Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lenten Practices

I met with my girls on Friday for lunch.  Sometimes I worry about them because so much emphasis has been put on their brothers addiction.  Now that he is in a better place, they are away at school.  But Friday was a day where I could look at just how great they really are. 

It is lent and as young adults they now have the freedom (or not) to practice the faith.  We had a nice lunch with the Dad and his assistant.  We had a great time.  We listened to all sorts of animated tales.  The oldest tried to help a friend who suffers from depression.  The friend wasn't ready to hear about it or to want help.  She was very distressed at how angry the friend was with her.  Later I said to her that perhaps forgiving and letting go of this friend until or unless she was ready would be a good Lenten exercise for her.

Quietly, she said she would think about it.  Then both girls excitedly told me how each day they would mention two things that they were grateful for and that they were praying for hateful people!!  I have to say that it really warmed my heart.  My young adult daughters had that childlike exuberance about their plan which came about when a friend cried because someone was so hateful to her.  So, they decided to pray for those who are hateful!!!  Pretty mature.....don't ya think?  Wouldn't it be great if world leaders and politicians felt this way? 

Today I am thankful for my girls.  I am thankful that they fight for right over wrong and are willing to consider doing the hard things.  I am thankful for my Lenten journey and I pray for Henry.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hopeward Bound....

I have been very busy at the Dad's office.  While it isn't a labor of love for me, it is needed.  I've gone weekly to the jail with the "Homeward Bound" program to take an Al Anon meeting.  These ladies really need AA or NA but they can't get anyone to do it so we are all they have.

They really tug at my heart.  I find myself really looking forward to Wednesday.  I especially love when they begin to let their guard down a bit and let you in a little more.  I love seeing their excitement of being the one to run the meeting.  I love how they timidly agree to pick a topic but are unable to hide the fact that they are pleased to be a leader in some way. 

The most exciting part of all is seeing them regain hope.  "Love recognizes no barriers.  It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it's destination of full hope."

Today I pray for all of those lost to grasp on and hang on and try again...and I pray for Henry.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Lenten Journey

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.  Catholics around the world will go to mass and receive ashes (the burned palms from the previous years palms) ; a visual and physical reminder that from dust we were created and to dust return.

Many people will "give up" something for Lent.  This is a little reminder of the sacrifice that was given for each of us.  This year I have elected to add something.  I am taking "The Ignatian Adventure."  The priests known as "The Society of Jesus" or the "Jesuits" practice "The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius." These are exercises in contemplation, confession and prayer.  There was a priest named Father Ed Dowling who befriended Bill Wilson (co founder of AA) and felt that the steps of AA were much like the   spiritual exercises.

I tend to agree.  The exercises teach me to get to know myself and my creator, much like the twelve steps.  They help me to see my wrongs and make an effort to correct them, much like the twelve steps.  They force me to get away and take care of myself so that I might learn Gods will for my life.  Sound familiar?

Last year, early in my recovery process I drove past a massive hill.  As a little girl, I'd often say, "one day I'm gonna climb that hill."  I don't know why but getting to the top of a massive hill looked so cool.  So, I took my daughter and we climbed the hill.  It was a great adventure.

This year I'm taking my best friend.  I think it'll be great fun.  It is  a departure from our regular day.  I just want to share my quirky longings with those I love.  I am choosing to do this fun thing even though things are hard.  Instead of stewing over something that I have no control over, I am choosing to celebrate what I can.

If you're looking for something this lent, please join me in this lenten adventure.

Today I pray for those who struggle.  I pray for vision of God's will and healing.  And, as always I say a prayer for the soul of Henry, my grandfather.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Casting Out

Hubby and I went to the movies Saturday to see "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close".  While the critics squawked about how improbable a tale it was, I loved it.  Coming off of years of addiction and recovery, I found it to be raw and real in many ways. 

The thing that resonated with me was how Oscar's dad (Tom Hanks) life continued to ripple long after he was gone.  Many times addiction is such a long and slow road to recovery that it becomes discouraging.  All of the hard work and changes made take so long for both the family and the addict to see that the debris from the past and past mistakes seem to never abate.  This movie showed how the positive just like the negative of the past can ripple forward and continue to touch the lives of others. 

Earlier Saturday, while working at hubby's office, a client came in.  I had seen him when things were really low and hard.  Hubby and I had broken down when he asked how our kids were doing.  We had told him how sick with worry we were.  Then a few months earlier I had seen him and his friend and sat down and talked....really talked, from my heart about how little really mattered other than the health and safety of our families.  When he came in Saturday, he said to me, with shaking voice, how my honesty had touched him. 

Wow, how kind of him to let me know that.  Many times folks sit in judgement.  You never really know how you will affect others. 

Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts that come back around.  I pray for the struggle that addiction brings.  I pray for those affected with and by the disease will live to see the gifts of recovery and I say a prayer for Henry.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Watched Pot

Most things work out in their own time, so constantly checking just seems to prolong them.  Back in my enabling days, I was constantly monitoring his progress which really never seemed to progress.  I think that I've now switched my focus. 

Now I focus on.... this girl...due to foal in exactly 14 days!!!!  Hubby will start to obsess very soon.  Mares do things in their own time.  After 35 years of having mostly mares looks like he'd learn....but always seems surprised when they do it their way. 

There are other things that I obsess about like....springtime.  I hate hate hate winter.  I feel as though 9 years in the snow belt of NE Ohio made me fill my quota on winter weather.  This was yesterday with the daffodils coming up.  Today is 32 with a windchill of 17.  Brrr

I also spend a lot of time trying to imagine when I'll be moving.....It's hard to live in limbo and keeping the house constantly clean has never been my strong suit. 

So, since I've been focusing on all these things, I just happened to notice that my son loves hanging out with his parents again, he cleaned my house for me after work yesterday, just to help me out.  He has goals and friends that he actually brings home. 

Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for these new gifts.  I say a prayer to ask for patience on the other pots I watch.  I pray for those who can't stop watching the pot of their addicted loved one and I say a prayer for Henry.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cornicopia of "Catch Up"

My best friend buying flowers in favorite place to be...

It's been a little nuts in my world.  I've been going to lots of appointments and tests for my heart.  I've learned that I have sinus tachycardia....essentially a rapid heart rate for no apparent reason.  The main problem (for me) is that when your heart rate is 140 - 160 when your standing at the kitchen counter cutting up veggies, your exhausted and can't wait to sit on the couch growing further and further out of shape.  Luckily I'm on a medicine to slow the rate and so I am trying to get a grip on my health (weight) now.

I went to the jail yesterday and started a new session of Homeward Bound.  I take an AlAnon meeting to the women there but they bless me.  I find it interesting what people say to you in what they don't say.  I had one girl tearfully say that she was an opiate addict and that there was no hope for her and an older lady tell me that she had previously been in rehab for 90 days and she already knew everything about the 12 step program ( she was in for a second DUI).  I believe the opiate addict is closer to a change than her.....

I submitted an article to a big (for me) magazine for publication.  Fingers are crossed and prayers said.  Please say a little prayer for me.  My house is on the market again.  We had buried St. Joseph upside down in the yard ( a catholic tradition/superstition) but it bugged hubby so he dug him up and placed him in the window facing the Mary statue in the herb garden.  Prayers for the sale of our home before we have to cut the 3 acres of grass again this spring, Please!!

Lastly, I want to say that counseling is the best gift.  Hubby and I are learning so much and it has been so wonderful.  I am at a place in my life, my marriage and my family that I could have never seen being.  Last night hubby, my son and I drove to the college town where my girls are to bring the baby an inhaler.  The girls and the boyfriend met us for dinner.  In the midst of laughter and good food, it occurred to me....I have my whole family here, having fun, no tension, no worries, no judgement...just us real and naked from the past and it was in that moment where I realized just how very blessed I have become.

Today I say a prayer of thanksgiving for my family and my ability to embrace it, warts and all.  I am thankful for finding Jesus in each of you and in the girls at the jail....He's so much easier to find in you guys than in those who are afraid to live honestly.  I pray for those still in crisis and I say a prayer for Henry.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Symptomatic Treatment

Okay, here's my disclaimer, right off the bat....I know just enough to be dangerous and I am sure that this is a very simplistic view point.

I think that today we've forgotten that "the hip bone's connected to leg bone..." We are a physical, spiritual, emotional being.  All of those dimensions are related and work together.  And, we've become so specialized in medicine that sometimes I think that a particular specialist doesn't ever look outside of "his box". 

I think this applies to addiction medicine maybe a little less....but the public at large, still only views the symptoms and they do so with prejudice, ignorance and little tolerance.  Just my opinion.

Today I am thankful for our medical professionals.  I pray that they will look beyond.  I pray for an increased awareness of the problems our kids now face.  I pray for recovery and I say a prayer for Henry.