Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful Girl....

Tomorrow is my girl's birthday. 26 years old. No longer a wild teenager. Without going into every sordid detail, she is quickly running out of options. Every door is being shut. Its hard to watch, but somewhere deep inside I feel like its the right thing, a good thing, it could be the thing that saves her life.....or not.

I was thinking of the early years of our journey. I cried none stop. I couldn't make it through the grocery store in one piece without having to leave my cart and go sit in the car for awhile and get myself together. I cried with everyone. I couldn't turn it off. I half- joked that I had cried in every Starbucks in my county and when they saw me coming they always made sure my table had extra napkins. I cried in the car, I cried on the phone, I cried to strangers....the pain was so deeply intense.

The thing is, is that I have not shed one tear this time around. I feel nothing. I keep saying its because I am still on my max dose of anti-depressants...everyday when I take them I wonder if its time to cut back to my maintenance dose, and then I think about what is going on in my life and I think, "Nahhh." It might just be God's mercy to not feel right now. But it has worried me too.....I am not a stuffer, as you all have probably guessed! I feel and process and look from every angle. I mull over and work through and I don't give up until I am satisfied.

With that said, today while driving around doing my errands, I thought about my girl. Yesterday was an awful day. In the middle of it all, I caught just a flicker of an expression on her face, that has haunted me all day. It was vulnerability, it was shame, desperation, it was denial, it was a little crazed even...and I felt a wave of the most intense sadness come over me. It left quickly, but I truly felt like God let me see what was lurking underneath my numbness. If I had to live day in and day out with what that wave felt like, I would be paralyzed by it.

So for today I will keep taking that anti-depressant. I will cook delicious food tomorrow to celebrate the girl I joyfully gave birth to 26 years ago. I will give her her gifts....a big basket of food, a skirt, warm socks, a soft blanket, and a gift card. And I will let her go.

Always praying for us all....
Annette

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Improvised Adoration.....

My blogger friend Mary Christine often shares of her times of worship in an Eucharist Adoration service at her Catholic church. Holy hours. I am not Catholic, but the times that I get to read her words about this time of worship and meditation and sole focus on her Lord, have just touched me so much. I want to do this.

We have a meditation Alanon meeting in our area....we come together and for 20 minutes we sit with lights dimmed, candles lit in the middle of us, and we meditate or pray in silence. I LOVE those 20 minutes. I love the moment of silence before we say the Serenity Prayer at our meetings. I love to sit in silence and be still.

So bless Mary's heart, she located our local Adoration services for me. My plan was to go today but I looked on the churches website and it said something about "members" signing up so that every hour is covered with two people at a time.

I chickened out. There was a number to call and I left a voice mail asking for more information.....can *anyone* off the street come to your Adoration service?

I decided that for today I would create my own Adoration time at home.....so I went to my prayer spot and I kneeled, I lit candles and I prayed and sat silently for 45 minutes. I thanked God for accepting me, for having me as His child, for walking with me and letting me belong to Him. Afterward I read 3 chapters in Job, who served God even in the midst of despair and loosing all that was precious to him. I received an Alanon call from a distraught mama and was able to pray for she and her child also.

It was a beautiful morning. A time of solitude and quiet.

For the month of October I have had Tuesdays and Thursdays off of work. My client has been sick in the hospital. While I miss my client, and might end up in the poor house before too much longer, I have LOVED having the time. It has enabled me to slow down and process life, to set aside 5 minutes to adore and worship God, to cook dinner, to really listen to those around me...and not just fly around throwing life together with some spit and tape.

Take a deep breath....
Annette

PS: Pay it forward project.....if you are interested in participating, please email me. We will start with forming our list of participants. You can read more of our ideas on this, here.
With much love.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pay it forward....

So I need some help thinking up a real workable plan to do a blogger pay it forward event. I have part of an idea but not the real mechanics....so help me out my readers!

These are the parts of ideas that I have swirling around.....

1. That we put together a "recovery box" for the next person on the list.

2. "The List" will be a list of bloggers who would like to participate that include their first name or online alias, the name of their blog, and an email address.

3. What is tripping me up is everyone's privacy...I am thinking that only the next name on the list will be included in the box that is mailed away and then the recipient can email the next recipient and ask for their mailing address. Oh but wait....there is a glitch there. See.....how do we do this part? lol

4. What can go into the box....you can write down phrases, quotes, scriptures, and include them. You can add a book that you have found encouraging, something that smells nice, a candle....anything that will bring some peace and comfort and serenity to the recipient.....something like chocolate would be totally acceptable.

5. You can fill it with things you make, or already have. No one has to spend anything other than on the shipping.

So please comment with your ideas, or email me....my email is linked somewhere on here, along the right side, but please help me firm this up. Or give me a totally different way to throw this together! I am open to anything!! I think it would be so special for us to reach out to each other in a tangible way.

Much much love to all.....
Annette




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Red Chair Travels

Today I read an article about the travels of a red chair. You can read their blog at the link I provided. My first thoughts were...

"This is so stupid." And, "What a waste of time." And then this, "There are REAL problems in the world, for God's sake!"

Because contrary to what y'all think, I'm not always nice. I have a judgmental streak that I have to hold in check. Shocking, I know.

As I kept reading I began to see that maybe this was "just" a FUN project. Maybe that was the worth here. It was fun and it was connecting people all over our nation. In our world filled with endless troubles like Ebola concerns, and ISIS, and war, and killing, and religious persecution, and lost kids, maybe something so simple as following the travels of a red chair around the U.S. could be a respite from all of those heavy burdens. Maybe something simple and innocent can be a pleasant distraction. My biggest idea of all was that maybe its OK to allow one's self to BE distracted. Maybe its ok to look away for just a minute and enjoy what you see there.

Besides the red chair has visited some awesome places. It travels between Inn and B&B owners all around the United States and they commit to take the chair to some interesting spots and then pass him along. It reminds me of the Flat Stanley project one of the kids did.....they mailed this little flat Stanley guy along with a story of his adventures here in our area to another far away homeschool group. We took pictures of him at the Gold Discovery Park and the apple orchards and then mailed him away. Then we could track his journey and see what other adventures he went on.

Oh gosh....what if we started some kind of parent/recovery/encouragement/just for today...mailing project?!!! Ok, I have to think about this some more! Wouldn't that be so awesome to hear from your blogger friends through the mail and receive something real, tangible, to hang onto for a minute, add a touch of your own, and then mail it on to the next person? That was a stream of consciousness moment... the wheels are turning! 

Please God, give us strength.....
Annette

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Power of Addiction....

I have a client who is blind and she loves for me to read out loud to her... we have different books that we read and then the newspaper. Since I am the one who can see, I go through scanning for happy stories or just simple human interest stories to read to her. Let me tell you, they are harder and harder to find!

In the mean time I get to see all of the headlines of awfulness that are going on.....yesterday I saw two separate stories. The first one is about a 54 year old man who has his doctorate in educational administration and has had a flawless job record working for expensive private schools as their principal. He was recently found in a hotel room with a 21 year old young woman. Littered through out the room was alcohol, heroin, and meth. She was passed out and when the police went to wake her, they couldn't. The dr-man said, "She's ok." Eventually they did rouse her and both were arrested. He was able to bail himself out, and she wasn't. He immediately resigned from his position as principal of his "tony" private school and is not responding to the media.

Then this...the son of the man who founded the Lyon Real Estate Company (maybe that is just out here in my area...but its a biggie) who was the then president of the company began having legal issues after being arrested for secretly recording sexual encounters with women without their knowledge from 2008-2010. He was recently put into prison for violating his probation. The police were called to his house and there they found methamphetamine and paraphernalia.

Heard from a teacher friend a few days before reading these articles....her co-worker, a fellow teacher, has a daughter who was a school administrator, making a mid-range six figure income. This woman was married with children. She became addicted to methamphetamine and her marriage crumbled, she lost custody of her children, lost her job, and now lives down on the banks of a local river.

So in reading and listening to just these stories, of which the world is full of many more, I was just awe struck at the power of addiction. Powerful people with so much to lose, give it all up to live in their addiction. What does that say about our kids who never even got to see if they could be powerful adults? Who got derailed before they ever got started? Can they ever break free?

I don't know. I do know that willpower isn't enough for what ails our children. I believe that addiction is a spiritual malady just like the Big Book of AA says...actually it says "alcoholism" but I think the roots are the same. I know that the possibility that my girl might stay stuck is something that I have to look at. The possibility that she could get well is always there too and I can keep that in my minds eye, but the reality of each of my days at this point is not recovery. My reality is that I have to accept that my girl is very very stuck and at this point, I think it is safe to say that only God can save her. All hope is not lost, but I have to live in acceptance of what is....

I know that the world is filled with broken people, including me and mine, and I know that God is filled with redemptive power. Broken people < Redemptive Power. We just need to respond. He knocks at the door....we have to be the one to open it and invite Him in. I pray that our broken kids hurry up!

With love and prayer....
Annette






Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quiet

My little one is a quiet soul. She has always had a need for solitude and loves to be at home in her safe zone. Even as a 2 year old she would walk around asking her older siblings, in her adorable baby talk, if they would be home to babysit her while I went out to do errands. She prefers one or two friends, to  loud crowds. Even as a little girl and we would plan her birthday...I would be formulating a list a mile long of girls to invite and things we could do and she in her 8 year old wisdom, would put the brakes on it all. "Mom, I don't want all of that. I just want 3 friends here. 12 girls is way too much for me." Oh to be so self aware!

For a long time this deeply concerned me. "She's not comfortable in her own skin," I would wail. Everything with her is just slower, quieter, more orderly, more thought out, than how I personally operate. I was so afraid. The truth was that her solitary enjoyment, her quiet, her slow methodical actions, scared me.

What an odd response! Unless you have lived the life I have. "My girl" was a very similar little girl. Quiet, self possessed, gentle, not comfortable in her own skin.... and right around 12, 13 years old, all hell broke loose for her. I didn't know any better and I blasted my way through it all, demanding, grabbing, squeezing, at the illusion of control. I would fix this, just give me a minute! I cringe when I look back to that time. I have made amends many times for being insensitive, not knowing better what to do, for being so so very afraid and bulldozing around trying to control what was scaring me.

This quiet girl didn't fit into my box, my idea of how it all "should" be. A successful mother raised secure children who were able to handle big groups, lots of friends, speak up for herself.....but "my girl" quietly stood by. She tried to say what worked for her, but I don't think I heard her. I think I was so stuck in my ideas that I often "encouraged" her to be different than what she was saying felt right for herself.

Little one is 13 now. 13 is a horrible age and I think if there was any way to skip it we would, we should, all take advantage of it. Its been a rough year for my little one. But she is finding her way. She is going to a "girl's group"  and seeing a counselor and she takes it all very seriously and does what she is told. Its very sweet and endearing. She is taking the steps and doing the work to feel better. And I am able to honor *her* journey. I quietly walk beside her. I embrace the things about her that are so unique and make her so interesting. Like the fact that she is reading The Merk Medical Manual and taking notes and underlining and highlighting words and finding out what they mean, because "this is really interesting to me." Or reading the original Grimm's Fairy Tales and comparing them to Disney's versions and discussing them with me. That one of her favorite possessions is a set of multi-colored highlighters that the dad bought for her to use for her reading. That she doesn't like to wear make-up and won't pierce her ears because its "putting a hole in your body that wasn't meant to be there," but is planning her first tattoo.

And I regret so deeply that I wasn't able to give this quiet acceptance to "my girl." When I know better I do better....but that doesn't feel like enough to me and I have to be able to get past this, because I did do the best I knew how to do. The truth is though, that it wasn't good enough, it wasn't very good at all. It was fear driven panic. Of course, I do have to give myself this bit of room, that "my girl" had added some things to our equation that haven't occurred to little one. But if I had known earlier how to embrace her introversion instead of try to pull her out of it...would things be different? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it all wouldn't have started as early, I don't know. But still..... I wish it WAS different.

I am reading the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. What a gift.

"At school you might have been prodded to come "out of your shell" - that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and that some humans are just the same."

I am always learning.

Hopefully my little one can make her grand appearance into adulthood relatively unscathed and feeling strong and sure in her quiet ways. And it will be such a beautiful thing.

Hopefully "my girl" will find her way eventually and that too, will be such a beautiful thing. 

And hopefully, I will find my way to more and more peace in my old age, accepting responsibility for what is mine to carry and letting the rest go, forgiving myself for my many well intentioned mistakes. 

Annette







Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hard Stands

We are taking some hard stands right now with our girl. It is very scary, not easy....its awful, but I really feel like its necessary. I pray that God holds her in His hands and meets all of her needs whatever they may be. The dad and I are on the same page and are doing life minute by minute right now.

So with that said, I fell down last night, in the dark, heading up my stairs with my arms full. I missed the first step somehow. I tried to catch myself on a deck pillar and missed which meant I ended up crashing totally down on the ground and under the stairs! LOL Oh my gosh, I am too old to fall. I am so sore and bruised all over. No one heard me so I just gathered up my stuff and trudged up the stairs into the house. Little one had ear buds in and the dad was just coming in from the downstairs part of the house. I would think it shook the whole house, but apparently not. So today I had to show them both, all of my bruises and scrapes and make them look at them and give me sympathy. They obliged very nicely. Every time I think of it now, I laugh. It really is funny....

I have two week days off this week and it is so darned glorious. It shows me that when I have enough time to do what needs doing, I really can do a good job and I can even be cheerful about it all. I did things like cleaned the dogs ears, I answered long overdue emails, I read just because I wanted to. When I have the time it feels good to go through the process of each task, to have a rhythm of each day....not just work and hurry to get it all done. Its rewarding. I took a chicken out of the freezer to thaw....I never remember to do that. Tomorrow morning I can have it ready to go in the crock pot. I can leisurely help with homework. I wish I didn't need to work anymore.....maybe not totally, but less would be nice. We have a lot to pay off though before that can happen.

I have recently turned down two Hospice jobs...I miss my Hospice work so much, but I have continuous work with the same clients week after week now. And don't get me wrong.....they are WONDERFUL clients and very nice jobs and I am very grateful for that. However, I see how people who go into the same job day after day, week after week, can feel like they are on a treadmill. I so look forward to weekends now, and then on Monday I start all over again. One of the Hospice jobs was a woman about my age whose husband was dying... I would have loved and been honored to have walked with her through out those last weeks.

Little one really needs me right now and to know that there is a schedule and a routine and that I will be home at these times each day.  So for today I am exactly where I need to be. In a few short years little one will be grown and I will have the freedom to pursue any jobs that resonates with me.

I also need to find a way to incorporate exercise into my routine. Weights....I must begin with weights again and ab work.

The fire is 92% contained! We had 3 days of rain which helped tremendously and was nothing short of a miracle in our drought laden state. Bless all of those who helped and worked so hard to bring it under control.

And bless us all who live in the trenches of addiction and work endlessly to be ok despite our fear and pain.

Annette