Category: Personal Posts

Goals.

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Growing up I observed certain things that taught me a lot about the attitude and expectations of living a life at a really fast speed with no real direction.
I didn’t see a lot of follow through.
I saw a lot of getting things now now now, by any means possible.

The overall feel of all I observed and picked up on, was all about the quickest and easiest way to do everything. To me that seemed to be the most important thing to everyone I was around.

A part of me knew this wasn’t the right way to gain valuable things, I was still affected and it did influence how I managed my life.
It did sort of mess up my own expectations regarding what I could do and what wasn’t worth my time.

Choosing recovery not only taught me that hard work was the only way out of that hole that I had dug myself into, it showed me that to living a life with integrity and character was going to require follow-through, hard-work, drive, and personal accountability- and sorry, there was no way around that.

That piece of paper in the photo is so much more than a piece of paper with a stamp on it.
It signifies a huge personal victory for me.

I set a goal, I worked toward it, I stuck with it,  and I stepped up to the challenge and followed through.

Maybe not a big deal for most people but this was a huge thing for me.

It might just be a stepping stone and some progress toward something more.
Maybe not.

All that matters most to me is that I show my kids that it is never too late to turn things around.
It is never too late to set a goal.

 

My Cancelled Plans.

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This photo should say –
“Hey Brittany, your plans never work out-
because God has better ones.”

Guys.

I have been going to school for awhile now. Completely cramming and studying addiction and psychology.

For the last year of classes, I have been mentally preparing myself for a new beginning.

I have been excitedly & nervously planning to go back to work this Fall
when both of my children will be in school.

I was sort of thinking something like this:

Plan A:
Begin my search.
Hunt for a job in my city or close surrounding cities. Search keywords and titles with the words substance abuse counselor, mental health technicians, case manager, intake coordinator.
Narrow the search to any types of employment that allow me to be here in the morning before school, after school, evenings, weekends, and preferably, summers too.

Abandon this plan because this job doesn’t exist.

But keep searching anyway in your ‘spare’ time just in case someone wants to hire someone who has never worked for them, but who is treated like they have seniority to dictate their own schedule to fit their personal family needs.

Plan B: 
Apply to be a para (assistant teacher) even though it is not your cup of tea, and not in the field that you paid money to learn about, but the schedule works. Pay more money to take the para certification test in Missouri, and start applying with local school districts close to where we live.
Perfect. Redo your resume to make it sound like you have always dreamed of working with school aged children that aren’t yours.

Plan C:
Start to feel sick. Take Dayquil and lots of daytime meds to make it through the day.
No matter how many times you throw up, keep going.
Stick to plans A & B anyway.

Don’t forget that you and the hubs have been trying for a long time for a baby, that you didn’t think would ever have the chance to have, because conception is a really hard thing for you two.
Keep job searching. Ignore the urge to rush out and buy more sticks to pee on.

Remind self that I should not be wasting job hunting time doing that!
Rush out and buy one from the Dollar Tree anyway.

Take it at home right before the buses come that afternoon.

Leave it in the closet in the bathroom and completely forget about it for a few hours, and then, abruptly run to the closet doors, pick the stick up and nonchalantly toss it in the trash.

Take it back out because the TWO PINK LINES were clearly visible without holding it up to a florescent light or taking a photo of it and editing it using a negative filter.

The lines were there.
Plan C wins? 

Wait.
I didn’t have a plan C.
Which means, I never really had any plan to begin with.

God has blessed our family with a new life and I didn’t see plan C coming.

At this point, I am focused on getting through first trimester sickness and exhaustion.
We are at eight weeks two days now!

I am overjoyed, grateful, and excited- and anxiously awaiting my first doctor appointment.
Working from home in some capacity is likely going to be what my plan C looks like, maybe.
And maybe not.

I might be done planning for now.

Here’s where the ability to roll with waves, punches and change comes in quite handy.

Yay for skills that I learned in Recovery. This life is beautiful and I really mean that.

That is what life is really full of.
Winding changes and unexpected things.
Sometimes good, sometimes not so great.

We weren’t meant to always be happy, and certainly not to always be sad or disappointed.
It is all a mixture of feelings, events and occasions.

And like one of my favorite quotes reminds me:

“The only thing we can really control is how you react to things out of your control.” 

We just have to learn how to cope and access what is and is not in our control.

Change can be scary, but it is certainly not always bad.

The Legacy We Leave.

maya-angelouI am not really sure that any blog post of mine would ever express the impact that this one woman has had on so many people; well, not in a way that would even begin to do her justice or accurately illustrate the depth or influence that her work and life has had.

Today is a very sad day……the world lost a woman who has changed things.
She has touched hearts, opened eyes, restored hope and inspired countless individuals.

But…we are all going to have our day and we know that eventually everyone passes through.
We don’t know when, how or why- but what we can be certain of, is that it will come.
We are going to leave this earth.
The people that we leave behind will have stories, photos and memories. They will have whatever it is that we have left behind, that has the capability of being passed on- to keep that legacy alive.

Maya Angelou’s website describes her this way:

Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou’s unique power to help readers of every orientation span the lines of race. Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.

This woman…..she LIVED.

She is going to continue to live on for generations.
Her legacy is history and though she is not here physically this woman will live on for years to come.

It really makes you think about things.

For me, I think about how many great people have come before us- people who have stepped out of their comfort zones, who have conquered fears, beat odds and exceeded any limits that the world may have put on them.

I think about people who pave the way for more people to follow and make an impact.
I think about leaders creating leaders, and the importance of legacies.

We can all learn from lives lead with integrity and passion, and leaders who LIVED every minute of their lives here on earth, until the last day they were here.

That is what my sobriety and recovery have inspired me to strive for.

 

Your Journey.

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This is a book that I just finished.  I really enjoyed it.
It is probably really old. I am not sure when it was published, because I didn’t look. I found it in a huge pile of old books that were going to be thrown away.

I am sharing a few excerpts that I personally benefited from reading, but there are many many more that I have highlighted so you’re welcome for not making you read all of them.

I wasn’t interested in reading this because I felt lost. I really just like to learn about things that I don’t know about. I think it’s important to know why I believe what I believe and I like to have answers to questions that I have from wise, insightful authors.
I also like to challenge myself and am curious about  the diversity and foundations of other world religions and cultures.

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“In The Journey, you can investigate answers from three major perspectives—modern secularism, Eastern philosophy, and Christian faith—and form your own conclusions. If you or someone you know is engaged in a quest for faith and meaning, The Journey can help you find answers worthy of your time and commitment.”

If you are interested in buying this rather old, but still completely relevant book from 2001-
it is on Amazon for decent prices brand new and for —change (like change you can find in your car, change) for used copies.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Journey-Meaning-Trinity-Series/dp/1576831604

 

Step 12

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This is truly how I feel and is my primary motivation for all that I do – blog related.
There is hope and there is opportunity to change, for anyone who chooses to work for it.

For daily inspiration, info, humor and more check out Discovering Beautiful on Facebook:
www.Facebook.com/DiscoveringBeautiful

MBTI- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.
These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung and first published in his 1921 book 
Psychological Types.

I had to take this test for a class. I had never really explored this realm of psychology before, but I had taken amateur tests over the years- internet quizzes or magazine quizzes that always seemed to miss the mark in one area or another. So, I was not excited about having to answer all of these questions and loathed the idea of having to write an essay about my results.

I answered question after question and finally got through the MBTI.
My result popped up and I read what this test indicated of the ‘who’ I am.

I have to say each paragraph described my personality to a ‘t’.
I was surprised at its’ accuracy and intricate detail.
It is really hard to explain to people that I truly love people, and care for humanity.I am a true introvert, I am not shy. I care about many core issues that I feel are vital and I have serious passion. I am not a bitch, I am just quiet and think a lot. I do get loud and obnoxious with people who I am close to, and have had the same best friend for over 15 years. I care about you though I may not always express it verbally. So many odd contradictions in my personality, and most don’t exactly translate well to acquaintances!

Anyway, I suggest to anyone reading this- to take a half hour and take this test! It is free. It was an assignment for me, but I really enjoyed it in the end.

This is my profile: (INFJ) 
Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists — INFJs gravitate toward such a role — are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power…………

continued here ->   http://typelogic.com/infj.html

HERE is the link to take the test yourself: 
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Sharing an excerpt…

An excerpt from a book entitled The Journey, Our Quest for Faith and Meaning, written by Karen Lee-Thorp:

Belief in something doesn’t make it true; only truth makes a belief true. But without truth, a belief may only be a sincere speculation. True beliefs then, are beliefs that correspond with reality. When the Christian faith claims to be objectively true, that declaration directly opposes those that are typically modern. 

Thus, Christian faith is not a form of relativism- true only “for us”.
Being objectively true, it is true in a way that is independent of majority decisions and cultural perspectives. 

Nor is Christian faith subjectivism- true only because “we feel it.”
Feelings come and go, and thus are unreliable ground for faith; truth is needed to ground feelings. 
Nor is Christian faith pragmatism-true simply “because it works.”
Rather, it works because it is true.

In sum, the Christian claim to objective truth means that truth is true even if nobody believes it; falsehood is false even if everybody believes it. 

Thank you Paul.

I have always felt particularly drawn to the Apostle Paul’s writing.
That dude practiced what he preached.
He told us to rejoice in suffering; not writing from a comfortable vacation waterfront beach house or while addressing a mega church….

but while he was sitting in prison.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

Real Talk.

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Hey Encourager’s!

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While there may be human paperwork filer’s out there,
there are also so many accepting, loving and kind people out there too.

(I have a feeling there are more than we know,
but they, for some unfortunate reason, aren’t as vocal.)

However, the numbers are growing- there are people who are just as fed up as I am with stigma, hate and people bashing.

I will not be categorized for loving Jesus, and I cannot tolerate hate, and I don’t condone fighting hate, with more hate.

There are so many big hearts out there-
who are willing to reach out to others- and serve others.

So many supporters, advocates, brave souls and enthusiastic people who are so pumped to break barriers……

Keep fighting, keep speaking up, keep encouraging and supporting others!!!

For every person that feels the need to bring someone else down or marginalize them for whatever self-proclaimed reason—-

there are even more of us out there who are ready to say………….No more.
That’s not working!

I know who ultimately wins in the end, and I am confident in the Hope that I have. 

In the meantime, I also believe that
Hope always drowns out fear, and Love always trumps hate——–always.

 

My thoughts today.

The therapeutic process is a journey.
It is a process of self-discovery.
Individual and group therapy sessions help us to come to our own personal realizations.
It is therapeutic, self-actualization. We participate in this process and little by little- we begin to get to know ourselves. We grow. We reveal things to ourselves as we talk. As we listen we gain knowledge and different perspective. Through this process we build confidence, by forming relationships that are new and healthy, and based on truth.
We gain momentum by holding ourselves accountable and reaching short-term goals.
Over time, we learn more and more about ourselves and eventually – we become strong enough to guide others through the beginning of their new journey.
This process is never-ending, as we will always seek to continually evolve and learn, and give back to others.
It is a beautiful thing when it all starts falling into place and making more clear sense.
There is a lot of everyday life and applicable value in the process of self-discovery.

-Brittany

Christianity and Science.

There haven’t been any supernatural phenomenons curing me of this sleeping monster.

Jesus saved my life.
Gave me life. Forgave me.
Having faith in Jesus has allotted me power and strength to
break free from my strongholds and keep away from substances..
to build a new life..
to find a new identity…
to have a new hope…
to hunger to learn more and more…
and to feel joy & true contentment

But I am not cured.

I want Christians (and I say that lovingly, I am a Jesus follower too)
and other people who lack knowledge or who simply refuse to attempt to understand what happens when a dependency develops to understand something:

There is such a thing as science and you cannot argue with that.
(if you do, you get to be the delusional one)

It does exist and like it or not, our brains are scientific things, made by a God who is smarter than us but who created sciency people who are much smarter than me….

There are chemicals, and tiny scientific complex operations that happen inside of our heads.

It is totally possible to screw things up in there, and it is possible to be freed in Jesus, liberated and saved by the hope that we find in Him, through our faith and His grace….

and he still may not choose to push the reset button on our brains.

We may just learn to coexist with a condition. Or we might just use brain and behavioral based therapies to embrace the new life that Jesus gave us.

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A Not So Scientific Self-Led Social Experiment.

This week I made an intentional decision to check-out.
My Discovering Beautiful posts were scheduled a week out and posted automatically.

(A feature that I had never really taken advantage of until now, and I am loving it!
What?! Where have I been?)

Aside from a few seconds a day, I have not been online reading or scrolling social media platforms.

Okay. I have been focusing a lot lately on the power of positive thinking and the destruction of negative & toxic thinking and interacting.

(Not because it has taken precedence over my faith or God’s power in my life, or my belief that He supplies all of my needs… but because I feel that having a healthy mind contributes to our quality of life and our ability to function in or daily lives at our best. My faith is in no way compromised or ‘less’ important because of my firm belief in the power of psychology. My human mind is also affected by human things, including – human behavior. My faith is what keeps me going everyday. God’s love is why I am alive, why I do what I do, and why I can say with certainty I believe we should spend time with others who are dedicated to loving others and building others up.)

*I already believe that the ‘you are who we run with’ or ‘you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with’  theories are right. In the context of drug use and abuse and especially in recovery. It is important to change your environment and who you are around for obvious reasons. Boundaries are necessary for progress and success.

*I also believe that in certain families, it is best to make relational boundaries for a number of reasons. In my case, it is what is best for my recovery and for the personal safety of myself and my family. So, those boundaries are necessary.

But- interestingly, it has recently occurred to me:

Although I place a high value of the importance of boundaries and have them in place in certain areas of my life, I have never really paid much attention to the power that a negative attitude, a negative mindset, and a negative interaction can have on me.

(Not the majority of people who have problems, and everyday issues. Not people, like myself who have crappy days every once in awhile. I am talking about an overall, general negative attitude and outlook and approach on life.)

I am not saying that I am not aware of the potential effects that a negativity can have on a person.
I understand and have learned a great deal about this, and believe the validity of the research behind negative influence and it’s ability to negate any type of growth.

What I am saying is that I have never really taken an intentional look at how my mood, reactions, and attitude are effected when/if I  interact  with such people on a daily basis.

I have had a sneaking suspicion (and if this was a real experiment, I would call this a hypothesis) that certain interactions were in fact, stealing  ‘good vibes’ and not replacing them with anything positive….

So. I wanted to know. 

Do I interact with Individuals who are inherently toxic- who never seeing the glass half-full, who are unforgiving, who gossip, or who never lift anyone up?

Does this matter? Does reading this stuff on Facebook,  scrolling past it on Twitter, or listening to it over the phone have any affect on me?

If I do, what happens?

The only way that I would find out is to take a break from social medial and to pay closer attention to who I was talking to and how I felt after talking to them.
I monitored my interactions and what I was absorbing with my eyes, ears and heart.
I took note of my thoughts, feelings and reactions.
Basically, I lived my life as usual, I just paid more attention to a few things.

All week long- I had great interactions.

I read a little in a good book, I laughed hard- with my kids, I didn’t have any arguments with anyone, I enjoyed my husband; we had fun talking with him via skype while he was out of town, I read positive quotes, and read in my Bible throughout the week with the kids. Every person that I talked to ended up being an interaction that I could consider ‘positive.’

Except for one.

What I noticed was interesting. Obviously, not surprising- but I paid close attention.
What kinds of feelings did I feel afterward?  How did it effect my thoughts? Could this have been avoided?

Because I was intentionally seeking and observing this week, it did not have a lasting impact on my mood, my day and certainly not my overall attitude. It did not have the power to ruin my day.

It simply felt different, and not a good different. (I am all about fun and change, challenges and calculated risk) but this is not the change that I felt. Just an overall uneasy feeling- and a stark contrast to the other experiences of this week. It did (try) to bring my happiness meter down a few notches, that’s for sure.

As far as the social media aspect- that too, was a definite eye-opener.

Not seeing anything negative, or reading any posts with complaints about general, everyday, life stresses  really did make a difference.
I know that my ‘experiment’ -(using that word loosely) was by far, amateur, and not a well-controlled or well-documented one……
But it did provide results and left  me with enough information to come to a pretty clear ‘conclusion.’

There is room and need for immediate improvement in my Facebook feed.
‘Friends’ and ‘Pages’.
I am confident about my twitter feed for the most part.
As for my relational sociological interactions, that too will be tweaked.

We will never have control over everything that happens in our lives, stress is to be expected, things happen, we experience trials, bad days and hard times.
What we do have control over – is our attitude and our reactions to these things.
Obviously, I am all about loving other people, that is not the question.
Just don’t allow the negativity of another person, to effect your person.

We have one life, and I believe that it should be lived. LIVED happily, and intentionally.
Seek out good, do good, promote good and love even better.

So.
In keeping with my approach, and the natural procedural systematic observations and methods….

my ‘conclusion’ can be summed up nicely by saying:

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Deep Thoughts.

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I am just a person in Recovery.

I manage and control this monster that is now dormant; who is locked in my head.

I have managed to bury it alive and suffocate it with truth, factual information, hobbies, passions, strong people, positive relationships and other things that I value.

I continue to drown and suffocate this monster on a daily basis, juuuust to be safe.

I cannot believe that I was once that other person.
That monster was who I used to be.
I made foolish choices and justified my way all the way to chemical dependency.
I developed a disease in my brain and I got myself stuck in a sickness.
This was a sickness that I recognized all too well.
I watched it devour my mom.

When I got to my bottom I chose to fight.
I also fought like hell to stay alive despite overwhelming feelings of wanting to die.
To give in.
To give up.
To believe the lie that I felt and heard for so long.
I was a wasted person.
I didn’t matter.

I was just a drug addict.

Sometimes I cannot even believe that God’s grace is extended to everyone, even people like me.

I was handed this beautiful thing.

A second chance to start over, as a new person.

It was all mine.
My new chance.
I could do with what I please and I have control over what that looks like.

This choice to live sober affords me a certain type of guaranteed freedom…….
Knowing the God that I have on my side brings me so much hope and courage to keep living this life.
Through His love, I am enabled to feel and experience a type of security in my everyday life
-right now, and tomorrow and for as long as I am willing.

This gives me that instant gratification that I so crave (being free every day)
and satisfies every single desire that I had, and some that I am still learning about.

We might have to spend a significant amount of time fighting with our old selves, and learning to be something, or someone different.

We are allowed to embrace the new and rid ourselves of the old.
We can be excited about this transformation even if change scares us.

We are not what the community has sadly labeled us as a whole.
We are not what people assume or picture in their heads.

We know now that we aren’t just worthy of change, we aren’t just worth fixing,
but God values us so much that we are completely transformed into new people.

My Recovery is a place where I live, it isn’t who I am.
It is my world.
I am just a person named Brittany, who chooses to live in this gifted, surreal world.
I live every day getting more familiar with this place.
Each day I get more acquainted with this new person I am finally seeing in the mirror.

This beautiful journey is about finally finding my true self,
learning to love her, and to get to know her.

Every day I dig a little bit, I heal, I learn, I might struggle for awhile, but ultimately, I am inching closer to who I was meant to be.

This is who I am now.
So.
Society:  you can have your labels back.
I have the whole world in front of me.

 

You CAN.

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Tonight the boys and I watched a documentary on Netflix called “Stuck”.

We knew it would be sad and probably tough to sit through.

The thumbnail showed pictures of tiny, adorable little humans (children) from around the globe, and the short description warned us that the movie would be about the complex dynamics of adoption and the lives that the majority of orphans face.
(Oh’ and the f’d up system that makes it all too difficult and lengthy)

We decided to watch it anyway.

I really think that for our family,
watching documentaries with substance have really served as an aid;
a convenient first world tool….

Which brings a nice balance to our home.

(There is only so much ‘Suite Life on Deck’ & ‘Good Luck Charlie’
one can allow a small brain to absorb)

There is that bitter irony… I can flip on Netflix to teach our boys about poverty, social issues, persecution, injustice, and all other violations of human rights…… because we live in a country with the option to do so.

So. We do.

I want them to see these things.
Not so that they feel sad, but so that they are aware.
Not to callously make them feel guilty (about being wrapped up in fuzzy blankets with bowls full of Cheez-its while they watch these types of movies), but to help them to learn to be content and grateful with what they do have.

I talk with them throughout and most of the time I will pause the movie
(which I hear is annoying) a dozen times to explain how this connects with their lives and their mindsets and what is going through their mind.

(and I am well aware of the problems that we face in our own country. However, tonight I am talking about problems like children having to dig through trash for food, live in dirt huts or share rice out of 5 gallon drums with 75 other orphans under the age of 12)

The tone of our discussions provide a platform for us, as parents.

We answer questions. We do feel good that our little people are inquiring about other little people on the other side of the planet.
They have questions. They want to know. They want to know how people are helping. What they can do to help. Can they pray. Is it really real.
We also bond as a family. We even selfishly utilize this time to let our kiddos know how much they are so loved and valued.

We want them to grow up thinking that they CAN change the world.
I live by this crazy philosophy that we all have some type of gift or talent that we can use for good.

So some will say that us watching about this problem on our flat screen tv in our free country really isn’t helping anyone….

But we feel that if these random family movie nights don’t do anything else,
we can hope that we are challenging our children to think outside of the box,
to think bigger,  and are developing a greater awareness of the world that we live in.

(We also like to cultivate strengths here too and in our house, that would be creativity, humanitarian interest, video games and video games.)

On a serious note, the only thing that we have control over is how we react to things that we don’t have control over.

We can’t control world poverty, or any of the other many global crisis’ that we are all well aware of.  There is no magic cure.

There are only people who can love and invest in other people in the name of love. That’s it.
And we can do our best to teach our young people that they can’t do everything but everyone can do something.  (Hellen Keller Quote)

(Sidenote: I am an imperfect parent who has no idea what they’re doing. I really just talk way too much to my children, and if you asked them- they’d tell you that. I am just a hard-core believer in doing better than yesterday and utilizing available tools and education. Frankly, without tools and education, I would still be a high-school drop out/’drug addict.’  So, there’s that.)

 

 

Gratitude

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Can you remember that cheesy 90’s drug prevention commercial that no one actually learned from?
“This is your brain.” “This is your brain on drugs.”
(*cue egg frying sounds)

Imagine a heart exploding, and a voice like Dennis Haysbert’s, “This is your heart. This is your heart on God’s Grace.”

That’s sort of how I feel.

Just when I feel like my heart and soul could not possibly feel more excited to be alive- and able to give back, I learn something new about the way that we are all wired as humans and I am giddy all over again.

The more that I am learn about Human Anatomy & Biology and the affects that psychoactive chemicals have on us after they are put into our bodies, I can’t help but melt with gratitude and curiosity. It is only God’s grace that has kept me alive through so many different situations.
As I sit here I can say that I have barely scratched the surface of the human brain, and the central nervous system and the heart… and I can confidently assure you that technically speaking, I should not be sitting here typing this.

No way.
But here I am. Living.

Also, equally important, here you are. Sitting there. Reading this.
Yes.
You.
I am glad you are here, and not just because you are here reading my blog post, but I am happy you are still here living your life here on this earth.

Our journey’s are so much bigger than I think most of us are capable of really realizing; we have a huge opportunity to make an impact on our communities and to leave our stamp on the world and family that we will leave behind someday.

Just wanted to share my gratitude.

And I hope that you are able to see that you are here for a reason.

 

Ignoring My Boundaries.

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Last month I was literally chased out of my grandmother’s funeral.
Technically, I was ran out of a ‘celebration of life.’

I think that this could have been avoided if the genius who planned it chose a beautiful, historical location that meant something to our family, WITHOUT the open -bar that was posted up alongside of a large table full of a variety of lovely finger foods.

That decision didn’t make sense to me, considering that many of our family members are taking psychoactive drugs and shouldn’t drink. Some attendee’s were alcoholics and struggling with drug addiction, and we can just say, unequivocally, that an open bar at this event was inappropriate on so many levels.

But I’ll go ahead and take responsibility for this incident.
I knew I shouldn’t have gone in the first place.
I went against my better judgment and my husbands strong recommendation of privately grieving at home and cutting out the possibility of something exactly like this happening.

Since my mom does not have a car, I offered to pick her up and take her to the celebration.
Death had never been an experience that she handled or coped with sober and I didn’t expect her to this time. She lost her mother and I knew it would be a hard day.

She and I had already had a rough morning.
My mom had already screamed and yelled at me when I showed up to pick her up to pick her up.
She had already started the day out using, and I quickly became the closest target for her. She threw the necklace I loaned her to wear. She ripped off the sweater that I bought to go with her dress.
I didn’t take it personally, because without emotional regulation, people tend to overreact or misdirect emotion.

But I knew I should have just left right then.
And I didn’t.

I chose to put myself in harms way just because my grandmother was really important to me, and I knew that once I got there I would be surrounded by a huge venue full of my grandmother’s oldest friends, and my mom would be outnumbered, and hopefully, preoccupied with someone else to hate and torment.

When we got there she and I parted ways, and I helped distribute pictures on each table full of guests.

She made a beeline straight to the bar.

I made small talk with various people about our memories and the fun that we all had with my grandmother. I was able to watch a group of her old cast mates from the local theater sing a few songs; a performance I won’t forget.

But I kept my eyes peeled for my mother who was lurking around, shooting me dirty looks.
Then, things went really wrong.

I was talking with my uncle, reminiscing about a shared memory.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught her staring at me, circling around me slowly like a shark tends to do when stalking prey.

I made a very discreet comment to my uncle:
“She is going to hit me, stand right here.”

As she circled away from me I walked quickly out of that room into the adjacent room,
grabbed my purse and got out the front door of the building.

And she followed close behind me.
As I walked faster, she began to pick up speed.
I started to run, and she ran right behind me.

Dammit.

No one was helping, no one was holding her back, but everyone was watching. I began to ran as fast as I could (in the cutest purple wedges that I have ever seen that my grandma would have loved.)
There was a long walkway to the parking lot that felt like it was on another planet.

I could hear her screaming behind me.

“Bitch you better run!” “You think you’re better than me, little girl!”
“You are a hoity toity little b*tch!”

This was familiar. I wasn’t surprised or caught off guard.
We had been here before many times throughout my life.
During my childhood I would just hide or leave the house.
As I got older, I began to fight back.
The last time that I did, we both went to jail.

I had my car in sight, car keys out and I was almost there.
All that I kept thinking was that I hadn’t been in trouble in so long, I was finally off probation for our last incident and I was not going to let my anger take over despite the fact that it took everything that I had not to just stop, take my shoes off, and whoop her mouthy little as*.

But I knew better.
I had made the mistake of going in the first place, but I truly felt like I had a right to be there too.

I chose to take the chance knowing the risk involved and the probability of something like this happening to me or to someone else.
I also really loved my grandmother and decided that I wasn’t going to let my mother rob me of yet another moment in my life that I wouldn’t ever be able to get back.

It is so difficult to have a parent who is unhealthy and suffering.
That day was a terrible day and I still kick myself for ignoring the boundaries that I know work for us.

The part of the story that should be surprising but isn’t is that the guests didn’t think anything of the situation. The large majority of them knew my grandmother for years and had watched or heard about her concerns and happenings with my mom for a long time.

Here is what stood out to me after I had some time to (calm down) and reflect on this day:

Not everyone will understand or welcome your lifestyle change and that’s okay.
Live well anyway.

People who judge me for cutting her out of my life and not offering her support are out of line.
I will keep doing what works for me, for my sobriety, and for my own mental health.

Change could mean a number of different things for you as an individual, do what works for you.

All of your change is to benefit your new life in Recovery, even if that means cutting people out.

You should expect resistance from unhappy people when it comes to you making positive change.
Not everyone wants to understand it.
Not everyone will respect it.
Not everyone will want to support you, and that’s okay.
Do better anyway.

What is right for you or your new life, or your best self, are not always the easiest things to apply.

My boundaries are necessary and are the right thing for me, even though I have spent a considerable amount of time questioning myself for sticking to them.

Valuing your own progress and your positive change is okay.
It is why I kept running and didn’t turn around. I refused to react in the way I use to. I refused to give into anger or to resort to being impulsive. I chose to stick to who I had become and what I knew was right.

As hard as it has been over the last 8 years, I have chosen to stay committed to my path toward my own personal health and journey to wellness- free of substances. Free of toxic people.

It is so hard to love someone who struggles with addiction. For me, it happens to be a parent who I think I love, but who I have never really had the chance to know. I love the idea of her and having to sit by for that last 30 years watching her chip away at her soul, dying pretty damn slowly, has been a hard thing to process for me.

I haven’t always made the most wise decisions, (evidenced by my decision to put myself in this situation) but life isn’t always so black and white, you live, you learn, and you allow yourself to move on.

I definitely took a few things away from this experience, most of which, are things that I already knew.
It is possible to veer from the norm. It is possible to make a healthy life for yourself, despite the odds.

Please don’t let anyone tell you different, not even yourself.

Ephesians 6:10
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble.

Good Grief.

 

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The stages of mourning and grief are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s own terminal illness, the loss of a close relationship, or to the death of a valued being, human or animal. (Psychcentral.com)

I used to run and hide from any kind of pain or uncertainty.
I knew that if I hid long enough, it would all just go away.
And every single time I resurfaced and saw that it hadn’t, it was my cue to reinsert myself into my induced, but functional, coma.

Before substances were my necessity, my best friend, and my only priority, they were my refuge.
Before they transitioned into chemicals that were killing me and taking over my entire life,
they protected me…….they were my safe place.

So today I am trying to sort through my emotions in dealing with a loss that is making my chest feel heavy, like I got hit by a semi-truck.
The kind of loss where I think that I can actually feel my heart breaking.

While I am still really beyond thankful that I am able to feel in the first place,
it can still be overwhelming to feel so much at one time.

But I am happy that I understand that it is normal to feel this way when experiencing personal loss.
Not only is it normal, it is OKAY.

My sobriety has taught me many lessons, but one of the most important lessons has been about happiness.

Being happy all of the time is unrealistic and unnatural.
You can’t always feel good. These expectations are ones that cannot be met.
Just as it is unnatural to always feel down, miserable, and unhappy.
It’s a balance thing.

Obviously, loss is a part of life, and grief is a part of our very real, very human experience.
It is okay to allow ourselves to feel sadness and to allow ourselves to recognize that we are in pain.
It is not wrong or bad to hurt and it is not a shameful thing to grieve for someone.

Today as I sit here I am okay with life not always being okay.
Is there a ‘right’ way to grieve? I don’t think so.
I think there are only healthy, and unhealthy ways to grieve.

I am able to feel and handle grief in a way that doesn’t negatively affect my wellness.
All for me, here is what that means: 
-I will not push the feelings away.
-I will not allow them to run my life and take over all of my thoughts.
-I don’t constrict myself to a time limit, I will grieve as long as my heart needs to.
-I will accept the feelings that come.
– And I understand that I am not ‘abnormal’ for having waves of sadness and a lot of tears as I mourn a loss that just might hurt for a long time.

We cannot change the fact that people will eventually pass on.

It’s just a tough fact of life.
It is a beautiful & painful process.

I know some of you who are reading right now might be grieving someone too.

Try to remember that we are left here with the gaping holes and pain.
But I believe that they are somewhere- and their spirit is alive and healthy, and near to us.
They are not hurting or sick anymore, sad, alone, or debilitated in any way.
They want us to remember them and to live a life that honors their memory by embracing the legacy that they left behind. That is how we can honor their lives lived here.

So I am going to try to do just that.

I am going to laugh, and allow myself to enjoy my life.
I am going to take my memories and what she instilled into my life,
and I am going to give it away to others.

She would have been okay with that.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
(Psalm 34:18)

My Grandmother.

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My grandmother passed away in her sleep on January 8, 2014 – at around 3 a.m.

I know you might be envisioning a sweet little old lady, with cats or a cute sweatshirt that has something embroidered on the front of it…

or maybe a woman whose house smelled like freshly baked, warm cookies, or a woman who wore aprons.

But my grandma?
My grandma was like no other grandmother out there.

Anyone who knew her knew someone special, driven, bold, and creative.

I am going to attempt to encompass her personality by transforming its massive but complex qualities into simple text, but I already know that it is not going to come close to frame her spirit or match its vigor.

She was a lover of any soul that the world would try to tell you wasn’t ‘worth’ anything.
Right off the top of my head, the major causes that she stood behind:

*Special needs children-Their right for inclusion and to be celebrated, and accepted.
* Helping people who suffered or struggled from some form of mental illness (her daughter- and she considered this an illness or disease, not a defect.)
*Supporting, loving, accepting, and defending Gay rights —their freedom to choose to live life the way that they feel suits them personally, because after all, they are just people like you and me.
*Feminism. She was definitely a supporter of women but she went beyond that. She pushed the boundaries and she liked to shatter preconceived assumptions.

She was an incredible writer. She wrote short stories, screenplays, comedy pieces & skits, plays, and a column in an Irish newspaper that she was also partial owner of.
She had a genius I.Q.
She was upfront, honest and outspoken.
She wasn’t afraid -of anything.
Being told ‘she would be able’ to do something rekindled the fire inside of her…
She believed that people all deserved a shot. All people.
She was a witty, analytic thinker.
She wanted us to know how big this world is, as it is much bigger than what we can see.
She always encouraged other people to go after their dreams and not to ever, ever, ‘think small’.

She taught us that people, regardless of how they looked, how slow or fast they thought or comprehended, who they chose to love, or what religion they followed– they were all worthy of love and respect.

She taught me that I should only partake in activities that I would be comfortable having printed on the front page of a newspaper…

She was an advocate for being ‘you’ before it was cool.

She was at every emergency room visit—by my side through every major injury, every stitch.

When I didn’t have the courage to take a first step in any endeavor, she was there pushing me and encouraging me. She wouldn’t allow me to second guess my own abilities.

She taught me how to line dance, play black-jack, and how to be comfortable in the only skin that I have.

She taught me the value of knowing how to read a map and the importance of turning the radio off during a road trip.

I know why we tell stories about our lives and how much there is to absorb from the experiences of another human.

If you have an idea, work for it. Apply yourself and make it happen. You are the way from point a- to point b. There is nothing stopping you, except for your idea that you cannot do something.

I could go on and on, and who knows.
This is probably just a part-1.

My parents struggled hardcore with drug addiction/alcoholism when I was a child, so I spent a significant amount of time with her for many, many years. I am just not sure that I realized the impact that she had on my life.

I have watched as she led her life with arms outstretched to other special needs families in need for so many years and as she loved on children that were overlooked by society as a whole. I observed her living out her love and her passions manifest and as she left a little bit of her personality, everywhere that she went.

I have never met anyone as fearless and strong-
or as funny and intelligent,  or as cut throat or badass.

She really was a force to be reckoned with, because when she believe in something or set a new goal-
there wasn’t anything that was going to deter her.

I know her spirit is watching over all of us.
We all know she’s dancing in the sky and singing with damn you (family dog), Grandpa John, Grandma Mickey, Tiny Phil, Grandpa Phil, Matthew and all of the other loved ones who were waiting for her arrival.

She can breathe. She can walk, run, jump, dance and laugh as long and loud as she can.
Everything is different…
but not – gone.

My heart is so heavy and I literally feel physically sick.
We experienced our fair share of ups and downs, but at the end of the day she knew, as did I that we had a special bond and a connection like nothing else I have ever experienced.

All that I keep thinking is the only thing that we can do now, is honor her by allowing her life and legacy to live on — through our outstretched hands.

This speaks to my aching heart and soul right now.
I know she’s dancing – I know it.

Happy New Year! 2014

 

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We all want to improve or change something in our lives and this time of year gives us a great starting point and although the large majority of people will not actually follow through on their new year’s resolutions, it is still a perfect time to take a step back to reflect on our year.

For me it’s a simple and short process. I do take some time to look back on my year. My gratitude for my sober life is deeply rooted in my life and I do try to make sure my actions reflect my level of gratitude. As long as I did not travel backwards regressing toward something unhealthy, and I am also not a complacent shell of a human,
I basically call that previous year a win; points for me.

My personalWell I look at it like this.
I did not die from my addiction. I tried to. I could have. I almost did a few times.
But, I didn’t. By the Grace of God- I’m alive.
So that’s always a point in the positive side. 🙂

 

My goals are pretty simple milestones. I truly just want to continue living in the now. I will continue to try to inspire my children to be the very best versions of who God created them to be. I want to learn to communicate more effectively with my husband, I want to learn to be a better friend.

I won’t compare my goals to anyone else’s. You shouldn’t either.
This new year is just another block of measured time to do more healthy, positive things. We have more time to learn things and to grow as individuals.

 

Use the start of 2014 to become an even better version of —YOU.

 

Just do it for the right reasons and don’t let the excitement of a new year beginning, take away from all that you are right now.

So THIS is Love.

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When I began to believe that God did exist and I actually began to feel and see the evidence of Him in my life, the way that I experienced love immediately changed.

Unlike most other aspects of change in recovery from addiction (and underlying issues) this change was almost instant and didn’t require work.

No longer was it a word that I tossed around, or a word lacking meaning behind it.
I could feel it.
Although it is an over-used word these days, there really aren’t words powerful enough to describe what it feels like to experience love for the first time.

Self-Love was brand new to me.
For the first time in my life, I saw my own reflection in a new way, and felt differently about all of the circumstances that I had inherited and created for myself. 
I saw who I really was, and I embraced her.
For the first time, I could say that I loved me.
Not who I would become, not who other people told me I needed to be.
I loved myself, and it was enough to let myself embrace the things that were to come.

Feeling the Love for my children.
I had always loved them but something was different when I looked into their little faces, and seeing the brightness behind their eyes, celebrating their victories, soaking in the belly laughs, hearing their stories, cherishing the color pages, and even wiping their tears.
I could remember the moments.
All of it became something more than what it had been before.
I could finally see them.

Being madly in Love
for the first time.
I wasn’t in love with a persona, or who a person might possibly become.
I wasn’t staying for lack of better alternative or the sense of being needed.
I knew I was valued and appreciated, imperfectly accepted.
I was in love with someone who was already whole.
I could see this person for who they were and I didn’t want to change anything about them.
I wanted to be more because he inspired me.
I wanted to keep going because he pushed me.
I wanted to unpack my own baggage, so that I could be a whole person too.
I wanted to receive his love and to give it right back.

It all finally made sense. 

I had finally accepted love. I had finally let myself be loved.
I was finally able to give love away.

God’s love for me shined a beacon of light on what this life is really all about, about what love really means, how it really feels, and why it is all so important.

1 John 4:19
We love each other because he loved us first.

 

 

About Me.

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Most personal blogs, specifically Recovery blogs, have a detailed ‘my story’ or ‘about me’ section.
Often, they choose to start from birth, work their way up to their addiction forming, proceed to telling the story about how rock bottom felt, and work their way to the present.

I really don’t see any problems with it and don’t think it’s a bad thing.
It works for a lot of people, but I have found that it really doesn’t for me.

I have had a hard time writing the ‘my story’ page for my Recovery blog.
I have tried. Really, I have.
Most writers will understand when I say that it is difficult to write when it feels forced or there isn’t any passion behind it. That is how it is for me anyway..

So it isn’t for lack of trying on my part.
I have typed it up and it just doesn’t sit well with me.
I have yelled at it.
Published it, and quickly deleted it.
Prayed about it.
Deleted it.
Re-typed it.
Revised it.
Edited it and deleted it again.
and deleted it for the last time.

and usually if I am not feeling good about something there is a reason.
I have realized that I have to just do what works for me and that I like mine the way that it is.
Current and present-focused. To me, about ‘me’ doesn’t have much to do with anything in my past.

It isn’t that I am ashamed of my childhood.
I am not afraid to share it.

As time has passed, the impact that my childhood has had on my testimony has decreased, and isn’t really a big part of who I am anymore. On paper, it has dwindled down to a few sentences and has been overshadowed.

Studies tell us that in the cyber world, we lose people’s attention pretty quickly.
As writers we don’t get a whole lot of time to hold onto the attention of new readers.
Considering that, I think it would be counter-productive to ask strangers to sit for fifteen minutes, reading my most personal childhood hell (trauma, neglect, violence etc.)— in chronological order,
in order to get to why they’re really in that section in the first place- and that is to get to know me.

I shared that story for years.
It served its purpose as a therapeutic tool meant for my own healing and personal growth.

God helped me use that part of my story to get me to a healthier place.

Through that process I was able to see the significance and value of forgiveness, making amends, and moving on.

At some point I realized that this part of ‘my story’ was not going to define my personal identity any longer.

It keeps me humble and grateful.

But I have really just realized that
…’my story’ is much much more than traumatic childhood experiences.

My story is a continuous thing, updated on my blog every week!
My story is still unfolding as I type!

That is what I find so ‘beautiful’ about life.

My story and yours, is a journey that continually moves, changes, and if we allow it to, it transforms!
We discover, experience, and feel —LIFE!

I am sure this will change over time, as I publish my first book it might be more necessary to dig a little bit deeper in that section of this blog. If I ever get to my second idea for a book, I am sure it will change again.

For now, I will try to keep my about me section relevant and aligned with my current goals of writing and sharing my life and thoughts with you guys.

And also, thank you for reading and sticking by me. 🙂

Change Takes Time.

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Listened to another story of another hurting family last night.
They are all playing the game. They are hurting, waiting, helping, hoping, and crashing with disappointment.
This is the cycle that our we go through when we love someone who is struggling with addiction.
It is the most brutal waiting game you will ever experience.

As many times as I have heard these stories and as much as I try to keep myself separated from my own personal struggles with enabling and codependency, it rips my heart apart to hear a new story.

I didn’t say too much, really. I believe that sometimes, direct advice doesn’t feel necessary, especially when someone is so deeply hurt.
There really aren’t answers for certain circumstances, like families who are dealing with people who know the programs, inside and out, or who have been to multiple rehabs. They know the material.

Those are the people who will change when they are ready, and it is the job of the support people to wait in agonizing pain with boundaries in place until that person reaches out for help on their own.

All that I could force myself to say is that their loved one will change when they are ready to change, sometimes, they choose not to, and you can’t want it more than they do.

Sometimes God and His word are the only things that can bring a person who is hurting substantial comfort and energy to keep going.

Over the years, like the nerd I am,  learning more has really helped me to understand addiction and to keep hoping.

I have developed this crazy developed interest in the neurology of an addicted brain, and the chemical changes that take place after substances are used for long periods of time. Whether you believe addiction should be categorized as a disease or not, these facts don’t seem to change.

I am mesmerized at how deeply ingrained our thought patterns are
and how our brain prefers to use what it sees as the easiest pathways, as go-to pathways to do or cope with things.

The more I read about our brains, the more it starts to look
like we (people who struggle with addiction) are set up to fail, and often, we believe it that it isn’t possible to change.

It takes our brain time to recognize our patterns, our habits, and to establish preferred pathways. It also takes quite a bit of time to develop new habits, and to practice them repeatedly until they replace our old behaviors and our brain begins to catch up with our changes.

This is one reason why early recovery/sobriety can be so hard.

Not only do you have to battle your body screaming for something, you are battling your thoughts.

Your brain wants to grab something that works fastest, easiest, and what its familiar with. 

You are desperately trying to do something completely different and are being met with powerful resistance from everywhere; your mind, your body, and your spirit. 

Our minds are sick, our bodies are weak, and our spirits are broken. 

*So just a friendly reminder to the loved ones who are trying so hard to understand and empathize as to what it actually ‘feels’ like to fight this fight, it is really, really hard and it is very real.
We are already tired and we don’t have a whole lot of confidence in our own abilities.
None of this means that we don’t desire to live a better life.
Please don’t give up. Keep praying, keep encouraging, and stick to your set boundaries.

*A friendly reminder to the person who is trying for the first time to make a life change,
(or to the person who is trying again to make a huge life change) please don’t give up.
These changes really do take a lot of time.

The reason why it is suggested to live one day at a time is because we tend to look too far ahead, and lose hope, or we analyze each day so closely that we aren’t able to recognize any change in ourselves and we decide we aren’t getting anywhere.

Just keep going. Keep praying. Keep working. Keep pushing. Keep accepting help. Let yourself be loved.
It is true that one day you will look back at your old self and your old life, and everything will be different.

 

Dear 20 -Year- Old Self:

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To commemorate my 30th birthday,
I jotted down 30 things I would have liked to have known when I was 20

Girl, you are not fat.
People won’t change by force- only with true desire to change
Don’t take a job that will rob you of your dignity –no matter how broke you are
God hears late night cries, he really-really does
Don’t keep tallies of your mistakes-tomorrow you can start over
You can break the generational cycles-you are not stuck anywhere
Don’t drink and drive, even if it is only three blocks
Credit does matter, pay your bills on time
Go to college right now-it is not as hard as you think it will be
Don’t be afraid to take chances-but always think things through
Stand for what you believe in
Listen to the stories that your grandparents tell you
Always keep your word and your promises-
Forgive others-don’t hold people to ridiculous standards
Listen more, talk less
Don’t settle
You are good enough to go to church
The rumors that your children grow up fast, are true
Be yourself all of the time-embrace your uniqueness
Internal beauty is more important than external
Physical beauty is unique to each woman
You can be anything that you want to be
Smile more
Always take the time to help someone who needs it
Intuition or that small voice is a real thing
You are not the center of the universe
Feel your feelings!
The focus you put on your past- all hinges on the attitude you have toward it
Don’t judge other people- cars and clothes don’t make a person
Remind yourself of all of the things you are good at-don’t be so hard on yourself

A glimpse of —her.

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This is a picture of my mother and I.

This short visit happened on April 13, 2013.

It has taken a lot of learning to trust in God’s word and personal growth on my part to be able to say that I am truly grateful for her, and genuinely happy that she has thought about trying sobriety.

I respect her for that, and have chosen not to love her only when she is doing ‘good’.
She has a dual diagnosis, and struggles with sobriety and balancing her mental health issues.

Having waited such a long time to try to begin to manage her life – has really had a negative impact on her treatment success.

I do know that I was grateful to have a sober visit with her, that seemed almost ‘normal’.
Whatever that is..

But it was the most normal interaction that she and I have ever had, my entire life.

I hope that we can do this again someday.

*Bear with each-other, and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)

*Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

I will be grateful for this visit if this one visit -even if it is the only one that we ever have.
We are all important.
We all deserve respect from other people.

My mom would be no exception to my beliefs.
My excitement for her is not for her as my mother, but for her as a person.
This is her journey, and this is one of her personal victories.

We have since had run ins, and not good one’s.
She struggles so much.
I pray for her, but am still grateful that I got to see a glimpse of ‘her’.

 

 

Churches & People.

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I did not grow up in church. I was more of an occasional visitor with friends on the weekends.

Although, there was a period spanning over about a year that my mom obsessed, revolving her entire (and I mean entire) existence around Catholicism, forcing my brother and I to go to what I think are called ‘CCD’ classes.
This was not because a major lifestyle change had occurred, it was more like a well-meaning obsession fueled by mania after my youngest brother passed away unexpectedly. Regardless, we still did not ever get ‘involved’ with the church by any stretch of the imagination.

As an adult, after I got baptized, I began attending a church. As a brand new baby believer, I was still learning about myself. I basically knew a few things. I knew that Jesus died for me. I knew a few stories about him, but I didn’t know much else.
I didn’t know  many stories from the bible, I didn’t know the books of the bible or how to pronounce most of them…

(After all,  I was also still detoxing. My brain was still just trying to process and come to grips with all of the gratitude that I was experiencing. I was still just surprised to be alive at that point and was still very uncomfortable at sitting at church on Sundays, I had just got comfortable with the idea of being in a church on a Thursday evening.)

I was still silently asking God if he was compleeeeetley sure that I was good enough to be there.
(Like maybe he had me confused with someone else)..

We ended up buying a house in another city and that meant I had to look for a new church to go to. After a few years of searching around, Googling, praying, visiting, and taking breaks from visiting random churches- we finally settled on one.

It was the first place that we had really tried to be a part of and get to know the people sitting in the pews.
I am not sure why I was so surprised when I realized that the place was filled with people a lot like me.
No, they weren’t all people who have struggled with addiction, but everyone seemed to have experienced some kind of struggle. No one in there was perfect.

Churches aren’t perfect. (Whaaaat?)
Ya. I know, right? It sounds obvious, like um- yes. Churches are indeed, filled with people. I am just not sure that being so new to the church culture, that I understood what it really meant. For years I had imagined buildings full of perfect people; people who came from good healthy homes, who I had no business interacting with.

But they are filled with imperfect people.
Imperfect people who love Jesus.

Churches are filled with people from different cultures, different cities, diverse personalities, temperaments, experience, sensitivity, emotional capacity, baggage, problems, regrets, age, color, style, tolerance levels concerning modernism, different preferences, and the list could go on and on and on…….

I thought that was the greatest thing.
That is what it is all about!

Bringing all kinds of people together in HIS name!
That is a great way to know that God is definitely a part of it.

I find it fascinating that I had always assumed that church ran itself?
Or that you had to be a certain type of person to belong to a church.
I was wrong.

No! We are all just a bunch of sinners who love Jesus, who are trying to do better.
We prayerfully take each day one day at a time, seeking consistent growth.

What I have learned so far is this. 
1. Most stereotypes are way off base.
It is not right to judge based off of assumption.
2. People aren’t perfect, and people make up what is the Church.
It is not the building, and God seems to like diversity.

Our only real duty is to encourage one another, pray for each other, worship and fellowship with each other, disciple and strengthen each other, and learn from each other, so that we can all grow into healthy and strong believers in Christ.

Our doors should remain open for the lost, the sick and the broken.

We have different abilities + gifts
and we are all on different parts of a path- different places in our walk

 

The church is the place where we come together- meshing our personalities because——-
we love us some Jesus.

We have the merciful and unique gift of salvation,.
God brings us together in HIS name for HIS glory and HIS purposes.
If we remember that, everything else should be able to be worked out.

I am truly grateful for the people that I have crossed paths with on this journey of mine, and cannot believe that God is this merciful to a sinner like me.
I am humbled and pray that I continue to stay that way.

So keep that in mind. It doesn’t matter where you came from, or if you have never been a part of a church. It is okay to shop around and find one that is right for you, and feel that you belong there- because you do.
And when you find the one that feels like home, don’t hold people to unattainable standards of perfection that don’t exist for anyone, including people who believe in Jesus.

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