Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I've got my work cut out for me - it's that time of year.  For many years now I've worked at enjoying the holidays.  For a variety of reasons, it's not automatic.  Left to myself, I would probably pretend that holidays were just ordinary days and go about my business.  But after I got into recovery I decided that those days were there to be enjoyed and if I had to work at it, I would do it.  Luckily, the love of my life was a holiday lover and that was a big help.  We had some truly lovely times.  We went to the zoo when they had it lit up with Christmas lights, we went to musicals and plays about Christmas, we had parties, we went to parties.  Sometimes we went off by ourselves and just enjoyed each other.  Since he's been gone, it's more work but I still believe it's worth it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Kristin and teammates at soccer match.
Kitchen table
Above:  Sharon's studio that they built on their house.  She is such a wonderful artist.
Neighborhood tree
Kristin making math problems on the refrigerator with magnetic numbers.
Thanksgiving table

Oh look !  My Christmas tree and Christmas lights are already up. Wait - they're up all year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I'm reading Geneen Roth's Breaking Free of Emotional Eating and she's giving me a lot to think about.  At the time of the year when there's a special day set aside for being grateful, I am grateful for the people who write books and the publishers who publish them so that I can learn about myself and the world.  I am reading a part of the book where she discusses the effect of "stuffing" our negative emotions (phrase borrowed from the program).  "None of us lacks for wounds," she says.  "Born of imperfect parents, sheathed in bodies that get ill and grow old, we are always subject to the aggressions and torment of others.  We all have our stories."  Instead of paying attention to our wounds and facing them, we try to run away by numbing ourselves with chemicals, food, gambling, sex, and/or self-righteousness.  The running away process causes us to project our pain outward causing us to hate and hurt others who are already hurting from their own wounds.  Profound. 

"Everyone gets abandoned, everyone... We all have to live through the feeling of having nothing left when people we love walk out, or move away or die."  So, what's the answer?  Live through it.  Love through it.  Learn through it.  Grow from it.  Understand that we can be transformed from it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Changing of the Guard

Saturday was my oldest daughter's 50th birthday, and I was honored to be invited to the party.  A long time ago I decided I was the "queen" of the family because I was the oldest (and by definition, the most wise).  Of course, that's actually a joke - getting older doesn't really make you wise.  But it occurred to me that when you turn 50 someone should crown you the queen, so I passed on the tiara I got at a women's retreat - it was child size so it just perches on the top of your head and falls off if you move in any way that isn't "queenly."  (Stiff neck, chin up, back straight, slow graceful walk, etc.)  Now she is the "wise" one and everyone should listen with humility to her advice - so now I'm off the hook.  Not that anyone actually thought I knew what I was talking about!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sitting Still

I read the same meditation books over and over.  I think I may be on the third year of reading the two I'm on now.  I was thinking about changing them out, or at least one of them out on January 1, but I read something this morning that has changed my mind.  It's a weird thing that happens - and I hear this from other people in the program all the time - when I read the same thing over and over:  I find stuff that seems to have just been put in the book.  I couldn't possibly have read it before.  But I must have.  Since I saw something brand new this morning, I may just stay with these two books for another year.

The gist of it was that many of us have a hard time "sitting still" for recovery because our lives have been full of "fight or flight."  Those are the two things we know how to do and neither one of them helps in recovery at all.  It's hard to get in a fight in the program - although it is definitely possible.  Mostly, though, people are working hard to learn NOT to fight.  Depending on how far their recovery has come, they might just smile at you and hug you and tell you to keep coming back if you try to start a fight.  Certainly people run away from the program all the time.  There's a saying, "If you don't like the program, we will cheerfully refund your misery."  So, people leave - running from truth, hard work, self-examination, ego-puncturing, etc.  Lots and lots of us come back when we have hurt bad enough.

That "sitting still" explanation is very helpful to me.  I've certainly been in that "flight or flight" mode for most of my life, and it still is hard for me to sit still.   The people I work with have big trouble sitting still and working out solutions to problems.  I'm thinking that they might be like me and just very used to either fighting or running.  But problem solving requires sitting still and thinking and taking responsibility instead of running away or picking a fight -both of which make the cause of the problem other people! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Meditation Practice

I only took an interest in meditation when I saw it was in the 12th Step, which is coming up on 30 years ago.  Before that I thought it sounded stupid and boring.  I had friends who had a serious meditation practice that really irritated me.  Nothing could start in the morning until they had sat still and in silence for 20 minutes and everything had to stop in the evening while they did the same thing.  We were on vacation in Europe at the time, and I had other priorities.  I just saw no point in it.  They weren't any different after meditating than they were before.  They weren't getting along and just went right back to fighting after their meditations. 

My first sponsor gave me a little booklet on meditation.  It wasn't program material but had been used by a lot of people in the program.  It basically said to write down all the thoughts you needed to get out of your head (the to-do list, etc.) so that you had room to listen for God.  Then it said to spend some time asking God for direction for the day and write down any thoughts you had.  Then you should definitely check with someone before you carried out any instructions because it might be God or your wishful thinking.  I loved this meditation and still do it a lot.  Recently, though, I thought I would try a kind of Zen meditation and I find I am loving it too.  I'm still not really sure what the point of it all is, but since it's in the steps...

Also I found a book I got at a used bookstore a hundred years ago.  (How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShan) It talks about the point of meditation, which is to get the benefits serious meditators have received since history began to be recorded - a sense of being part of everything in the universe and a felt peace that stays 24 hours a day.  I could use those benefits so...

Monday, November 07, 2011

Serenity Prayer

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...
I might not like this person/situation one bit, but I am willing to accept it with Your help.  I will (with Your help) stop blaming and complaining and think and talk about something else.  If there are things I can do to improve the situation without even thinking about changing someone else, please show me what they are.  Maybe the change I want to see can begin with me.  Maybe I could start treating him/her with the same kindness, courtesy and respect I want.  I need Your help to trust that I am in Your care and have nothing to fear.

The courage to change the things I can...
Based on my past experience, I think there's a good chance the changing I need to do is my own thinking and behavior.  I certainly am going to need your help with this too.  This business of treating other people the way I want to be treated (even if they are not treating me that way), is really hard.  My ego tells me that I need to straighten them out and show them what's what.  My ego tells me that when I don't fight back, I'm a doormat.  So it takes a lot of courage for me to not attack people.  I need Your help to trust that I am in Your care.  I need Your help to change my thinking so that I don't tell myself "victim" stories about how I am a feeble, helpless victim of other people and unpleasant situations.  That's the only way I can have the courage to change myself.

And the wisdom to know the difference...
Well, it seems that it's not all that hard, rationally, to know the difference.  I can, with Your help, change myself.  I can't change other people and situations.  The confusion comes from my ego that wants to tell me all problems come from other people and that I am always right.  So, please help me not believe those lies and know that changing my own thinking and behavior can solve most problems.  Even when changing myself is not enough to solve problems, behaving like a kind, respectful, rational adult (with Your help) in difficult situations can have a positive influence on difficult situations.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


When I worked in the non-profit field I had the opportunity to go to a lot of national conferences.  I learned a lot, met some fascinating people.  At one conference in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, I met a guy from California who said he had a football scholarship to Tulsa University but decided not to go.  When I asked why, he said, "tornadoes." I said they had earthquakes in California, and he said he was used to that.  Well, now we're having earthquakes in Oklahoma to go with the tornadoes.  I also haven't forgotten the 115 degree weather that went for days and days this summer, and the 115 degrees below zero we had last winter plus the two and three feet of snow.  Hmmm.  I'm starting to be one of those old people that says, "It wasn't like this in the olden days!" 

However, when I was sitting here checking my email last night and it sounded like a freight train was coming and then the whole house shook for a good period of time, I was suddenly grateful for all the fears that have left me.  I wasn't afraid; I was just a little entertained.  It didn't look like the house was going to fall down so I was safe.  After it was over I looked for cracks but didn't see any so I went to bed and slept like a baby.  The rest of the natural disasters like ice and snow storms and heat and cold, etc. are mostly just mild irritations and some entertainment.  I don't know if I'm just old so don't fear death and/or injury or if it's spiritual growth.  Either way I'm grateful.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


My friend's garden.  The birds just flew away as I took this picture and they're not in it to my chagrin.
I have no idea what this is a picture of.
Aaron and Adam looking something up on the computer.
Thien is cooking.
Trying to get an action picture of these three - totally impossible.  Only Jeremy knows how to act.
Bec's beautiful shoes she wore to the homecoming dance.
Thien and Adam at Bec's homecoming game.
Bec's band at half time.
Band in the stadium playing like mad.
Drums at the homecoming game.
13 year old tap dancer at the Dance Movie event I attended where a friend of mine who's a ballerina was in one of the films.  (and it won first prize).  The little guy was a great dancer.  The only thing was I couldn't match his dancing with the music he was supposedly dancing to.
Bronze statue (new one) in the park next to a golf course.
Lake on the golf course outside the window of the meeting room where a group I attend meets every Sunday morning.
Sunday morning meeting in the "glass house" at a park.  View is of the lake on the golf course.

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