Friday, May 28, 2010

Serenity Experiment Update

Here's one thing I know for sure: the longer I work on something the more it evolves into something else entirely. Let's see if I can explain a little about the evolution of the serenity experiment. I thought what I needed was self-discipline, and that has gotten better as I worked on it. However, as I worked on self-discipline the tireder (is that a word?), I got. So, on some good advice, I just tried to arrange my day according to what my heart told me to do. I'm a lot happier and have more energy and am getting more done. Now, I can't kid myself - I'm still not organized, but what the hell. It turns out that my heart is a lot smarter than my mind. It's a good idea to do what will cause negative consequences if it's not done. My mind tells me that too but for some reason, caring about myself and therefore avoiding negative consequences is a lot more motivating than what my mind tells me. Hmmm. I may be on to something here. It surely may not be a motivator for everybody but it is working extremely well for me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

365 Project

Friend Paul with Jerry Provencal at Starbucks. Jerry was one of the court overseers during the time people were moving from Hissom. He did a fabulous job. He was back in town to see if he could help with convincing the legislators that community services were better than institutional services. It was good to see him again.
Table of food after all the beautiful ladies had finished with it. Not very much left. Looks like a bunch of hungry puppies had been at it.
Lovely ladies at the dinner party. Open hearts, lots of love.
Night at the ballet! Wonderful, spectacular choreography and dancers. Lifted my heart!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Every few days it seems to me, I hear someone talk about someone else's grief - usually in a way that assumes the grieving person isn't doing it right. I've experienced a lot of bad advice myself from people who don't really know what they're talking about. The best advice I ever got was "Don't let anyone tell you how to grieve." Everyone is different. Everyone's relationships are different. I love this quote from Melody Beattie who wrote it before she lost her son when ittook her 12 years to be able to be fully functional again:

"There's no way to prepare for deep grief, for the pain that shatters a heart and a life when a loved one leaves.
No one can coach us on it. Those who could, who knew exactly how it felt, who could describe it in detail, wouldn't do it, would not presume to encroach on this most intimate part of our relationship with a loved one. Those who casually say, "Aren't you over that yet?" don't understand.
This much I will tell you about grief: If there was ever a second, or a moment, when you suspected or knew you had been betrayed at the deepest level by someone you adored, and a splintering pain began to shred your heart, turn your world grimly unbearable to the point where you would consciously choose denial and ignorance about the betrayal rather than feel this way, that is one-millionth of what it feels like to grieve.
Grief is not an abnormal condition, nor is it something to be treated with words. It is a universe, a world, unto itself. If you are called to enter this world, there is no turning back. We are not allowed to refuse that call. Grief is like nothing else, with the possible exception of the pounding waves of the ocean. To the untrained, casual eye, each wave looks the same. It is not. No two are the same. And each one washes away the old, and washes in the new.
Gradually, almost imperceptibly, whether we believe it or not, we are being transformed. "

- The Language of Letting Go.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


My friend, Kristi, told me about a dream she had. She dreamed she was at a party and she was having a great time. At one point she looked up and thought she saw Jesus sitting on a window sill just watching everybody be happy. So, she went over to see and sure enough it was Jesus. So, she hopped up on the window sill and sat beside him, resting her head on his shoulder. He put his arm around her and they just sat there contentedly for a long time. Suddenly, he took his arm away, leaned to one side and farted. In the dream she and he both just cracked up laughing and that was the end of the dream. She said the dream meant to her that Jesus was right here with her on the earth, earthy and down to earth. I like the idea that my higher power is right here and earthy enough to understand bodily functions.

"Surrendering means doing nothing about whatever you can't do anything about. Try not to stare at it either. Do something else, something you can do." - Melody Beattie. 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We already have it...

"Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't, didn't already have." - Dewey Bunnell

I always say that books were what raised me. My parents taught me to read at a very early age and since I was an only child of much older parents, I entertained myself with constant reading. Although all that reading had an addictive quality, I also learned so very much. The Oz books by Frank Baum were amazing. I began reading them when I was 7 and read them over and over. The above quote is from a wonderful song the title of which I can't remember that refers to the Wizard of Oz book. The whole point of the book was that the Tin Man already had a heart, the Cowardly lion was already courageous and the scarecrow - he was already whatever he thought he wasn't. And I think Baum was making the point that we really already have the qualities we think we're missing. Our job is to find our real selves. Sometimes - often, really - we need help from other people to find our real selves.

My dear Joanie, whom I call my spiritual mother, told me from the beginning of our relationship that who I truly was was a beautiful, lovable, child of God, but I wouldn't believe it until I had worked all 12 of the Steps a few times. It turns out she was absolutely right. I see my faults a lot less painfully and I don't expect perfection from myself anymore. It also turns out that we can be beautiful, loveable children of God even when we make mistakes and have faults.

Wow! What a concept!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

365 Project

Posted by PicasaThe tree decorated with orange and red flowers. (Table decoration at the wedding)
Liz and Fred at the wedding of Liz's friend's daughter.Posted by Picasa
Posted by PicasaTable decorations at the wedding of the daughter of one of Liz's school friends. It seems orange and pink and black are the new color combinations. I did like it a lot.
My friend Paul and his friend at lobby day at the State Capitol. All the odd-looking people probably scared the legislators rather than convincing them not to cut funding. I hate to say that but it's probably true.
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Lobby day at the State Capitol. I took this picture outside as people were in line to get in. Over 1,000 people came. I would have loved to do some make overs on some of the folks so that they didn't look so odd.
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Posted by PicasaBrenda and friend at lobby day for people with developmental disabilities at the State Capitol. She will kill me if she sees this pic. I caught her as she was talking.
I took this picture inside of a restaurant. Don't remember which one, unfortunately. It's a wood carving and well done I thought.
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365 Project

About three years ago someone trimmed this tree so that it was in the shape of a Christmas tree and the branches were very short. I was convinced that the tree would die. But here it is looking fabulous.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


My memoir writing class is finished and I'm left with 10 or so stories - more than half of them to be through the revision process based on the feedback I got. The opportunity to do this class just came out of the blue and I'm very grateful. I learned so much about how to approach writing these stories as well as some bad habits I have of leaving out important information, leaving readers puzzled. I got a lot of positive feedback from the teacher on my writing skills which gave me a lot of encouragement to continue with this project.

Of course, my blogs have been neglected as a result of the time I spent writing stories. I tend to think writing is just something I should do in my spare time. But after taking the class I think I should make it my work and arrange the time to work every day. Another thing I got from the class is that I really love writing. It's a pleasure even when it's very hard. That helps a lot. I have the feelling that the next few months and, possibly, years I will be working to finish the stories I have to tell. I have no earthly idea what I willl do with them. At this point I think it will become clear what to do as I work.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

365 Project - this week

You will notice that there are no pictures posted here. That's because I forgot to take them. Grrr. So here's what I missed.

- I should have taken a picture at the press conference we had commemorating the 25th anniversary of the filing of our class action lawsuit that resulted in a system of services for more severely disabled people. It didn't get a lot of play on the news but whatever. This is the year that the institution will be torn down - maybe we can try again then. We want to take every opportunity to try to persuade the public to believe that our sons and daughters are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.

- I should have taken a picture with my son, Minky, and myself at our mother's day lunch. He had picked out a terrific present for me and he had fish and chips at applebee's like I always do.

- I should have taken a picture with Lynn, Kristin and myself at our mother's day lunch. We would have had to get it in between Kristin's melt downs but it was great that they came out even though Kristin wasn't feeling that great.

- I should have taken a picture of Kristi and myself at the newly expanded Cherry Street Farmers Market. I came home with a bunch of plants and spinach and cilantro. The best part was getting to re-connect with Kristi. She has been in school and working and has been in love.

Monday, May 03, 2010


"We don't want to eat hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to be hot fudge sundaes. We want to come home to ourselves. We want to know wonder and delight and passion, and if instead we've given up on ourselves, if we've vacated our longings, if we've left possibility behind, we will feel an emptiness we can't name. We will feel as if something is missing because something is missing - the connection to the source of all sweetness, all love, all power, all peace, all joy, all stillness. Since we had it once - we were born with it - it can't help but haunt us. It's as if our cells remember that home is a jeweled palace but we've been living as beggars for so long that we are no longer certain if the palace was a dream. And if it was a dream, then at least we can eat the memory of it."Geneen Roth. Women Food and God.

She is writing about food addiction, of course, but this is a beautiful description of what all addicts experience, I believe. The chemical, behavior or whatever else the person is addicted to either creates a simulation of what we need to fill the emptiness or at least numbs us to our longing. My dear sponsor, Joanie, used to say, "they don't call it 'spirits' for nothing." So the answer is to return to ourselves and whatever power we call God - not an easy journey - but in my opinion, there's nothing else that really matters in life.

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