Archives for category: Confidence
This week I was asked where my blog inspiration comes from… response came easily, I didn’t think about it before I Tweeted: “I draw inspiration from the world around me, so many interesting things!”

Take a moment there folks, drink in my wisdom….ha.

This was then retweeted and I felt awesome, when I re-read it I felt it to be an accurate statement which I was kinda proud of!
Then this morning I retweeted something without carefully reading it, it was funny to me. This is what I thought it said: “There is a fine line between social networking and wasting your life.”
I think it’s true and worthy of a RT. (don’t lines like that bring back memories of Elaine on Seinfeld deeming things Spongeworthy?)
In reality the tweet I sent included a profanity, said profanity used to be my favorite….I’ve worked hard to drop and I was totally unaware I’d used it. Listen, it’s not like I’d killed someone but I had such a colorful vocabulary that I take some pride in my achievement cleaning it up.
How did I find out you ask?
I received a Direct Message that said:
“hey Julie-I love your blog &tweets but found the retweet w/ the “f” word offensive I know we have freedom in Christ but we also need respect”
My heart dropped instantly and I searched for the message I had sent.
And there it was…oh man that sucked.
I wondered if it happened because I hadn’t taken the time to read it properly…..or was it that I am just so accustomed to hearing the word that I don’t notice it?
I thanked my friend for the message and apologized for offending as that wasn’t my intent.
Some might have taken the stance that I hadn’t really done anything wrong, that all of us have different levels of “filters”. Some may have been offended at this person messaging me.
I wasn’t.
I appreciated the display of an honest person, she gave me the opportunity to see her boundary. I wasn’t tarred or feathered but she extended her heart to me and allowed me to come close.
That is pretty brave in my mind.
And so on this Friday I’ve been given a lesson in attentiveness, setting boundaries and love.
While I cannot promise I won’t make this error EVER again, I can promise that I will be more conscious.
I seek progress rather than perfection!
I’m glad of that and hope that if something a friend does offends me, I too would be courageous enough to talk to them about it, rather than just changing my opinion of them.
Would you say something?
When I was a girl, I loved the movie The Wizard of Oz!
The movie scared the beejebers outta me but I adored it, I loved Dorothy’s red shoes and often imagined myself clicking my heels while repeating the line “There’s no place like home!” It wasn’t just the bedazzled shoes, although I think I’d still wear a pair, it was the longing of her heart… was just so sad to me.

Throughout the movie there are many life situations and analogies which we could explore but for this article let’s look at the Cowardly Lion.

Wikipedia tells us about the Cowardly Lion as follows:

The Cowardly Lion is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. He is a Lion, but he talks and interacts with humans.
Since lions are supposed to be “The Kings of Beasts,” the Cowardly Lion believes that his fear makes him inadequate. He does not understand that courage means acting in the face of fear, which he does frequently. Only during the aftereffects of the Wizard’s gift, when he is under the influence of an unknown liquid substance that the Wizard orders him to drink (perhaps gin) is he not filled with fear. He argues that the courage from the Wizard is only temporary, although he continues to do brave deeds while openly and embarrassedly fearful.
Hmmm how very interesting and how easily I can relate to this Lion!
How many of us live our lives in reaction to fears – Too many I would suspect!
Do we take enough time to look at the motives for our actions, are we aware of when we’re simply reacting in ways to avoid our fears?
Here’s an exchange from the movie which I love:
Cowardly Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman: Courage!
Cowardly Lion: You can say that again! Huh?
Much like the lion, I was very good at presenting bravado in the face of my insecurity. Perhaps I shared the Lion’s outward image of being scary and proud?
 More often than not I researched subjects in order to feel more secure, but never did I truly trust myself or have the confidence in my choices which I should have. What this ended up doing, in my personal life, is to frustrate me to the point where I gave in and truly just followed the flow of life, avoiding the things I feared. I didn’t actually choose my path and seek to achieve it authentically, I took advantage of situations and redefined myself based upon what I perceived as the perspectives of others.
I thank God everyday that this has changed, now I am consciously aware. With each breath of my body I am ALIVE in the knowledge that God has a plan for my life and I am not in control.
Do you ever feel like you’re not in Kansas anymore?
I certainly did when I walked into my first 12 Step meeting, but as with the Lion, I soon realized that within the rooms there were people who understood me.
Until I began doing a personal inventory, I hadn’t realized how much I had been floating through life. When I did, I became ashamed. My feelings of inadequacy all floated to the surface at once!
Talk about overwhelming….I was desolate…sober but desolate.
In time, by becoming reacquainted with my emotions and feeling worthy of them, I learned how to cope. Eventually I learned to recognize my strengths and gifts, while being mindful of my weaknesses.
Through this, my eyes opened to the fact that each of us are adequate in God’s eyes.
This alone gave me courage.
True courage to live and experience…both the “good” and the “bad”, knowing that God is driving my bus and that He loves me is enough.
Courage wasn’t something I had to find, I simply had to turn to God and it was there, ready for the taking.
And so today I lift up my cuppa coffee in toast to the makers of The Wizard of Oz for putting out the message which so many years later I finally understand.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (my 5 year old’s favorite verse!!)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
As Bill Sees It – AA 
When fear persisted, we knew it for what it was, and we became able to handle it. We began to see each adversity as a God-given opportunity to develop the kind of courage which is born out of humility, rather than of bravado.
“Julie, you are your own worst enemy!”
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that in my life…..OK I wouldn’t be rich but I would certainly have a healthier bank account balance.
This morning I was reading a post over at Being Sober where the author spoke about feeling like she was slacking. If you read the post you’ll see she was going to begin work a bit later than she normally would, and that her bosses would have no problem with it.
I immediately understood what she meant, I truly am my worst enemy. This self-depreciating trait is certainly one of my worst behavior patterns and one of the most difficult to change.
As you may be aware, I’m one who loves analogies and examples so here we go!!
When hubby and I purchased our home we knew it was a fixer-upper.
I shared a bit about our renovations here with Thinking of Home Renovation? 
We were aware that the house would need updating, to be polite I’ll just say that their love of pink carpeting, borders and balloon valances differed from my preferences……exhibit A:
In order to give you the full picture of the renos I must post the next photo, please be gentle! Thank goodness my early pregnancy fashion challenges didn’t last long! Seriously why didn’t someone let me know I was wearing Grandma jeans??
We had of course budgeted for this but life got in the way via an unexpected pregnancy (yeah!!!), a leaky roof (boo), a broken furnace (are you freaking serious?), a water softener on the fritz(figures) ….the list goes on.
The day finally came…YEARS later when we could afford to begin our decorative renos and off we went!
Walls were removed, painted, new windows installed, an island built and flooring laid!!
It was seriously hard work, there was lots of research to do, frugal purchases to be made and ultimately it was one of the most rewarding projects Hubby and I have taken on.
This was the living room result….a bit empty but a huge improvement!
This was the view into the dining room….I’ll be asking you to return to this photo in a minute to make my point…
But first, here is a photo taken this Easter which shows the view from the living room into the kitchen now that there are no walls.
I’m sure you’ll agree the changes are drastic, we love them and are proud of our efforts.
So where does my self-deprecation come in?
Scroll above again to that photo of the renovated dining room, move your gaze to the upper right of the photo and you will notice that the crown molding doesn’t continue onto the wall on the right. We didn’t finish it … flaw! There are also a few spots where the gaps in the flooring aren’t exactly even, that also drives me nuts at times.
So even thought we managed to update our home to suit our tastes, made cleaning so much easier and replaced leaky windows I wasn’t satisfied.
Can you imagine how frustrating it must be being married to me?
So what should my newly established sassy self do?
I’ve written often about my perspective change and this is one of the most dramatic ones.
 It’s not really noticeable, unless you’re in my immediate vicinity often.
It occurs in my head.
Nowadays I can see my faults and I can make changes when possible and live with others.
So as for the bloody crown molding, it will have to wait for another day when we’re in the mood and until that day I keep my chin tilted down!
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
 and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Funny how it ALWAYS applies.
Today is Wednesday which means photos!!
So I had planned on sharing some photos from our family vacation, specifically of the deer. We went to Muskoka, Ontario which is considered “cottage country” around these parts. There are always stories of people seeing Moose, foxes, deer, raccoons but our family has never actually gotten close to the deer. Approximately a month ago I wrote a post about us stopping on the side of the road just to snap a pic of deer, it’s here Wordfull Wednesday.
We had never actually gotten close, until last week.
We stayed in a trailer and behind it was a forested area, I saw 2 beautiful deer there one day and ran to snap pics but was too late. The next day I was sitting out there reading a book when they came back, needless to say it was a quiet moment, which I’ll hold in my heart forever.
They stayed around for about 20 minutes and I followed them, snapping photos on my iPhone all the way. These deer must have been laughing at me, I walk like a bear in the woods and can’t take uneven paths so I was doing my best to scoot (lumber clumsily) around the trailer next door, to follow.
Between my balance issues and the bugs I was muttering and making a ton of noise but they didn’t mind at all. They carried along their way and I followed along, very happy when they left the forest.
Of course that experience was all I could talk about, my sister (spends summers at the retreat with her family) laughed at me and said they’re everywhere at MBC. Adding insult to injury when I phoned Hubby (came only on weekends because he had to work) he laughed and explained how tame they are and told me to get apples and fruit to feed them.
Refusing to be deflated, the next day after Hubby arrived, when I spied them I grabbed the apples and strawberries and headed out back. One of the two deer was brave enough to come to where I tossed pieces of apples. She was so lovely!
Hubby was utterly amused by my adoration, I threw the apple pieces closer and closer but was not about to feed the deer by hand! Seriously folks I watched the UTube vids of people being kicked by deer and I kinda like my face as it is.
Once I was out of apples, I offered strawberries, she smelled them, ate one and looked at me as if to say “where’s the apples?”
New experiences like this, where time is slow enough for me to fully grasp them are a rare gift for me.

In her eyes I saw things differently again, the world and the things which really matter to me became crystal clear. God has provided so many gifts for me, all I have to do is be quiet enough to experience them.
I took over a hundred photos of these deer over the week and will probably edit and frame one for my wall as a reminder to slow things down.
I’m considering making a costume for my next deer stalking engagement, something sassy with lots of pockets for apples.
When I write this blog I often struggle to find balance. I am a Christian, alcoholic, mother, wife, speaker…….and I tend to write about all of these aspects of my life. My readership is quite varied, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a pious, legalistic person…..and yet I want to run up to everyone and share my faith so they can feel the love and purpose that I have found.
I have been praying about this balance and how to present myself here well. 
Last week, while I was away I feel that I found my answer in the form of a God-slap.
The retreat our family went to offers chapel services twice a day.
Two years ago when we visited I was aghast, who the HELL would ever want to go to chapel that much??? Keep in mind there’s a gorgeous beach there to enjoy, add in my self-centered state of mind and I’m certain you’ll have the feel of where I was coming from.
This year I was eager to go to chapel, the children were in program so I headed out with my notebook in hand. The speaker for the week was Dr David Earley who is by appearance, an unassuming, quieter man. He has a kind and friendly face….on his site he is described as “He is a quietly effective author, professor, mentor and pastor.”
This guy isn’t quiet…he’s a powerhouse!
Generally speaking, when I go to listen to a speaker I bring a notebook and take a page of notes. During Dr. Earley’s talks I took 3+ pages of notes each session. Seriously folks, when you pray for guidance from God be prepared for Him to smack you in the forehead with the answers. In this case, Dr. Earley was God’s conduit for me to hear the response.
I had been struggling with the dilemma of how to project myself on my blog, and also my insecurity regarding my “newness” within my faith. I don’t mean that I had doubts about my faith, quite the opposite. My life IS changed, my foundation for my life in Christ is solid.
There is no turning back for this girl, I have truly received the Grace given to me by God and had been struggling with fears of how it will be received by others.
That black box within my mind had been spewing negative, doubtful thoughts about myself. I was feeling that people who had been in the Christian faith for some time wouldn’t be open to hearing me. Again I’d fallen victim to my past behaviors. Without me realizing I was shooting myself in the foot before beginning. I have acknowledged this character defect, prayed diligently about it and yet it still exists.
And so when I heard Dr. Early speak about how it’s our mission to stand in the victory that Jesus has already won for us, I felt smacked in the head by God.
Ephesians 2:4-6
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
God hasn’t been saying to me to wait, to learn more and become “mature” in Christianity. I am already living “in Christ”, and by living “in Christ” everything that is true of him is true of us. 
Dr. Earley used this as an example:
Fact: Jesus was, is and always will be victorious.
Fact: I am living “in Christ”
Fact: Therefore I am already victorious.
See what I mean about the God-slap?
Today I am claiming the victory!
I am claiming the confidence that is mine because God loves me. By focusing upon God’s love for me I can continue to kindle my love for God and share that with others.
What does this mean to my life?
Well first off there is nothing like starting your day knowing you’re truly loved for everything you are. 
It also means that I will continue to develop my outline for the Women’s Ministry I have been working on.
I will also publicly offer myself as a speaker, I have begun to do this but now will actively contact local organizations and groups.
That’s a big deal for me and I’m thrilled to begin this branch of my journey.
1 John: 1-4
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our complete
A.A. 24 Hour a Day: Thought for the Day
We in Alcoholics Anonymous do not try to chart the path for the human soul or try to lay out a blueprint of the working of faith, as one might plan a charity drive. We do tell the newcomer that we have renewed our faith in a Higher Power. In the telling, our faith is further renewed. We believe that faith is always close at hand, waiting for those who will listen to the heartbeat of the spirit. We believe there is a force for good in the universe and that if we link up with this force, we are carried onward to a new life. Am I in this stream of goodness?
Meditation for the Day 
God will protect you from the forces of evil, if you will rely on Him. You can face all things through the power of God, which strengthens you. Once God has set on you His stamp and seal of ownership, all His strength will serve and protect you. Remember that you are a child of the Father. Realize that the Father’s help is always ready and available to all His children, so that they can face anything. God will do all that is necessary for your spiritual well-being, if you will let Him live His way.

Today I am returning to the topic of our thoughts and how they are the instigator to our behaviours. I wrote about this in late March with my article titled Black Box of my Mind. This article quickly became very popular; it was spotted by a representative from BlogHer and was syndicated to be published under the title Learning to Trust Your Mind.
That was exciting to me, but what has really resonated with me were the responses I received via comments, emails and conversations with friends. Everyone shared the same message with me; that they have been been living daily life unaware of their thoughts and the impact they have upon their lives.
This has spurred me on to developing a workshop for women, one which will help them be aware of their thoughts and assist them in making the changes which will shatter the behaviours which are holding them back.
This process, like many others in life, is simple. It’s simple but not easy.
Retraining ourselves to be open and aware takes effort. Changing years of patternistic behaviours take time and energy ….and most of all a true willingness.
So let’s assume we’ve all gotten humble and are willing and begin by talking about thoughts in general.
Thoughts come into our minds like the wind blows. We don’t consciously initiate a thought. If we were to think “I will think right now” the thought would already have begun. The same goes for the reverse, we cannot consciously decide not to have thoughts.
Realizing that thoughts are not initiated by our conscious efforts; if a typical person experiences upwards of 50 000 thoughts a day imagine, how we are affected over time by them.
Thinking, both reflexive and reflective, is what the brain does. It reflexively maintains and protects the body, without which it could not survive. This involuntary brain activity is a form of thinking, albeit at the subconscious level. All forms of thinking, even conscious reflective thought, is really nothing more than electrical and chemical energy combined and arranged in certain ways. These thoughts signify nothing in and of themselves.
Why then, are we affected by our thoughts? A thought is really an innate experience; it is harmless and holds no meaning in its entirety. It doesn’t actually affect us at all when it stands alone. It is only after we attach emotion to the thought that it holds value to our behaviours.
The fact is that we are rarely aware of our thoughts; they affect our perceptions, choices and reactions. This inner self-talk affects how we interact with others, and how we respond to situations. This internal “noise” can be used to make significant changes in our lives and bodies.
Rather than carrying on as we have I the past, if we are determined, we can begin to be conscious of these thoughts. I’m not suggesting that we should be aware of each thought and analyze it; that would be a ridiculously huge effort.
What I’m suggesting is that we focus upon the thoughts which have negative emotions attached to them. If suddenly you are irritated by someone or something, pause and take the time to identify the thought which brought this feeling to the surface.
By learning to identify the thoughts we experience these negative emotions with we will begin our journey to changing our thought patterns and the behaviours which result from them.
In the next week take the time to begin this process, next week I will continue with the next portion of this process.
It is only once we become truly aware we can take the steps to experience this journey fully and receive the gifts which are available to us.
Tuesday controversy…can I possibly come up with something worthwhile?
I was over at a friend’s blog today and she’d written a very funny post about circumcision. The point of the post was actually about a dialogue between her Mother-In-Law and herself wherein she was baiting said MIL.
There were 190 comments on her post. It began with people letting her know they thought her post was hilarious and quickly degenerated into people slamming her about having a pro-circumcision opinion.
OK I know you’re all dying to see it, but sharing it wouldn’t be supporting the point of my post.
In the past few weeks I’ve been concerned that my “voice” isn’t coming through here. That I’m becoming a middle of the road blogger, full of daily stuff and not giving my the edges of who I am.
 It’s not like I’m holding back here folks, it simply that I have felt there were more important things to “put out there” than my opinion on controversial issues. I’m certainly not as funny as many of the bloggers I read and frankly if I posted about circumcision it would probably come across as gross not sassy.
My life has moved away from focusing upon the trivial issues, I’m not fashionable (I have friends who help), I’m not a great cook (have a hubby who helps), I’m not as in your face as I used to be (thank God for that!), I’m trying to not share my blue humor here, and I’m not going to spout out here about my bedroom activities (well not often).
So where do I fit in the blogisphere?
I’m a Christian.
I am a Wife
I am a Mother
I’m an alcoholic
I’m a daughter, sister, friend.
Can you see where this is going?
I’m feelin’ it people, I’m hearing the song in my head….
I’m everyone woman….it’s all in me……..
I’m uncertain if I have yet established a “voice” but I do know that I love blogging and appreciate other bloggers. While I personally try to limit myself from posting about controversial issues, I hope my sassy self is coming through.
I truly hope my blog isn’t just vanilla, middle of the road to my readers.
Seriously if a recovering alcoholic, Christian Mother can’t find a way to be amusing we’re all in trouble here.
Perhaps this is a bad idea, but I’m going to roll with it.
Feedback promotes growth.
So have at it folks, let me know your thoughts on how I’m doing….have I been too bland lately?
Are you getting my point, that there is a balance to be found, mind, body and spirit?
Can you see that it truly is possible to live in the NOW yet be mindful of a greater purpose?
Believe it or not friends I have a lot to learn and could stand to grow….that there is the humble in me in case you didn’t notice.