Willingness To Surrender – And A Note

There is strength in willingness to surrender. I’m not speaking here of the surrender we might see when someone raises his hands at gunpoint, or even waves a white flag, although I’ve waved a white flag a time or two at God to let Him know I’m done fighting the point. 😉

I’m speaking here of surrender of thoughts and feelings. This can sometimes be more difficult than, say, surrendering a gun, or another action. My thoughts and feelings are my will, and that’s what I’m surrendering, willingly, or without objection, to God (my higher power).

No, it’s not easy. At first it was messy, and I didn’t do it gracefully. Then I used a slogan, bring the body and the rest will follow. I read about surrender and willingness as much as I could. I talked and talked about it with my super sponsor until I thought she might grow sick of me. I prayed the 3rd step prayer.

Finally, I’m able to give it up to God. All of me and others in my life whom I love that I can’t take care of (which would be everyone – lol). He’s so much bigger.

NB: I will not be posting until probably Monday. My sister is being incarcerated on Tuesday and I’m going through a normal grieving process, watching her struggle with depression. It’s very hard for me to try to think of things to post that might help others when I’m struggling to stay above water myself. Please take care of yourselves, stay close to your H.P. . . . be good, and stay out of trouble. 😉

Peace out.

 

Let Go and Let God in Everything

In white water rafting, if you go against the current, if you don’t paddle very hard toward where the flow of water is going, you’re likely to capsize. I know this from experience. I only did it once. 😉 It was enough.

Today at Senior Choral practice there was a lot of uncertainty. Those of us who had been there last Friday and auditioned for solo or small group singing parts had expected to hear about possible songs we were going to be singing.

James, our fearless leader, said, “Now, we’re picking songs based on what we think might sound good for you based on how you sounded to us. You might not agree or you might be disappointed. I’m asking you to go with the flow and trust us on this. If you need to, go in your car and scream and kick and yell and then come back inside and be polite and respectful of our decisions. I’ll even buy you a drink.” He smiled.

Only the soloists were assigned songs today. So I still don’t know what song I’ll be singing or who I’ll be paired off with. But this reminds me so much of Let Go and Let God. We place the issue in God’s hands and leave the outcome with Him. I trust that He has my best interests at heart.

I’m already not disappointed. How could I be? I’m taking risks left and right, making new friends, having a blast . . .

If I go against the current, if I fight God and take it out of His hands, or . . . you know try to help Him ever so kindly by telling Him what I think should happen . . . I’ll get water in my nose and down my throat and, oh man what a mess. That really sucks bad.

Life, lived in the moment, not expecting anything but enjoying the moment . . . is a little slice of heaven here on earth.

Peace out.

Seriously, Sometimes You Gotta Laugh

When people are laughing, they’re generally not killing each other. ~Alan Alda

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. ~Woody Allen

Here’s the thing. I’m a perfectionist. I never would have thought of myself that way before yesterday. But when I came home from the Saturday meeting, and Mom wanted to watch a movie on Lifetime with me while I really needed to post to this blog, I almost cried. About a post to a blog! What would I do if I got sick? Post from my sickbed?

Seriously. Sometimes you gotta laugh.

At the meeting yesterday, we talked more about detachment, because two of the women at the meeting know my sister and love her too. They understand all about detachment from the perspective not only of Al-Anoners but as alcoholics. As they shared, these beautiful women, they laughed. They shared memories from their own drinking days, and looking back on it, they laughed at the insanity of it. Everyone else laughed with them.

Finally, through my tears after just sharing my own worries, I laughed too.

Because sometimes you gotta laugh.

Seriously.

Peace out

.

What I Learned About “Listen And Learn”

Let’s be real. There’s so much information we are confronted with on a daily basis, it’s a wonder we can absorb even the  infinitesimal amounts we do, without losing our minds. It’s even worse if you are a student. But think about it. From the time that we wake up, we are bombarded with thoughts, facts, questions, demands, statements, exclamations, commercials, hypotheses, fantasies . . . and all of that gets sorted through the amazing filter of our brains.

Al-Alon’s slogan, “Listen and Learn,” reminds us that if we have the self-discipline to be quiet and pay attention to others’ words, we can learn a tremendous amount about ourselves and our world. –How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics, p. 99

I don’t believe in coincidence anymore. When something happens to me that just seems to click for me, like it was supposed to happen, I call it a “God thing.”

A God thing happened for me Wednesday night when I went to a meeting and listened to the person opening the meeting as she read about detachment (Please do click on this –  I don’t normally tell my gentle readers what to do, but this is pure gold. Read it.).

As I’ve been praying for help in getting off the train (no, I’m not all the way off, for I still carry this cloak of despair), I listened intently. I listened to everyone talk around the circle before I shared. There was laughter, as there always is at these meetings, and there was plenty of wisdom.

On my way out the door, the woman who had opened the meeting stopped me. She wanted to share a personal story with me. She knew about that train, she said. Her therapist had told her it’s normal to feel some grief after you have detached and pulled away from a loved one who is bent on self-destruction. It’s like, yes there is quiet and there is peace and there is not the constant tugging on your sleeve to drive you here and drive you there . . .

But it is never easy to watch someone self-destruct. Anyone who tells you they have detached and it doesn’t bother them a lick that their loved one is dying or pickling themselves is lying. 

What lightens it is getting involved in the living around me. A couple of hours ago I got back from auditions for solos and small group ensembles for the September production of our Senior Broadway musical. I’m a Tenor Alto. I was nervous but so excited to be trying something new in my life. We won’t know what parts or songs we will be singing until Monday.

Woot! Life can be very very good.

Peace out.

The Morning After A Good Sleep

I SO LOVE this picture. In case you can’t read it, it says: “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

Had THE BEST sleep last night. I mean, if I could call The Guinness Book of Records and report it, I would, but I’m not sure how they rate the scale. In terms of number of hours slept, it wasn’t amazing: eight. Lucy woke me once and I took her round back, eyes at half mast, to do her thing before I slid under the covers once again. But I went to bed at 9:00 last night. THAT’s a personal record. Slept until 5:00.

Everything looks better in the morning. I’m on my 3rd day in the Summer Reading Program, and enjoying my 2nd book.

This photo reminds me of a trip to Ireland I took with Karissa, to see mutual friends of ours who lived in the countryside of Dublin. The roads out there are so narrow that when another car approaches one has to pull over in the next available spot on the side of road. And I don’t remember seeing any posted speed limits. LOL Maybe fast and faster? But it was so much fun, and very, VERY spiritual to be there. I’m an early riser, and Karissa as well. We’d both get up, she to read her Bible, and I to walk along the winding path, pray, meditate and smoke, commune with the sheep in their pastures. We had lovely hosts. I did try a Guinness while I was in Dublin for the day. Our hosts laughed at me, because I couldn’t tolerate the dark ale.

This other picture reminds me of a weekend Mom, my sister and I went to a place halfway between here and Traverse City. It was

during National Novel Writing Month. I was working on a novel and my sister was working on her memoir. Being late November, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving there, and were treated to the worst blizzard they’d had in years. I was in my element. I’m a snow bunny. If I’d packed proper boots, I would’ve been traipsing about in the woods every day.

Good times. It’s a grand Wednesday after a proper sorting in therapy. I hope you are well.

Peace out.

Get Off The Train!

Learn to detach…Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent… But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate fully. That’s how you are able to leave it… Take any emotion–love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions–if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them–you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that love entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.~ Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

Give up the feeling of responsibility, let go your hold, resign the care of your destiny to higher powers, be genuinely indifferent as to what becomes of it all and you will find not only that you gain a perfect inward relief, but often also, in addition, the particular goods you sincerely thought you were renouncing.~ William James

Confession: I have felt shrouded in a heavy cloak of despair since Friday, or maybe even before. Walking is difficult, because it’s so heavy. I’ve contemplated taking my very life. 😦

This morning I saw my therapist, because I realize that is not an option, and I needed her help figuring this out. Heather is wise and, although younger than I in chronological years, she has an old soul. She listened to me spill everything that had been happening, all that had gone on in the past while.

“Chris,” she observed, “You have detached somewhat from your sister but not all the way. It’s good you are saying no to her, but you are still carrying her and the worry of your mother around. It’s like you and your sister are on the same train. Even though you’ve moved about five cars down from her, giving you some breathing space, you are still on the train.”

That was eye-opening. That means that if my sister, on her self-destructive path right now, should crash . . . I’ll get hit right along with her. I’ll fall right off the tracks.

I AM GETTING OFF THE TRAIN. I love you, my sweet. I carry you in my heart always . . . but I will not go down with you.

Peace out.


Guest Post! Sherrie Theriault Shares With Us

Hello all. We are in for a wonderful experience today. You get to hear someone other than me!! Just kidding.

Sherrie is someone I met through FaceBook. She had written a book called My Sponsor Said.  I bought it, really, for my sister. But I couldn’t resist reading it myself first. It was wise, poignant, lyrical. Last Friday I bought Sober On The Way To Sane, which is near the very top of my TBR list. Sherrie has written 33 books, 31 of which are available on Amazon.com. She writes for the recovering community, also writes villain-free fiction for kids, regular fiction for adults, poetry, and she designs coloring books for all ages.

Now, here’s Sherrie, in her own words:

My name is Sherrie and I am a member of both fellowships.
Thank you, Chris, for inviting me to be your guest here on Recovery Along Route 66; I am grateful to be here. I thought I would share with you a few pieces of prose I’ve written; each addresses a sticking point in my struggle to have strong boundaries or healthy relationships. I have an odd sense of humor and I hope you will bear with me; I mean well.


Lie
Yes, a lie is just a lie, but the truth also has problems. I relay the facts and the words take on a life of their own, leave out the backdoor and walk on down the road. They move to another town and never find time to come back for a visit even though, I am their mother. And woe to the woman who grows attached to credit or recognition for her ideas. These kidnapped prodigies are never ransomed but sold outright and their DNA not questioned or tested.
So, my advice is to love your words in secret and raise your notions behind high walls. If you are ever called upon to share your wisdom, lie. For even if you’re caught the risk is tolerable. Exposure is awkward but then again no one is looking, so, what is there to lose. A lie is just a lie but it stays home with you at night.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GOOD AS GOLD
Just because I’m as good as gold doesn’t mean that I win the prize. Doesn’t mean I get my way. Doesn’t mean I gain your heart. Being ‘extra special sweetness and light girl’ doesn’t secure my future.
It does prevent me from living my life as someone I don’t like. It contents me to keep my own company. It is a huge improvement over living as the raging fury I once was. Any destination I desire is more readily assessable from this amiable posture; in spite of inexpert yearning.
I can breathe past you if must be, walk down the road holding my own hand instead of holding a lung full of air. But I am the treasure. You must earn me never capture me. Appreciate me not devalue me. I’m good as gold. And please know that I am the prize. 


Isolation
I isolate from you, I isolate from others, I isolate from friends, isolate from G-d, I practice connecting by connecting with my sponsor, practice connecting with my friends, practice connecting with G-d, finally I am able to connect with you, the first thing I do is isolate us from them, my sponsor, my friends, my G-d, they are all now on the outside of the bubble of us and I must start again, only now I must try to maintain the you and me connection while at the same time connect with the rest.
Are we still us if I am connected with them? Are we still us if we are in the midst of the crowd I think of, the crowd I call, them? Just because they see us as us, refer to us as us, are we still us if we don’t feel like us to me?
If I don’t know us in the landscape of hordes are we still we? Isolation is an attempt at preservation, how can we best be preserved without being pressed in a book or jarred or jammed? You say let us be, and I say that’s how I got us; are you sure that’s how I keep us? And you hug me tight.


Thank you for sharing this journey of recovery with me. I would love to hear your thoughts about this post, it’s my first time being a guest blogger.

Thank you so much, Sherrie, for sharing your writing with us. I know I could relate on several levels. “Holding my own hand…” The isolation piece was a kicker for me… 

Please do share your thoughts! Sherrie loves comments, right Sherrie? 😉

Peace out.

Unconditional Love

When life is lived with doubts, or suspicions, even jealousies, it can be hard to believe one is loved.

When a 12-year-old, a 13-year-old, so desperately wants a baby what she’s looking for is the kind of unconditional love a child gives a mother and a mother gives a child.
Ellen Barkin

The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I never knew what unconditional love felt like or looked like until I met my super sponsor in Al-Anon. She told me she would always love me no matter what. No one has ever loved me that way before. Not my mother, father, sister or brothers. It is so freeing, so life-affirming. 🙂

When I make a mistake in my recovery, when I stumble, or when I do something stupid, my first reflex is to think “____ is going to be upset with me…” but that’s SO not because of her. That’s me. Old history. Old stuff.

Unconditional love is erasing that, one mark at a time. It’s all good. 🙂 She’s got my back.

People are like stained-glass windows. They sp...

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (Photo credit: Olga Oslina)

Happy Sunday to you.

Peace out.

Boundaries – longish post, sorry

You cannot set boundaries and take care of someone else’s feelings at the same time. –The Forum, September 2000 p. 28

He that respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat of mail that no one can pierce. –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Sometimes my recovery is two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes, like last night, it’s one step forward, three steps back. But I learn. I always learn something from the experience, whether positive or not so positive. So I share what I’m going to share with you today in the hopes it will help you. As always, take what you need and leave the rest.

Last night, I picked up my sister for a meeting. She lives on my way there, and it’s at a treatment center that has both AA/Al-Anon meetings. When she came out of her apartment she was weaving slightly while she walked, and had to lean on my car before she got in. My drunk radar went up, but I decided instead of assuming, to ask her about it.

I asked her if she had anything to drink that day. She emphatically denied it, slightly slurring her words, and would not meet my eyes. This should have been a major clue. If my sister is being honest, she looks me in the eye. I asked if she’d taken any anti-anxiety meds. She said she took ONE, early in the morning, so she could sleep because she didn’t want to think about her life, plus she was out of cigarettes.

“That is still affecting you right now? That one pill?” I asked, not really believing her, but wanting to.

“Yes. And well, I just woke up when you called to pick me up.” It was 7:00 in the evening.

So I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. It couldn’t hurt for her to go to a meeting, anyhow. I let her bum a cigarette off me, knowing that I would have to stop for gas on the way home and she could get her own then.

Half-way there, as she was exhaling smoke and mumbling about something I couldn’t hear, I smelled it. I smelled the fumes of alcohol coming off her. The old me would have ignored it. But not now. I was tired. Tired of messing around, tip-toeing around, and mixing up my role of caretaker.

“When did you drink?” I asked her.

She looked straight out the windsheild. “Yesterday. I drank yesterday.”

“I can smell it on you right now. You must have had something to drink today.” It felt terrible to do this, but I was DRIVING her to an AA meeting! It felt ironic to say the least and too late at worst.

“I had two glasses of wine today. Just two.”

Liar. I knew it as well as I knew I could never give up smoking cigarettes on my own.

I should have just turned around. But I knew of other AA meetings where members would rather welcome people drunk to their tables than not at all. So we continued on. She went to her meeting. I went to mine.

On our way out the door, one of the staff members said to me, out of my sister’s earshot “Next time bring her sober.” Yeah. Thanks. I’ll be sure to do that. This is all my fault. Of course it is.

So this morning when I spoke to my sister, she was all cheery, said she felt fine, she’d slept great (I didn’t). I told her my new boundary.

“I won’t take you to meetings drunk anymore. If you had told me you were high immediately when you got in the car instead of f***ing around about it, I wouldn’t have been halfway there before I knew. Just be honest about it. Why would I get mad if you’re honest? We would’ve just gone to the meeting another time. Relapse is a part of recovery. Remember that.”

She was just quiet. Apologized. Said thank you.

Geez. Why does it all have to be so hard? I just want to sleep now. 😦

Peace out.

Easy Always Does It Better

So. Stuff happens. Into each life a little stress will come, some more than others. I just got off the phone with an old friend of mine, who has bipolar like I do, and she has been hospitalized twice since April because of rapid cycling. New meds aren’t really helping, so she’s dealing as best she can.

Stuff happens. It’s what we do with the stuff that either helps us or hurts us more. 

One of my (for I have a few) favorite slogans in the program is Easy Does It. When something stressful happens in my life, when something goes way wrong, I have one of two responses.

Curl up like a fetal ball on the couch and watch mindless TV, or go all in. I’m absolutely sure I hold all the best cards, they will carry me through whatever decisions I have to make—if they aren’t the best cards, I’ll make them the best cards. I’ll turn them upside down, or sideways or backwards . . . somehow those cards will fit the problem facing me.

They’re the cards I’ve been dealt, and dammit I’m going to make them work if it kills me. 😉 I’m not going to ask for help, I’m not going to stop to think, not me.

Any of this sound familiar? Do you ever try to force solutions when the easiest thing to do is to step back and take a breath first?

know not to trust my first instincts, so to go into any situation blindly, guns blazing, is going to turn out badly. I’ve learned that the hard way. It’s not been pretty. There have been casualties. I could tell you, but then I’d have to shoot you. 😉

Now I know that, yes, I have to press pause when I get bad news. I have to talk it through with people I trust. I have to let myself feel any strong feelings I have first–get them out–before I head into the stressful situation. Maybe I’ll even knit a little bit, or take Lucy for a walk. I’ll definitely pray. God will hear about my fears and my feelings.

What about you when stuff happens?

Peace out.

Filling My Cup

Is this not a beautiful picture? I couldn’t resist it when I saw it. If I could get my heart started every morning on a cup full of sparkles instead of caffeine, I’d be all over it. 🙂 That is SO pretty to me.

It made me think about what I need to fill myself with every day. Like, how does what I read, watch on TV, and look at on the internet affect me? How does who I talk to on the phone or in person affect my mood? How does what I write about or not write about make me feel? If I don’t spend time in knitting do I feel that loss of my center?

What about meetings? Sometimes who I sit with at a meeting affects my ability to share more . . . not freely, necessarily, but – without stumbling over my words? I get very nervous, and if I don’t  know at least half the people at the table pretty well I get very skittish, like a cat.

But wait–let me back up a second here. My super sponsor and I were talking about books and what we read, and she said that if she reads horror, like Stephen King and stuff like that, it affects her too much in a negative way. Now, I can read Stephen King-like stuff all the livelong day and it does not put me in a negative mood. But let me read some self-help book that tells me I’m doing something wrong — and I’m in a pissy mood the rest of the day.

So the only self-help I need in my life at this point is Al-Anon related material. That’s what I can fill my cup with.

I used to be able to watch the different Law and Order spin-offs all the time. Now I can only watch the main one and Criminal Intent (okay, okay, because I have a thing for Vincent D’Onofrio, happy now? :P) He’s married. So I have to admire from afar. I still watch The Waltons on The Hallmark Channel, and I once watched a whole 24-hour marathon of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. If you remember that, I’m your friend for life. 😉 Too much violence isn’t a good thing to fill my cup up with. Humor is great. 

My mom thinks I’m too open on here, and on FB. Psh. It’s my blog. And —okay, I’ll be more careful on FB. I don’t exactly have to say where I’m going, or where I am. I still think she worries too much. I guess that’s what Moms do. It’s one of the many ways they offer their love up.

And I’m babbling. What positive ways do you have to fill your cup on a daily basis?

Peace out.

Who is Your Higher Power?

Often, when people get to the 2nd step, Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, they are not quite sure what to do.

Many (including yours truly) have come from a place where they felt so beaten down they didn’t believe anything or anyone could fix it. I was told “Keep coming back.” So I did. I came. That’s all I could do for a while. I came and got my butt in the chair and I listened.

I came and then I came to and then I came to believe. 

It’s a process, and it looks different for everyone because everyone is an individual.

Here’s the problem, though. Sometimes, people in the program will make another person their higher power. Like, say, a sponsor. So what do you suppose happens if that sponsor should happen to get really sick, or die?

The difficulty is people are fallible. They are HUMAN. They make mistakes. Sometimes they fall down. Sometimes they’re late, or they forget to call, or they don’t show up at all. If we rely on another human being — someone with 10 fingers and 10 toes, just like us — we are in for a world of hurt.

I found myself thinking this morning “What in the world would I do if Super Sponsor died?” (I don’t really call her that in my mind, but this is an anonymous blog.) The fact is, I’d be really sad. I’d probably cry for a long time, because I love her a lot. She’s a great person. But I’d have to move on with my life, because she wouldn’t want me to suffer for too long.

My higher power is God. He doesn’t go on vacation. He’s never late, He is always there when I call, He doesn’t have voice mail, is never in a pissy mood, always has time to listen, loves to hear me go on and on about things I have on my mind, and has the best solutions if I just listen.

Who’s your higher power?

Are You Codependent? Find out Here!

This looks like a test for male codependents, but when I took it, I didn’t see any difference. I scored pretty high, which scared me, because I thought I was doing better. Let me know how you do in the comments!

Codependence Test

by: www.malecodependence.com

 This is pretty eye opening and truth telling.  Although I am new to even admitting that I am a codependent man, I never would have guessed this to be true.

Take your own test and drop me a comment and let’s discuss our findings.  Take care!

  1. I am in a significant relationship with someone who is addicted to a substance or a behavior, or someone who is depressed. YES
  2. I feel responsible for almost everybody and everything, but I felt guilty much of the time. YES
  3. I can’t say “no” without feeling guilty. YES
  4. I can accurately “read” other people by analyzing their facial expressions and tone of voice. YES
  5. I try very hard to please people, but I seldom feel that I measure up. YES
  6. I feel that I have to protect people, especially the addicted or depressed person in my life. YES
  7. I live in such a way that no…

View original post 364 more words

Withdrawal

Withdrawal sucks. No two . . . okay, well maybe two words about it.

It’s been over 24 hours since I checked my blog stats. Now, before you start snorting Pepsi out your nose and all over your computer screen, please realize this is a very big deal for me. In the not-too-distant past, I’ve been known to check my stats anywhere from 1-8 times a day, to see how many likes I’ve been getting, what posts are most read, etc.

Even now, my fingers ache oh-so-bad to just click over and see how things are going.

Knowing where this comes from doesn’t make it any easier. Who do you know that had a fairy tale childhood, with a happily ever after ending? KNOWING is useless. I deal with it, I’ve forgiven it, let it go, “over with, done with, gone” . . .

Then stuff like this crops up, like a weed among the flowers, or . . . better yet, a flower that suddenly sprouts up through a crack in the sidewalk. Ever see one of those? I have. They are little miracles. They remind me that I’m not quite finished, and maybe I never will be.

But you know what? It’s okay. I’ve got plenty of time. Acceptance will carry me through for now.

It’s just okay.

Peace out.

Found Missing: A True Story of Domestic Violence, Murder, and Eternity (Book Review)

Don’t miss this harrowing account of a courageous woman who survives horrible trials!

Found Missing: A True Story of Domestic Violence, Murder, and Eternity, by Linda Slavin  ISBN: 978-0-9840462-0-1

Lisa is physically and mentally abused by her husband, Vincent for years, and then he suddenly goes missing. The police, once they decide that Lisa is a person of interest, don’t search very hard for other suspects after that. Through this decade long journey Lisa finds and grows her faith, in a very difficult time. Although any reader might benefit from this (as did I) it would most help women who have been in domestic violence situations and want to get out.

In addition to the novel itself, there is a Postscript, an About the Author section, very interesting Review and Discussion questions, and Testimonies about Jim and Linda (Slavin). The overall message of the book is to stand strong in faith, that God who has begun a good work in you, will continue and see you through everything. 

What I loved most about this book was Lisa’s unshakable faith in God to take care of her. She seemed to carry that Bible with her everywhere. And then the Scripture verses were on her lips and in her heart, which is just as it should be. I also appreciated Lisa’s strong Mama bear protective feeling toward her children, and the special times she shared with them, despite the chaos brought about by her husband, Vincent. She is a great Mom.

However, I felt a sort of main disconnect somewhere with Lisa. And, on an artistic and technical level, there were some issues that could have been improved upon.

Ultimately, I would not recommend this book to others. It might be just a matter of personal taste. It took me a long time to get through, and that’s unusual for me.

Found Missing

Disclosure of Material:  I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the  Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Reading Is Like Opening A Box of Truffles

Um .  . . chocolate truffles that is. Reading to me is second nature, like breathing. I carry a book with me everywhere. Really.

You never know where you might get stuck waiting for a train, or waiting in a long line at the grocery store, and that’s where a Kindle never fails to come in handy, or a small paperback, even if I’ve read it before. Because if it’s honestly great, I can get so lost again, just like that.

I’ll never understand writers who say they don’t have time for reading. I think to myself, ‘Don’t have time for it?’ How can you not have time for reading? I consider good reading, even bad reading, essential to good writing.

When I sit down to a book I’ve carefully chosen and picked out, even better one that I’ve waited to be released . . . like the one I just finished, Elizabeth Haynes’s Into The Darkest Corner: A Novel, it’s amazing. It’s been . . . erm, a while, since I had sex so can’t quite compare it to that. But It’s like opening a box of chocolate truffles. The best kind, knowing they’re all going to be good. No messy surprise flavors you’re going to bite into that you haven’t been prepared for. Only great surprises, bursting into your heart and into your mind, exploding onto your taste buds like a rain shower. Good Lord, it’s the best thing. If you haven’t run out and bought this book, what in the world are you waiting for? Mums the word, I’m not saying a thing. My lips are tightly sealed. There are enough reviews on Amazon if that’s what you are looking for.

But please, gentle readers. If you don’t read novels, if you don’t read fiction for fiction’s sake, for the very lifeblood of your beating heart, please take up my challenge and start today. Start now! There are so many good novels out there. If you need some recommendations just ask me in the comments and I’ll give you several. I don’t just read thrillers, I read all varieties, from Christian inspirational to creative nonfiction. I’m voracious and I can almost never get enough.

What do you like to read? What turns you on? What is your “chocolate truffle?” Tell me about it in the comments! Let’s get a “friendly” debate going about the best books out there. Don’t be shy. 🙂

 

Nobody’s Perfect, So Chin Up!

Thursday morning I saw my Super Sponsor and we decided to talk about the third step: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 

Actually, I requested this step, because I’m having difficulty with “Let go and let God.” I turn things over to Him and then my mind gets on its hamster-wheel the things I’ve turned over to Him are back with me going ’round and ’round and I can’t make them stop.

Much of this, I knew had to do with my sister’s upcoming sentencing hearing, and it will be very difficult for me to be separated from her for whatever period of time, whether it’s sixty days or five years. My sponsor suggested that I need to do something after I turn my sister over to God. I need to either read in one of my daily meditation books, my Bible . . . or do something active, like take a walk, write, clean something, so that I don’t just sit there and GIVE my sister a chance to come back to me. You know? Let her stay with God. It’s too much for me to handle.

It’s not easy, and I fall many more times than I stand . . . especially after I came home from that to find that my sister had taken off and no one knew where she was. She took her purse and her cigarettes, but not her cell phone. She was gone for two nights. Nearly 48 hours.

Did I leave her entirely in God’s hands? 😦 I wish I could say I did. I prayed for her safety. I got angry. I fretted and cried.

She’s home safely, a bit bruised and worse for the wear, but at least she’ll make her probation appt on Monday and she’ll face up to her sentencing hearing on July 3rd. Nobody’s perfect. I don’t have any stones to throw. Do you?

We all try so hard to do the very perfect thing. All we can do is the next right thing. And keep breathing. Even if we meet God partly halfway, He’ll gladly meet us all the rest of the way. At least, that’s the kind of God He is to me.

Peace out.

Just Do It ‘Til You BELIEVE It

The popular saying in AA and Al-Anon is “Fake it ’til you make it,” but for the purposes of today’s post, I’ve made up my own slogan. Yeah. I did that. 🙂 Well, they all have to start somewhere, right?

So one of these days I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll hear someone talking to a friend, chatting them up, saying, “No, you just do it ’til….” ooor maybe not. 😛

It’s nice to dream, though.

The point is for whatever you are dealing with, whether it’s another person’s behavior or your own behavior you are trying to change . . . I’ve always found that taking action, putting one foot in front of the other and actually taking small steps is what helps me BELIEVE. Because, look it’s either working (the action) or it’s not. And if it’s not, well that quickly I can take steps to change it.

Recently I’ve had someone try to take advantage of me. Try being the operative word. Because I’ve learned so much in Al-Anon, and because I talk regularly with my super sponsor, I know the things to say. I know how not to get walked on anymore. I didn’t “fake it,” I just did the behavior and the consequences were ten times better than they would have been had I taken the actions years earlier, putty in the hands of a master manipulator.

One can use this new “slogan” 😉 for anything. I think of it with my writing as well. As soon as I finish this blog post, I’m going to tackle an hour of writing, straight through. I’ve been thinking of myself as a writer, believing it as it forms in my mind, speaking it to my mother and people who normally don’t commend such statements from me.

What are you hesitant about? What do you need to do ’til you BELIEVE it? Do it today!! What’s stopping you?

Falling

NB: This blog used to be called K2together: Yarns and Words. If you came here looking for that, you are in the right place. 😉

Welcome to my first ever post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Ahem. My name is Chris, and I’m an insecure writer. And, may I just say, I’m insecure about this post? I thought and thought and prayed and prayed about what I wanted to say this morning. Then I realized it was almost like Bonnie Friedman swatting flies in Writing Past DarkI was distracting myself from just writing the dang post by thinking about it so much and what your reactions to it might or might not be.

I keep a Where Is Taylor word count meter on my blog (you can see it you scroll down a little), even though it’s so totally embarrassing. Out of 63,000 words I’ve only written 2,154. And that’s after I dropped out of Camp NaNoWriMo for June.

Dropping out was actually a good decision for me, though. I thought I wrote well under pressure, you know? Like usually I do well with the November NaNo (unless I fall catastrophically behind), but this past November I wrote crap. I went back to read it recently, and I just cried. It was that bad.

So when I noticed that I’d fallen way behind on Camp NanoWriMo because of some family issues, I panicked. I knew I’d be pumping out that same kind of drivel again.

Instead, I just put my head down, went onto Write or Die for half an hour and wrote a little over 1k. This time, because I wasn’t under any pressure, not even of my own, it felt just like Bonnie describes it in her book, like I was falling into a dream state. I was descriptive, which is usually my prickly pear. I could feel Taylor developing in 3d while my fingertips touched the keys. It’s almost like . . . you know how you can feel the rest of the world just kind of “go away” when you get to that place in really good writing?

Yeah. I was there for a little over 1k. And I don’t think I can fall again. It rarely happens for me.

Usually I’m afraid to touch my writing because I want it to be something it can never be. I’d rather read and hide behind others’ words.

Peace out.

~~This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Groupwhich happens the first Wednesday of each month. 

Conscious Contact and the Novi Senior Choral

The 11th step from Al-Anon states: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

According to Dictionary.com, the word ‘conscious‘ means: 1. aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts,surroundings, etc., and 2. fully aware of or sensitive to something (among others that you may peruse if you wish 🙂 ). Some synonyms of conscious are understanding, sure, vigilant, watchful. Contact can be seen a few different ways: touch, actual touch; meeting between two people; a nifty friend or acquaintance who can garner you influence.

I’ve been trying to improve my conscious contact with God, and yesterday I wanted so badly to be in His will, but I struggled with my own anxiety and it felt like a huge risk I would be taking. It seems like such a silly thing to say now.

Since I’m going to be 50 years old in September, I qualify for the senior choral in my city. It’s a very big deal. It’s not just singing they do, but dancing, skits and small group duets and singing. There’s a big production once a year, and this year it’s about Broadway show tunes. I had been looking forward to it, but as my mom and I (she’s been in the group for years, approaching her 85th birthday this year) sat on the porch, just about ready to go, anxiety sank in my stomach like a serrated knife. It was that quick.

Mom suggested I go anyway, just to see what it was like. I wouldn’t have to commit, or pay the $50 fee until the next week. She was already sure I would love it, because everyone was going to love on me and not want to let me go. I was so anxious I ended up taking an anti-anxiety med before I left. 😦 All the way there I asked my mom questions. And I was so glad Tweetybird  was clean, because we drove my car so I could smoke on the way. Yeah, now you know why I sing Tenor. 😛

Well, I prayed and prayed as we walked in the door. I already knew God wanted me to take more chances and to get out into the world. I needed more friends, and these were good people, friends I could count on to stick with me through thick and thin. They had been there for my mother for several years already. Hadn’t He stuck with me through my anxiety with work at the Book Nook? What other proof did I need?

So I went in, and every hand I shook, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “I was so NERVOUS! I don’t know why I was so nervous, because everyone’s been so nice to me!” …even though I had pointedly expressed to my mother NOT to mention to anyone how anxious I’d been, on pain of death. ::eyeroll::

It’s amazing what can happen when we keep up that conscious contact, and we stay in at least what we hope is God’s will . . . He always gives us the power to carry it out. Whew! Slept 9 1/2 hours last night after that. Was pretty tired. But it was such a good experience.

AND . . . I ended up paying the $50 that very day. I didn’t need to wait. I also signed up for skits and small group singing. It’s going to be a bang-up production. Wish you were here!

Peace out.

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