Saturday, February 28, 2009

Have Dog? Have Book? We'll Be Right Over!

It's early in the morning and the sun has risen.
I love the lengthening of daylight hours.
It's such a hopeful sight.

Dearest one and youngest son
are travelling all day to bring home
a little black male pug.
A playmate for the energizer bunny.
Looks like I'll have to figure out
a nickname for him, too.
I was adamant that I wasn't going to train a puppy.
Turns out this pug is a half brother to the energizer
and is a house trained 8 month old.
Should be fun around here tonight.

Only daughter's loverboy was in our neck of the woods this week.
One night youngest son met up with him so he could get a book
his sister had sent for him.
Loverboy looked at youngest son and said,
"Only your family would drive for a book."
Why yes, yes we would. (except dearest one)
We are still chuckling over that comment.
However strange we may seem,
we likes us some books.
And dogs.

Friday, February 27, 2009


I've been home alone most of the week.
Originally I was supposed to join dearest one in town
where we are house sitting.
Between the cold weather and being sick
I stayed home.
Dearest one's folks were looking forward
to keeping the energizer bunny
so youngest son took her there Tuesday night anyways.
So I've been alone, really alone, for days.

Today I need to go to town and get my yearly
squishfest torture done.
That would be a mammogram.
There is a history of pre menopausal
breast cancer in my family.
My mom has had it twice and a younger first cousin
had it a few years ago.
I've had four lumpectomies
but thankfully no malignancies.
I don't know how accurate mammos are
but they give me some level of comfort
even though there are a few moments
when I am cursing the torture necessary
to have the comfort.

It's been a good week. A steady week
where I've been in a good place
mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Having my heart turned towards God lays the foundation
for it all. And there's this weird dynamimc
where I know it takes God's grace to turn my heart
so I can't even take credit for that.

I am ready to stop being alone, though.
When the kids were little and I had some alone time
the increase in noise level when they came home
was always a rude awakening.
Like a shock to the system.
Within an hour it seemed normal again.

People noise means life is happening.
So in that way I like noise.
I don't like unnecessary yappy dog noise though.
Tomorrow we are getting the energizer bunny a friend.
He better not be yappy.
I hope she loves him.
The energizer bunny is dearest one's dog through and through.
Dearest one's mom wanted to show his dad how much so.
She said to the energizer bunny: "Where's (Dearest one)?"
Which is what I do when he comes home from work.
That's her cue to race to the window
and go completely beserk.
It's a nice kind of beserk.
Noise included.
There's so much love in her at that moment.
When my dear mother in law said this
just to show dad her sweet beserkness,
energizer bunny went racing full speed to the door,
beserkness engaged.
My mother in law felt sick.
She hadnt' realized how completely dearest one's the dog is.
So she picked her up and gave her some loving.
I can only imagine the beserkdom that is in store for her today.
It makes me smile just thinking about it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Under Where?

-48C with windchill factored in this morning.
That's -54F.
I'm thankful to be warm and safe inside.
I've been feeling a bit under the weather this week.
In between not sick enough to be in bed
and not well enough to carry on as normal.
Considering the temperature this morning I wonder
what feeling a bit under the weather really means?
Can a person be under -54F?
Would that be extra, extra frigid?
I can see I'm going off on tangents.
Okay, giving my head a shake.
Not too hard though because I'd really
like a day without a pounding headache.
Stay warm folks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bouncing Off My Insides

Ash Wednesday.
The beginning of my favourite season
of the church calendar.
Inward looking.
Outward actions.
Stuff that doesn't take a special season
to be reality, but a special season helps
me be more mindful.

I used to look for big accomplishments.
Change my whole world kind of thinking.
Impossible expectations.
They left me feeling a failure.
These days I hope to simply keep
putting one foot in front of the other
in a good direction.
"Repent and return to the gospel"
is a good direction.

The question that continues
to haunt me
is when Jesus asks,
"Who do you say that I am?"
There was a time when I felt answering that
took no more thought
than whatever the prescribed "right" answer was.
Today that question continues
to reverberate and
bounce off my insides.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Ultimate Power Trip

"..the surrender of our lives to a Higher Power is the greatest victory of which a human being is capable.....Surrender is the ultimate power trip."
~ Earnie Larsen in Destination Joy

Today I am grateful:

That I can stay home.
It's going to be close to -40C with windchill tonight.

That there is curling on TV this week.
I heart curling.

That surrender is my prefered state of being.
That a whisper to God is all it takes.
I don't know if I'll ever get over
the beauty of a surrendered life.

That even though my spoon supply
is lower than normal today
it is not the only thing on my radar screen.

That Lent starts tomorrow.
It is my favourite season of the year.

That I've learned that giving up attitudes
does more for my spiritual growth
than giving up things.

That I can do both
and live to tell about it.

That even though I feel like I'm getting a cold/flu
I don't have to make a real life drama of it.

That people care about me.
There were years when that carried me
cause I didn't care about myself.
I do today.
I thank God for that.

That I can care about others.
That I can even look outward.
There were years, too
when that was impossible.
And when navel gazing becomes my
modus operandi these days
I know it's only temporary.
I thank God for that, too.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What We Don't Know

"I guess that's what's so hard for me to get, the no hope. To think that, of all the potential scenarios out there, there's not a single good one? It just seems like we - human beings - know so much, but it's nothing compared to what we don't know. The universe surprises us, right? That's just what it does. So how could she be so one hundred percent positive that nothing good would happen?..."

~ Dev in Belong To Me

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reaching Out

That's how I feel tonight.
It's been a day of good connections.
Someone in AA reaching out a hand towards me
and me reaching out to another.
My friend Ron used to tell me
help is only a hand away.
If you read those three links
you'll see how our paths crossed.
How his suicide still haunts me.
I'll wait.

Dearest one mentioned Ron the other day
and grief rose up without warning,
tears pricking my eyes.
It's been 10 years since the cops tossed the ziploc bag
that held his pack of smokes, a bloody thumb swipe
marring its outside, onto the counter.
I think of Ron when the phone feels too heavy
and I don't want to reach out a hand.
I didn't plan on writing about him tonight.

Ron never took me too seriously.
That used to piss me off royally.
The madder I got at him for that
the louder he laughed.
It's harder to take oneself seriously
when someone is laughing at you.
But I sure did try.

Fearless And Thorough

Good roads this morning.
Which means going to town is doable.
Someone in my home group AA meeting
is celebrating a birthday
which makes for a great meeting.

I am grateful to be sober this morning.
When I wrote this post
the other day some thought it meant I
went out and got drunk.
It didn't.

I have other addictions that seem to be
my pressure relief.
If they go all to shit
then drunkenness will eventually
be my reality.
Which is what got me back to AA
in the first place.
The shame of one of those addictions
nearly ended up with me blowing
my sobriety a few years ago.
God help me not do that.

I didn't appreciate AA before that.
I only liked saying I was a member.
Which was a lie.
I wasn't a member.
Not really.
In the sense that I had a desire to stop drinking,
In the sense that I wanted to do any of the hard work
it takes to have quality of sobriety, no.
Hadn't been to a meeting in nearly 10 years.
I only liked the appearance of being a member.
I hope I never forget the humbling feeling
when I walked back into the rooms.
And the relief.

By the grace of God
I finally was ready to stop looking for
an easier, softer way.
Ready to learn from anyone,
even those I didn't especially like.
And when someone with 24 hours of sobriety
was honest and real, I felt slapped in the face
with how little I knew of being honest and real.
There came a desperate feeling that if I didn't learn
to be honest and real I was going to get drunk.
God is good.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Simple, D'oh!

As I laid in bed this morning
praying the 7th step prayer
I also talked to God about other things.
A very simple answer came to me.
Which made me smile
because I had been looking
for a complicated one.

You Are Great

This video is 16+ minutes long and well worth it.
It made me smile.

ht to Biscotti Brain

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Of Padlocks And Porn

I've written before about how I don't like to be alone at night.
Being alone at night is when I am most tempted
to throw my abstinence
from sexual addiction away.
I was alone this past weekend
and did exactly that.

I read this post this morning and identified immediately with the thoughts within it except last weekend I went from feeling pin pricked beyond bearable right into chucking my abstinence out the window.
I tried my damndest to numb the pin pricks away.
It. didn't. work.
Of course not.
The committee in my head can never deliver what it tells me it can.

Yesterday as I sat hashing this out with my therapist I said
I felt disappointed
that the high I was looking for didn't materialize.
The addiction doesn't have the same power it used to.
After the second night it lost its charm.
And although this time around
the bungee jump ride to the bottom
was much higher than it's been in the past,
what is making red flags scream at me
is that I felt relieved that I relapsed.
It was as if it jolted me awake.
There's something so sick to that thinking
that it still's freaking me out.
Why did it take relapse to make me go back to doing those things on a daily basis that I need to do so that relapse isn't even on my radar screen?
Why didn't I do them when I first realized
(weeks and weeks ago) that I was playing with fire?

Last night dearest one and I went out
for a belated anniversary dinner.
I knew I needed to fess up about my slip.
I didn't want to.
Earlier in the day my therapist and I had talked
about how hard taking emotional risks is for me.
We talked about my reasons for
telling dearest one of my slip.
That it felt like keeping secrets if I didn't.
And how secrets are the slipperiest of slopes.

After I'd fessed up, dearest one
said it had nothing to do with him.
I'd just made myself vulnerable to the core
and he had no feelings about it.
I replied that if he had himself
a little porn addiction
then I think I'd have some feelings about it.
Phrasing it that way helped him see that maybe
there are some feelings buried deep inside him.
He looked at me and said, "Do we really want to go there?"
I thought he was saying it as in "ever?"
It took me a few moments to clue in that
he meant "right now, right here in Denny's?"

Sometimes this journey feels like a strip tease.
A dance of 'this is part of who I am'
'this is how much of me I'll let you see'
'the rest I'm keeping close to my chest for safekeeping'.
We've both played it well.
And while it feels like a long, winding road
to expose ourselves to one another,
both of us are committed to going forward.
For that I am extremely grateful.
He assures me that the conversation
will happen, just not yet.
I said that I will be both scared and relieved
when that day comes.
Scared because his pain is not mine to fix.
What's done is done.
And saying sorry seems so lame.
Relieved because when he bears this part of his soul
he will be relating to me out of his core being,
the place we store our pain for safekeeping.
Our core beings are beautiful.
Weird how that works.
This man is never more beautiful to me than when he
takes the padlock off his heart
and lets me in.

I've let this post sit here for several hours
torn between delete and publish.
I rarely talk about my recovery journey
when it comes to sexual addiction
on here anymore.
It's humbling to let you in.

Sound Familiar?

Who's to Blame?

by Terence Grant

"We want to hold something or somebody else responsible for our misery, but unless we choose to be responsible, we'll never grow up. There's a story I heard about a construction worker. At lunchtime one day on the job, the worker opened his lunch box and said, "Oh, no, chicken salad again!" The next day he had chicken salad, and he reacted the same way. The same thing happened on the next day after that, and the next. Finally, a co-worker who heard these repeated complaints said, "If you can't stand the chicken salad, why don't you get your wife to make you something else for lunch?" The man replied, "Oh, I'm not married. I make these lunches myself."

There's truth in that story. We play the victim. We live as if we're buffeted and bruised by this arbitrary world.... We look outside ourselves for the source of our unhappiness, but we're looking in the wrong place. The source is always within us."

Source: The Silence of Unknowing

via inwardoutward

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Painful Trust

"The emotions are energy, and they don't go away if repressed. They are stored in the body. The body is the storehouse of emotional energy that is not adequately processed. As a result, one develops blockages to the healthy flow of energy in the body and nervous system. This reinforces the need for compensatory activity to hide the pain. Addictions are the ultimate way of distracting oneself from the emotional pain one is unwilling to face."
~ from Intimacy With God, by Fr. Thomas Keating

"Without trust in God, we cannot acknowledge the dark side of our personality,our mixed motivation, and our selfishness in its raw misery. Deep prayer increases our trust in God so that we can acknowledge anything and are not blown away by it. Without that trust, we maintain our defense mechanisms."
~ Also from Intimacy With God

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feeling Support

The energizer bunny was out of sorts all weekend with dearest one gone on a men's retreat. Two nights in a row she sat crying in the bay window looking for him to come home. Yesterday she was in full blown mourning. Poor thing. She understandably nearly turned herself inside out when he came home last night. We let her sleep in our bed. Dearest one told me through bleary eyes this morning that we let her sleep with us for her sake not ours. Amen to that. My God, she has nocturnal ADHD if there is such a thing. She's snoring away as I type.

It was wonderful to have dearest one home again. I love nothing better than to clean, clean, clean when I have the house to myself. I had a pretty good balance between work and play over the weekend. My house hasn't been this clean in a very long time, though. Dearest one looked around and said to me, "Were you bored?"
I even made the bed. Most people probably make the bed every day. I don't. I don't care, either. I can crawl into a bed and if there are covers to cover me all is well. Dearest one, on the other hand, comes to bed, looks at the disarray and says, "this will never do." I then grumble about having to get out of bed so he can straighten all the covers out. It's a near nightly game we play. Last night we didn't have to. Wonders never cease.

I have had a on again, off again relationship with centering prayer for the past year. I start it, I get scared, I run the other way. I start again, I make it through a week or so, I get scared, I run the other way. I did manage it for most of Lent last year and for a few months afterwards. I know of no other discipline that puts me in the here and now so quickly. I ordered a timer CD that starts with gregorian chant and then has the 20 minutes of silence and then gently comes back to gregorian chant to let you know a session is over. I put it into my computer yesterday and thought to myself what a weird place to do centering prayer, sitting in front of my computer. Usually I do it at the tail end of a yoga session. But I started anyway and stuck with it. Before long I noticed I was sitting ramrod straight and decided to ease back into my desk chair. I noticed the chair back wrapping around me as if it was hugging me. As I let the chair embrace me a thought popped into my head "It's okay to feel support." Well. That sentence came out of nowhere and had so many ramifications for me that I cried on and off for the remainder of the 20 minutes. Fr. Thomas Keating says that emotions are energy and what we suppress is stored in our body. Sometimes in centering prayer it surfaces. Tears no longer scare me. They did for much of my life. I'm learning to honour them and let them be. Who knows what those tears were yesterday. I'm okay with that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Take Peace!


by Fra Giovanni Giocondo

I salute you. I am your friend,
and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you
which you have not. But there is much,
very much, that, while I cannot give it,
you can take. No heaven can come to us
unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take heaven! No peace lies in the future
which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a
shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach,
is joy. There is radiance and glory
in darkness, could we but see.
And to see, we have only to look.
I beseech you to look!

Source: Part 1 from "Letter to a Friend," written on Christmas Eve, 1513

via inward outward

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Karma Schmarma

"Make your own blankety blank coffee."

I said it real snarky.
I refused to see the instant hurt in his eyes.
This gentle man who asks for so little.
He came in and made the coffee.
That was 27 years ago.
I'd just moved into dearest one's humble little abode
when he'd stuck his head in the door
and asked me to put the coffee on
because his uncle was coming in for a cup.
I wasn't a maid.
I didn't drink coffee.
Who did he think he was, telling me to make coffee?
Lord have mercy.

Dearest one was raised in a culture
where women wait on men hand and foot.
I had me a little attitude going on.
I'd seen his dad in action;
how the women got up from the table and
fetched whatever he wanted as if his legs didn't work.
I thought I'd make it clear from the start
I wasn't going to be one of them women.
I had no idea dearest one wasn't
a "bossing women around" kind of man.
We'd only been together a few weeks.
And had never had coffee together.
I still don't drink coffee.
And though I rarely make it,
I have learned that being kind
in thought and action
is a better use of my energy
than snarky comebacks.
Lord have mercy.

Yesterday morning, before we left for town,
youngest son made a pot of coffee.
He filled his cup just before we headed out the door.
He and dearest one are away until Monday night.
I never gave the coffee pot another thought.

I burnt my popcorn a little bit last night in the microwave.
This morning I got up and wondered to myself
if I had possibly burnt it more than I remembered.
All morning the burnt smell got stronger and stronger.
I nearly washed the microwave out just to get rid of the stench.
Silly me.

Eventually I noticed the red light on the coffee maker
trying to get my attention.
I looked and saw charred coffee remains in the pot.
They were all poufy like they'd been backcombed into a beehive.
I didn't know coffee could burn itself into such a state.
The coffee filter had burnt, crispy marks around the top edges too,
like it was about to go up in smoke.

27 years is a long time to wait.
Karma really is a bitch.
Better it than me.

Being Nice

I don't know how it is for you but I know in my gut when someone is loving me with real love instead of that fake, ego feeding impostor kind of love. I have reacted, sometimes violently, to real love. Nothing breaks down my walls quicker than that love which comes from beyond ourselves. It leaves me feeling both vulnerable and empowered. So, as much as I can belly ache about it, I prefer the real deal no matter how difficult it is sometimes to embrace it. Happy St. Valentine's Day y'all. (See what kind of influence you're having on me? Lordy, no one says y'all this far north. I have never heard it said outloud ever, except in movies. Gonna have to fix that one day.)

Being Nice, and Other Barriers to Love

by Alan Jones

One of the most damaging things about the popular view of love is that it requires being nice all the time. I don't think that I am a particularly nice person. In fact, one of the reasons that I count myself among the believers is that I cannot rely on my being nice to pull me through.

Being nice is closely allied, of course, to being liked. The two go together. If I'm not nice you won't like me, and if you don't like me then there is no chance of love springing up between us. This kind of reasoning breeds dishonesty because it means that "love" becomes a code word for avoiding confrontation or disagreement....

~continue reading at inwardoutward

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hopeful Possibilities

I have to crank out a resume before I head to town in a few hours.
I'm undecided about the job I'm applying for, but figure I'll apply
and see what happens next.
I believe one can make a positive difference
wherever they work.

I'll also be at the treatment centre this morning to join a friend
celebrating the end of her stay there.
She has the same counselor I had when I was there.
This will be my first time of seeing said counselor
since I completed the same program a year and a half ago.

The testosterone in my home is going to be away
for the weekend.
I'll be fine until nightfall.
I'll be fine then, too.
I just prefer not to be alone at night.
I am looking forward to
not cooking. If I lived alone I would cook up a storm
once a week and stick all those meals in the freezer and
defrost them as needed. I have a whack of food allergies
so I usually am cooking one meal for me and one for the guys.
I have a stash of meals for me in the freezer right now so
the microwave will be my buddy this weekend.
I don't care if I eat the same thing for days on end.

Yesterday was our anniversary and tomorrow is Valentine's day.
We got married on a Friday;
would've been married on Valentine's Day
but it was Sunday
and dearest one only had the weekend off.

Well, my resume is still waiting to be written.
Life is full of possibilities.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sensible Insanity

Twenty seven years ago there was no walk down the aisle, no wedding dress, no wedding rings. Instead we walked up to the Justic of the Peace's home and knocked on the door. With us was an elderly bachelor friend dressed in his go to town shirt of bright blue gingham.

The Justice of the Peace invited us in and asked us about the necessary second witness. We looked at each other and at him and shrugged our shoulders. We just wanted to get married. We had no idea you needed two witnesses. Luckily his daughter was home and agreed to sign for us.

Next he wondered about rings. We looked at each other and at him and shrugged our shoulders again. We just wanted to get married. I took off my engagement ring and we used that, changing it from one hand to the other. Suited us just fine.

I was laying in bed last night thinking of that day. It's complicated why we chose the way we did to get married. I'm sure there were many family members thinking I was pregnant and that we'd moved our wedding date up nearly 2 and a half years for that reason. I'd just been released from the hospital. The doctors had told me then, due to the serious STDs they'd treated me for, that they couldn't guarantee I'd ever get pregnant. Not that I went around telling people that bit of information. I can just about see dearest one's family blanche in horror had I been so forthright. Dang, I missed a chance to shock them. I didn't let many of those go buy back then.

In what seems like a weird bit of logic, considering parts of my past, I just didn't want to live with dearest one without being married. I'd moved into his humble abode (no running water, no bathroom) barely two weeks before and I knew I didn't want to continue this way. It had never been in my plans. His family dynamics were of the sort that if his family came to our wedding when they hadn't gone to his younger brother's, well, we'd wanted to side step that mess of anger and resentments. Both of them married outside of dearest one's family's faith and that was serious business. So much so that dearest one's parents tried to convince him the night before our marriage, while I was downstairs in their house having a nice hot shower, to not marry me at all. Dearest one and I had been together about 6 weeks at the time. I'd spent three of those weeks in the hospital. I don't blame them a bit. I've told them so since. I had no clue how sacred marriage was and I wasn't going to listen to anyone tell me anything anyway. I was in loooove, what else was there to know?

I did have a beautiful to me dress. One that was most immodest in my soon to be mother-in-law's eyes. I still smile when I think of how she insisted I wear her sweater (because it was cold, she said) when I went to take off my coat at her church a few weeks later, nearly exposing my immodesty to her world. I liked a little shock value back then even though in my eyes the dress was beautiful. Do you remember ribbon dresses? They had a matching full silky slip underneath that was visible through the see through gauzy ribbon like material? I went on to buy a second ribbon dress; I loved them so much.

We stumbled through our vows. We signed on the dotted line. We went out and got drunk. During our supper of three, our 77 year old best man proclaimed in his toast to us, that it was the most sensible wedding he'd ever seen. He never stopped telling people that.

And so here we are.
By the grace of God.
Had we not turned to God.
Had I not sobered up.
Today would be another kind of post entirely.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spring Is A Coming

I'm grateful for the full moon that peeks in my window while I sleep.
Full moons are hopeful things.
It's a return to winter out there this morning
but spring is a coming.
The worst is almost over.
I hope I don't regret typing that
or have to eat my words.
I get to attend a mid week AA meeting today.
That's a hopeful thing, too.
I did yoga yesterday for the first time in ages.
I slept like a baby last night.
As long as I don't act like one
it's all good.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Driven Up The Wall

"Community is caring for people, but of course as soon as we start caring for people, we know that there are some people who will just drive us up the wall. Some we will really like, because they think like us. Then we risk falling into a world of mutual flattery. We are all so much in need of affection that when somebody gives it to us we want to hold onto it. Then we say to the other person, "You're wonderful! Keep at it! Keep flattering me! You know, it's nice." We're like little cats who need to be caressed. We then begin to pur.

But flattery doesn't help anyone grow. It doesn't bring freedom but rather closes people up in themselves. We are attracted to certain people, and others put us off. We don't get on well with them. They trigger off our anguish. Perhaps they remind us of our fathers and mothers who were too authoritarian or possessive. Some people threaten us, others flatter us. Some meetings are joyful, and others are painful. When we begin talking about caring for people, then we begin to see how difficult it can be. In community we are called to care for each member of the community. We can choose our friends but we do not choose our brothers and sisters; they are given to us whether in family or in community.

We may be called into or choose a particular community, but once we are in community, the brothers and sisters are given. Some will get on our nerves, others will attract us. But community means caring for each one. If we let ourselves be attracted to those who flatter us or who are like us, who share our ideas, then we won't grow. Growth will come as we come closer to people who are different from us and as we learn to welcome and listen even to those who trigger off our pain."

~ Jean Vanier in From Brokenness To Community

This piece comes from one of my very favourite books.
It is one of a handful I would grab
if I had to choose just a few.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Questions Anyone?

Lucy has this delightful meme on her blog and I jumped up and down and asked for questions. Here's how it works. I read Lucy's blog about this exercise. I asked to be interviewed. Lucy sent me the following five questions, which will be answered in this post.'s your turn. If you want to play, either on the comment section to this post, or in an email to me, just let me know you would like to be interviewed. I will then dream up some questions with whatever info about you I can gain from your blog or other sources that you give me. Hopefully you'll have fun exploring the questions on your blog. So, here are the questions Lucy posed to me and my answers:

#1. Your 'wildly perfect place' post touched me deeply. It was written nearly five years ago. Can you articulate today, what your relationship with "perfectionism" is? How do you define perfect for you?

I am much easier on myself today than when I wrote that post. Back then I was just beginning to break free from the grips of perfectionism. I think self acceptance is directly related to how perfectionistic I am in the moment. When self loathing is not my friend then perfectionism isn't either. When self loathing is front and center then perfectionism knocks at my door. There was a time when perfectionism was a warm blanket feeling to me. Striving for it made me feel better about myself. Today when I feel perfectionism nipping at my heels it is a warning bell that something is off within me. I used to spend so much energy trying to arrange life so that I could be at peace within myself. It never delivered what it promised, no matter how hard I tried. That didn't stop me from trying though. Today I have a much deeper sense that who I am, in this moment, is enough. Being at peace is as near a definition of perfection as I can put into words.

#2. Tell me about your little angel you use for your moniker. Do you have other angels in your life?

That little angel is from Willow Tree's collection of angels. I don't remember who bought it for me, or if I bought it for myself, but I have a collection of their angels which I have around my home. They have almost all been gifts.

When I was 10 years old I went to a Salvation Army Bible Camp. I remember not wanting to leave. It was my first memory of ever crying in front of others, for reasons that had nothing to do with being hurt, but tears of repentance. One night when everyone was asleep I saw an angel up in the rafters. The next morning I told many of the adults there what I'd seen but none of them believed me. Years later God reminded me of that time. A few years ago I had an experience with an angel. I was freaked out about a situation I was in, had even asked Fr. Charlie for some holy water before hand (he told me, half jesting, that if anything weird happened not to call him!) To make a long story short, I saw an angel come stand before me and its wing unfolded and covered me from head to toe, as Psalm 91:4 came to mind.

#3. Your list of movies is fabulous (in my humble opinion.) So, what's your favorite scene in "Love Actually?" Your favorite characters? Or, if you like, why is it one of your favorite movies?

I had to go look for the movie on youtube to find my favourite scene as I don't own my own copy of this movie. My favourite scene is after Emma Thompson has opened, what she thought would be a gold necklace, only to find a CD by Joni Mitchell (Joni and I share the same hometown.) Emma Thomspon then goes to the bedroom and the line "I've looked at love from both sides now." plays from Joni's CD. That scene sums up so many of the pivotal points in life. That moment when what you think is reality is shown to be something else and it forces you to reevaluate your whole life.

# 4. I loved this question in my interview, so here it is for you: If you wrote a play about your life and it was performed who would you want to play the leading lady?

When I read this on your blog I thought about it for myself and Meryl Streep came to mind right away. There have been times in my life when people have said I bear a slight resemblance to her. I also like that she doesn't seem to take the whole celebrity stuff to heart too much. She is ordinary which I like. I would want someone to play me who was gritty, who had a little edge to them. I had a saleslady help me last week who spoke in a false nice nice voice and it nearly drove me batty. I left the store wondering how much unresolved anger she had stuffed deep down inside. I was her once upon a time.

I've seen myself played in a stage play and have no wish to do so again, although in all fairness it was one chunk of my life played out on stage, and as I type this I am remembering how much healthier it is not to reject any part of my life. I'm still working on that.

#5 If you had only one quote to describe the true essence of you, what would it be?

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

New Again

This new to me video has been playing over and over while I browse the internet. It touches me deep within and I feel a softening of my spirit as I listen.

Hopeful Reality

"The pain between my shoulder blades has disappeared."

Instantly tears well up in my eyes.
I know so well how stuffing my emotional pain
makes my physical pain skyrocket.
She's sharing this with me in the very building
I learned how these two corelate, too.
I want to sit there and sob but I don't.
I do let the tears spill down my cheeks.
I've learned to honour my tears,
instead of apologizing for them.
They're part of my story.
Just not the whole story.

So it went at the treatment centre today.
Visiting someone who is in the same program I took part in
not so long ago.

It's been a good and exhausting day.
I went back to sleep this morning only to wake up
and feel like I'd been pummelled mercilessly.
It hurt to move.
My heart was doing its race around the track.
I nearly stayed home but figured
it might be wise to go somewhere
so I could refocus.
I was wanting to whine and curl up in a ball
yet I thought going to a meeting might be more
therapeutic than staying home.

Just before I woke up I'd been dreaming
that a whole group of AAers
came to my house and trashed it.
Ransacked it from one end to another
and broke my most treasured possessions.
They were everywhere, in the house and out in the yard.
They tore down a wall in my porch right to the studs.
One asked me what direction they could shoot a gun after dark.
It was a very weird dream.
Ya think?

This morning there was a newcomer at my home group.
My sponsor kicks ass when she chairs a meeting.
I love to hear her speak to newcomers.
Newcomers from last week,
came back and filled a chair today.
Their countenances were clearer than last Saturday.
A glimmer of hope was visible in their eyes.
I was glad I was there to witness that.

A hot shower and a cup of tea,
curling up on the couch.
That's my plan for the evening.
I am grateful for the day.
For the journey.
And glad that this morning's dream
is nowhere near reality.

Not So Fast

I need sleep.
Insomnia is a curse.
At least that's my verdict
at this time of day.

Today is my home group meeting,
provided the roads are okay.
Yesterday they were ice covered
most of the way to town.
I am not very brave
when it comes to winter driving.

I have someone to go visit
at the treatment centre after the meeting.
I love that place.
It took me 3 months after treatment
to drive by and not wish I was still there.
Today will be my first time back.
I wonder how that will feel.

I am grateful for many things this morning
despite my fog brain sleepy headedness.
Well, it's more like my body is screaming for sleep
and my brain is wagging a finger
and saying, "unh, unh, unh, not so fast."
I can't seem to make them get along.

I am grateful for the lengthening of daylight hours,
that it's still light out at supper time.
I'm also grateful that it gets dark enough at night
for the Christmas lights to still do their pretty dance.
Mid summer there will be no black inky darkness to be found.
I am grateful that dearest one is a toucher.
Just a hand on my shoulder as he passes
makes me feel loved.
If you only knew what a miracle that is.
Me and touch have been enemies longer than not.
I love me some sunrises.
They have been spectacular lately.
Deep pink and purple.
I hope I'm sleeping when it happens today though.

Sleep or no sleep,
it's a good day to be alive.

Friday, February 06, 2009

One Voice

"I would know the joy of Abundance.
My voice said, know first of God.
I would know of God.
My voice said, know first of faith.
I would know of faith.
My voice said, know first of trust.
I would know of trust.
My vioce said, know first of self.
I would know of self.
My voice said, know first of silence.
I would know of silence.
My voice said, I am afraid.
A deeper voice still said,
Good, you have begun."

Written byEarnie Larsen

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I suddenly feel like singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer..."
Thank God you can't hear me sing because it would hurt your ears. I like to remind myself that the Good Book says make a joyful noise unto the Lord. It says nothing about being in key. When there are only 5 of us at Mass I always feel sorry for whoever is closest to me because there is no way to camouflage my voice.

This is my 900th post. Which is what prompted the song above.
One nine went looking for another and well,
that song popped into my head.
I feel pretty good about
still being here in blogland (without any beer!).

I originally started this blog to see if I could actually write.
It's been one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Despite my periodic angst about
what's the point of honing my navel gazing skills.
But here I am.
And here you are.

I just went and read the post I linked to above.
I wish I could remember who said these words to me:

"You are the closest thing to 'Jesus with skin on' in my life. But I know you aren't perfect cause you say words like 'fuck'."

I took that as a huge compliment back then.
I try to limit my use of swear words these days.
I used to think that swearing was some sort of defence
against being one of "them religious types".
These days I know there is no virtue in "us and them" thinking.
As for swearing. Some times nothing else will do.

At any rate we're all in this together as the Archbishop of Canterbury put it so well:
"The person sitting next to me, praying next to me is someone in whom Jesus is praying. I try to listen to the voice of Jesus at prayer in them. I try to see the force and energy of Jesus's life in them," he said.

"And when I try to dismiss them or make little of them, when I speak harshly to them or about them, I am in danger of destroying that place which is a place where Jesus is."

Lord have mercy.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Whatcha Lookin' For?

There is much to be grateful for this morning.
Every mornning really.
You get what you look for.
Don't tell me that when I'm bitchy though,
'cause I might throw something at you.

Even though I know that if you look for the negative
that's all you'll see.
Look for the positive
and it appears like magic.
When I accept life as it is,
it suddenly seems much less overwhelming.

When I start listing things I'm grateful for
it always boils down to being glad I'm alive.
I read this last night before bedtime
and felt sick for Amy and her children.
Whenever I hear of someone dying suddenly I think to myself
"Their nightmare is just beginning" because that's what
a sudden death feels like.
Wish I didn't know that, but I do.

Go hug someone.
Phone someone and tell them you love them.
Be kind for no reason at all.
Breathe deeply.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Grace Filled Courage

I am grateful that most nights I sleep right through the night.
That makes this night of insomnia easier to accept.

I am grateful that the weather is spring like.
The road is too icy to walk on but
the temperature is so full of hope.
My mood is lifting with the weather.
I tend to beat myself up for the weather affecting me.
Try as I might I simply am not grateful
when it's between 30 and 45 below zero.
Well, grateful to be alive and in a warm house, yes,
and for many other things,
but not grateful that it's cold.

Next week dearest one and I will celebrate
27 years together.
We eloped, sort of.
Phoned our folks and told them:
"We're getting married next Friday and we're not inviting anyone."
We stumbled through our vows.
Forgot that we needed rings.
I promised to take dearest one as my awful wedded husband.
We dared not glance at each other at that point.
We would have had uncontrollable fits of laughter.
That's what happens when you get married as a teenager.

This past year has had us dig deeper than ever
into our issues.
At times they seem to be a bottomless pit.
The good news is that both of us have taken ownership
of stuff we have long pointed fingers at each other about.
You know, that old lie - "if only you would (change, grow up, do it my way, lighten up and on and on).....then I would (be happy, be nice, be responsible, be much easier to live with and other such nonsense)....."

Courage is the word I would use to describe this past year.
We've both had more courage than we ever thought possible.

Boy, I never planned on writing about my marriage
when I sat down to type.
But I'd glanced at the calendar and saw my anniversary date
highlighted in red and some days
that's all it takes for my thoughts to go sideways.
I am no expert on marriage, that's for sure.
But I am grateful for the almost 27 years that is my reality.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Erasing The Tapes

"I shared how I moved out of the house because you and I had a falling out."

Youngest son is telling me about his personal sharing in a talk he is preparing for a men's weekend coming up. I nod my head and act normal but inside me old, worn tapes are gearing up to go around and around. The kind of tapes that tell me a pity party is my only sane choice. I totally forget what an old friend used to tell me - "enjoy that pity pot while you're on it Hope, 'cause you won't be there forever." At which I used to look at him with a FU glare for raining on my parade and then continue on with my pity party.

Which is what I was preparing to do on Friday. The old tapes in my head go something like this: "I am so sick of being the bitch. Being the parent that gave our kids so much baggage they can hardly put one foot in front of the other. Dearest one, isn't it your turn for a while? Why can't you be the parent they have issues with for a change?"

And on and on.
No wonder the tape is worn.
I've hit replay countless times since my kids reached adulthood.

And I would have played it again on Friday night but just as I was giving dearest one a hug and was getting ready to vent, a thought popped into my head. "What if you simply accepted reality? That you really were the bag who gave them that baggage? What if you did that instead of looking to side step reality?"

That thought was so swift and in my face that I stopped the tape before it had a chance to begin. For the first time I had a different conversation in my head. I admitted that well, dearest one, hadn't been a whatever the male equivalent of being a bitch is, to the kids. He hadn't been physically, emotionally or verbally abusive like I had been. Nor had he been control freakish or mean. I can't carry their baggage for them nor can I heal it. But I can stop having pity parties over reality. No doubt my chilluns have their own issues with their dad but their issues with me are there for a reason. By the grace of God my ego deflated enough for me to admit this and the old familiar tape not only stopped but I chucked it.
Well, almost.
Ego deflation doesn't leave without a fight.

I could not help myself. I later asked youngest son if he had at least told the men somewhere in his talk that I had changed and that things were different now. He looked at me and said, "Nope. To do so would have meant telling your story (of addiction and recovery) and that's not my business."

Lord have mercy.