Sunday, August 21, 2016

Losing my mind

Not really. Lol Well, maybe. I have so many ideas of what to write about.....until I sit down. Then they are gone. I have so much going on every single day I can barely keep track of everything. I think menopause is stealing my brain away which doesn't help anything. I'm sure I have an essential oil for this....I just need to take the time to apply it.

So you all know I live in the Ca. Sierra mountains. Im sure you have heard that we have had a drought for the past 5 years. This past winter, there was a lot of rain...and my conspiracy theorist friends think it's was due to geo-engineering....I don't have the time to think about those kinds of things, so I really don't know. I just know we had a wonderful wet winter in 2015/16. However, our trees are all dying. Through out the entire county. The bark beetle has come in like a plague and within days can kill a hundred foot Ponderosa Pine. We lost 7 trees from our little 2 acres.....but some of my neighbors have lost 32 trees, one lost 54...they will have to practically clear cut her property. When we go hiking we see huge swathes of dead trees across the lake. It's devastating. I have wondered what one does if they can't afford to have a tree service to come in and take down 54 huge towering trees.....that would be thousands of dollars. Who is prepared for a hit for that? I have a lovely picture, but am having trouble posting it for some reason. You can google "bark beetle infestation" images if you are interested. It is very sad.

I got a new car. I had driven my old Mercedes station wagon into the ground. It creaked and squeaked and the air conditioner didn't work anymore and it had 260,000 miles on it. We still have it... and I have to admit it, I miss driving it. Although one day a couple weeks go we had a heat wave....I was driving all around in the city in 108 degree weather and I was a lunatic. I was honking at people, and wanting them to hurry up...my girl kept looking at me and finally said, "I've never seen you like this." Lol I am usually a very calm driver, nothing bothers me. We will get there when we get there. Not that day. I was Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. I texted the dad to complain to him and he immediately asked where I was and he would come and trade cars with me....forever if I wanted him to. Anyway, he heard of a dealership that had this amazing sale on Jeeps.....so we got a bare nothing car. No electric anything. Crank Windows, no power locks, no clicker, a stick shift, but it does have an air conditioner and Bluetooth and it only had 6 miles on it when we bought it. So I'm good to go now. I drive about 30-35,000 miles a year. I always said a broken air conditioner was a first world problem. I changed my mind.....well it is, but as Molly said, "Me not having an air conditioner in my car doesn't do one thing to fix the world's condition, so I'm going to always have one!" That's my girl!

School starts tomorrow for little one. We haven't gotten our books yet from our charter school so we are winging it. Doesn't that fill you with confidence?! Raising up the next generation! I have an old algebra book so she can do some review in that, we are reading to Kill a Mockingbird together, she can do some writing...I'm hoping she will want to write a blog, she will draw and we can study some artists, we can go on some field trips. She is taking ballet and Pilates, still teaching herself Japanese, and in a couple weeks her biology, algebra, and US History classes begin. She will be fine.

My girl and I went shopping yesterday for a dress for her to wear to the wedding next month. She can only last for a short time when out doing errands or shopping. I understand. It's like the world, the crowds, the visual and auditory stimulations, just breathing sometimes, is too much for her raw senses. So we plan short trips and I go into everything knowing we might have to cut things short and I might have to come back later by myself to finish. I feel like God's grace is all around me because I can do this and not be mad or irritated for the interruptions to my flow of accomplishing all that I feel is so crucial to accomplish. I can let all of that go and just do what we can, accept her efforts to come out with me at all, as enough for today. This is the hardest most difficult path of her life....and all I get to do is walk along with her so she's not alone. And keep my mouth shut. Lol

The wedding is going to be here in a month and a few days. Sweet Jesus. I have lots of little things to get done. It will happen.

Ok, that is my update for now. More as it occurs to me. Thank you for being here with me.
Annette



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

So this happened.....

On Sunday I was blessed to be able to meet *in real life* my friend Sherry, who I met through blogging several years ago. You can check out her blog here at Oh For the Love of...Me. She has ended up being such a good friend to me. Very supportive to me in many various ways during some really hard events. I am so grateful that our paths have crossed.

So the way it happened, was that she had to be in the city for business....because she is a big shot. Lol I told her anyone that is paid to fly across the nation to do anything is a big shot in my opinion. She rented a car to come and meet with me and when we met it was as if we had known each other forever. So comfortable and easy. After lunch we walked and walked (in the heat....sorry Sherry) and drank watermelon/lemonade and sat in Adirondack chairs along the river and talked until she had to head back.

You know when you meet someone and you just know they are safe, their hearts are pure and kind.....that was how this was. Such a kind humble soul.

So this was us standing together on the big golden Tower Bridge overlooking the Sacramento River after our lunch at the Rio City Cafe.
Thank you Sherry for making the trip.....the highlight of my month! I loved this day!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Open doors

I have been offered a couple of new volunteer opportunities. One is being on a committee to incorporate more trauma and resiliency focused counseling and services to the population of our community that is in need. My focus of course will be our substance using population.

Then the website addicaid invited me to collaborate with them and submit some blog posts. Below is a link to my first entry. 

http://score.addicaid.com/addiction-and-mental-illness/

Im still parent coaching, I have a couple sponsees, and working full time (with some creative scheduling lol) and getting ready to homeschool little one, and being available for my girl. The dad, bless his heart, is so supportive and pretty good at flying solo when the need arises. Everything takes time and I wish I could create more time or more of me so I could do everything I want to do and be totally present for it all. I have to assume that these open doors are God things. Because in the big picture I am the least likely.

Monday we have a hike scheduled up higher in our mountains, with the dogs. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to this. The wild flowers should all still be in bloom...I am looking forward to a beautiful day.

Totally of topic, but I had a recent event so it's fresh in my mind. The political arena today is creating so much angst and dividing relationships. I will say that I am not voting for either of our main candidates. I won't argue politics here...so please don't try to convince me one way or the other. However, what I am so saddened to see is all of the arguing and the fighting and the **broken relaitonships** over these issues. I can't fathom ENDING a relationship or not speaking to someone because we disagree on politics. But this is happening all over. Apparently it is a foreign idea to many, that people can disagree and still be in relationship with each other.

Of course I have a Higher Power that I believe is ultimately in control. My job is to vote according to my conscience and God gets to work the rest out. I only have so much control over the outcome. Over any outcome. It is so disheartening to see this ugliness coming out of people and it is so counter productive to creating a peaceful, loving, planet for us to raise our families on. Again I am back to realizing that I can only control what goes on in my own hula hoop. In my own house....and some days even that is questionable! In my own heart....there we go! That is the only place I have full say of what is allowed and not. Thankfully, I have been given a set of tools and a spiritual relationship that empowers me to be true to my self and to respond in love when this sh*t gets stirred up.

God have mercy on us and show us the way.
Annette

Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's a process

Recently Little One and I had a visit with her counselor. The counselor gave us each a form to fill out and explained that at each visit we would have to now fill these out, stating what Little One's moods have been and how life in general is going for she and our family. This is a gigantic HMO so this information will be entered into a computer somewhere and on the other end will come out a graph sharing the gathered information and whether statistically the "treatment" is in essence, working or not. 

Anyone who has read here for a minute knows I loathe this stuff. I loathe anything that turns human beings into numbers on a page, that glops them all together into a big mass, I am not a joiner, and I want each human being to be recognized as the stark raving beautiful individual that they are, taking into consideration their own time tables and their own processes. 

I took the paper and said to the counselor who I adore (I swear she and I would be such good friends outside of her office if that was allowed....) 

"Well you know, we are all just people. We have ups and downs and that is just a normal part of life. I don't think that those types of good days and bad days can be used to judge whether treatment is working or not. We aren't machines that get programmed." 

She gets it, I'm preaching to the choir with her....but it's a necessary part of her job, to pass those papers out to appease the huge healthcare conglomeration. 

So in relation to the elements of addiction and mental health issues that hover all around my life....like with Little One and her work on her depression, recovery is a process. It's a life journey of ups and downs, good days and bad days. 

What I was taught early on was that sobriety was a one time decision and anything less was a failure. What I have learned all of these years into the process, is that maybe that isn't true for everyone. Maybe it's a cumulative process of putting together good days until eventually they begin to out number the bad days. When I look back to October at "my girl's" 27th birthday which was such a hard day, filled with the realization of what bad shape she was in, which prompted me to offer a hand once again....and then I look at where we are today, there are a lot more good days than bad days. It's not perfect sobriety. But it's so much better. We share so many good moments today. I have to acknowledge that maybe this will be as good as it gets for her. Maybe not....people get well, God performs miracles, everyday. But if this is it, I am going to enjoy every good moment I can along this journey with her.

I am not going to judge whether she "wants it enough," I am going to accept her efforts as enough for today. Just like God does for me. I am loved and accepted right where I am at this moment, flaws and character defects and all and we continue to walk together to figure out the next best step to take. 

God bless us all in all of our beautiful need for Him. 
Annette

My girl keeps a fresh vase of her home grown flowers on my window sill every few days. It does my heart so good. It's one of the good moments. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Willingness.....

Someone recently asked me how we stay connected, carry out our boundaries, and not have someone's addiction affect our life.

The simple answer is that that is impossible. 

I've thought about this conversation over the past few days and what I have come up with is that none of us are entitled to a life of smooth sailing. Very few of us receive it either...LOL but our response is up to us. There are parents of children born with birth defects, or whose children get cancer at a young age, or have an accident that changes everything for them all, or families that walk through financial devastation, or a natural disaster, and there are families who are struck with addiction. 

Life is messy and unpredictable and there are no guarantees that all will turn out the way we hope and plan. Our lives will be affected by so many things. Good things and awful things.  That is what living is about. We have people in our lives who are unhealthy. Do we reject, push away, cut off contact because they are dysfunctional in some way? Or do we decide what and how much we are able to give, what connection we can manage, how much time we can give to this person and we proceed in love and gentleness to hand our offerings over to them, with no expectation of a response or a change. We give it as a free gift, simply because these people are God's children too.  Just like each of us. 

I suggested to my friend that they pray for willingness to give whatever they are called to give. We are only called to be willing. Nothing more. We don't have to figure out our part, or their part, or what's next.....just be willing to do what is put in front of us to do. 

Make me willing Lord, to serve the least of these. The ones who don't live according to my rules and expectations. Help me to see them through your eyes. Help me to look beyond the exterior appearances, beneath the surface, the seemingly ungrateful replies, and help me to love unconditionally." 

Praying for this too, each day. 
Annette

Friday, July 8, 2016

Our Broken World.

We live in a broken world today. I know that many say it's always been this way. That it's the media and technology that brings it all right into our laps, so that we can now watch tragedy unfold in real time before us. Maybe so, but what I know is that the days feel very dark and sad and oppressive. I know that many of us feel the need to battle in our minds and hearts, the negativity and the fear that we feel and it's a lot of work, and it feels like it's becoming harder and harder to keep ahead of the darkness.

I usually stay away from posting anything political or big world news, because it seems I never have all of the facts and somehow I botch it up. Lol But today there are no sides to take. We are losing lives. Black, white, blue, yellow, brown, male, female, young, old, addicted or not, homeless or not. Someone somewhere will decide they don't like another group and they will set out to do harm. Serious, mind boggling, bodily harm. What has happened to us? 

We are a nation filled with many wounded, angry, unforgiving, people. Our first responders are afraid to do their jobs. Various races are afraid of the judgements made against them as a whole and the possibility of attack based on a perceived religion, or belief system that may or may not be true. 

All I know is that every life does matter. This world is filled up to its brim with children of God. Some humbly understand that concept and some do not. My job on this earth is to be a light of His love and grace and forgiveness. 

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34

My heart is broken today. Please pray for our world, our nation, for the families in Dallas TX affected by this unfathomable violence, for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Please pray with me for peace. 

Annette

"Being against evil doesn't make you good. Tonight I was against it and then I was evil myself. I could feel it coming just like a tide...I just want to destroy them. But when you start taking pleasure in it you are awfully close to the thing you're fighting."
                                                                        ~Ernest Hemingway 



Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Radical Acceptance

I feel like I am on the cusp of learning a monumental life changing God concept. It's like a little bird is nipping away at the edges of the shell surrounding this truth in my heart and soon it's going to burst open. Some days I fight it...I waffle back into my ideas of what enabling is and what I "deserve" in my middle years (if I live to be 104 lol) ... Peace, calm, financial stability. I think about the boundaries that I "must" set. And we must....of course. Life is filled with boundaries and limits, but those things don't need to be harsh, punitive, alienating, a negative.....a fortress. It is often such a fine line, but quite literally in my situation, lives are at stake. So how do we, or I, keep loving, keep connected, keep positive in the midst of active disease and dysfunction?

A friend shared this blog post on Facebook and while it is not about addiction....it could be. It is about a precious little one who is different. Who at the core of who she is is not part of what her parents planned on. Like us, they grieve the loss of the idea of the girl they would have and they celebrate the girl they have been given.

This post that I linked you to above, speaks of a village named Geel, in Belgium...where the families of Geel take into their homes mentally ill patients as boarders to live with them. They share family life with them. The town got the nickname, "Paradise for the Insane." You will need to read the post for the full story...this type of acceptance always strikes me as so beautiful. It shakes me up inside.

We spoke the other night in a meeting about the blessing of being able to "come as we are." Again, acceptance of us in our most broken places. We can come as we are. Not perfect. Not cleaned up, leaves in our hair, dirt under our nails, stinking of the night before, hearts broken, and find acceptance in these rooms of recovery.

What if those in our lives who suffer from addiction, never get well? Is my acceptance pending on the "getting well" factor? "Once you are off drugs and living a responsible life, THEN and only then will you receive my approval and my acceptance of who you are. Just typing that nauseates me. Is that how God feels about each of us? I believe that we are each God's child. I know that at that moment when I felt His acceptance of me, when I felt like I least deserved it, when I was at my lowest and felt that I had failed at everything and anything that had ever been important to me...it was that exact moment  that changed the very core of who I was. Who I am. Feeling accepted, part of, loved, changed me. Acceptance didn't enable me to be perfect or whole....but it did give me the courage to venture out and try to do things differently.

I am in no way insinuating that if we accept our addicted kids enough then...Ta da...they will become healthy! What I am insinuating though is that their sobriety is their process. Can we accept them without judgement, as they walk it out? Or not? Can we set up a safe relationship with the actively addicted? If they refuse to participate, can we continue to extend a hand of love and care with no expectation for response? A text that says, "I think about you a lot. You are not forgotten." "You are in my heart today." Sometimes I tell my girl stories from her childhood...happy ones, when she was just my little sweet red haired girl, who was so kind to other children in her own quiet peaceful way. She listens quietly and smiles. I miss that child. So so much. I'm sure she does too.

I just know that acceptance is crucial to any of us finding peace. Acceptance of each other with the good and the bad and the ugly and the stinky, and acceptance of the imperfect lives we have been given.

I want to find ways to implement radical acceptance in my life and in my relationships with others. God show me how. Show me the way. Open the door in my heart so that I can love as you do.

Always praying for us all.....
Annette