pretty (oh so pretty), I am doing a book study with someone I greatly admire and who is showing my things that I need to grow my soul. I am meeting amazing people and going to lots of cool places during my stay in Vegas. Yes, I still hold on to the hope of moving someday to where there are oak trees and lightin' bugs. But now, I hold on loosely. TUGAAWD.

I put the bottle down over 2 years ago. It was hard to see anything from the bottom of it. One morning, I surrendered wholeheartedly and completely, allowing God to reach into my life and pick me up by the scruf, like a helpless kitten. He placed me where I could find the courage and strength to keep moving forward, one-day-at-a-time. He led me to a place where others trudged the road to happy destiny and I was introduced to the "we". It saved my life. It gave me a life I always wanted. It gave me a primary purpose and a reason to share it with others. TUGAAWD.

Today, I get to be grateful. Today, I get to say Thank You God. Today, I get to celebrate the people in my life. Today, I get to celebrate me. Today, I get to help others. Today, I get to LIVE, not simply exist.
TUGAAWD.