Archives for category: God
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.
Who knew that my blog was so important to me?
The unthinkable happened last week…….my blog was inaccessible!!!
I had been moving it from Blogger to Word Press and to begin the process I moved the domain name to a different host. Thinking I had it all in order, we came up to cottage country where the Internet is the elusive prize for some rest and relaxation.
When I had some free time I went online and wrote my last post, hit publish and it happened!
I sat there facing a screen which was definitely NOT my blog.
I’ll save you all my non-techy explanation and sum it up by saying that I had moved the domain name but not the historical content.
Why did I ever think that I could do this by myself?
Because that’s just how I roll.
I’m that girl who convinces herself that she is perfectly able to climb Mount Everest with no safety gear, I’ll simply chart my path and have at ‘er!
In the past I was able to accomplish my goals, by deeply researching all of the information I would plan my projects from start to finish and execute them well.
Alas, I am not that girl anymore. You would think after living with this brain injury for a year and a half I would get that…..that my expectations of myself would be different.
And yet sometimes they’re not. I often find myself focusing upon what I can’t do rather than what I can, this leads to HUGE episodes of anxiety and stress.
I’m not saying it happens daily, in fact I’ve done lots of meditation on focusing upon what I can do. For example, last year when our family travelled here, I was only able to remain upright for an hour at the most. Then I would excuse myself from family time and go lie down. This year I am grateful that I can participate to a much larger degree.
It seems to happen most often when I am facing something which I haven’t since the accident. I was quite computer savvy before, not sayin’ I was a true techy girl but I certainly would have been able to follow the instructions in this case. So on that day when I couldn’t follow what appeared to be simple instructions, all of the changes in my life seemed to crash in upon me.
What did I do?
How did I handle it?
I didn’t hide.
I didn’t give in and lose myself in a panic attack.
There was no trip to the liquor store.
I wasn’t nasty to my husband or children.
Frankly at first I just let it go, I prayed about it and decided there was nothing I could do until I returned home. My focus remained where my hands were and my thoughts didn’t return to my site. 
It wasn’t like I was stiff-upper-lipping it, it just didn’t bother me anymore. Hubby arrived here and we’ve been having a blast as a family…although I wish my 7 year old would get her little butt out of the entitlement stage she is enjoying.
Yesterday I checked my emails and saw an email from the lady I’ve hired to redesign my blog. Jessica from The Frilly Coconut Design Shoppe was checking in to see if I was ready to begin the process. Of course instantly I blahh blahh blahhed the situation to her like some crazy person.
Jessica had me settled again in a few minutes, she took over the situation and within a few hours she had my blog back up and running!!!!

I wonder if Jessica was ready for my profuse thank yous…..from now on I will always picture her in a Wonder Woman costume!
Once again I gave my worries to God and the answer came without my interference!
And in the time when the blog was down, I was contacted by a high school friend I haven’t seen in years who is seeking sobriety. He had read my blog and felt he could contact me….he thanked me for being transparent and showing him an example of a “fun” sober life.
If I had been preoccupied with fixing my blog, I may have missed that.
I am up north in Muskoka, Ontario enjoying some time away. The girls and I are in cottage country, Hubby will join us next week. This is an opportunity to slow things down, and man it is an amazing blessing for me.
Before my car accident we didn’t take holidays in the summer.
Generally speaking we took a day here or there and we tended to extend long weekends.
With 4 day weekends we could visit lots of friends and do the home renos we loved.
If I had taken a full week, I probably would have gone nuts. Much of who I was at the time, was defined by my career. I took too much pride in my title and my performance. The only time I took a week off was to go to Jamaica with hubby for a week and even with the all-inclusive bar I was struggling. I would head to the lobby every morning, raising a fuss because high tides had knocked out the internet.
And yet here I sit, alone in Muskoka enjoying this peace and quiet.
I have no titles, I have no career to busy me and there is nobody to lose myself in.
Why am I so happy?
What changed for me?
Everything frankly.
By finding my sobriety, learning to value myself as I am and following my 12 Step Program my relationship with God had a chance to flourish. My perspective changed, instead of seeing work I should do on myself, I ask what has God got for me to do today?
It wasn’t until I hit the point of desperation that I was willing to admit defeat.
That my busy life wasn’t working.
And after that, my life slowed down, I became humble.
When it was quiet, I began to become closer to God.
In those quiet times I read God’s word, listened to speakers online, listened for His word in my life and prayed.
I have learned that I don’t have to wear a fancy church hat for God to value me.
I don’t have to drive a certain car.
I don’t have to hide my past.
God accepts me as I am RIGHT NOW.
God already knows all the things in my past I am ashamed of.
How amazing is that?
Today as I sit quietly reflecting, I’m awed by the fact that I have been given a gift I don’t deserve. I didn’t earn this.
And yet I am determined to receive it well, I am willing.
This weekend was fantastic, our daughters went to my mother-in-law’s place for a night so Hubby and I had time alone. It has been a long time since the girls were away for the night, of course I blogged about it here with Easy Does It.
So Saturday night we decided to go to a movie, we braved the crowds and went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. We chose the 2D version because the line for the 3D was obnoxiously long. I’m not the most paitent movie goer, believe it or not.
The movie was fantastic, I’m a Harry Potter geek who devoured the books as soon as they were released. I didn’t get into costume for the movie, but don’t think that I didn’t consider donning a black cape. The movie was explosive, satisfying and we walked away commenting on the fantastic effects. I won’t go further with my review because I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.
Following the movie we had planned to go to dinner but unfortunately my brain was exhausted. One of the issues I have is exhaustion when my brain is overworked. The film was fast-paced and there was lots of information for my brain to process and by the end of it I was done. When this happens I need a quiet room to close my eyes and rest…and recharge.
We had an early night and on Sunday morning we woke at a stupid-early hour for people whose children are away. Why is it that when the kids wake us we’re grumpy and wishing for an extra hour’s rest, yet when they’re gone we naturally wake before the sun rises?
Off we went, I dropped Hubby at church and went to a 12-Step meeting. The venue for this meeting had been rented out for a buck and doe the night before. As I pulled in, I noticed there were the cars left behind by the party’s attendees.
One of my fellow meeting members commented that there were a lot of coffins left that day. That amused me. The cars weren’t exactly parked within the parking spot lines and there was one car with trays of food left on top of it, fermenting in the sun. Someone had left a huge pile of chilli dumped in the middle of the parking lot; between that and the pickels baking in the sun on top of the car it was pretty disgusting.
I stood having a cigarette, listening to a few of my fellow 12-Steppers talking about how disrespectful it was for the people to have dumped a pot of chilli in the parking lot; how gross the food on top of the car was; how embarrassed the people would be when they came to pick up their cars. All in heated, JudgyMcJudgerson tones.
At that moment it struck me, that slogan I have never related to and had annoyed me made sense. “Remember When.”
I was taken back to the many times I’d made the walk of shame to pick up my car; the walks out of houses I didn’t remember entering; not having a clue what happened the night before; my face puffy and my skin pasty in the bright daylight.
I laughed.
Because it had taken me a year and a half to understand the value of that slogan which I had thought was obvious and unnecessary.
My friends looked at my inappropriate laugh and so I explained by saying, “I know that the chilli is gross but it’s a wonderful thing for me to see this morning. I know I left much worse wreckage; if crooked parking and rotting food is the worst damage the party goers left, I applaud them.”
The tone seemed to change. We all agreed; someone swept the chilli off of the parking lot and the conversation changed from the judgemental feeling to gratitude.
A car pulled in and a man got out of the passenger side; he looked akward as he approached us on the way to his car. He mumbled “Good Morning” from behind his sunglasses and a few people greeted him by name. Someone said “looks like you had a great time last night” in a friendly voice and the man responded, “I think it’s time to stop having so many great nights, you know how that goes….”
He walked to his car with his head down, grabbed the trays of food off the top and exited the situation quickly.
This man’s shame was palpable. 
Someone told me that he had been in the program a few times in the past; that brought it all home for me.
The fragility of my sober life kicked me in the gut.
I’ve prayed for that man many times since, and for myself and my friends in my 12-Step Program.
At the close of the weekend I was grateful a mountain of little things, but spending time with Hubby and being reminded that I’m on the right path were at the top of the list.
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.

Yesterday I was on fire in the morning, I was consumed with the idea of helping someone else. This is a normal thought for me in the mornings, through helping others I’ve found that my serenity is easier to achieve.
Yesterday however I was inclined to shout it out, on both my personal Facebook page and my SoberJulieDoingLife pages I wrote the following status:
 Grab this day by the throat and shake out all of the happiness possible by helping someone else.”
 I also tweeted it and received quick responses supporting the thought.
Earlier in the week, I had heard that two ladies from my 12 step program were in the hospital. I don’t know these women very well but planned to go and spend some time visiting them.
Amazingly my husband was off work for the day (as is typical I’d forgotten this) and so I didn’t need a babysitter.
I had been entertaining visions of my 7&5 year daughters having wheelchair races up the halls and creating general havoc during our visit.

Off I went, very relieved that I would be able to focus, and I decided to stop along the way at my friend’s florist shop. I picked them up the cutest Gerber daisies with a happy face on them, they use berries, googly eyes and pipe cleaner. When I was in the hospital years ago someone brought me one and it brightened my day, so now I bring one to each person I visit.
**names have been changed**
When I arrived at the hospital I headed to the wing of the building I had been told they were in. I approached the nurse at the desk and asked to see Gail and Mary. The apparently very busy nurse stared me directly in the eyes and asked for their last names in a very snotty voice. I wasn’t being defensive here folks, she was seriously irritated by me. There I stood, holding the flowers with my enthusiasm deflating in the face of this nasty response and I realized that I had no idea what their last names are.

Politely I told her that, I offered to tell her what their ailments are and their arrival dates but alas this uber condescending nurse didn’t think that could help.
In that moment I was livid inside, didn’t this nurse know that I was trying to help another human, that this was my serenity she was messing with??? How bloody dare she act as thought she couldn’t help me!!!

Taking a deep breath and offering a tight smile, I began to thank her for her time and head to the information station when a cleaning woman came over to me and loudly informed me that there were no patients in that wing named Mary or Gail. She suggested trying the G wing.

In the G wing the nurses were super helpful, they also wanted a last name but when I explained that I didn’t know them there was no ice wall in my face. They simply checked the roster, there was no Gail but they directed me to Mary’s room.

I was beginning to feel a bit better, my helping another person vibe was back! Mary wasn’t in her room, her roommate told me she was in the dining room and that she would love the flower. That she didn’t have visitors and it would make her day. I decided not to wait for her and left it on the window, asking her roommate to let her know I hoped she was feeling better.

On my way out a nurse gestured to a woman slowly making her way down the hall in the wheelchair and said “there’s Mary now”. I went over to Mary and as I got closer to her I was thinking how changed she was. She has Lou-Gehrig’s disease and I hadn’t seen her in about a month so it wasn’t until I heard her speak that I knew it wasn’t the Mary I was looking for.
GASP right???
Now what?
I greeted this Mary and let her know I hoped she was doing well and that I hoped she had a great day.

And I bolted outta there!

I wasn’t about to take back the flower that the nurses and her roommate had seen me put in her room. Just because I’m a dumb ass doesn’t mean that I want everyone to realize it.

And so I went to the last wing, found the correct Mary and Gail and had very nice visits with each of them.
When I told Gail the story she laughed her head off. She has heart issues and I was frightened she was going to blow a valve or something when she spit her water out, laughing at me.

Her amusement was fantastic, she’s a very special woman to me……just the type of gal who can get away with telling me I’ve had lipstick on my teeth for an hour, but she hadn’t told me because it was entertaining to her.

As I’ve said, my intention yesterday had been to Grab this day by the throat and shake out all of the happiness possible by helping someone else.”

Instead God grabbed me by the throat and shook out all the happiness I could give to someone else by using a stranger. Unintentionally I’d put a smile on a strangers face, given someone a lovely flower to enhance her hospital room, been polite and friendly to a nurse having a bad day, chatted with a cleaner and expressed my gratitude, spoken with a woman who is a very friendly roommate, spent time with Mary whom I didn’t know well and finally given my friend Gail a reason to laugh her head off at me.

That’s what I call a GREAT day.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

AA 24 Hour A Day – Meditation for the Day

Learn daily the lesson of trust and calm in the midst of the storms of life. Whatever sorrow or difficulty the day may bring, God’s command to you is the same. Be grateful, humble, calm, and loving to all people. Leave each soul the better for having met you or heard you. For all kinds of people, this should be your attitude: a loving desire to help and an infectious spirit of calmness and trust in God. You have the answer to loneliness and fear, which is calm faith in the goodness and purpose in the universe.