Month: December 2016

2016 Reflections

What a year! My cousin posted on Facebook that she was tired of hearing people talk about how bad 2016 has been—so she listed all of the good things that happened in her life throughout the year. It’s been one helluva year, that’s for sure! I have to say it’s been a good helluva year though. First and foremost; I got sober! 2015 was insane. If I had to count, I’d say I had about seven relapses that year. And then 2016 was my major turning point. Everything started to make sense, and life changed. I have a very LONG way to go to rebuild anything that shows outwardly—but that’s OK. I’ve had a lot and I’ve had a little—and I have the same amount of joy no matter what! I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 I have two Bible …

Stepping Out

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable- that is when change is going to happen. Jillian Michaels I took my camera to the park to get a little sunshine and see some new scenery. It seems my little friends were everywhere! 

Words About Birds

  Wheeling through the summer sky, perching in the treetops, feeding their young, birds go about their business as generally unconcerned with the human race as the human race is generally unconcerned with them. But every so often they do something that catches our attention. Canada geese heading south in the shape of a V. A white-throated sparrow grieving over poor Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody. A cardinal darting through the shrubbery like a flame. For a moment or two even the dullest of us dimly realizes the world would be a poorer place without them. One wonders if from time to time birds feel the same way about us. A man with an umbrella walking in the rain. A woman in a bathing suit picking peas. The patter song of a two-year-old in the sandbox. Do birds every once in a while see us as we see them, as basically irrelevant but occasionally worth the cocking of a beady eye, the flicker of a wing, the first few notes of a song? —Frederick Buechner, Beyond …

Unteach Me

I titled my story Unteach Me because I’ve learned throughout the last two years, after finding God, that I’d always been looking at life wrong. Not only did I have a lot to learn, but I had a lot to unlearn. The following was written before I started my blog, so I shared a piece a day after I decided to share my story. Just in case anyone would ever like to read the story in it’s entirety, I thought I would add this table of contents to make it easier to navigate. IN THE BEGINNING: Looking back, I can clearly see that this would have been the perfect time for me to find God. Instead, I found alcohol.— REWRITING YOUR STORY: The very first drink I took fixed everything. I was no longer tongue-tied. I felt comfortable in my own skin. I was courageous!— THE AUTHOR OF MY LIFE: I was always STRIVING. I strove to be ultra-independent, to make money, and to be totally self-reliant. Then I strove to be stress-free so that I could somehow be …

Roots

Root is an extremely important word for me today. Throughout the past two years I have been reflecting on my life and writing about it, in an attempt to get to the ROOT of my problems. Noun: The basic cause, source, or origin of something Verb: Establish deeply and firmly (be rooted) As of January 7, 2015, the day that I first attained sobriety (though relapses occurred), and the day that my wholehearted search for God began bearing fruit, I’ve spent a lot of time becoming deeply rooted in Him and His Word. And as of March 7, 2016; the day that is now my sobriety date, I’ve worked at being well rooted in my recovery program. Gil always reminds me that we have seasons in our lives. I do see that, and I believe that after many, MANY months of reading not only God’s Word, but some great books by C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, Philip Yancey, and even A.W. Tozer; my roots—although baby roots—have taken hold. I also believe that in starting this blog, a new season came upon …

Magic Lights

Whew! Too much caffeine today and I can’t sleep! I’ve been wanting to do something with the lights that we have in the back because they’re fairly transparent. I’m always seeing things through them; leaves, clouds—things like that. My grandson worked perfect for it. It’s supposed to be magical—but I think it borders on nightmarish. Not intentionally, mind you. It actually works though, because he’s always in his own little world, tuning everyone out. The good news is I’m finally tired… …and Christmas is almost here! Play is the highest form of research. Neville V. Scarfe

Joy on Wheels

You probably knew this was coming. Yes…yes indeed! Joy was found on wheels today. It was a double whammy when I saw the reflections that were there, when I went to take the picture. It must have been the perfect time of day. Then… I went to pick up pizza tonight and the red clouds were absolutely gorgeous! I took a few snaps with my phone. It’s more car art! From the Side Window From the Windshield It’s been a good day! It was beautiful outside and I managed to get some great photos out back, of some things that sort of popped up recently. I’ll share those soon. To top it off, I picked up my grandson from school and we got to have some laughs together. Life is good!

Preparing for Take-off

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. Chinese Proverb I got a bit of a crow in the walnut tree next door. It’s not a pretty tree (if you ask me), so I did a little crazy stuff to it. I like his stance—he looks very brave. And for some reason every bird around here is ALWAYS behind a branch. It’s like they do it on purpose! That’s going to change though. Believe it or not, I FINALLY picked up the SUV that my friend and her husband gave  me. It’s HUGE! It will be great for hauling furniture someday. So, I’m super excited about that. It’s a major, awesome, wonderful Christmas gift. I have wheels again!  

Joy on Fire!

That sounds like a fierce warning alarm, or the title of a good song! My joy is on fire! Anyway… the ornament wasn’t really AWOL. I was kidding. So… it’s been REALLY chilly here. Not so much outside, but inside. Our heater isn’t working! Needless to say, I really DID find joy in the fire today. God is great and life is good!

A California Christmas

Well I’m taking a break from writing my Confessions story for awhile. At least until after Christmas. Don’t quote me though, because I’m known for changing my mind a lot! I have discovered, however, that it’s good to keep reflecting and writing, because I’m growing and learning a little more each time that I do. I was just telling Gil yesterday that I’ve been more emotional lately. Sadness, joy, gratitude… all sorts of feelings. Since I’ve poured so much of my life out, it seems like some real healing is taking place inside. It’s probably obvious by now (or maybe not) that I’m not giving a complete tell-all here. I mean, there are LOTS of things that I censor out of the blog. Especially when they involve other people—that I was married to perhaps? (Hint Hint). I could write an entire book about those things, but there’s really no point. The stories themselves won’t help anyone, but some things I learned after the fact WILL… and I’ll talk about those later. That’s about it for now. I’ve been anxious to post a festive photo …

Confessions: Part Six

It still amazes me that the therapist at the church could say so little, yet so MUCH. In a short amount of time, with very few words, she was able to open my eyes to the fact that I’d been living my life entirely wrong. I just got butterflies when I wrote that! That trip to the church was no accident. I KNEW that Dead End sign was for me, and I just HAD to visit that church. That woman may not have been expecting me that day… but God was! It’s taken me this long to really see that. It’s not like I did a complete turnaround after that, but it did help me get unstuck. And you know what else? That woman has NO idea how her words affected me that day. I hear that’s how God works. Sometimes He uses you for good, and you don’t even know it. Anyway, her opinion was that… I wasn’t running my life; my life was running ME. She couldn’t have been more right. I was always …

Joy in the Night

Why I didn’t think of this before? I LOVE the night. Right now it’s raining too, so it’s even better. Anyway… that’s where Joy was discovered today—in the night. Between that Ginkgo and the Joy ornament, I think I’ll be happy when this is all over with. Oh, and to save myself the joy of doing another JOY post tomorrow—here is tomorrow’s joy… I think that wraps up the Joy posts until Saturday night. Blessings!

Floating Notes

My persistence is starting to pay off and I finally caught a few leaves mid-air. I did it! The leaves are everywhere today. It’s a stretch, but I think the tree resembles a person playing a violin, and the leaves are the music notes, floating up to the heavens. Oh, and what’s even more exciting is that it’s supposed to rain here soon. I’m looking forward to puddle hunting later, or tomorrow. And to top it off, we lit the fireplace. God is great, and life is good!

Stolen Joy

My joy was temporarily stolen today. Nothing huge. Just silly stuff. Sometimes I hear something, or read something… and it just sucks the life out of me. Sometimes I wonder if people realize how piercing words are, and how deeply they penetrate. No matter how simple they are. They can make or break a person. And steal their joy. That’s all. Things will be brighter tomorrow, and my JOY will be returned.

Joy Incognito

Last night I started thinking… hmm… I think I’m already bored of this little JOY ornament! That’s me: easily amused, but I tire of things quickly. But I’m stepping out of the norm, and sticking with it—even though my mind is saying NO NO NOOO. I think that makes it even more interesting. I’m going to have to find ways to make it humorous or entertaining! Anyway, Joy heard the rumor that I was thinking about scrapping her and she tried to hide… I found her though, and I even captured her in black and white. I’m keeping her close because I have to hit the rake…. and I’m worried I might lose her in there!

Joy in Giving

My cousin is great at knitting and crocheting. She makes batches of scarves that are shipped out to women in shelters and she asked me to write something that could go on a card with each scarf. The yarn she uses is nicknamed ‘Magic Yarn’ because it’s made up of remnants of old pieces of yarn—leftover scraps in a sense—so that no yarn is ever wasted. So… I wrote a fairy tale in rhymes: The Tale of the Magic Yarn There once was a seamstress, who made garments of white. Everyone wore them, what a beautiful sight! She knitted, crocheted and sewed wonderful things. Hats, scarves and mittens, with tassels and rings! The town looked so crisp, clean, shiny and bright. They all dressed the same, their garments so light! With pride they stood tall, as they strutted around. Not a blemish was seen, not a stain ever found. Then one day by surprise, a great storm hit the sand. Thunder, lightning and winds…blew right through the land. When the chaos was over, they all came …

Confessions: Part Five

I’ve been thinking about the gift of belief that I wrote about in part four. I’ve wanted to say, in as few words as possible, how it all came to be. But it’s a lifelong and never ending story. Basically, for me… belief was one of my biggest struggles. I’ve always said that I searched for and found God, but today the thought that came to me was that those words aren’t 100% accurate. I mean they are, but they aren’t. In reality, He was right there—all the time—but my mind was completely closed. I had locked it shut, and thrown out the key… for decades. So, my original attempts at seeking God are perhaps better described as: Prying my head open. Which is really odd, because when it came to people-pleasing (or following the crowd) my mind was WIDE open. Kind of like that joke you see… Don’t be too open-minded or your brains will fall out. Which brings me back to my story…. The Chaos Continues In my years working in the real …

Discovering Joy

Call me crazy, but I have a plan. I’ve been wanting to do holiday photos but haven’t been getting out much yet. I picked up a $3 ornament and I’m going to use it as my prop for the next 13 days. Discovering Joy. Kind of like, Elf on the Shelf. Sounds a bit childlike, but that’s how I feel and that’s how I want to stay this Christmas. Have a joyful day everyone!

Through a Window

I mentioned to a fellow blogger that many of my photos from Colorado—of the sky, clouds and sunsets—were taken from our living room window which was on the third floor, facing the mountains. This is one of those photos! I guess the main thing I had to remember in those days was to keep my windows clean! Sometimes I wonder why I was in such a hurry to leave there… But then I remember all that snow…

Confessions: Part Three

In spite of all the madness in those days (the crazy 80’s), I held down a job for eight years until—eventually—I was laid off. It wasn’t a surprise. Life had gotten really ugly, and I was showing up late on a regular basis, or calling in sick altogether. If I had to identify my first turning point, it was when I set foot in my career. Our landlord was a casual friend and a real estate broker. He literally walked through our door, and offered me a job. In all honesty, the method behind his madness was that he wanted us to pay our rent! With all that’s ever happened—and looking back now—I’d have to call his job offer one of my first God Winks. I want to say that the job taught me to be shrewd, but that sounds kind of harsh. Simply put, it was the first thing in my life that gave me a sense of my own identity. I learned my writing skills in that job. I was an innocent, untrained sheep, …

Inside Our Ginkgo

Our Ginkgo is too tall to get the whole tree into a good photograph, so I decided to get inside of it and look up. I kind of like how it came out! Below is a black and white, from another angle. I’ve always loved black and whites, but there’s so much color around lately, it’s hard not to show it. I really DO like this one! Except it’s really hard to see the details or outline of the leaves. I realized today that I lost my glasses awhile back and am so used to not wearing them that this is probably the reason I have a hard time seeing through the lens! Go figure.

Purple Rain

What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary. George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life

Confessions: Part Two

If I had to sum up how or why I took the wrong road, I’d say it was because I had no faith or belief in God. To make matters worse, I had no direction, no plans, and no goals. I was a walking, breathing, empty vessel… easily tossed around and swayed by whatever (or whomever) was in my vicinity. I just existed. That’s how the chameleon came to be. It was never intentional. I was a shy and quiet girl, from a perfectly normal family, who JUST wanted to fit in and be liked. I started becoming someone that I was NOT in junior high, when I entered the world of cliques. I never fit perfectly into any one of the groups. To survive that excruciating experience, all I could do was pretend that I wasn’t petrified. I started acting cool. Coolness came with a price. It meant parties with drinking and recreational drugs. It also meant failing my classes, in spite of the fact that I was perfectly capable of passing with excellent grades. I …

The Art of Patience

This was a few minutes ago. I really got excited because I never even saw the second bird until I got inside and looked at it on my computer. I took quite a few shots! The yellow one was really watching me. Almost posing for a while. I’m learning a little more about the art of patience.

Confessions of a Chameleon

I had a great childhood. My parents never insisted that I be anyone other than myself. They never forced me to attend certain schools, or pursue a career of their choosing. They were a bit too overprotective—probably for a good reason—but other than that I was as free as a bird. The sky was the limit! In a sense. Our family lived a quiet and simple life, and that’s all that I knew life to be. Nowadays I refer to it as having grown up in a bubble, but it was a very SAFE bubble. Their primary concern was that I finish high school, enjoy my youth, stay out of trouble, and one day be a happy, honest and responsible woman of integrity, just as they taught me to be. So what was the problem? What stopped me from reaching for the moon? I never learned self-confidence, and I was afraid. The drinking started as fun. You know… teenage parties at night. Things like that. But I LOVED the way it gave me courage and …

The Vertical Line

A worry that plagued me when I was already knee deep in writing was that my story was revealing a self-centered narcissist. Gazing at the pages, I’d see nothing but rows and ROWS of vertical lines. I, I, I — it’s all about ME! That’s the enemy talking. He’s forever whispering in my ear; telling me to stop doing the very things that are helping me recover. Call him what you will; the devil, the flesh, or maybe a twisted merging of the two… the mind. Writing is therapeutic. Writing opens up your mind, and brings hidden things to the surface. The best advice I could ever offer anyone—aside from seek God—is… Just write. Writing (or journaling) is like a treasure hunt. Thoughts surface, questions come to mind, and incredible hints and clues appear on the page—right in front of your eyes. Yesterday, something in my post The Big Picture did exactly that. I found a clue! “… by becoming someone that I was not. You know…a people-pleaser. Give them what they want. Tell them what they want …

New Beginnings

Well, here I am… a bit weepy again. It’s a good cry though. It’s been two months since I started this blog, and in four days I’ll be taking a nine month chip. During these past two months—not only have I been sharing my story, my thoughts, my dreams, and my many pictures—but I’ve been semi-quietly trying to figure out just where it is I’m headed next. Attempting to lay out plans and chart my own course, as they say. I really AM a strong person. Sometimes I think it’s a good quality, and other times I think it may be a hindrance. Mainly because that outwardly resilient woman tends to boss around the fragile young girl that hides inside (who’s trying very hard to grow up, mind you); telling her to GET ON with things! Stay busy. Make a plan! It’s very nerve racking. Gil… my dear friend, brother, daddy figure, mentor (and so much more) said something to me when I first started putting my story together in a book-like format, and then again …

The Big Picture

So, I was reminded of something while reading a fellow blogger’s post (thank you Rob) this morning. It’s something that actually helped me a great deal not too long ago… Looking at the BIG picture. Being new to Christianity, and fairly new in the program—the first things I had to face were my defects. My wrong thinking. My sinfulness. I had learned, early in life, how to dodge my fears by becoming someone that I was not. You know…a people-pleaser. Give them what they want. Tell them what they want to hear. Be who THEY want you to be. The problem here is that now I’m not even sure who THEY were. My peers when I was young? Well, that’s not what I want to dwell on. I’m getting sidetracked. The point is that once I looked in the mirror and faced the bad head on, I lost complete sight of all the positives. I almost couldn’t remember the good things I’d done in life. That might be why a lot of my posts are about my memories. I’m …

Rewiring My Hard Drive

Saturdays are thrift store days for me and my mom. This tree is outside one of the places we go to regularly. I actually took my camera today because whenever I don’t I see something interesting to photograph. Murphy’s Law, I guess. And now I’ve dropped my phone a few too many times so it doesn’t take good photos anymore. I need to get the screen replaced and keep putting it off. Which leads me to the rewiring of my hard drive. Procrastination; putting off the important things today that I can do tomorrow. Like alcohol… almost ALL of the things that catch my interest, that are pleasurable… seem to suck me in and practically take over. Like little predators, invading my brain. My hobbies these days are healthy, granted, but there are tasks that I should be doing. You know, like getting the screen replaced on my phone. And then there’s this….. The frames. I am accumulating more and more, with each little trip to the thrift store (and these are just the small ones). I get a little queasy …

Anything Goes

Just random things I’ve been doing; a couple more night photos and something else that I’ll just have to call “art.” Yesterday I captured some bird images and noticed that some of them had nice silhouettes, so I’ve been experimenting and hope to share that soon! Have a great weekend everyone!