Sunday, December 28, 2008

word for 2009 :thrive:

i have been praying for a word for 2009 the past month. a few weeks ago my blogger friend, the onion boy, owen had surgery and i checked up on him on facebook and saw his signature word :thrive: there. i thought "oh that's such a beautiful word - maybe that could be my word for this year"... then that little critical voice in my head said "oh sure, pick a nice, easy word - who doesn't want to thrive? isn't that a bit selfish of a word for the year? maybe your word should have something to do with hard work instead of something easy?" ah the critical voice, so painful and crushing, eh?

so i set the word aside waiting for another. it kept circling back in my thoughts. thrive... thrive... i really liked it, but again it felt selfish.

another facebook friend had posted that she was thinking about her word for the year in her update and i commented that thrive was whirling through my head, but i hadn't really had enough confirmation to pick it yet. after posting that i sat down with the novel i am reading "The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver and came upon the chapter where she takes Turtle to the doctor - the term "failure to thrive" appeared 3x in that chapter. it was enough of a confirmation that this was the word, failing another pressing itself into my world, for 2009.

we stayed home and played hooky from church today. i had purchased liam 'praying in color' for christmas and we took time today to make art and pray in color as a family. it was a beautiful time.

this has been a season of loss in my family. one of my cousins dropped dead of a massive heart attack last week, and another is struggling for life in the hospital as i type (unless he passed mercifully last night). both are/were only 50ish. neither had shown any signs of sickness. my art page had the name of my cousin and his mom (my favorite aunt) and images surrounding their names that were meaningful to me.

after we finished our pieces i was still feeling artsy (and liam had included his possible word for 2009 on his art) so i thought to make a page featuring "thrive". i got a bit stumped on the art front and headed toward the word front and looked up THRIVE at thesaurus.com:

Main Entry: thrive

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: do well

Synonyms: advance, arrive, batten, bear fruit, bloom, blossom, boom, burgeon, develop, flourish, get ahead*, get fat, get on*, get places, get there, grow, grow rich, increase, make a go, mushroom*, progress, prosper, radiate, rise, score*, shine, shoot up, succeed, turn out well, wax

Antonyms: decline, fail, languish, lose

(the "get fat" one made me laugh out loud! i plan on that being only a metaphor for the fatness of my soul!)

these past years have been about establishing a good root system that can sustain this "thriving" - maybe this year can be about what grows from that?

thank you owen - i hope you don't mind me borrowing your word! :D

image source

Saturday, December 20, 2008

peace on earth

this picture was one of those that my son decided to jump into as seems to be his habit lately. he's a bit of a ham. i was getting frustrated with him as he was WRECKING ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT DAMMIT, JUST SMILE AT THE CAMERA AND LOOK LIKE YOU'RE HAVING FUN ALREADY!...

sigh...

turns out i like this picture more than most i took that afternoon while we decorated our christmas tree together. it reminds me of what's important and that real is so much better than pasted on fake. so peace to you during these next few days of hustle and bustle. peace to us all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

complete

i just posted on "complete" and decided to look back through posts from this past year - and came across the post i wrote to celebrate one year of clean abstinence - 365

i wrote in there that this psalm was speaking deeply to me - and NEVER did i make the "complete" connection until today - it moved me so deeply i had to note it here - i'm still amazed at how 12 steps this passage really is:

Psalm 18:20-24
GOD made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
he gave me a fresh start.
Now I'm alert to GOD's ways;
I don't take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step.
GOD rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

like i could be a tower

amy at pretty shiny has given me such a glorious compliment and the lyrics to a song that is making me float this morning. i wrote below about st. lucy day and how badly i long to be a light bearer into my community. i really got to do that on saturday night. we had such a wonderful time at the party - and there was so much laughter and joy. it was fun to have had a vision for this, put it together with my friends and blessed our community with a really fun night out.

the song amy gave me was "suddenly i see" by kt tunstall. i had heard it in stores, or on tv, but i've never really listened to it before and it's one of those songs that is so catchy and fun. this morning i looked at the lyrics and found in those words the woman that i long to be and am slowly becoming.

my word for 2008 was "complete" - it was a strange word and i've sat with it throughout the year wondering what god wanted me to learn from it. it has an element of "done-ness" to it that i don't think will ever play into my life - i am recovering, not recovered. but there is a whole-ness that word speaks of and i have come to feel it this past year. like the pieces of me have shifted in a way that closes the gap in some of those severely broken places. i am no longer ashamed to be a woman. i am living in my skin for the first time i can remember. i feel like myself. i know that sounds strange, but last weekend was the first time i was really myself - not projecting or protecting - just me, complete. not completed, just complete.

the lyrics touch some really personal places for me. the first line of the song,

"Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world"

redeems something beautiful for me. i have a desperate case of rosacea, it has been complicated by an undiagnosed allergy for 20 years of my life. i had no idea that i was allergic to non-steroidal antiinflammatories and took asprin & advil for 20 years and got horrific hives all over my face. this caused me so much shame and discomfort. the gp i saw told me to use hydrocortisone cream - never realizing that it was chronic for me and that i'd use it so often (too often), and the steroid thinned my skin - so i literally have a "road map" all over my face. it was magnified after i delivered my babies and my dermatologist said that my "flush & blush" reflex has failed and the capillaries have just blushed once too often don't close down like they should anymore.

it is one of those things that caused me so much distress. i finally have to come to the place where i accept it. i have good makeup, but it's not perfect. but it is who i am, and i hope that my eyes have enough light in them that people notice my eyes and not my scars. i want to carry myself like the song says (sans the magazine page):

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from a page in a magazine
Oh she makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see

the power to be, to give and to see - what a prayer. god, not only grant me serenity, but the power to be, to give and to see.

i love that the first verse speaks of seeing her - and the second about hearing her - this isn't just about looks, it's about being. complete. like i could be a tower - inside and out.

one of the videos for the song has kt tunstall singing to herself on the stage - knowing that the woman she sees is her complete self. this is why it means so much to me.

Here's the video amy sent me (and the lyrics follow)



Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall

Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

I feel like walking the world
Like walking the world
You can hear she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember
What you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on her word

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from a page in a magazine
Oh she makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

Saturday, December 13, 2008

st. lucy day

i am scandanavian by heritage and growing up i had no spiritual heroines - so st. lucy, the bringer of the light was such a gift to me when i heard about her a few years back.

i so wanted pink to grow up differently than i did - so i figured celebrating santa lucia was a great way to do that. the first year we even made saffron buns, did the wreathe, the white nightgown and candles - it was beautiful. last year we decided that the buns weren't that good, and we liked our raisin tea biscuits better, so we made them instead. this year she had been asking about it (we celebrate st. nicks day for buck and we draw names and make home made presents that we leave in each others shoe the night before) for weeks. i really thought she was looking forward to it.

after our party set up last night (our small group is hosting a blast of a christmas party for our church tonight (my idea) at the university) she intimated that she was feeling put out and her best friend even voiced in about how much work it was for her. it was the first time i have been 'triangulated' by my daughter. i know it won't be the last, but i must say it stung. i don't do social situations well in the first place, let alone with all the weird stress between liam and i - and so this on top of it just bruised me.

i reassured her that st. lucy day was never a punishment and if it wasn't working for her that we could let it go. i grieved it a bit this a.m. as i awoke (liam and i had a lovely morning talk and cleared a lot of the air around here). i realized that sometimes i push on pink those things that i want so badly for myself. so i internalized st. lucy day and was determined to bring the light myself.

as i was getting ready for the party luciano pavaroti's santa lucia came on itunes and i realized again that today was st. lucy day - the day of the party i have been planning for over a month. how beautiful that it was a day that i get to bring light to my community.

i am dressed in my most favorite new clothes, feeling like $10000000 and holding the light inside. no expectations, just going to be present to my community and enjoy all of the hard work i have done with my beloved friends to prepare.

happy saint lucy day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

oh the irony is palpable

 


do i sound like chicken little? the sky is literally falling around here. my son yells "mom, the kitchen ceiling is caving in!"... what a metaphor for life today.
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hope deferred

this verse is running through my head this morning:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

i am heartsick. liam's reassurances the other day truly caused hope to blossom in my life. he told me that W (how i'm going to refer to the therapist, i think his presence will play a big role in my blogging over the next few months, and i can't keep calling him "the therapist"...) had assigned him some remedial connection time with me. fool that i am i believed that he might actually be serious in following through with it. it was just a connection time each night (well, i thought it was supposed to be each night, he said he never said that - it was only supposed to be a couple of times, but it doesn't matter anyway because it never happened once), hold my hands, look into my eyes and do something simple together like the daily examen or something like that.

that was like an oasis in the distance to my dry, parched soul. i am so angry at myself for really believing he would do it, try it, attempt it, at least once.

every night after dinner i waited, anxious, hopeful, passive. i knew it wasn't my work to do, so most nights i retreated to our room to work on my own step work (resentments.. ironic how this is pairing with this phase in his recovery, it's bringing such pain and anger to the surface for me) so that i am not tempted to work his program, but do my own. i ended up crushed, wounded and defeated. i tried to be patient, wait and interact like a grown up. i even expressed my feelings on a walk to our kids christmas party the other night, hoping that might engage him in the process again. i figured that his own shame in having to face W today would at least motivate him to give it a try. last night he didn't even attempt it. plopped himself down in front of that damn television while i read in our room. alone. again. naturally.

last night was my meeting night. i knew that two of the faithfuls had a work christmas party, but hoped that others might show up. we had six last week. nope. last night i was alone. again. naturally.

i set up everything. everything. i laid out the literature, even though i knew no one would show. i surrounded the table with chairs i knew would sit empty. i read aloud to an empty room because i was there. i showed up. i needed that meeting last night like i needed the air in my lungs right now. i read step 12 out of the oa 12&12 - it was beautiful. it reminded me again why each and every one of those steps i am working on are so important in my life. i managed to fill 30 minutes. i just couldn't sit alone there for 30 more. so i carefully put everything back, locked up the church and took a walk for 30 minutes in the freezing rain. i was warm enough and my hood kept the moisture off me. and i enjoyed all of the beauty of the christmas lights and the hideousness of those horrible inflate-a-mate lawn decorations. i must say they are as obscene to me as the idea of a blow up doll replacing a live human female. but last night even they were comforting in some strange, small town way.

but today i am heartsick. shaming myself for believing him. angry at myself for getting my hopes up. how i long for that tree of life. i will not fall for counterfeit fruit though. by working the steps i know that i'm willing to wait for the real thing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

i hope you dance

one of my fb friends put this in his update today - and i watched, thought of pink and got all misty.

i hope you dance too...

after the meme

ha - i read on a couple of tags i did after the meme that they felt the same way i did after - "why did i write that? what will they think of me?" and then i went "duh, why in the world would you be embarrassed about any of that here - you blog on sexual addiction - you've knocked down those walls already - anyone who reads your blog knows this about you already!" :D

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

10 Points Meme

hope tagged me in the 'honest to god' meme:

There are rules.
List 10 honest things about yourself.
Pass around some linky love, seven to be honest.

1. i hate doing things over. i rarely re-watch movies or re-read books. going backwards bothers me, but i don't mind getting lost and having to turn around a few times to be adventurous and find places i've never been before.

2. i love fun undies. i have lived most of my life in granny pants, but since i have lost weight i love wearing fun undies.

3. i lost my virginity in the boys dorm at bible college.

4. unless i know that someone truly wants to talk to me i loathe the telephone. it weighs 400 lbs. most days. i don't mind receiving calls, but i am horrible at picking up the phone. i think it's because i'm always afraid that i'm keeping the person from something they'd rather be doing...

5. i am SO far behind in my school work. so far. it's embarrassing. the deadlines are soft, and my grades are not affected, and my profs are kind - too kind, and without deadlines i have no motivation. everything else creeps in and pushes it aside. although my new little friend the alphasmart is the best tool i have ever bought myself. i can write like the wind without having a screen to distract me. if you want/need to write and find the computer too distracting i highly recommend it. i got an older version on ebay for $40.00 (make sure to buy one w/ cables are they are hard to find)

6. i got a superhero necklace for my anniversary last year (2007) from liam (duh) and i believe it truly has magical powers. something happened when i put that necklace on. i had asked andrea to add 2" to the length so that it wouldn't be a choker. since that time all 2" has come off and i LOVE chokers now and can't get enough of them. i think it was this superhero necklace that empowered me to truly feel amazing about myself, begin to take care of myself in a new way and not be so afraid of loosing the weight i had been packing myself with all of these years.

7. it bothers me that i am secretly glad oprah has gained her weight back. i hate that she has made dieting trendy again. i so want her to admit her food addiction and find recovery. it drove me nuts that someone who had personal shoppers, chefs & exersize guru's at her fingertips made every other normal, overweight woman feel like a failure because she just couldn't do it. it's not that i wish her ill. i just want her to model recovery instead of dieting.

8. i am avoiding our finances. my school debt is freaking me out and i can't even do the most normal things like checking bank balances and paying bills without it putting rocks in my stomach. i loved living debt free and hate that it is my schooling that is causing this. i'm just so afraid that if i don't finish i never will.

9. i have the prettiest dress, shoes and coat to wear to our christmas party this weekend and i am so excited to be able to dress up. i got it all at thrift stores (shoes at clearance store) and didn't pay over $30.00 for all of it - but i will look and feel like $100000000.00

10. liam has been working out and i am loving his toned body. not enough to work out myself yet, but dang this is a fringe benefit that i had not figured i'd ever get to enjoy personally again.

wow - way more information than you probably wanted to know... but it's where my head is right now (scary stuff, eh?) i'm avoiding getting ready for our jr. high christmas party right now, so i guess i was thinking about getting ready.... strange. i am tempted to erase this and start over, but it was called "honest to god" right?

i am tagging:

sarah louise

renee
chicken pax
deb
stephanie

anj
amy

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

blowin' in the wind

yesterday was rough. probably one of the most difficult days i have allowed myself to have in a very long time. i felt terror, empty, panic, pain, temptation, confusion, and a whole host of other emotions. mostly i felt alone. i IM'd w/ hope for some time yesterday, it was a godsend, but left me feeling desperate for someone in my life close by who had a shoulder i could cry on. liam has always been there for that and yesterday even he felt far away.

i know that much of what i felt was far bigger than this situation with liam. it was the 'carving out' of long ago pain and familiar emotion that i have protected myself from so many times with my addictions. yesterday i felt it all. most of the time with my head in my hands weeping, or curled into a ball, clutching a pillow in bed. i have been quite buttoned up as of late and the grief was very cathartic.

throughout most of it i knew that much of what i was feeling, while very real, was only one perspective on this situation. that nothing in my life had truly changed, but everything was going to be different. i told hope that for the first time in a long time i really wanted my mom. the real bobbie. i'm glad now that she wasn't around, her comfort always tied deeply into my addictions, and she was my number one enabler. i faced yesterday and felt the emotion without reaching for my familiar comforts. i found healthy ways to express my pain and soothe my soul. your prayers, candles and space being held for me was tangible - i could feel it like tent pegs and poles holding me up. but the hollow places were very real. hope wondered if i could make friends with hollow. i swore and told her that was exactly what i was wondering too. psfd.

instead of shaming myself yesterday for feeling the way i was feeling i decided to sit with those emotions and understand what i was feeling. i realized i couldn't change my perspective unless i felt what it was right now.

the image that came to my mind was of a kite loose from it's string. i truly felt alone in the world. set aloft. i pictured that kite i flew with friends this summer at the beach. i danced with the wind that day. it was one of my most joyful of the summer. if i close my eyes right now i can fel how it felt to dance again.

when liam got home he came to the bedroom where i was curled and he listened and held me as i wept. i voiced my frustration and my fear. my deep desire to be known. to be understood. to have that soul mate. i questioned him to try to understand what he means when he says 'i love you' - does he feel emotion with those words, or are they just learned behavior? he told me that everything he knows to be true about love he feels for me. he reassured me that this was his work to do, and that he had begun. that although we had realized something, we had realized it and now he could begin.

i had such a throbbing head ache. he rubbed my head and prayed for me. he asked that god give me a new metaphor that would help me through this. i remembered the kite and echoed his prayer.

this morning i awoke to a great sense of peace and serenity. it was beautiful to realize that i did not break my abstinence, i made it through and worked my program and as i came to the computer i read this and realized that this truly is what most of my fear was all about. the winds of change. i teared up as i realized that god was building beautifully into the metaphor that i already had and re-framing it in such a beautiful way:

Accepting Change

The winds of change blow through our life, sometimes gently, sometimes like a tropical storm. Yes, we have resting places - time to adjust to another level of living, time to get our balance, time to enjoy the rewards. We have time to catch our breath.

But change is inevitable, and desirable.

Sometimes, when the winds of change begin to rustle, we're not certain the change is for the better. We may call it stress or a temporary condition, certain we'll be restored to normal. Sometimes, we resist. We tuck our head down and buck the wind, hoping that things will quickly calm down, get back to the way things were. Is it possible we're being prepared for a new "normal"?

Change will sweep through our life, as needed, to take us where we're going. We can trust that our Higher Power has a plan in mind, even when we don't know where the changes are leading.

We can trust that the change-taking place is good. The wind will take us where we need to go.

Today, help me, God, to let go of my resistance to change. Help me be open to the process. Help me believe that the place I'll be dropped off will be better than the place where I was picked up. Help me surrender, trust, and accept, even if I don't understand.

You are reading from the book:

The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Monday, December 08, 2008

i am not crazy

two posts in one day - back to back - what is this world coming to?

i need to get this out, a lot has happened this weekend emotionally and relationally and i need to interact with it.

i know i've blogged a lot about liam and earlier this fall even about his depression. he has been seeing the same therapist i have seen and he's making some real progress. liam and i had a really deep, really intense conversation on a drive the other day and i think he has finally understood something i have been saying for years.

i don't think i've ever really blogged about it here, so i'll try to start at the beginning. i have known liam for 25 years. 21+ of those we have been married. for about 20 of those years i have always thought it was me. always thought it was my problem, always thought i was crazy. these past five years i still suspected that i was inventing this, because my husband is so kind, helpful and involved, but last week in his session his (our) therapist confirmed that liam really has an attachment disorder. this has manifested itself in a few different ways, but most of them have slowly eroded their way into my psyche. water dripping on rock, carving out places that were never meant to be gone. most of those places are deep in my soul. deep in those soft places that are so intimate and private.

many of these places were probably begun in my relationship with my father, and that's probably why we fit together so well in the first place. all i know is that i am grieving. i am so sad. there is some relief in the fact that i am not crazy, but it is little salve to my soul.

things do make so much more sense now, but the way forward seems so hard. i told him that this kind of thing is the reason why marriages of decades dissolve. the psychic energy this takes over the long haul is so exhausting that when it is finally realized the way forward just seems somehow too far.

trying to help him see the damage that has been done seems fruitless. it's part of the problem. how do you live with someone who has never apologized and meant it? how do you live with someone who doesn't feel any ability to connect with your words, feelings and emotions? how do you make love to someone who's only ability to connect with you is physically? i feel like a fool. like someone who has convinced themselves that something is true because they really, really, really wanted it to be be true.

i know that liam loves me in the fullest extent of his ability to do so - but what does that make the past 25 years? have i been making it all up? have i been fooling myself? have i be so gullible and naive that i filled in all of the blanks myself? shit. i didn't want to have to go here. i didn't want to have to make this winter hard. damn. i don't want this trauma and depth this season. i've done my work. i've worked my program. i've slogged through my emotions and pain and i don't want to get sucked back in. damn.

i don't know the way forward. i know that i have been through the worst of it. i have lived with a man in deep denial and been in deep denial myself. it won't be easy, but it will get better, but damn it seems like so much work and i feel like such a schmuck. most of all i am just tired. tired and so very, very sad.

e/s/h

got an email today from a blogger friend in relapse. i'm sharing my response here in case it might help anyone else:

relapse is terrifying and i hear/feel your pain/fear. please know that i am praying for you as i type.

unhealthy recovery groups are sometimes more of a hindrance than a healing space. i am so sorry for that. our group is so small and it's taking quite some time to get things to a healthy place. we're the only one in a 90 minute drive radius, so it makes it hard when it's not scratching where i itch - but i "keep coming back" because i know that it's the place i need to be.

one of the things that helps me is to pray that there will be ONE THING that i can get from each meeting - just one thing - and i pray for that and the ears to hear it (i do this with my therapist too - actually even in conversations with friends too) - god just give me one golden thread to follow here - and make it shiny enough for me to see it - and then help me follow it to where you want me to focus.

i figure that if god can use a donkey to speak his truth he can use anything in my life to speak to me if i'm willing to listen.

baby steps for me are the key to my recovery. finding one right thing i can do, give up, set aside for a couple of weeks so that i can get some victory and momentum going. cold turkey & extreme measures NEVER work for me - if i have to give everything up it's easier to throw in the towel.

first i pray to be willing to be willing - and god answers that prayer. then i make a list of my binge foods - what is the chemical & emotional triggers that are setting me spinning? then i pick one - for me it started 9+ years ago with chocolate - i knew that was my biggest trigger and caused me the most shame. i was eating a box of little debbie swiss rolls by my self (in one sitting) each and every day. so i took chocolate off my list - i still ate sugar (actually zebra cakes each and ever day at the beginning) - just to get the chocolate and it's chemical dependence out of my system. i didn't shame myself for the zebra cakes - they weren't part of my current abstinence - it was a baby step. when i was able to get about 3 months under my belt i made another choice - the victory from being able to succeed at something (anything) meant that i wasn't as big of a loser as i had felt before i started - and that victory moved me to take another baby step. i have had 9 years of tiny baby steps - all based on victories, not shame and not extremes.

extremes are self defeating. they are dieting. and i am as compulsive about dieting as i am about eating. i cannot diet. diets rip each and every food out of our system - and i believe that we were meant to enjoy food - communion is a good thing.

the other thing that i have found out in this past year is that i am probably hypoglycemic - and that not eating filling, regular meals at regular times was causing me to need to snack. by eating 3 very filling, varied meals - lots of proteins, complex carbs and fruits & vegs - and i mean lots - my meals are not diet meals - i am full after i eat every meal - no dieting for me - it allowed me to make it to my next meal with my blood sugar intact. i think that for most of my life that panicky feeling that comes when my blood sugars dropped caused me to binge and break my abstinence.

i think that most oa's shame themselves for enjoying a real meal and still worry about what others think about what you put on your plate. i have stopped worrying about that - i know my body - and it's working. it's almost like i have kicked in my metabolism to it's proper place. i don't eat empty calories - and i don't eat my binge foods - and i do eat with relish everything else - and i enjoy it - and my body feels good - and my brain feels good and my emotions feel good.

something has clicked and i like it. it's not a food plan that works for everyone and they would probably kick me out of a meeting for saying some of this - but i don't think god intended for me to despise food - it is one of my basic needs, and it's something that is used to bring community and wholeness to people - i think that making food the enemy really goes a long way in defeating most oa-er's - it doesn't need to be my best friend any more - but it definitely doesn't need to be my enemy either. i'm not fighting the food anymore. i feeling my feelings (most of the time) :D and trying to learn from them.

figuring out why some foods have an emotional hook to them too has helped me greatly. binging on cookie dough was more about the fact that it brought back the memory of my grandmother coming to visit and make cookies with me - nurture me and care for me, and that my parents were always on their best behavior and that we felt like a real family during those times - that's really what i was hoping cookie dough would give me - it never did... but finding out why that had it's hooks into me helped so much. figuring out ways to nurture myself, to find other women who nurture me - and to take that lack and that want to god and allow it to be lack has helped that food to loose it's power of me. and i know that when it's calling to me again i can use that as a flag to remind me that i'm low on my nurture tanks and need to do some good self care and some interaction with healthy, nurturing people.

Friday, December 05, 2008

clearing you out for some new delight

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty
of its furniture, still,
treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Source: Rumi, The Guest House

via inward/outward

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

commander in chief

news on the huffpo today that gwb could be drinking again. i am not a fan of the man, but my heart goes out to him during this time. i know he's made his bed, hell, he's made all our beds, but recovery is hard enough when you work your program on a good day - let alone when the whole world hates you (for real)...

also news that his mom is in the hospital...

life just doesn't get easier sometimes. i said a prayer for him today. if this isn't bottom and he's not working his program, i don't know how bad it would have to get for him to get sober again.

i really feel for laura - i read she's writing a memoir - i wonder how honest she'll let herself be?

there were so many times in his eight years that i heard the clouded alcoholic thinking in his words or saw in his choices. so many times i thought "he's not working a program" or "there is no evidence of serenity in his life or words"... scary to think that even a white-knuckle drunk president had so much power.

the clarity and decisiveness that BO speaks with tells me that he is the most diferentiated person we have seen in a very long time. so healthy. i pray he stays that way.

one of my greatest fears about john mccain was that he showed great evidince of addiction in his lifestyle and choices. i knew that our world could not afford another unrecovered addict in the white house.

god bless america.

Monday, November 24, 2008

my mind and my time

Today's thought from Hazelden is:

A man is what he thinks about all day long.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is true for women too. We sure learned that about our disease as well. It kept us thinking about alcohol or drugs all day every day until we could think of little else. Finally we became addicts, gobbled up by our all consuming thoughts and cravings.

Now in recovery, we can be something else. We are becoming free of our addiction, and our minds can think about other things. What do we want to think about? What do we want to be?

It's easy to let the noise around us tell us what to think about. At the end of the day, we can end up feeling out of touch with who we are. We've been giving our minds to whatever is on the radio, television, or the gossip grapevine at work or school. That's why it's good to spend part of each day thinking about things we truly think are important and worthwhile.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, Help me understand that what I do with my mind and my time is important. What I do with my mind is my inner life. What I do with my time is my outer life. Together they define who I am.

Today's Action

I will think about the way I use my mind and my time today. What feels good and fits for me? Is there anything I want to do differently tomorrow?

You are reading from the book:

God Grant Me... by Anonymous

Friday, November 21, 2008

365

i celebrate an anniversary today. 365 days - one year - 3 meals a day, 0 snacks, 1 day at a time. writing every night in my journal - for 365 days i have done it. this past year has been the most rich and rewarding time i have ever experienced in my 43 years on this planet.

something deep inside me has shifted. it is truly beautiful.

back in october i celebrated 9 years without chocolate, sexual addiction and evening readings. this past year has been more powerful than the previous 8 combined - but together they have changed everything.

the promises are coming/have come true in so many ways.

i have found myself, and i really, truly like who i am today.

10 sizes, lots of weight - i am as compulsive about weighing myself and being tempted to diet as i am compulsive about over eating, so that is a part of life i abstain from too, i have no idea how much weight i have lost, but usually 10 lbs. is a size for me, so it could be as much as 100 lbs. i have no idea. the temptation to weigh has been there far too often, but i know deep in my heart that the number will drill it's way into my little brain and torture me. i track my weight by the way my clothes fit. it's working for me, so i think i'll keep doing it.

for once in my life i truly feel comfortable in my own skin. i am happier with my body and myself today than i was in high school or college. i literally can't remember the last time i had a 34" waist. 7th grade? i really don't know. and the best thing about it is that the weight is a side effect of what is happening deep inside of me. it is not the goal, it is just a happy coincidence. my physical, spiritual and emotional life truly gives me such joy.

it's not perfect by any stretch, and i have not arrived, but i am thrilled with today and will awaken tomorrow to keep taking it one day at a time. thanks for journeying with me, i know that my blogging has been affected by my journaling. but i have gotten in touch with my voice in a very different way.

yay me. i am so proud of myself. i shared this with my group tonight and it says so beautifully a lot of what this year has encompassed for me. i was so surprised to find it in the psalms. it has recovery written all over it:

Psalm 18:20-24
GOD made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
he gave me a fresh start.
Now I'm alert to GOD's ways;
I don't take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step.
GOD rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

i have a dream...

well, a vision more than a dream. i don't know if this will be a return to blogging, but i needed to get these thoughts out in a safe place or my head will definitely explode.

i just had the most exciting meeting in my life. i know that could be hyperbole, but i don't think it is. i have dreamed of figuring out what i'm supposed to do in this community, and i think i just cleared the first real hurdle to finding out what that might be.

one of the ways my mind works is that when i hear about problems i begin to think about them to see if someone's problem might be someone else's solution. a few weeks ago i heard that the catholic churches in our community are being consolidated. each and every day i look out my kitchen window i see one of those churches. i began to think that possibly, just possibly their problem was my solution. i know that i will never have such an opportunity in my life to pioneer something like i do right now. we don't rely on me to provide any income at the moment, and i know it's time to begin to make myself more useful outside of the house. i think it is the ideal time to start something.

i have been praying long and hard to figure out what that something is. so many of my conversations lately have been with people about "next" and what it might be. today i met with a man who influences this discussion and i was heard, honored and encouraged. it was such a god appointment. so much fun and so life giving.

i think it might be possible that my solution to their problem just might be a real god answer to both of our paths. i can hardly believe it really could move to the next level. i have never stepped out like this before and not gotten my toes chopped off. to have firm ground under my feet feels really good.

i sent erin an email in response to something she sent me and said "PRAY" - she wrote back and said "how can you do this and do a house too?" i forgot to blog that after the financial crunch hit that beginning a mortgage seemed like a really dumb idea - so unless god gives us a home i think we'll keep our options open. (although i did just get a tour of the parish house today and it would suit our needs beautifully...)

anyway - i am putting together the beginnings of a proposal for monday and eventually hope to be giving that proposal to the local bishop. i found out today that the women's shelter in our community used to be a nunnery - and that it is leased from the catholic church for $1.00/year. that's the kind of miracle i'm hoping for here. any prayers, advice or encouragement on this would be appreciated. our community is in desperate need of a place where all are welcome and that can give life and stability to many. it is my vision that this might be that kind of place. thanks for listening.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

where i've been...

If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for. Between these two answers you can determine the identity of any person.

Thomas Merton

via inward/outward

Friday, November 07, 2008

wholly ground

Maybe
it is after we have made it
or have been made
whole and holy by it
that we can shuck it off
like a husk
and become it
not just dwell on it
now, being wholly ground,
ashes to ashes
dust to dust
being
close enough to the ground
to hear the steady pulse
of eternity.
Oh, yes, we want a love
we can hold in our palm
and a place on a map called
Holy,
not a wonderland tale
where we are someone else's
dream
where we are the real
estate
for the ground of being.
But wait --
look
the door is open!
It is so easy to offer your heart
to holiness.
The slightest tip of your hat
is all it takes.

Source: Loretta Ross, Making Sanctuary, Vol. 16, No. 4, The Sanctuary

Add your thoughts at inward/outward

Friday, October 10, 2008

happy-go-lucky

re-framing the situations and story i find myself in has been one of the best new tools in my box lately. i think perspective has TONS to do with how we choose to move through life. i remember the story of the twin boys, one optimist, one pessimist, on christmas morning. the parents tried help each boy to a more realistic perspective on life and gave the pessimist a pony and the optimist a big pile of poo - and the optimist jumps for joy and starts digging, conviced that there must be a pony buried in there somewhere.

finding the silver lining, or at least re-framing my circumstances has helped me so much in this past year to have a more positive outlook.

this film trailer is one of the most hopeful, shiny moments i have had in quite some time, i just can't wait to see the film:

happy-go-lucky

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

the process of liberation

Who Can Free Us?

It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors. The latter, as an oppressive class, can free neither others nor themselves. It is therefore essential that the oppressed wage the struggle to resolve the contradiction in which they are caught, and the contradiction will be resolved by the appearance of the new (wo)man: neither oppressor nor oppressed, but (wo)man in the process of liberation. If the goal of the oppressed is to become fully human, they will not achieve their goal by merely reversing the terms of the contradiction, by simply changing poles.

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

via inward/outward

Monday, September 29, 2008

a light in the darkness

i can hardly begin to tell you now having no expectations this weekend led to one of the most enjoyable times liam and i have ever experienced together. on friday he saw the therapist - all on his own, scheduled without my involvement and he told me that afterward he began to understand and admit that there was more to what i was seeing than he wanted to acknowledge. he will go back in two weeks and shared much of the connections he is making.

i think that initiative allowed me to trust him again and be open to whatever this weekend had in store for us. and oh my what a weekend. it surpassed even what my imagination could have constructed. holding things with open hands and no expectations helped me so much to be present to what happened instead of comparing it to something in my head that wasn't happening like i imagined.

the spa was glorious (although it never crossed my mind that i might have a male masseuse - it definitely freaked me out for a couple of minutes and then i just finally relaxed and enjoyed it) the hotel is old world charm and our room was glorious. we walked in to a surprise gift basket filled with things only our closest friends might have known we loved (and none of the things they knew we wouldn't enjoy like chocolate or alcohol) the card was not signed, so our secret angels wanted their anonymity protected. all in all i just felt so much love, comfort and joy. i know that so many of you were praying and i continually felt buoyed up throughout the weekend.

so many times we just looked at each other and giggled that it could be so fun and care free at this stage of our lives. i am still amazed.

thank you again for your words, thoughts and prayers. it truly was a celebration.

Friday, September 26, 2008

feeling less desperate

i think that getting things off my chest helped a lot to lessen the panicky feelings i was having.

because i have struggled with depression myself far too many times in my 42 years i can feel it's pull. seeing that black hole in our home again gave me such a fright. hearing that sucking noise again removes rational thought from my mind and steals my serenity as it calls to me.

somehow i felt like meg trying to save charles wallace from danger i was more able to understand. it all seemed so very urgent. talking about it has returned perspective, helped me to grasp my place in the world. remove the drama and replace the reality. liam is not a five year old being stalked by a vortex of evil and no matter how much i wish it to be true, i am not meg murray.

b.r.e.a.t.h.e.

so this weekend i get to be poly and head to the ocean instead.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

new life does come from compost

our wonder from down under, kel left this encouragement in my comments yesterday:

"new life does come from compost"

all of your phone calls, emails and comments mean so much - thank you.

one thing written by a friend stuck out dramatically to me - "may you have... the wisdom and sobriety to discern what is reality". that nailed it for me. i have been doubting myself and my own reality and what i know to be true for months now. it has affected my sanity and i have many times wondered if i was crazy.

liam isn't non-functioning - he is working, helpful and doing everything - doing, doing, doing... being on the other hand has evaporated. he told me this morning "i don't fit any of the classic symptoms so your diagnosis can't be true". i looked at him with tears in my eyes and reminded him that i knew where he once was and where he is now, and the two are so drastically different. he can "do" all he wants to to prove i'm wrong, but he can't seem to "be" who i knew him to be anymore.

the crux of this is that his addiction of workaholism looks so damn healthy. i said this morning that if it was booze or food or any other behavior he'd be able to see that "doing" more isn't really helping. the conversation ended with promises he's made for years now that have gone unfulfilled. i finally told him i didn't believe him any more. it wasn't going to go away because he felt bad, or even faked through an effort.

you see i wouldn't really care so much if we weren't going away to "celebrate" our anniversary this weekend. we were given a night in a world class hotel with a spa package by friends who are even watching our kids for us while we're gone. when i can't even muster up some excitement for that you know it's bad. i'm trying for all i'm worth, but the idea of false intimacy and sex with someone i feel so very far away from right now makes me feel hollow inside.

i will comb the beach, read a good book, enjoy my pedicure and massage and being apart from my kids for a night, but i let him know that there would be no intimacy unless it is real and emotional. physical intimacy without that leaves me feeling so desperately alone afterward. i'm so needy that i usually say yes, but i hate myself in the end.

i think that is what prompted me to finally talk about it. to write about it and to answer honestly when people asked me how things were going. i'm tired of living a lie.

i sat next to him at a wedding this weekend and for the first time in my life i did not connect emotionally with the vows. for the first time i thought "till death?" - what about life? where is the life? why aren't there any vows about living?

i'm placing the rest of kel's comment here so i can remind myself of their truth:

"how it impacts your life, as an individual, wife, mother, IS your story to tell, if you want or need to

there is nothing worse than having something affect your entire life, yet not being able to talk about it, to "protect" those who caused the situation in the first place"

thank you again for all of your support. it means the world to me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

out of respect for the depressed...

i thought of calling this post "out of respect for the dead", because depression sure feels like emotional deadness to me while i'm on the outside looking in. i think i figured out why i have been so silent here. i'm not very good at not talking about EVERYTHING - and you see this everything lately has little to do with me and my journey. it's shitty being married to a depressed spouse. shitty.

i have been silent because i thought it's not my story to tell, it seemed too private some how. but i've also realized that part of me is dying inside. i don't live closed up and shuttered. i never have. i can't work his program. i can't make him get help. i can't do anything but my own stuff, so i'm back. working my program. and part of that is processing my life. this is an anonymous blog. yes, most of you know me, and some of you know him - but i can't stop moving forward anymore. it's scary as hell, but i need to talk about this. i need to open the shutters and get some fresh air in here.

it has begun to affect my own mental health and recovery and that is just not an option. any prayers or words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...

Okay, I give.

Coming home from camping the other day we stopped at the Goodwill and I peeked through the housewares section quickly. Stacked in amongst the frames I found a print by one of my favorite artists, maryanne radmacher. i was so tickled.

then, i saw it was signed. by her. in pencil. right at the signature. a signed maryanne radmacher print for $2.99. then i read it. gasp.

may your walls know joy;
may every room hold laughter
and
every window
open to
great
possibility.

the side of the print has a portion torn from a dictionary for "home", it has words like "focus, habitation, near, interior, arrival, refuge, present within, at ease, social gathering, be at, to visitors, freedom, pleasure, content, make oneself free, sociable, stay at, knowledge, skill, with friendship.

the little block under it has the words to favour, gain the friendship of, embrace; receive with open arms, meet half way, take in good part, affected, unhostile, neighbourly, sympathetic, harmonious, hearty.

it is a housewarming print and i got mine right from the artist. :D

yesterday i was im'ing with penni and she asked about the house. i told her i was beginning to chicken out. i felt some fear in the disappointment and was avoiding doing what was next. there is a business man at our church who walked our friends through the difficult process of returning the house to the bank, and i knew he would be the person to ask to help us. for some reason i was avoiding making the call.

penni gave me a shove. i got off the computer, picked up the phone and called. he wasn't home, but called me back. he was so excited. i could just hear it in his voice that this might bring this journey full circle for him too. he said he'd be happy to help us meet with the right people at the right time and help us to figure out what the bid should be and how to navigate the process well. he said that this kind of thing is one of his favorite things to do - so his excitement in all of this reassured me that doing 'the next right thing' was exactly the right thing. thank you penni for the push! he cautioned me though that this could definitely take some time. banks don't move quickly and i reassured him that we weren't in any rush (but in my heart of heart I WANT IT yesterday!)

then last night i shared vaguely about this process. our group knows that my heart beats for a home, for some roots. i had only shared with one couple so far of THIS particular home. they prayed for us - and three of them said specifically "by Christmas" - by Christmas - I gasped. Really? I barely could ask for so much. One of the women heard in my voice my hesitation and spoke directly to my insecurity of being afraid of asking for something so big. that somehow i didn't think i deserved this. it was truly beautiful.

i joked afterward as we were making plans for the next week that we would host the christmas party! :)

then today after we were done garage sailing (we do sail through them!) we went out for chinese buffet. we have a tradition in our family that the fortune cookies are disbursed by taking the one closest to you, otherwise it could mess up the karma (no spiritual beliefs here, just laid back joking, honest). i don't know if i mentioned in the last post that one of the things that really started me down this path was our financial advisor giving us a bit of a shove into this and that shortly after that we had chinese and liam got a fortune that read "You will move to a wonderful new home within the year." - it was such a joke for us, but stranger things have been known to happen. i kind of held on to that and only really remembered it as "you will move into a new house" (the timing was lost to my memory).well, today the kids and i had opened our fortunes and they were pretty bland, and liam's was sitting there while he ate his dessert - and i joked and handed it to him saying in a spooky voice "you will move into a new house"... and guess what. it's EXACTLY THE ONE HE GOT!

within the year. from liam's fortune cookie to god's ear...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

redemption songs

i can't believe it's the last weekend of the summer. it has flown by and been glorious. we head off today to celebrate the end of the season with friends camping on the coast.

it has been a summer of dreams and deep conversations. it feels wonderful to be dreaming again. admitting hope and rising above the terror that disappointment could and might bring can be a mighty powerful thing.

one of the dreams that i have given voice to is my deep desire to own a home again. we have moved 18 times in our marriage. i am ready for some roots. i deeply long for a home to call our own again.

when we entered ministry over a decade ago we gave up the new home we had just purchased and entered into a long time of financial difficulty and strain. i have been praying that god would restore to us what the locust have eaten. we live very simple lives and i could rent for the remainder if it was god's will. (i type that in recovery terms, not the "god's will" or my fundamental upbringing - those are two very different things to me now even though they occupy the same language).

i am ready. i long to sink deep roots into rich soil. it is fertile here and we know that this could be home forever and continue to nurture us greatly and allow us to nurture others.

some of our best friends here have gone through one of the most hellish summers i know. the beginnings of a business, a dream of restoration and creating homes for our community got quickly off course and deeply troublesome for them. the home he was flipping is being returned to the bank this week. from the outside it still looks like a spook house, but inside. oh inside. it is a house dreams are made of. the original family suffered great loss, bankruptcy and divorce. the house was left in shambles. it has begun to be restored. another family suffering great loss and difficulties that threatened the very fiber of their family, but they have made it through. we walked along side them.

the redemption in this property is palpable. it drips of restoration and redemption. i have never wanted anything this badly in my life. never. maybe i have but have never admitted it before? i don't know. but this. this i long for. this i desire. not in a broken, spoiled "give it to me or i will punish you" way, but in a 'deep desire of the heart' kind of way. the redemption story here is just too great. it is bigger than a house, it is bigger than a home. i want to tell this story of restoration. i want to live in a home that reclaims that loss.

it is just one piece of property and i know that other places have different stories to tell, and maybe my house is one of them. but i am so intimately tied into this one already, i would love to see it's fulfillment.

most of you know that liam's father passed away last spring. we had prayed that there might be some financial benefit passed to his kids. so far there is no word of that. i got an email from his stepmother this morning in my inbox, right after liam and i prayed together about this. it was the standard forward email, but i took the time to update her on our lives and felt the nudge to tell her of this dream. property values in our little town on the edge of civilization are laughable by other standards. we're talking very little money here. but i am praying that god will move her. cause her to understand how very much some small generosity on her part could have huge repercussions in our lives.

next week we have an appointment with our new financial adviser. he was the one who planted this seed of possibility in our heads at the beginning of summer. i don't know where it will lead, but i want to be done with small dreams that never disappoint. i want to reach beyond the fear and hope for something so big that it just might happen.

i long to sing my own redemption songs.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

maybe why i haven't been blogging much???

Hiddenness, a Place of Purification

One of the reasons that hiddenness is such an important aspect of the spiritual life is that it keeps us focused on God. In hiddenness we do not receive human acclamation, admiration, support, or encouragement. In hiddenness we have to go to God with our sorrows and joys and trust that God will give us what we most need.

In our society we are inclined to avoid hiddenness. We want to be seen and acknowledged. We want to be useful to others and influence the course of events. But as we become visible and popular, we quickly grow dependent on people and their responses and easily lose touch with God, the true source of our being. Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves.

Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

pushing through the crust

i have enjoyed a season of peace and tranquility recently and i am hesitant to move past it. it feels like the crust that cools over the top of the hot lava and begins to turn to stone. hiding the heat and tumult that is lying just below the surface. last fall was so intense. so deep and so important. what happened after was the product of the hard soul work i had done, but very little has been done since that time. i've been content here on the surface and have enjoyed to joy of looking forward instead of within. deep within. (photo source)

i sensed last week though that i was avoiding things. that i was disengaged somehow. it is not normal for me and i know it signals a need for the next layer of the onion to be examined.

our holiday was magnificent. we were honored and graced with so much abundance it made me giddy. i know it will be one of my childrens most cherished memories. they will never hear the waves of the ocean without being reminded of that trip. it was truly special and i am very grateful.

i am sure that the lava bubbling below the surface now has much to do with my father and my own personhood. if there was a low to this trip it was seeing how unhealthy he has become. not just physically either. some days we were like two flies trying to find their way out of a trapped room, both banging on the screens and trying to escape. a couple of times he snapped and it caused me such sadness.

there were some sweet moments, but so often they were clouded by his inability to be present and i was reminded far too often of my own proclivity to isolate and withdraw out of fear and insecurity. there were also far too many times when i saw the parallels between my beloved husband and my ornery father. and the ache that created in my heart as i realized i did marry a man so much like him in the inner places, and yet so very different on the outside. i was able to identify the deep wounds that seem to reopen so frequently in my interactions with liam - shadowed pain that i react to instinctively. there were times this was so clear it took my breathe away.

i tried to sit with it and understand the deep triggers this engaged in me without lashing out to hurt those around me. most of that time was spent looking at my toes in the sand, agate hunting on the beach. my mind a whirl with comebacks, indignation and the deep desire to escape the pain.

there was a moment my father lashed out at me publicly and my aunts were able to see my pain and sought to comfort me. i was able to process my deep desire to stand up for myself and speak to my father about all that i have wanted to say for years. i just knew that i didn't want to have any of it clouded by anger, cruelty or childish behavior that would taint my message and keep him from hearing me. talking with them, and liam helped prepare me as i knocked on his bedroom door.

i asked him if we could talk and he turned off the golf game. i acknowledged how difficult our relationship was and how simply he seemed to be able to relate to my sister. i spoke of the pain that comes from that, but understood that it was just as difficult for him as it was for me. he explained that his frustration with me stemmed mainly from my assumption that i always knew what he was going to say. i guess it was a bad habit i inherited from living together for five years. cutting to the quick instead of having to listen to his meandering instructions. i guess it was my way of reminding him i was really smarter than he was... i apologized and committed to trying to listen.

i then told him that what i had always wanted from him was for him to be proud of me and how i spent my whole childhood trying to reinvent myself to get his attention by doing the things that he liked, hunting, fishing and sports. i said that i was sure he always wanted a son because it seemed he was only able to relate to me when i was participating in more male activities and how hard it was for him never to just notice me for who i was and say things like "you're a really good mom and i'm proud of you." or things like that.

i left a gap hoping for some affirmation. it never came.

so i ventured into freedom. i knew that i would never get this chance again and that my motivation in this was not dad motivated, it was self motivated and i needed to separate myself from the subtle control i have let him exert over me in the past.

i then told him that most of all i wanted him to understand that my choice to use my gifts wasn't seated in rebellion. the most diabolical part of his control was the arrogance he lorded over me in judging that god was on his side theologically. it was never openly acknowledged, but i loathed the fact that in his mind i was thumbing my nose at him and god by making the choice for ministry i have made.

i was able, calmly and clearly, to talk to him about this and explain that there are many people in the kingdom who take scripture seriously who come down on the opposite side of his views. that i wasn't trying to change his mind and he could believe forever that i was mistaken, but that i wanted him to understand fully that i was not being rebellious. that was the burr that had rubbed me raw. i was really proud of myself for remaining calm, not hitting below the belt and not shaming him in any way. i spoke my peace, challenged him and his memory (especially of my mother and her gifts and spunk), honor myself and finally cut the unhealthy chord that tied me to him.

i left gaps in my explanation for him to talk and a few times i reminded him that i wasn't trying to change his mind and that i was okay if he never, ever supported me in this. strangely enough, i meant every word of it, and it became more true as i gave words to it. i realized that it is his loss. god will restore what the locust have eaten.

to his credit at the end of our conversation he did say that he would pray about it. i believe he will. i am more sure that the holy spirit, if he is open, can do far more than i would ever be able to accomplish.

so i didn't hear my coveted "i'm proud of you" or even a hearty "i love you", but i am truly okay with that. i just know that i have some inward work to do in this area to reclaim the places of me that have been lost to the many years of neglect and denial.

Friday, July 04, 2008

hodge podge post

i can't believe how long it's been since i've actually blogged. i've highlighted a few things here and there, but putting words down has been sparse. i have been journalling and answering step questions for my sponsor, but blogging has been non-existent.

it will be for the next couple of weeks too. we leave sunday for the closest southwest airlines airport (5 1/2 hours away) and spend the night in town and fly monday to portland. we've got 2 nights there and then a week on the california border at my aunt's house. my dad's 5 sisters will all be there and i am guessing that this will be the last time i'll be able to be with all six of them together. they're all getting old. my favorite aunt had a stroke this past year, my dad isn't playing basketball with the kids anymore. he can still shoot and coach, but he told me today he's done playing (which shocked me and broke my heart) and the other four are all just about as unhealthy.

these five women are the last ancestral links (except for one maternal aunt) i have on the planet... they are incredible women. some endured very difficult spouses, addiction, heartache and trials of various types. they come (i come) from pioneer stock. i'm hoping to catalog and record many of their stories this time. we've got a couple digital video recorders and i'm hoping they can just forget they are there and keep talking. i'd hate to think that their stories pass with them. there is so much i want to know.

at the end of that week we have all rented two reunion houses on the pacific coast for 5 days and a lot of extended family will be joining us there. i can't believe how the details for this trip have fallen together. it really feels like a god thing.

i'm hoping to have a real heart-to-heart with my dad while i'm there. i so long to talk theology with him. he still holds so tightly to that old plymouth brethren mindset. i know it was special to him. it gave him hope when so little in life did. but i'd love to show him where it has hurt both of us. i don't think that patriarchy serves the male species any better than the female. only the alpha males who bark and bite really get to thrive in that environment, the rest of us just feel inadequate. i think my father has spent most of his christian life feeling really inadequate. the truly "spiritual man" that was held out had more of my set of giftings than his. that was the diabolical part of this. my mother and i were given the gifts he lacked and required to fulfill his ROLE in life.

it's such an ill fitting cloak and i have shed it. i'd really love for him to also. and if he can't just to understand why i have without labeling me as rebellious, as i have been anything but.

i am also going to tell him that the only thing i have ever truly wanted in life was for him to tell me he was proud of me. i had thought for years (decades?) that it would spoil everything if i had to ask for it, but hope challenged that idea and reminded me that anything worth having is worth asking for. otherwise it may go unfulfilled forever.

the most difficult part of all of this is doing all of it for myself and not for his reaction or response. i am truly walking into this with the hope that i am able to empower myself to break free of the restraints, real or imagined, that have kept me feeling captive to his approval and control. i long to be free.

i don't know what kind of access i'll have to the internet while away, but i will miss your words. if you think of me any prayers for our safety and this situation would be so appreciated. have a lovely couple of weeks!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

erin's coming!!

our friend erin will be here in 10 hours - i can't wait!!! wish you were all here to join us!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

better stories

pink and i had an important conversation yesterday. she's 12 and we've been navigating this "tween" thing for a bit now. she's starting to individualize and define herself apart from liam and i - we know this is an important stage, specifically for us as parents. how to guide her through this process so she knows we're here and there are boundaries, but not to do so with heavy hands and push her into rebellion.

music is one of the ways she is defining herself - not uncommon for pre-teens. i have the itunes account, so purchases are "through mom" at the moment. our agreement is that we sit down and listen to the song together, i read the lyrics, if i struggle with them, she reads them out loud and then we watch the video together. if the song passes that muster the purchase is made. it brings a lot of dialog and interaction. yesterday it created a bit of friction that we processed out together.

she falls into the bubble gum, disney kids type of music. i was thrilled that branched into hairspray recently, but most of the music is "oooh he likes me", "gosh i think he's cute" and "oh, my heart is broken" kind of drivel. it's so difficult for me to watch this young, vibrant lady begin to define herself as a "half" person because her culture is beginning to tell her that without a man in her life she is not whole.

we listened to taylor swift and ashley tisdale songs and so few of them were empowering to her as an individual. it breaks my heart. i started to ask some questions and try to help her untangle the message these songs were telling her. i got the "you only want me to listen to christian music" feedback and i balked. so.not.true. i tried to help her understand that the movies she watches, the books she reads and the music she listens to are forming her stories. it is normal for a lot of those stories to be about relationships, even relationships with boys. but if every story she buys into keeps telling her that she's only 1/2 a person without a man she will begin to believe it.

too much pressure for a twelve year old. too much pressure for my single 40 year old friends. i loathe that kind of misinformation. i used the three taylor swift videos as an example (wow, she is a beautiful little barbie doll that one...)

first an adorable song about a boy who is her friend but doesn't know she exists. the second about the boy who scatters roses in her room and writes her love notes and the third about the boy who has dumped her and she wants to burn his pictures and she fantasizes about trashing his apartment and licking all of his utensils and spitting into his mouthwash. all really well done, all fun, interesting songs w/ intelligent lyrics - but in 15 minutes we have the scope of this little girls life. three relationships that burn bright for a millisecond and flash out with broken hearts and boatloads of pain. that young, beautiful woman will be shattered by mid life with these kind of rotating door relationships.

i got to tell pink that even if you do get the boy who writes you love notes and scatters roses at your feet it lasts for a whole 10 minutes. liam and i had a wonderful courtship. but was it reality? 25 years later, if feels like about 10 minutes. i just long for her to balance out the dreamy romance with stories that form her into her whole self. stories that empower her. stories that open her up past the doors of the school and the dances and show her the vast world that is waiting for her.

that is why bands like superchick float my boat. it's not that they are "christian" - most of their songs have little to do with "jesus" specifically - but whole life, facing the hard places and moving through them. those are the kind of stories i long for her to hear.

Friday, June 20, 2008

stand in the rain

i.heart.super.chick

these lyrics just slay me.

listening to the new cd on newreleasetuesday.com

go listen!

Stand in the Rain

She never slows down
She doesn’t know why but she knows that
When she’s all alone it feels like its all coming down

She won’t turn around
The shadows grow long and she fears
If she cries that first tear, the tears will not stop raining down

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it’s all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won’t drown
And one day what’s lost can be found
You stand in the rain

She won’t make a sound
Alone in this fight with herself
And the fears whispering if she stands she’ll fall down

She wants to be found
The only way out is through everything
She’s running from, wants to give up and lie down

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it’s all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won’t drown
And one day what’s lost can be found
You stand in the rain

Thursday, June 12, 2008

book meme

penni at m2 tagged me for the book meme:

So here's Dr. Benton Quest's meme:
~
Step One – pull out a book on the book shelf.
Step Two – go to page 123.
Step Three – read and write out the 5th sentence.
Step Four – tag 5 more people.

5 people who haven't done this meme, i don't think it's possible, but i'll try (feel free to ignore if you're caught up in the end of school or beginning of summer crazies)

book - the last word (what i'm supposed to have finished for the end of school...) by nt wright:

pge 123 (do you know how many books don't even go to 123 pages! i had to grab 3 to get to one that did!) sentence 5:

"We cannot assume we are living an a Garden of Eden situation, a world without evil; so we cannot argue directly from "the way things are" to the "way things should be."

tagging: jennifer (ha, next meme assignment, got you back!:), hope, renee, chicken pax, sarah louise (dont' be offended if i didn't tag you, honest, i thought that i had probably already read the meme on your blog, and i was offended you didn't tag me - just kidding!) :)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

hope in generosity

in light of my rant yesterday about resentments this seems like a well-timed message from my higher power:

Hope in Generosity

I don't know anyone who doesn't wrestle sometimes with despair. News of the world is bleak. Global warming. Vanishing species. War. Terrorism. Poverty. It can be tempting to close the mind and harden the heart simply because the challenges that confront us seem overwhelming. What is hope in the face of so much bad news? In a time of turbulence and anxiety, generosity is one of the key spiritual practices that can keep us sane. Not only that, the practice of generosity may be one of the most powerful ways that we can bear witness to a hope that lies beyond despair.

Generosity begins with God. This means that we receive everything as gift---not just material possessions but everything that exists: this breath, this moment, and the moments we have until we die. Our capacity to think, feel, remember, and hope, our family and friends, the whole living breathing planet with its goldfinches and cougars, its foxes and salmon and birch trees---all of it is gift....

Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

via inward/outward

Friday, June 06, 2008

resentments - advice please??

12 steppers, please help. i am really struggling with a resentment and have realized that this is an area that i'm weak in - first of all identifying it, then what to do with it? i have dealt with close loved ones before with my resentments, but rarely with friends, especially friends who have no recovery.

this one just won't leave me alone and it involves a woman in our small group who i love, but is difficult. she is open and giving, but it seems the giving has strings, and they are usually financial. i am a naturally generous person. i don't say this in pride, it's really something i don't have to work at - i hold things very lightly, especially money and i can give away just about anything without strings and actual joy because i love that it might bless someone else like i have been blessed.

i keep running into interactions when she chooses to be cheap or nickels and dimes me and it's really starting to grate on me. they live in a financial world we could only dream of. i would willingly give her anything i have and when in community i always give my best. we don't skimp on the food we bring and actually go out of our way to be extravagant. we know this is a world of abundance and want to bless those we commune with - i am just finding it so hard to not let this build up in a way that makes a wall. i want to model abundance and not scarcity, but her scarcity mindset is wearing me down.

help. please. i have prayed. i have given generously hoping to set an example, i have asked god to take away the resentment and find release until the next interaction. i am afraid because i am beginning to want to be petty. i want to gossip and slander her - i want to show myself to be honorable and her to be stingy.

i am really struggling to do this the right way - but i don't know how to verbalize this to her without doing damage to the relationship. wisdom is needed - i'm not afraid to talk with her - i just want more light than heat - and i don't know that it's my place to talk with her - 12 steppers - please weigh in on this, i so don't want it to destroy the community we have. thank you!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

random medicated update

well, it's official. i have an ear infection and a sinus infection, and a lovely bottle of antibiotics that will hopefully keep it all from settling in my lungs.

i guess the wheezing in my lungs is coming from the mold the plumber found in my walls after he tore open the back of my closet to get at my shower leak that had been emptying itself on the first floor entrance foyer... at least it didn't cost me the $414.70 - yikes! now we just have to get the landlord to approve the reno of tearing out our ONE shower stall and redrywalling it, find the guy who can actually do the work, and have time to do the work, and live with the spores until that is done... the hole is taped over with plastic, but the work was done right before we went away last week and now that i'm home sick i DON'T feel like doing all of the cleaning of our room that has to be done. ICK!

one nice surprise is that i have officially lost enough weight to use the NORMAL, REGULAR blood pressure cuff! i have never in my life had high blood pressure, but when my weight was up and they used a small cuff it gave a false read - so when i told the nurse today she needed the large cuff she grabbed my arm and said "oh no, your arm is small (SMALL!) enough for this one."!!!!! and she was right! that felt really nice.

our daughter pink leaves tomorrow for french immersion camp for 3 days. i really hope that she is healthy enough to go. she had quite a cough through the night last night, but woke up ready to go to school today. hope her cabin mates don't mind listening to it (actually hopefully it clears up and goes away).

some cool things from last week in random order... after i spoke the head of our quasi-denom here and his wife came up and gushed about my talk. she was tracking with me throughout the whole talk and was my barometer of how i was doing. he told me that he thought i was so eloquent, had an amazing speaking voice (i was so nervous and drugged that it's about an octave higher than normal and twice as fast on the recording) and said that i kept his attention for the whole time, and that he had a very short attention span! for this little brethren girl it helped a lot to know that the person there with the most "authority" (he'd balk at that term and is a very humble man) was so supportive of me.

next the president of our university approached me and told me of his own writing and how he longed to be able to tell his story of redemption, instead of just conversion - and asked ME to pray over him. ME. the president of the university. also a humble, beautiful man - but again, one with quite a bit of authority in our community. it was like god just said "here - just so you know there wasn't a problem" - what a gift. i'm still kind of in awe.

last week i had asked one of the women from our church to pray for my health so that i'd be able to be healthy enough to preach on sunday - and she did, and then kept praying. she used phrases like "help her to know her father loves it when she uses the gifts he gave her" and "know your father is jumping up and down cheering for you" - again, more affirmation to my little girl soul that i wasn't being naughty or rebellious - both things that came to mind a few times in preparation.

i don't know if any of this makes sense, i think i'm going to go and take a nap until the kids get home from school. thank you again for your prayers and support, it really is helping me to venture into this next place on my journey.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

preaching tomorrow

i'm only using that word to stand up for my female self, but i am actually the 'anti-preacher' and do very little from the homiletics course i was required in bible college. and our church is so very far away from that kind of modern church too - every sunday is fully interactive and much heckling, questions and challenges are welcomed and embraced. it's a different way to teach as you need to be prepared for interaction - it's a learned dance and i'm still a bit clumsy with it as i loose my place sometimes, but i'm looking forward to it none the less. i am loved deeply here and among friends, so i really shouldn't be nearly as nervous as i am right now...

anyway - i'm talking about story tomorrow and how better stories help us all to slow, permanent change.

it will be posted online early this week - if you want the link leave me a comment, or email me and i'll be happy to send it to you (so long as i don't totally embarrass myself!) :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

hunger can lead to more life

you can listen to this 3 minute "this i believe" here on NPR:

Strangers Bring Us Closer to God - Sara Miles

As heard on NPR's All Things Considered, May 5, 2008.


Until recently, I thought being a Christian was all about belief. I didn’t know any Christians, but I considered them people who believed in the virgin birth, for example, the way I believed in photosynthesis or germs.

But then, in an experience I still can’t logically explain, I walked into a church and a stranger handed me a chunk of bread. Suddenly, I knew that it was made out of real flour and water and yeast––yet I also knew that God, named Jesus, was alive and in my mouth.

That first communion knocked me upside-down. Faith turned out not to be abstract at all, but material and physical. I’d thought Christianity meant angels and trinities and being good. Instead, I discovered a religion rooted in the most ordinary yet subversive practice: a dinner table where everyone is welcome, where the despised and outcasts are honored.

I came to believe that God is revealed not only in bread and wine during church services, but whenever we share food with others––particularly strangers. I came to believe that the fruits of creation are for everyone, without exception––not something to be doled out to insiders or the “deserving.”

So, over the objections of some of my fellow parishioners, I started a food pantry right in the church sanctuary, giving away literally tons of oranges and potatoes and Cheerios around the very same altar where I’d eaten the body of Christ. We gave food to anyone who showed up. I met thieves, child abusers, millionaires, day laborers, politicians, schizophrenics, gangsters, bishops—all blown into my life through the restless power of a call to feed people.

At the pantry, serving over 500 strangers a week, I confronted the same issues that had kept me from religion in the first place. Like church, the food pantry asked me to leave certainty behind, tangled me up with people I didn’t particularly want to know and scared me with its demand for more faith than I was ready to give.

Because my new vocation didn't turn out to be as simple as going to church on Sundays and declaring myself “saved.” I had to trudge in the rain through housing projects, sit on the curb wiping the runny nose of a psychotic man, take the firing pin out of a battered woman's Magnum and then stick the gun in a cookie tin in the trunk of my car. I had to struggle with my atheist family, my doubting friends, and the prejudices and traditions of my new-found church.

But I learned that hunger can lead to more life—that by sharing real food I’d find communion with the most unlikely people; that by eating a piece of bread I’d experience myself as part of one body. This I believe: that by opening ourselves to strangers, we will taste God.


Sara Miles is founder of The Food Pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. A former restaurant cook, Miles is a journalist who writes about military affairs, politics and culture, and is author of the memoir Take This Bread.

again, thanks bob!