Friday, April 24, 2015

The Sky is Falling

Image result for elizabeth I'm coming to join you honey

An unfamiliar number showed up on the caller ID yesterday on our house phone.  Skeptical, I answered it anyway.  I'm not sure why we keep our home phone other than that number is on every form that I have ever filled out in the last twenty years.  Most calls  coming to that number are either a sales call or a robo call.

The recorded voice began their sales pitch about caring for the needs of the elderly.  They went on to discuss preparations for burial.  I thought to myself, 'they don't do very good research....I'm only 50'.  Then it dawned on me, they did do their research......oh my gosh I am 50!  They want me to prepare for MY FINAL EXPENSES! 

It's a little crazy, I know.  Or maybe, I'm a little crazy....I know that too.  There are days that in my mind, I am still young.  I hear myself saying that I am fifty years old and it shocks even me.  Then there are days when my body feels that I must be close to one hundred long years old. 

My body has been screaming at me to get healthy.  You are probably entering the "too much information zone" but IBS is killing me.  I had been thinking in crazy circles, swinging from maybe I'll give up diet coke to maybe I should call the doctor to 'oh my gosh, I probably have colon cancer.  (It's not pretty, but it's my usual route of thinking.......I've survived a lot of imagined cancer scares, ya'll).

So, while I'm having my morning coffee with Splenda, worrying about the caffeine and artificial sweetener that I can't seem to quit consuming, this segment appears on the Today Show about WHOLE 30. 

The woman who was talking about her experience with whole 30, named EVERY SINGLE SYMPTON that I was having.  Then she mentioned that she had lost fifty pounds and was off of every single medicine.  I was listening.  But, it sounded a lot like one of those Paleo type diets and I am no hunter or gatherer.

Then, I thought about my aunt whose life ended far too soon because of colon cancer.  I felt as if at fifty the bloating, if it continued, would send me into the maternity section of most stores just so that I could fit into something other than sweat pants.  How embarrassing would that be?  I'm getting calls about preparing for burial......I'm a little too far from the bringing new life in stage.

So, I got online and read about it.  This program started by two nutritionist takes you off of several large groups of foods (dairy, legumes, sugar...yes, I consider it a food group) for thirty days.  This gives your gut time to heal and then very slowly you start re-introducing the other groups one at a time to see which group gives you the most trouble. 

Thirty days.....I asked my son for thirty days at rehab.  Actually, he spent sixty.  Why couldn't' I commit thirty days for the sake of my health?  My Al-Anon began to kick in.  I needed to take care of myself.  So I headed to Barnes and Noble and bought the book and am now on Day 4.

Those writers really know their stuff.  They tell you every possible negative thing to expect.  They tell you to stay off the scale for the entire thirty days.  They explain that it takes almost two weeks for the inflammation in your colon to subside which really helped me to realize that it would take time to see this through.

I'm feeling better.  I still have some issues.  But, each day seems a little better.  They predicted that your tastes will adjust.  And since I have had no sugar or sweetener of any kind in four days, I love the taste of water.  How strange is that?  I've always had to force water.

This has always been a big obstacle for me.  But, I feel good and committed trying to commit thirty days to it.  I also want to see my writing project through.  It is another 'big ticket' item on my inventory that I need to see through despite my fears. 

Yesterday at the jail, I showed the movie, "When Love is not Enough"  to the inmates.  It is the Lois Wilson story and it is a really good movie.  I show it once a semester.  Each time, I am able to hear more.  I noticed when Lois was reading the twelve steps, near movie's end, that they are showing scenes of her service with the last three steps.  This is also where she decides to go to Bedford Hills even without Bill because this is what it means to take care of herself.

It is in caring for yourself, that you are able to care for others.  So that is exactly what I'm trying to do.  I'm praying for Henry this morning.....and all of you.


Monday, April 13, 2015

What do you most need to hear at your first Al Anon meeting?

Our home group has been asked to start a Newcomer meeting group at a rehab facility so that families will have the opportunity to visit an Al-Anon meeting while they are there for IOP.  Their hope is that a regular meeting will evolve from this Newcomer meeting.

I got the format out of the service manual for that sort of meeting and found myself wondering, what would I most need to hear if it were my first meeting?

There are so many valuable things.  If I think back to my first meeting I guess the thing that stands out the most is that I got permission to take care of myself.  What a foreign concept.

I'm working on my fourth step inventory for the very first time.  I go to confession.....not nearly enough.  But, I had never done a fourth step inventory.  The most amazing thing is that a big part of taking care of myself involves being aware of where I am emotionally.

I decided to bite the bullet and begin working on it after visiting another Al-Anon group.  The chairperson had written some questions from the various Al-Anon books from the fourth step inventory and placed them in an envelope.  We passed the envelope around and it was amazing how people seemed to draw just the question that they needed to think about.

It was such a great activity that I did the same thing in my home group.  The interesting thing that happened was this;  people drew tough questions, even ones that brought them to tears, questions that they had never answered out loud before-- I was worried.  Had I done something harmful?  Well, the answer ended up being no.  Every person there went on about what a wonderful meeting it was.

Isn't it strange how the hard things that we avoid, once faced free us so?  I was really blessed to be a part of it all. 

I'm loving my windows open, the crow's caw, flowering trees, the Bermuda grass resurrection, my neighbors out and about and all that spring brings.  I appreciate all of these things so much more now that the nest is empty and I am not running around taxing my kids. 

I have a great urge to travel.  With the Dad working as a solo veterinarian of an equine practice, we will need to make some changes for that to occur.  Maybe that is something that we can work towards.  A girl can hope.

I hope that you are all enjoying your spring.  I'll be praying for Henry.  Yours and mine.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

All Things Spring-y

Image result for scooby doo

I'm in cleaning mode.  It's part spring cleaning--part Easter is Sunday and the girls will be home.  Whatever the reason, it feels good to declutter and clean.  It's even nicer to open the windows to invite the fresh air in to chase away the stale dry air of winter. 

Bright blue planters will make their way to the porches just waiting for the safety of a much promised no-more-freezing-May-first.  The hummingbird feeder has been placed and morning coffee resumes on the back porch. 

Come on over and sit for a spell!!!

I love spring.  I love summer.  As I grow older the symbolism that they embody is not lost on me.  How I long for fresh starts and new chances.  I guess we all do.

Since winter began, eight new houses have been built near our home.  It was fun to watch in the beginning.  Now, I wake up each day and pray for landscaping.  Louis, our standard poodle, whose paws more resemble bear claws than dog paws, loves to frolic through the mud next door. (I say frolic because when he runs he sort of canters--head bobbing up and down in rocking horse style movements) 

He is a crazy dog.  He reminds me of Scooby Doo from the cartoon.  When I walk Lucy (Doxie --4 1/2" tall) and him(40 1/2" tall)  together,  he cowers at other dogs.  She goes into protective Mama Bear mode.  I have a leash in each hand with Louis stopping frozen, tail tucked, attached to my leg and Lucy running directly toward any barking dog in the opposite direction than Louis, tail up barking loudly as if to say, "Don't talk to me that way Buddy.  I'll walk on this sidewalk anytime I want."  This exercise is what I like to call doggie yoga--or split your owner.

Speaking of summer, I read a blog written by Sophie Hudson (Boo Mama).  She is really funny to read, especially if you are from the south.  She recommended a lovely summer-time beverage that I tried yesterday and loved!  It is from Chik-Fil-A.  You get one part unsweet tea and one part diet lemonade and voila you have the perfect southern tea.  I just had to share.  Tell me what you think.

I've been working on a book.  It is a book about how addiction changed me and my faith.  The book feels a little like the character from Harry Potter--"He who shall remain nameless" because of the stigma that surrounds addiction.  Who might I hurt if I write this?  Who might behave differently if I publish it?  Have I changed the names?  Should I write under a pseudonym?  Will this cause more harm than good?  Those are questions that I have been asking myself since the idea of writing first began to dance itself around in my imagination.

The act of writing this book was a bit like spring cleaning.  I swept up a lot of scary things into a pile, looked them over, sorted them into categories and tried to put them into some sort of logical order to try to glean some bit of understanding before washing my hands of them. 

Now what to do?  Well, I do not know.  So I am going to pray.  And, walk the dogs and sit on the porch.  Maybe I'll sip some tea.  Happy Easter everyone.  Praying for Henry.  Mine and yours.